Experts predict the biggest web design trends for the coming year whereas Website Design in Pretoria is following these trends.


What were the biggest web design trends of 2017, and what will be big in 2018? As last year drew to a close, we asked leading designers and studio heads to share their views, perspectives and predictions.

01. Web animation

“Animation can play a huge part in making ideas and interfaces easier to understand,” says interactive designer Chris Gannon. “In a world where everyone is in a hurry and time is short, animation can convey complex ideas in a short amount of time whilst at the same time engaging and informing.”

Bruno La Versa, senior digital designer at Lightful, agrees. “Storytelling and personality is something that new and old brands are working on in order to capture users’ attention, and animations are starting to play a bigger role in this,” he says. “Animations have shown and will continue to show the brand’s strength in our digital world, giving a strong personality to the brand, making it less static and more dynamic,” says La Versa.


 This animation by Chris Gannon is part of Twitter’s official GIF app


So what specifically in animation are we going to see more of in 2018? Animated logos is an obvious trend, and one that gives a company a big opportunity to enhance their brand further. However, getting it right is a major responsibility. “It’s a visual representation of the company in a tiny space and if it’s a good logo it packs in a lot of meaning,” Gannon explains.

We’re also seeing the return of the GIF – partly thanks to the fact that basic animated GIFs can be read by almost anything. “It seems the world is ready (and indeed is crying out for) animation of everything, whether it be comedy loops of cats falling off tables or adding a sense of fun to the logo in your email signature,” says Lee Fasciani, founder of Territory Projects.


GiFs – such as this one by Chris Gannon – are back in favour


So what has caused this enthusiasm for animation? Well, the volume of creation tools now available to designers has played a big part. “Many of these tools are aimed at designers, developers or other non-animators and have interfaces that are designed to simplify the complexities of building them,” says Gannon.

“This opens up the playing field to more and more people and allows them to experiment with animation. This is pretty huge because historically non-animators have steered clear of the animation part of the project.”

Mireia Lopez, creative director at digital creative agency DARE, also noted how these tools are helping to blur the lines between design and development. “We’ve see design teams animating, prototyping and learning neat coding to use more intricate prototyping tools in order to communicate concepts to clients and explain digital journeys to developers,” she says.

When you combine the availability of such tools with browser improvements it’s easy to see why animation is going to be big in 2018. Today’s browsers are exceeding 60fps, even on vector formats like SVG and mobile.

As with any trend, it’s important not to include it for the sake of including it – it’s got to be right for your project. “We all have a responsibility to our audience to choose when and when not to use animation,” warns Gannon.

“Does it enhance or otherwise contribute positively to the experience? My heart sinks when a client approaches me saying they want to ‘sprinkle animations all over our app’. Shoe-horning an animation into a design rarely ends well because the animation has no purpose other than to titillate.”

I have also noticed that a lot of website designer in Pretoria are following the trends in the new innovations that are created across the world.

02. More adventurous colours

“Over the past year we’ve seen an increase in the use of bold colours being used across digital platforms,” notes James Bearne, creative director of Kagool. One great example is that of DesignStudio’s new branding scheme for The Premier League’s 2016/2017 season.

“A confident departure from the previous identity, the striking visual treatment didn’t stop at the website or its app; it came roaring onto the pitches with billboards, social media and more.”


Design Studio’s work for the Premier League is full of bold colours


And this won’t slow down in 2018, Bearne predicts. “With new tools like Khromahelping us to find more interesting ways of using colour, it seems likely we’ll see more designers exploring how colour can be used to deliver exceptional experiences.

“What will be interesting to see is how colour can be used alongside customisation and personalisation to create truly unique experiences for consumers that tick several boxes at once.”

03. Inventive typography

In the battle for eyeballs, typography is a powerful weapon, and its use on the web has broadened out this year, says Kelly Morr, senior manager of content strategy at 99designs. “Typography is powerful and the bigger the better. So while neo-grotesque sans-serif styles like Helvetica remain in vogue, designers are branching out, turning to the huge variety of typefaces available.”

She predicts that 2018 will see the return of serifs to the screen, as well as increasing numbers of sites pairing serif and sans-serif fonts (as executed beautifully on GE) to create a dynamic user experience.


The typography cutout trend in action on the Danbury website


The fact that device resolutions are getting sharper, amping up the legibility factor, is also opening the door for a rise in custom fonts. “Designers are opting for typography with tons of personality not only for emphasis, but also for aesthetic effect. All of this, plus the drama afforded by oversized typefaces, goes to show that 2018 will not all be about subtlety, and we can expect to see bold trends continue to develop.”

Another type-related trend identified by Gee Guntrip, studio manager at Hyped Marketing, is that of typography cutouts. “The technique uses a block of colour over a still or moving image that appears through clear lettering,” she says. “Choosing the right typeface and limiting the number of letters is paramount to making this work.

“For example, Danbury has done this really well with a bright text cutout that draws the user’s attention to its video. Comedie Francaise uses the typography effect on text hover. And Nurture Digital showcases video through letters.”


04. Data storytelling

“2017 has been a great year for design,” says Craig Taylor, senior data visualisation design manager at Ito World. “We’ve witnessed a boom in animated visualisations and an increased appetite for data representation from a 3D perspective. But what use is this data, beautiful or otherwise, if it’s not digestible and ultimately usable?”

Enter what Taylor calls the information storyteller. “There is now a huge emphasis on effective storytelling through design, conveying often complex information as simply and as enga