Reflections on Web Design Trends in 2013

Let’s try to reflect on today’s trends and look a bit ahead. Today, design is developing by leaps and bounds, and changes in styles are happening almost daily. A huge impact on design comes from inspiration boards.

When in years past, a designer showed his creation to his granny, she nodded her head and the designer was satisfied. And then, the stream of thought stopped. Now, there is a tremendous amount of quality inspiration boards, especially on sites such as Behance and Dribbble, where anyone can upload his/her work, and earn praise or criticism from the community. When clicking through these sites, you can see how times and trends change in web design.

Designers see each other’s work, browse likes and comments, and draw conclusions. If previously trends were hinted to us by industrial giants, now people working from anywhere can set a trend, and the community will develop it to the global scale. We live in good times, guys.

So, let’s think more about what we will likely see in 2013.

Reflections on Trends in Web Design in 2013

Flat design

It is firmly stuck in our time. Many sites are showcasing flat design principles and simplifying their interfaces. Why wasn’t it Apple to do this first? As we know, they are fans of minimalism and ergonomics.

Metro (Modern) Style, Google and many other companies are now becoming simpler and flatter when it comes to design. But this is not to say that use of gradients, inner shadows and drop shadows have gone forever. We all know that fashion is cyclical, and these effects will resurface as a new trend in design in the future.

But for now, this is the one big thing and without a lot of variance. Flat design walks the planet. Focus on color, form and typography.

CSS3 Animations & Interactive

HTML5 and CSS3 have given us a lot of new features. The flat design trend and CSS3 can go hand-in-hand. Today, there are a huge number of interactive presentations, web-based applications and start-up sites that actively use the new CSS3.

Project Re

Broadway.com iPad App

Redbull TV

Ramayana

Iconfinder

Icons and Illustrations

Sometimes trends show up in the smallest parts of the overall design scheme too. Icons and illustrations also represent what is going on when it comes to the latest trends.

More and more icons are showcasing both flat design styles and even retro color schemes – another emerging trend.

Further, we are beginning to see more trends in the types of icons being created. Circular shapes are especially popular right now, replacing many of the hard-edged rectangles that were once commonplace. There is also been more of a focus on the creation of icons that represent responsive in order to demonstrate visually a site’s full capabilities.

Vladimir Kudinov

Vladimir Kudinov is UI/UX Designer from New York. You can connect with him on Twitter @stsilent.

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25 Comments
  1. Daniel Expósito Romero Mar 11, 1:45 pm

    I really like the flat design! It’s a shame that there aren’t many template available following it :(

    Reply
    +2
    • Hawk Mar 12, 12:20 am

      What do you mean “template”? As of WordPress? Magento? Sass? PSD? …

      Reply
      +8
      • doloreschiller Mar 29, 8:24 am

        i don’t get why this comment is voted down so hard? it’s just a clarification question…

        Reply
        +6
  2. Krishna Mar 11, 3:21 pm

    Im a big fan of Flat design and think its defo here to stay! Also loving the icon/illustration designs that are also moving in the same direction!!

    Reply
    +10
  3. Mark Dixon Mar 11, 3:26 pm

    I like flat design as well but I dislike why web designers are moving in this direction. It seems to be mostly about a trends and less about thinking critically and creatively.

    Design on the web is becoming very homogeneous.

    Reply
    +53
  4. LeBaux Mar 11, 3:29 pm

    Well, I hate all that windows done with flat design. Win8 is terrible in usability, and office 2013 (especially outlook) took a major setback also.

    Examples here are quite better looking, but it all comes down to one thing – time spent designing it. Microsoft should have focused on details, like the guys who done projects listed here.

    Reply
    +10
  5. Philip Protogeridis Mar 11, 6:11 pm

    I really love the fact that Flat design is growing, and not in the way Microsoft visualized it. I enjoy discovering new designs utilizing the flat patterns, not abandoning shadows and depth entirely (like the original “Metro” design).

    Can’t wait to see more, nice collection.

    Reply
    +13
  6. Rob Mar 11, 6:50 pm

    Flat design is great, but it certainly isn’t easy. Like others have commented it is more about focusing intensely on form and function. Understand what affordances are suggested when using different layouts and page structures and colours. What a user / viewers expectations are when using the design, and then designing with sensibilities around this. As with any design fad we will be seeing a lot of poorly executed attempts in the coming weeks / months but also some very good ones.

    Personally i am a big fan of the google approach of skeuominimal; using controlled flat design with very subtle and controlled usage of lighting effects and very slight suggestions of levels.

    Reply
    +13
  7. Chris Talbott Mar 11, 8:10 pm

    Design tools & design trends don’t create good design, just as hammers & nail guns don’t make better houses. Nail guns can make houses faster in some sense, but they can also encourage sloppiness, which is why some of the cat5 in the building where I work is broken (thank you, drywall installers with nail guns!).

