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Design trends for 2014

Web Bureau

08 January 2014 by Web Bureau

Design trends for 2014

Watch out 2014 – we’re coming to get ya!

2013 was a great year for us – and we’re planning even bigger things for 2014. Starting with how we’re going to make this year’s web trends work for your bottom line...

January’s a great time to stop and take stock. With a fantastic year under our belts (2013 was all about working, working, working, winning Digital Agency of the Year, squeezing in a few glasses of bubbles, and working, working, working) we’re confident that in 2014, we can do even more to grow and transform our clients’ businesses, maybe pick up a few more far sighted and ambitious ones, and grow The Web Bureau along the way. If more awards come, well that would be nice too.

So we’re already looking ahead to what 2014 will bring in terms of web design and innovation – and how we can transform these trends into bigger brands, better figures and brighter futures for all our clients.

Follow our guide to helping your presence work best and look bang up to date - or ask us how we can bring your business into 2014 and beyond!

Our Hero...

You’re going to see this one everywhere because it’s simple and stunning: large, delineated ‘Hero’ areas front and centre that feature a large image with a little text.

A technique borrowed from print for its visual impact, a static image with a short amount of text create a great first impression – check out ours on The Web Bureau homepage.

The key to creating a great Hero image isn’t complicated – there are really only 2 things to think about: and impactful image and a meaningful line that says something about your brand, business, products or service.   

A cast of new characters...

Typography offline has evolved over several centuries. Online, it’s evolving much faster and today web designers are embracing the possibilities offered by new and quirky fonts to create a distinct look online.  

The trend for experimentation in typography is changing radically how sites look and feel – bringing much more individualism and bags of personality. In today’s SoMoLo world, that’s essential to getting your brand characteristics across and maximising standout.

Finding a typeface that’s right for you is an easy way to maximise your impact over the longer term.

The new flat world...

Apple, well known for leading the way in simplicity and usability, with form following function the foundation of everything they do, have this time taken a leaf out of Microsoft’s book.  Their most recent design aesthetic, unveiled with the release of iOS7, takes everything to a whole new, standard-setting level. ‘Flat design’, free from drop shadows and gradients, is inspiring others to follow – expect to see more and more sites following their lead. For both Microsoft and Apple aficionados, it’s definitely the way to go.

Mobile moving faster than ever before.

If you read this blog or have a smart phone (which one is less likely??) you’ll know how much we go on about having a good mobile presence.

If you’re reading this blog on your smart phone, you’ll see how we have designed it to load quickly, to be easy to navigate and how it reformats to made reading an exercise in simple scrolling.

That’s responsive design. But it’s not design for design sake.

How, when, where and why we use our mobiles in everyday life continues to increase at a rapid pace, and so developers are working hard to ensure devices can continue to cope with the volume and speed users demand.

Beyond those basic needs, developers are also working on integration: how your site gathers information, making it easy to subscribe to and joining the dots with social media.   

In 2014, your biggest challenge is working out how you can be with your customers, where and when they need you. It’s not as hard as you might think.

See the Bigger Picture

If a picture says a thousand words, how many does a video say?

Better cameras and faster download speeds are combining to make video cheap and easy to produce, and more attractive to watch. Unless you’re on a dial up in the Outer Hebrides, most people can watch video without buffering over WiFi – and that’s the same for people on the go, via their tablets or mobile.

Or you can make your Hero spot even more impressive by replacing those cool images with really cool video.

But the real beauty of video? It’s instantly sharable via all social media.

So make a good one and watch it take your message all over the world.

Up with Scrolling!

For a long time, the advice was to avoid scrolling wherever possible. People just didn’t scroll down past the natural screen line. But we’re starting to find that was because there was maybe too much else going on around the page and the content wasn’t written to be as compelling as it could be.

Now, it’s something we’re more comfortable with, and with more white space and responsive web design, long scrolling is making a comeback.

Good content along with clean design takes the focus off the scrolling and allows users to focus on absorbing the content. 

Living life in colour.

The use of colour is becoming more sophisticated across the web.

Gone are those gaudy days when design was all about attracting attention with colour, like choosing the right kind of button colour to maximise click throughs.

This year, you’ll see designers being more subtle with their palettes, toning down use of colour to maybe or  two tones, maybe even keeping it neutral with just black and white.

It’s all in line with businesses bringing their online look in line with their offline presence, creating a look and feel that delivers a consistent tone and style wherever their touchpoints with their customers.    

Quick (and Easy) Content

Some people have always said that Content is King. Most people haven’t always got that.

The web has always been a deluge of information, and the people who win the web are those who order that information to be most appealing and user friendly.

So, while content is still king, in 2014 its king in a quiet and quick way: the better you get your message across, in the shortest possible time, is how you’ll win friends and influence people.  

Simple, short content is the way to go - as a rule, keep chunks of text to 250 words or less. Unless you’re really fascinating or writing a blog....

Sidelining of the sidebar.

This is a really interesting one for magazine or blog-centric sites in particular. We’re noticing lots of them dropping the sidebar altogether, putting visual content front and centre.

It’s easier and cleaner to read, allows the reader to focus and gives you much more chance of getting your entire message across. 

And from a designer’s point of view, it’s a dream. We love clean design!

Picture this...

An image of your business: your lead product, evoking feelings of taste and favour, or of your venue, in full panoramic glory, or your people and your place, brought to life with stylistic image manipulation to uniquely convey your brand values.

In 2014, we’re going to be ‘Instagramming’ everything and you’ll see more images using colour overlays, blurring, filters and other arty techniques to make the image fit better with and enhance the brand.

Whatever the trend/trends you can see working for you, it’s clear that that web continues to evolve and innovate rapidly. What you can’t afford to do is stay static.

Contact us for a free Web Bureau Web Presence audit to see what we could do for you. 

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