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Summer 2015 Design Trends

At Forum One, we think inspiration is the key to a healthy creative team, and in doing so we strive to stay abreast of the latest in design and technology. The following examples are a collective list of design trends our entire creative team has found to be especially cool this summer.

summer design trends

With so much of design now being viewed from digital screens, a new type of hybrid designer is needed — a mix of print and web designer. As designers adapt and the possibilities of web continue to evolve, the difference between the two traditionally separate design disciplines grows smaller. We are starting to see its influence in the design work around the web. Mobile has become a big part of our daily interactions, bringing a new focus on “under-complicated” layouts. This focus includes large engaging visuals paired with brief targeted copy and subtle interactions. As we continue to ride the wave of flat-design, we round out summer 2015 with a few big trends taking over our screens.

1. The Big, The Bold and Beautiful

The saying “Content is King” has never been more true than in design today. Sharp, targeted copy paired with large, bold visuals and/or video backgrounds have taken web design by storm and lead to the rise of interactive story-driven websites. The use of parallax, or scroll animation, combined with large block layouts has become today’s hottest craze. Below are some great examples of this design trend.

Weber BBQ - Experiential, interactive and narrative.

weber bbq

Parliament Creative Agency - Good use of bold imagery paired with strong brand metaphor.

parliament

Mossio Digital Agency - Bold, compelling imagery.

Mossio

Oakley Motocross - Oakley really pulled all of the tricks in this concept with the use of parallax bold visuals and interactive on scroll effects all with a strong attention to the mobile experience.

Oakley

Species In Pieces - Another big trend in design is the use of of the low-polygon shapes and in this examples they pull in the use of flat color with complex css animations.

Species

Airnauts - Strong use of angles, engaging on scroll effects.

Airnauts

2. Flat Attack

A focus on simple, flat, borderless shapes, iconography and bold colors have really made their way into the toolbox of the “modern” designer. Flat design void of any skeuomorphic elements allow for quick, easy scanning. While the outcome is quite attractive, it really lacks a focus on usability. “Flat design tended to go too far toward aesthetically pleasing and forgot about Dre...I mean, forgot about usability” ~ Daniel Ferro, Interaction designer & Material design enthusiast. But before we move on lets take a look at some inspiring uses of flat design.

Bose Headphones - Bold color, iconography flat design.

Bose

Think Blink - Flat box design.

Think Blink

Dropbox - Flat design with the 50/50 layout style and cards.

Dropbox

Fitbituses a lot of flat design but recently added some of the other trends mentioned.

Fitbit

3. Material Design by Google

Google was very much along for the ride on the flat design trend until they took a step back to consider the effects on its users and introduced the Material design ecosystem. This design language is characterized by pulling simple flat illustrations and pairing them with subtle shadows and a strategic use of color and animation. There is an intentional focus on guiding the user’s interaction with the use of consistent layered interactive elements, such as floating action buttons, otherwise known as FABs. Simple animations serve as visual cues to the user when interacting with elements on the page. The use of cards is a design trend that predates material design but is very much a part of material design now.

Final - Good use of material design paired with traditional flat design.

Final

Material Design Exploration - Dribbble has a lot of variety of card style material designs this particular design exploration is pulling in a lot of the Material design tricks, drop shadows, FAB, animation.

Material Design

Android - great example of material design.

Android

Material design icons/FABs - Examples of Material design icons.

Icons

4. Random Inspirations: Cards, Iconography and 50/50 layout styles

Volkswagen - Good use of iconography paired with 50/50 layout style

VW

Social Bakers - 50/50 Design style cards.

Social Bakers

Soma-Water Filtration - Large imagery with simple layout and soft color palette.

Soma

Some Final Thoughts

Design trends come and go and we as designers have to be conscious of our decisions and know when to go along for the ride or when to just let it go. My top 3 tips to the modern “digital” designer are:

  1. Focus on branding: no matter the medium or trend, the need for a strong brand will always reign supreme. Trends add to the brand experience but don’t make it alone.  
  2. Be a conscious observer: think about your design decisions from the perspective of a user. Just as Google took a step back from the flat design trend with material design, they focused on the user allowing them to create an ecosystem that catered to the end users.
  3. Stay inspired: the only way to truly stay ahead of design trends is to not limit your inspiration to current design trends. Pull inspiration from multiple sources no matter where they are, whether on the web or outside your office. Inspiration is all around you. Always being aware of what other artists are doing will ensure that you can keep up with the pace.

For more tips, tricks and inspiration follow our blog and check me out on Twitter: @coreycreative and #StayInspired