General Question

rainsmoker's avatar

What will be the next webdesign trend in 2009?

Asked by rainsmoker (110points) November 29th, 2008

i’m still wondering about the main trend that will lead webdesigning worldwide, like vintage and scrapbooking did in 2008 (mostly)

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18 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

I’m interested in seeing some examples of what you would call “Vintage” and scrapbooking designed websites. I wouldn’t really say that was the trend of last year. I would say the general web 2.0 trends continued (more social features integrated in to sites like AllRecipes and Google search) and a focus on making things clean and not cluttered were the trends (AllRecipes and Snopes website redesigns come to mind). Although, there have been a lot of sites using the style seen here in Fluther, I in fact designed a site with a similar one back in January (a gradient pattern background and a centered fixed width design), and I would call it vintage-y.

As for what comes next, I would say more integration of social aspects, more mashups from one site to another. Hopefully HTML5 will be gradually adopted by more browsers so that we can start using it to add in other content semantically. I would not be surprised to see some new developments from Facebook that might extend past their site into other websites.

fireside's avatar

removed by me because it wasn’t a design trend.

funkdaddy's avatar

I think big text (like 3d type, or fancy typography), custom illustrations, and dark backgrounds are probably all going to be seen more in the next year. Not that any of those are necessarily new, but I’ve been seeing a lot of sites using them successfully lately.

Also, it seems file sizes for sites are getting much larger. Maybe I’m just old school in this regard, but it seems like a megabyte of images is too much for a single page load.

dynamicduo an article on vintage designs with some examples, scrapbook to me would be things like this or this which use a lot of tape and paper elements, cut or torn edges, and generally trying to make the appearance match a physical book or some kind.

dynamicduo's avatar

Ah Smashing magazine… they’re good but I don’t really care much for their style compared to A List Apart or other detailed analysis sites. Too often they simply link to tons of designs/samples and not really explain or discuss them in detail, which I value highly. I could probably find tons of examples that “prove” that Web 1.0 crappy sites are the new fad. 50 websites does not prove a trend. Plus, vintage everything is making a comeback, based on my experience with the growing number of old-school crafters (knitting, crochet, quilt making) and with the fashion/design themes I’m seeing (making unique couture using second-hand pieces, recycling something into another thing, simply making something yourself is way more popular nowadays). SM does have its place in my world, I love using it to get inspired.

Sites are getting fatter filesizsewise. Designers nowadays aren’t taught about conserving file space, many people simply save images as JPGs all the time, when in reality they should be using GIFs when they can. Something I’m seeing affecting site loading times is calls to external components (such as Google’s ad servers), the calls are made before the page is done loading, sometimes it takes a few seconds or even a minute to get the response and continue page loading.

funkdaddy's avatar

I wasn’t trying to “prove” the trend and I’m sorry if it was taken as me calling you out. I was just linking to some quick examples of sites developed in the last year or so with that overall visual design. In case you were interested in what the rainsmoker was referencing.

I’d say the web 2.0 trends you mention were indeed the theme of the last year, especially social features and user-generated content, but the original question referenced visual themes that were ‘trendy’ for last year. At least to me, those aren’t in the same category.

Again I apologize if it was taken wrong, maybe someone else will find the links helpful.

irondavy's avatar

I’m calling it now: Comic Sans.

rainsmoker's avatar

Actually you can find or prove anything to have been the mainstream in any given year. IMO web2.0 design was more 2007 along with bright shiny object syndrome and big typography. 2008 has been the year of social sites and taking 2.0 development to the fullest and the concept basis for semantic web. however, i have seen scrapbooking as a major trend besides the site’s own functionality (1.0, 2.0 or whatever). I personally think large backgrounds are back (with proper quality/size ratio) and, while i still try to design clearly, sort of fresh-minimalistic; this is slowly fading away.
@irondavy: lmao

dynamicduo's avatar

Oh no need to apologize, I didn’t take it as a callout, it was indeed a great way to demonstrate the trends the original poster was talking about. I just wanted to throw my two cents in about that site and trends overall :)

I’ve never actually thought about web trends as being a visual thing, since it is very rare that websites redesign to fit the prevalent visual style of the year. In fact I can think of very few websites off the top of my head who regularly (more than once a year) change their visual layout. The average web user is still not up to par for this (too many will get confused with the new layout and abandon the site). However, of all the redesigns I’ve seen this year (including a big one,, the things I am seeing in the redesigns are central layouts, more clean presentation of data and white space usage, and integration of Web 2.0 features (especially that “Submit to Reddit/Digg bar”).