    Flat design can look very nice, but from what I’ve seen it makes good design harder; without the option to use shadows to focus attention, for example, the onus is on the designer to use composition, color and size to do this. I think this is harder, although of course it’s possible. Designing for responsiveness, which is happening coincidentally, also makes design hard. Both trends call for radical simplification, which can be desirable on its own, but is also not guaranteed to produce good design.

    If you go with these trends, you have incurred a larger obligation to make sure your designs are usable. If you abandon usability even a little just to follow a trend, you’re being self-indulgent.

    Innovation in web design should always focus on increasing usability.

    Thank you for reading.

    Reply
    +20
  8. Facundo Mar 11, 10:54 pm

    It’s like a “back to the basis” trend. I love it.

    Reply
    0
  9. Dan Mar 12, 4:34 am

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Reply
    -6
  10. Theresa Mar 12, 5:13 am

    We were about to launch a new website last tuesday – the same day you guys announced your free Flat-UI pack. We loved it so much – and even the color scheme you picked that we completely re-skinned our site with the flat look using your kit in just three-days, and launched it last night. Check it out – I’m sure you’ll recognize the colors and elements! :)

    http://www.thriveart.com/

    Yay for bootstrap and Yay for Designmodo’s kit! We hope you inspire more to do the same and make the world a better, flatter place.

    Reply
    +1
  11. Bharat KV Mar 12, 7:55 am

    This year’s gonna be really interesting exploring the new dimensions of Flat Design and usage of extensive Illustrations… Bye Bye Gradients and textures… :) I still love you though…

    Reply
    -1
  12. county Mar 12, 8:32 am

    Great article. I like flat designs. Webdesign is so much more fun to play around with these days.

    Reply
    +2
  13. Mike Locke Mar 12, 8:41 pm

    Love the flat UI look and feel. One interesting thing I noticed is that it takes time to adjust to the flat UI look when you’ve been accustomed to the beveled (colorful) UI look/feel (from a user experience standpoint). One example is with my bank (www.bofa.com) – For online banking, BofA switched their interface to a more Flat UI look (integrating flat vectorized icons, etc.). Having used their site for years and gotten accustomed to the previous icon set (full color, beveled look), I was thrown off by the new set and had a hard time finding certain line items (i.e. check, deposits, etc.). Though the look was nicer, it hurt my user experience and I’m still adjusting to the new look and have a hard time finding distinctions between the line items and icons because the icons are so similar with the Flat UI, sing color, vectorized look. Though a much nicer look, the lack of enough contrast in icons and elements is something to keep in mind as a designer.

    Reply
    +8
  14. Skweekah Mar 13, 9:20 am

    Flat design will move on, just like parallax kinda has. It’s another trend, which is great! That’s why I love the web, you never know what’s next! Long live creativity and never saying never!

    Reply
    +2
  15. Chozen Mar 13, 3:11 pm

    Allot of the new flat design popping up can be accredited to Windows 8. The metro design style really took off after it’s release. I don’t mind it as long as it doesn’t used to death, the way gradients and rounded corners have.

    Reply
    +3
  16. Tony Smith Apr 4, 2:01 pm

    Thank you so much for great article.Responsive website design might turn out as a great way to progressively enhance even small budget projects for mobile devices.

    Reply
    +1
  17. Marlon Apr 12, 3:26 pm

    Flat design is the Future!

    Reply
    -4
  18. Cat McMahon Apr 26, 8:17 pm

    For marketing reasons, keeping webdesign up to date is important. Following trends might seem like keeping up with the Jones’, but paying attention to market demand boils down to the bottom line in online business, $$$$, sales, and profit.

    Reply
    -1
  19. victoraiss Jun 24, 10:14 am

    Love flat designs. btw im happy to see flat ios7.
    I’m trying to do flat designs on my works, but i have no ideas mixing real photos into flat designs.

    Reply
    -1
  20. sishi Jul 27, 11:06 am

    I’m doing web design for 13 years now. I passed almost all stages of it from nifty thrifty late 90′s, to the techy 2000′s to now. I would say that concentrating too mooch on look without keeping usability in mind is the dead end road, it was, it always will be. We aren’t living in a flat world. Although i must admit some of the works in that direction are piece of art per se.

    Reply
    -1
  21. Ibrahim Abo Seada Jul 27, 5:43 pm

    Thanks,
    I think the flat design is the next web design revolution!
    Also long shadow one of 2013′s trends.

    Reply
    -2
  22. Michael Lysiak Aug 20, 10:03 pm

    I personally like the flat design. It looks more professional and gives it a cleaner look.

    Reply
    -1

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