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Web design trends for 2014

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Is your web site’s design and layout as fresh as it can be?  Check out some of these web design trends for 2014 and beyond and see if your site needs an update.

Typography becomes more interesting

Hand-drawn lettering was very popular in 2013 and shows no-sign of diminishing. Check out some excellent examples of hand-drawn lettering. Learning how to create your own hand-drawn lettering in Illustrator is complicated, but can be done.

Thanks to Google’s free web fonts (over 600 different font faces available,) designers are moving beyond standard web font choices of the past like Helvetica, Aerial and Times New Roman. Check out some alternatives to these common fonts as selected by VentureBeat.com. You can easily change up your site’s typography by using CSS 3’s @font-face rule.

If you want to know what’s the most popular/common font faces, sizes, link styles, etc. being used in 2013, Smashing Magazine conducted such a survey and you can view the results for yourself.

Flat Design

As mobile devices have become more popular, design has become simpler due to limitations in mobile screen size, pixel density and load times. Flat designs does away with those extra flourishes that we are so familiar with, like drop shadows, beveled edges, gradients and other details that are used to create what’s called skeuomorphic design or, making

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something look like its past, analog self. Example: making a digital calendar look like a paper and leather one using texture, color and other design details.

Flat design is all about bright color palettes, white space and two-dimensional/flat illustrations. Hongkiat.com has put together an excellent guide to flat design if you are looking to learn more. If you are looking for examples or inspiration, check out “50 Beautiful Flat design Websites” or “10 examples of flat design that work.”

Mobile first

As more people access the web via mobile phones and tablets, responsive design has become more than just necessary, it’s starting to take center stage in development. Sites are becoming paired down utilizing flat design principals and focusing on content– providing only what is essential.

Longer scrolling, fast-loading sites and easier integration with social media are all parts of mobile-first philosophy in 2014. Content is also being put front and center instead of wrapping it around a “frame” made up of logo/header/navigation, sidebars and footers.

Simplified Content and Minimal Interfaces

Simplified content means shorter bursts of content (think Twitter) rather than longer narratives. Even blog posts and articles have become shorter and more ordered. Think of the growth in popularity of the “listicle,” which uses numbers in its headline and blocks of text and subheads in the body of the article. Example: “Top five web design trends for 2014.”

Content has also become the main focus of sites. Modern designers are dropping headers, logos and sidebars on every page or, moving elements into the footer, allowing white space to take its place and for content to be the main focus.

When developing your own minimalist-looking design layout, consider these suggestions from Smashing Magazine:

  • Use scale and placement to establish visual hierarchy of elements on your site.
  • Expand the color palette of your site
  • Stick with san serif fonts for a cleaner feel
  • Choose a font family with a wide variety of weights and styles which will help you establish visual hierarchy. Also, certain font weights render better in certain environments.
  • Don’t be afraid to pair fonts with extreme differences in size and weight to create visual order.
  • Contrast is key. If the majority of the layout is white, then you could give interactive elements some color.