How Offline Visual Trends Impact Web Design

Design has always been impacted by other trends, such as fashion, interior design and what’s popular with people at any given time. Some styles stand out more than others, but everything eventually circles back around to one art movement or another.

An older design style, such as minimalism, might get a fresh face but still be highly recognizable to those who’ve seen it before. Knowing what the trends are of today, as well as yesterday, gives you a wide range of options from which to choose for your next project.

Are Trends Important in Design?

Statista estimates there are around five billion internet users in the world. With so many cultures, ages and individuals browsing the world wide web, you can assume they all have differing tastes. Keeping up with the trends may not matter as much as coming up with a web design that functions well for the majority of people.

Understanding current trends, however, helps you gather ideas for what might work best for your audience. It shows your company understands the times and what users want. Being aware of offline visual trends can impact your web design in a variety of ways–here are a few ways to incorporate real world examples into your digital presence.

1. Be Alert

One of the best ways to add offline trends to your web designs is by paying attention to the world around you. Did a new ice cream shop go in around the corner? What colors and fonts did they use? What does the interior look like?

Pay attention to billboards, print promotions and even vehicle wraps and tee shirts employees wear. What’s unique about each look, and does it apply to your industry?

2. Include Trendy Colors

Interior design is known for embracing new color palettes every season. If you’re struggling to come up with the best combination of colors, turn to paint stores to find out what the top hues of the season are.

Interior design magazines can also offer a bit of inspiration. You can also combine more than one palette for a unique look. You’ll find that paint swatches often complement one another.

3. Turn to Nature

Natural hues and earthy tones never really go out of style. When you’re feeling stuck in your designs, head to the great outdoors and take in the vibrant sunsets, beautiful blooms on flowers and shades of shrubs.

You can always start with nature-inspired tones and then add a pop or two of color to grab attention. If you sell something that makes one think of the earth, even better. For example, a company selling organic coffee might use browns and a hint of green.

4. Grab a Weather Mood

Weather can set the tone for a mood. Icy days may remind one of warm memories by the fireplace with the family. A gloomy, cloud-filled, gray sky might put a somber tone on the day. Think about what the weather is doing and if it can apply to your design. Sunny yellows, bright blue skies and fluffy clouds brighten anyone’s mood.

What is the emotion you most want to invoke in your viewers? Can you accomplish that through weather? You could add in some images of weather moments to your design. Use a rainy day hero shot or share a beautiful sunrise.

5. Revisit Your Favorite Art Movement

Modern web design gathers a lot of inspiration from art movements of the past. Favorites such as minimalism show up over and over in today’s designs. Find your favorite style and apply it to your current designs. For example, if you love art deco, you might add some ornate flourishes to your website.

Does your industry lean more toward realism or the abstract? Can you add an abstract background to set your design apart from other sites in your industry? Become familiar with the different art movements, so you can apply them as it makes sense to your web designs. Head to a museum to gather even more inspiration.

6. Study Marketing Materials

People in advertising come up with unique takes on design. With 32.5 million small businesses in the United States alone, advertisers have to grab user attention and keep it. They have a way of thinking outside the box and coming up with fresh concepts.

When a postcard arrives in your mail, take the time to study the color choices, layout and any unique features. Watch television ads to get an idea for tone and mood. Look at every piece of advertising you see, break it down and try to learn from it. You may find you only apply an idea or two here and there, but you’ll add to your artist tool box.

Talk to Other Designers

Spend time chatting with designers more experienced than you. What do they use for inspiration? Taking a walk, visiting an art gallery or going to a trendy store can all serve as inspiration for your next design.

Author Bio:

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

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