The past 12 months were overflowing with technology innovation, but more than anything else last year was an intense time for mobile and web application designers and user experience (UX) teams. This year promises to be just as intense, as shown by leading directions in web and mobile apps design. Barbara Jura, UI Designer at ITMAGINATION, talks about some of the leading trends.
What were designers busy with in 2018?
Dribbble – a graphic inspiration center
In 2018, Dribbble grew to become a global inspiration center for mobile/web designers and illustrators. The website works on a social network basis – designers can publish their works if they have been invited by another user. The website is an Instagram for designers. It was created for fun and inspiration (which is why the name refers to basketball), but it is also a place where people can exchange experiences through image. Most of the designs are mobile and web applications, but you can also find illustrations. PRO account users can publish more of their works than others. 2018 was definitely the year of Dribbble, which became the graphic inspiration center and the place where companies can look for talented graphic designers.
Where else can you look for inspiration? Behance is definitely worth a look, because this is where designers publish entire projects with extensive descriptions. Medium is also a good source, featuring various design case studies.
Minimalism and white in design
As you may have noticed, a few apps in our smartphones have been redesigned lately. Minimalism, the color black and crisp typography in design have been appreciated once again. As most applications are used daily, simple designs with no overwhelming contents were preferred.
The most striking transformation of the past weeks was Facebook Messenger. The refreshed messaging app is no longer excessively blue – the color white and crisp typography reign supreme now. Messenger’s designers focused on the app’s main features and adjusted its appearance to ensure users are not tired of using it every day and to avoid distraction by too many colors.
Messenger after redesign
Also Google products, e.g. Gmail, have undergone major changes. After 4 years from the first version, in 2018 Google released Google Material 2, or its design language. It is a collection of tips and ready-made elements to enhance the work of both designers and developers. Google Material 2 brings primarily bigger contacts, typography and focus on user needs.
Gmail redesign based on Google Material 2 / source: dribbble.com
Illustrations on the rise
2018 was the year of illustrations, which settled for good in mobile applications and websites. They replaced photos and formed narratives for articles, on Medium and other places. Illustrations come in three categories: vector, isometric and graphic (traditional). The latter are usually created on a tablet, using brushes available in graphic design software. Illustrations that shone in 2018 include a design for Netguru made by Katarzyna Dziaduś, artworks by Nick Slater, a set of new emoticons by Ryan Putnam and geometric designs by Yoga Pedana.
Katarzyna Dziaduś for Netguru / source: https://dribbble.com/shots/4985398-Journey-of-experience
3D illustrations are increasingly popular on websites. Microsoft Office’s new icons harmonize with the trends of the past year, but they also fit in very well with the forecast trends for the next 12 months.
Where did this direction in design come from? The phone has become everyone’s good friend and we spend a lot of time with it. Designers are spinning a vision of an internet that is not flat, but starts “coming out” to the user. It is to resemble the world around you, the layout of the city in which you live or your apartment, and fit in with your daily activities. What’s more, the growing popularity of 3D printers shows that even small objects can be as realistic as the surrounding world. 3D illustrations are a challenge for the designer – not every artist can make them. As a result, each and every one of them is eye-catching and unique.
TREND 2: Visions of Iron Man-like technology, or say hello to AR on smartphones
Have you ever wondered when it will become possible to move images around the way Tony Stark does in Iron Man movies? Visualizations such as the one in the movie frame below are still a long way, but you can already visualize a furnished apartment using dedicated AR (augmented reality) applications or try out a makeup before putting it on.
Increasingly, applications themselves encourage users to interact with reality. TORCH AR is an app that allows you to create designs and prototypes for mobile devices. Imagine joining a new company with no need for onboarding. All you need is a phone with AR with which you can take a walk around the company’s office seeing descriptions, illustrations, photos and discovering the story of your new employer in a virtual world.
A noteworthy website that allows users to create different types of AR for mobile applications is Vectary. The tool allows you to create graphics together with your friends and use them in mobile app and website designs. In future, also Adobe plans to add Adobe Areo to its pool of applications, which will allow you to create complete designs for augmented reality.
TREND 3: More websites and applications, less social media
This trend marked its presence in 2018, but we expect it to gain scale and momentum in 2019. Because of the many data leaks from social networks, internet users increasingly prefer to look at products on websites and source information from there.
In 2019, simple websites and landing pages with 3D graphics will dominate. Here are some examples of this trend.
Gleb Kuznetov / source: dribbble.com
Zak Steele Eklund / Source: dribbble.com
My own landing page design which has been appreciated by DailyUI
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