I would also note that with monitor sizes and resolutions going up, one visual trend we will see is more sites targeted for 1024-width screens, and sites with flexible layouts to maximize screen space on larger or widescreen monitors. Long gone will be the days of 750 width designs! Yay!

JoeyDesignsStuff's avatar

I had a discussion with my boss about the background thing rainsmoker mentioned. I’ve personally been having a heyday with ‘web 2.0’ visuals; making stuff huge and colorful with lots of reflections and great, fat buttons. Just the cheap tricks.

With regards to the background thing, it was pointed out that site design may take a step towards information design rather than putting information inside things. Facebook (ugh) is a good example, as they’re really designed an open white space and distributed an intelligent selection of content throughout in such a way that it looks like a full, pleasing layout. I have no clue what creative geniuses are thinking about for 2009, but I would really like to see CSS3 supported so we can make better use of what we’re already doing. Visually, I think the web’s so diverse already it’s kind of difficult to point to any one style and call it a trend.

Excited to find out though!

meemorize's avatar

I think that clear grid based designs and table layouts (in a non-technical way) are making a comeback along with a retro/vintage colour palette and machine type such as Courier New.
Overall I think it will be a reaction to the overtly cluttered, image heavy ‘scrapbooking’ style to something much more concise and minimalist.
I could see big typography being big too, though I wouldn’t say it is something new per se. Many websites already use the big type approach and have done so for this past year.

Vincentt's avatar

@dynamicduo – I wouldn’t start cheering too fast, the rise of netbooks lowers the average screen width again ;-)
(Though 1024 is reasonable to expect these days)

I wonder what people will do when wide screens are standard. You can’t run text from one side to the other side, so it will be interesting to see what will be inserted in the empty space at the sides of websites (probably with more people having a broadband connection more images can/will be used as well). Stuff like Vimeo’s login screen would be fun.

dynamicduo's avatar

That’s true, there is a certain line length that is best for humans to read, and having fully stretching layouts on wide monitors will easily exceed the ideal line length. I expect to see more grid-based layouts to compensate this.

Good point about the netbooks. Although even if the size for the next few years is 1024, I’m still happy! Projectors were another similar issue, but most now have a default res of 1024 as well.

OH, how could I miss this – mobile websites! Lots of major sites will be redesigning their mobile presence now that we’re starting to see serious netphones come out.

tigran's avatar

bigger pictures! video! and three columnities

irondavy's avatar

I think I’m going to change my answer. Comic Sans won’t be the next design trend.

I think the next design trend will be more editorial design. Massive institutions such as and already do special articles/series that break the standard framework of their publishing systems.

I think the value of this extra effort will become increasingly worth the time that goes into it. Blogs are already invalidating these institutions’ ability to break news. Therefore, the real value for news organizations will come from deeper journalism that requires a larger budget and more authority.

As with any (important) design trend, it will come organically from shifting paradigms. In order to present content that isn’t simply “a thing that happened that is newer than other things that have happened”—which is the way news and, of course, blog posts are presented—web designers in online publishing will begin to design pieces and articles instead of frameworks.

This is just one example. Any website looking to gain authority or significance over the glut of your Gawker-media-style, thousand-worthless-posts-a-day, only-worried-about-AdWords-and-SEO type blog will follow suit. I suppose you could describe this as “magazine-style” designing but it’s certainly more significant than that. It isn’t aesthetics, like hand-drawn or big-fonts, it’s a different approach completely.

Or, I dunno, I’m kinda coming back around to Comic Sans.

fireside's avatar

that’s funny. someone just told me this week they they using comic sans in a new site because it is not often seen and fits his client.

dynamicduo's avatar

Not one day goes by that I don’t see Comic Sans being abused. I am not exaggerating. The worst ones are the food packages in stores. You know, a lost dog poster done by someone in Word is one thing, but professional branding is another. It drives me insane. I cope by pointing it out and laughing.

benseven's avatar

The return of the animated GIF!

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