DESIGN Do you really need to follow the trends?
According to a recent study conducted by Microsoft, the average attention span of a human has decreased by 33% over the past 15 years. Today, the average attention span is only 8 seconds. When it comes time to attracting time-strapped consumers with short attention spans, how important is it to follow the latest (yet ephemeral) design trends?
Thanks to the emergence of high-performance smartphones and tablets, bold colours are replacing neutral colours. Goodbye pastels. Hello saturated hues. The bright green colour, Greenery, is all the rage in 2017. With the multitude of standard websites and apps, many companies are looking for ways to stand out—and bold colours fit the bill. Spotify is an excellent example of this trend. Gone are the company’s neutral shades; today, Spotify boasts bold colours!
Website design can simplify a complex platform in a field that never stops evolving. Flat design, introduced by Google a few years ago, matches bright colours with minimalist icons. This trend paves the way for variations of this approach, such as Almost Flat Design, which uses shading and movement to add a realistic touch to interfaces. Most recently, we’ve notice a return to simplicity. The No Design approach has been adopted by Viceland: it showcases content and features very little design, movement or colours.
Made popular by the Art Deco movement, which dates back to the last century, abstract geometric shapes and patterns are back for 2017. Here is a compelling example from St-Jean-Baptiste en fête, which uses a simple and colourful pattern.
As previously mentioned, users quickly read content on websites. Movement attracts people’s attention more than static images. This is why video and animated GIF images are extremely popular. It is also the reason why cinegraphic GIF images, a mix between static and moving images, and Scalable Vector Graphics are being widely used by such websites as waaark in order to stand out from the crowd. Creative and dynamic animations are definitely on-trend.
Should you get on the trend bandwagon?
It depends. For example, when Farnham Ale & Lager revamped its image, it leveraged current design trends. As you can see, the brand shines through. Colourful, yet minimalist, its design is very different from the traditional labels Quebecers see. The end result? A design success story!
However, when you truly understand your brand and target audience, moderation is key. Remember when Instagram changed its logo by transitioning from a minimalist Polaroid icon to a minimalist camera on bright shades of colour? Users did not like the logo and many ridiculed Instagram’s overly simplistic logo on social media.
It is important to remember that an ad that bucks the latest design trends can be extremely effective. This is the case with Maxi grocery stores’ ad campaign with Martin Matte as a spokesperson. Even though the imagery is not aligned with current design trends, the ads are great because they are match the company’s values of simplicity and efficiency.
At the end of the day, what is important is that you remain true to your brand and set aside personal tastes. Keep in mind that design must cater to an overall strategy and objectives. Being trendy is not for every business. Most importantly, create a design that reflects your brand’s uniqueness.
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