Design helps us tell stories. That’s why smart businesses embrace design as a tool to help them tell the stories of who they are, what they do, and why they’re different.
Trends also tell a story. In particular, design trends tell the story of evolving consumer preferences and behaviors, emerging technologies, maturing worldviews, and changing aesthetic tastes.
Here at Distillery, we closely follow design trends across all media. We’re happy to share our insight and predictions with you. After all, changing tastes may mean it’s time to change how you use design to tell the story of your business.
Without further ado, what awaits us in the world of design in 2019?
1. Illustrations: Customized for Competitive Advantage
While illustrations will continue to be popular, custom illustrations will be especially popular. According to research, custom illustrations can convert leads seven times better than a stock photo. They can also more easily be tailored to fit the needs of a specific design situation or brand.
In addition, done well, custom illustrations can be business assets. A well-designed illustration style can become an important part of the brand with which it will be identified, helping the brand stand out from the competition.
In 2019, several types of illustration styles will be popular, including:
- Both 3D and 2D illustrations. 2D illustrations have been popular for some time, and they’ll retain their popularity in 2019. 3D illustrations have gained momentum in 2018, and the trend will continue into next year.
- Grain effect. This beautiful and stylish effect will keep its popularity in 2019. Typically, this effect is used in 2D animation, but it can also be used in 3D.
- Illustrations in isometric view. These illustrations, in which isometric projection is used to represent a 3D object in 2D, will continue to be a trend.
2. Animations: Increasingly Everywhere
Animations will become ubiquitous in the next year. Animations will include micro-engagements (see #9 below), illustrations, and logos.
Partial animation of illustrations — that is, when only a portion of the composition is moving, and the rest of the picture is static — will be a trend as well.
3. Background Video: Promoting Engagement and Visibility
The ongoing popularity of background videos won’t decrease. Anecdotal evidence from many businesses suggests that a website’s background video may also increase conversion rates. (That said, we highly recommend testing this approach to make sure a background video is right for your business.)
Video’s popularity isn’t hard to figure out. Video helps users understand your content faster. It helps you to quickly and effectively convey your message. By inviting and increasing engagement, video helps you keep users’ attention longer.
As you contemplate whether to use background video on your website, remember: Google is moving to mixed search results. That means websites with video content will pop up more frequently in search results than websites without video content.
4. Photos: Goodbye Stock Images, Hello Authenticity
Photos are a common component of any modern digital platform. But it’s important to understand that boring stock photos are no longer interesting to anyone — their time has passed. Now, everyone’s looking for more natural, authentic-feeling images. As a result, we predict we’re going to see a lot of unusual compositions and photo shoots from photographers who’ve been inspired by 3D arts.
Working with color channels was also trendy for photography in 2018. This design trend will remain fresh and relevant in 2019.
5. Fonts: Unique Typefaces to Accent and Brand
For the past few years, using typography to emphasize a brand has been very popular. This won’t change in 2019. After all, if a brand has its own typeface, unique results are guaranteed.
Nowadays, in many cases, typography effectively replaces images in many designs.
Along with the bold sans fonts to which everyone has become accustomed, fonts with serifs for headers and extension elements are gaining in popularity. In addition, bright and unusual 3D fonts will be popular in 2019. They can lend a good accent to your design.
6. Colors: Bold and Gradients That Attract and Guide
Of course, color is one of the most important elements of any website. It helps to cultivate a specific mood, unify a brand, and create visual landmarks that help guide users through an interface.
This past year, designers have been using a lot of bright colors. We expect that this trend will only increase in 2019. Colors will become yet bolder, with many designers using oversaturated tones in their work. That said, monochrome and black/white color solutions will be popular as well.
Finally, we saw a resounding return of gradients starting at the end of 2017 which has continued through 2018. This trend will only grow in 2019.
7. Composition and Organic Shapes: Asymmetry and Overlap
Many modern websites and design forums use fluid, asymmetrical forms. In 2019, these types of forms will become even more relevant. Why? Well, the new year’s trends are associated with a sense of accessibility and comfort. Since organic forms are naturally imperfect and asymmetrical, they create the illusion of movement and help to convey the sense of a natural habitat. In addition, asymmetry is classic in design.
Overlapping elements in web design have been a trend for the past few years. Combined with broken grids in 2019, they’ll help designers create more unique layouts.
Finally, minimalism — perhaps one of the most classic and timeless web design trends — is often the go-to aesthetic of choice. If a website is designed in the right way, it will show users exactly what they’re looking for.
8. Augmented Reality: The Trend to Watch in 2019
Augmented reality has began to proliferate in web design, application design, and print. This is a relatively new trend that we’ll follow in 2019.
9. Micro-engagements: Guiding and Enhancing Engagement
Every time you take a small action on a website or app and receive a specific response to it, that’s called a micro-engagement.
Micro-engagements provide natural feedback to users. Often, they transmit system status, helping users avoid errors. You can also use micro-engagements as another means to develop or enhance your brand.
More and more users are paying attention to micro-engagements. Including them — of course, after thinking through how they fit in with your product or service offering — can help you guide your users toward desired scenarios and ultimately increase their loyalty.
10. Accessibility: Bringing Inclusiveness into the Digital Space
The internet connects billions of people of different cultural backgrounds, abilities, ages, and gender identities worldwide. Ideally, all of these people want to be able to see themselves in the context of a given product. Offering up even a small amount of variety in designs (for example, including different skin tones for emojis) helps people of all backgrounds feel they’re part of the digital space.
Voice assistants, video subtitles, and night mode — these tools are only a small part of what will help a wider range of people to have a better user experience with websites and applications. Well-built UX helps users to enjoy products with greater comfort, which in turn increases their loyalty.
With this in mind, we predict that designers will make yet greater leaps towards inclusiveness in 2019. Efforts will range from improving accessibility standards to creating more socially conscious and diverse images.
Which 2019 Trend Will Help You Tell Your Business’ Story?
Not all design trends will be a fit for telling the story of your business. That said, paying attention to evolving consumer preferences — and making thoughtful design choices and changes based on those changing tastes — is a smart strategy for any business.
Need help figuring out how you can make some of these 2019 design trends work for your business? Let us know!
Natalya Ageychenko joined Distillery in early 2018 as a UX/UI designer; she loves her job and works hard every day to deliver the best results possible. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, illustration, and cartoons. In addition to her role as a UX/UI designer, she hopes to create illustrations for a book which she can transform into a short cartoon with beautiful text layouts and unique illustrations.