Web Design Trends in 2017 | Digital Phoenix Agency
09 Feb 2017
09 Feb, 2017

The digital world is an ever-changing platform, where “players” keep experimenting, breaking rules, trying out new styles. Some take roots and continue affecting and shaping out design trends throughout the years, others slowly or rapidly fade away. 2016 has been an amazing year, with great technological advancements and design movements. Building upon last year’s trends and visual inspiration, 2017 is expected to bring even more fascinating ideas and new visual concepts. Without further ado, here are the main web design trends for 2017:


Bigger, Richer, Animated Typography

You will notice a strong trend from web designers to use large typefaces (especially serif ones) when creating a layout. The tendency of using bigger, bolder typography has started already in 2016, and will surely not stop in 2017. In the race for capturing more attention, creating a memorable “wow” effect, and keeping users longer on your site, companies and designers will continue experimenting with vibrant colors, shapes (geometric typefaces are quite popular now, such as Futura, Proxima Nova, Montserrat, etc which offer a more expressive, brave character to a website), textures and font sizes. 


Photo credit - startuplab.no


Big, bold typography does not only help create a strong contrast between your headers and paragraphs, it also serves as decoration, and helps break down into sections long-scrolling websites. Therefore, it improves readability and user experience on the website. (Example -  jennyjohannesson.com, monsieurcaillou.com)


Apart from font sizes, designers are also experimenting with different types of typography. The web design world is no longer boringly dominated by simple neo-grotesque typefaces, such as MS Sans Serif, Arial, Helvetica, Lato, Open Sans or Roboto. Serifs started gaining more popularity around 2015, and now designers are having a lot more fun playing and combining sans and serifs to create more contrast, emphasis, and emotions. (Examples - duhaihang.com)


Exciting is also how typography interacts with images, icons, and animations. Rules are there to get broken, fonts are animated or get boldly integrated into backgrounds and images. The line between “text sections” and “image sections” has been erased long time ago.


Photo credit - nurturedigital.com


Structured Chaos & Asymmetrical Compositions

2017 will continue breaking the rules of symmetry, striving for more freedom and less rigid, closed compositions. Leading designers from all around the world have been moving away from perfectly balanced (on the left and right) layouts, opting for more dynamic, sometimes chaotic compositions. But don’t be mislead by the word “ chaos”, as harmony and visual satisfaction are reached through the use of lines, geometric shapes and patterns, a contrast of forms, colors and sizes. You’ve seen that a lot already in 2016 with images integrated into circles, hexagons or other geometric shapes. This trend has also embedded quite well in the photography and home decor industries. (Example - helloheco.comsequence.co.uk)


Photo credit - corentinfardeau.fr


And since we live in a cluttered, over-saturated digital world, where brands and ad agencies are sharks hunting for user attention - minimalism is still very important. Try to think of ways to incorporate chaos into your clean, polished layouts. Let’s say, a minimalistic design can be harmonically disrupted by bold, huge headlines, coupled up with delicate, barely visible separators or decoration elements. Various pieces intentionally overlap (texts overlap images, images overlap images, shapes overlap images) (Example - melville-design.com), alignment and padding “rules" are bent, while various floating elements are escaping somewhere off your screen (Example - booneselections.com). Backgrounds will be definitely richer with patterns, grids, dots, stripes, even digital noise and glitches. (Examples - kikk.be, freebies.lorenzobocchi.com) 2017 is all about open compositions and a little bit of disorder, which intentionally leave room for imagination and interpretation. (Example - maisonullens.com)


More Authentic Imagery

With the flourishing popularity of Instagram and other visually driven platforms, there has been a significant increase in companies and websites opting for authentic photos rather than generic stock images. Brands realized the importance of showing real people and company processes, to establish a stronger connection with their clients and “put a face” to the brand. Photographs, custom illustrations, as well as cartoon type of videos are a powerful tool for attracting new clients, easily explaining a new concept and building up strong brand recognition.


Movement, Animations & GIFs

Animations are not a new trend in web design. They enrich and freshen up simple layouts, help create smooth and entertaining transition, as well as provide new opportunities to stand out and be original in our “hard to impress” digital world.


Photo credit - klimov.agecy

If we speak about parallax, which was already trendy in 2016, designers have only scratched the surface of this complex feature. In 2017, each movement, scroll and transition will be more thoroughly and strategically thought through. There’s no randomness. Every detail is meant to provoke an emotion, emphasize a piece of content and interact with the user on a more deep level. A whole website can seamlessly change in front of your eyes while you scroll down - hiding one section and unveiling another one. (Example - Cuberto.com)


GIFs, on the other hand, are a quite new thing in web design. After being successfully integrated into some of our favorite social platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, even Skype - web designers are also picking up that wave. Since animations and GIFs in particular help explain products and processes in a quicker and easier way, as compared to text, images or videos - we anticipate a significant spike in their use in 2017. Of course, a key thing to remember while using GIFs is keeping them high quality, sophisticated and in reasonable amounts. (Example - brand.uber.com)


Video & VR

People are lazy, and video content continues to prevail over images and text. And with Facebook’s autoplay videos, where the sound is optional, brands get inventive and top-notch at creating catchy, intriguing content so users choose to add sound as part of the experience. Video content will obviously continue conquering the web design world in 2017 - from full-screen video sliders on homepages to presenting your team, office and client testimonials through short clips. (Example - standardfilms.tv


VR is another fast growing trend for 2017 since more supporting devices and tools become affordable for the larger public. Thus, web designers will have to get more creative while trying to incorporate 360° videos and 3D effects and provide an interactive experience for the site users.  


Color Pallets & Gradients

Similarly to photography, a lot of designers have shifted to darker, more moody and dim tones for their layouts. Striving for a more expressive, bold and sexy look, 2016 was definitely the year of darker websites. 2017 is predicted to continue this movement, as creatives and brands carry on exploring and enhancing their brand identity and visual strategy.
(Example - www.healthdigitaltransformation.com)
Also, it seems that gradients are getting back into the game, predominating with vibrant variations of 2-color overlays on photos or clean backgrounds.
(Examples - www.nycpride.orgwww.symodd.com)



Apart from the trends described above, web designers continue experimenting with navigation, striving to simplify and cut it down to the strict necessary items. Mobile isn’t going anywhere and it’s crucial for SEO (another permanently trending topic in the digital world), thus lots of efforts and attention are still placed towards creating simple and intuitive navigation styles for a website. A lot more accent is also put on landing pages since these serve as effective traffic generators and conversion funnels. And last, but not least important is conversational user interfaces, especially for e-commerce businesses. Various integration of messaging platforms and software (live chats, bots, etc) will continue to thrive in 2017, as direct communication with the user and instant help when choosing a product or service are a huge deal for any vendor. Thus, web designers will continue coming up with fresh and original ideas on this key topic. 

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