Web design circa 2013: eight trends

If you haven’t noticed, website design is a fluid and very dynamic art and science. And it and its close relative, messaging, are now the center of any organization’s communications system. So it’s imperative that we all learn to ride the waves of learning and change.

Writing in the web designer’s resource blog Design Blitz, Rajni Setia recently noticed seven clear trends that are influencing how websites look, feel, and work today. We agree with her observations and have added one more.

1. Responsive design

This isn’t new, but it’s driving digital development. How does your site look and act on your smart phone, tablet, or laptop? It matters. A lot. If you’re just starting to think about this, the Wikipedia entry on responsive design is a good place to start.


2. Minimalism

Following in the path originally charted by Dieter Rams at Braun, Apple has shown the world the power of saying more by showing less. Now a new generation of designers seems to be learning that just because you can get Illustrator to morph type, you don’t need to. As professional communicators with a deep interest in communicating, we say yes.

3. Typography

I must say, I feel a certain sadness that many web designers are just discovering type as a powerful communication tool. But at least they are. If you are designing websites and have not yet read Designing With Type, don’t tell anybody. But do it.

4. Infinite scrolling

Clicking between pages is so 20th century. Now that pages load as fast as we can scroll, just let ’em scroll. Rajni points out that it was Pinterest that set the pace on this trend.

5. Bold colors (and even bolder graphics)

Rajni is noticing a lot of very bold colors on contemporary sites. Of course, color is as subject to trend as fashion and is actually decided by a representative group of 60 color pickers who come together under the guise of the Color Marketing Group. In fact, last year they forecast the colors we will see in 2014.

This year, one does see a lot of bold colors, but I notice an even more pronounced use of very large, very bold graphics. I suspect that this is a reflection of the fact that people are so inundated by so many sources of information that fewer are willing to take the time to dive into more conventional page design.

6. Single-page websites

Directly related to the constant scroll, a lot of smaller sites fit one long page. Certainly not suitable for everyone, but if you can say it quicker and shorter, by all means do it. Pixel Lab’s site is a good example.

7. Fixed header

Hey! We do that! If visitors are going to be scrolling down many layers deep, then make it easy on them by locking the header in one place so they don’t lose track of where they are.

8. Leading with video rather than type

This is the one we noticed that wasn’t on the Design Blitz list. Increasingly, web communicators are leading with video, then allowing visitors to find copy later in the site.

A great example of this is the site for the Kite, a radical technology that keeps mosquitos from finding us by masking the CO2 we exhale.


What have we missed? What are you noticing as we all learn to make better use of the web?



  1. I agree, Responsive design is must for web design

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