6 Ways design has Changed and How to Stay Relevant

by Sarah Quinn on 11 July 2014

Like everything else in this world, design is constantly evolving into something better. With 2014 well under way, there's some cool trends out there that are definitely here to stay.

So how can you be sure you are staying on top of your design game? Check out 6 ways design has changed and find out how YOU can stay relevant.

1. Flat Graphics

Ok so flat graphics are in and skeuomorphism is on its way out! You only have to look at Apple and Microsoft to see that they have very successfully implemented flat graphics into all of their design elements. The reason why this technique works so well is because it's simple, modern and the minimalist design works really well for usability. Since Apple rolled out ios7, sites are popping up all over the place trying to replicate the flat design – and it looks great!

How can I stay relevant?

  • Keep it simple, modern and minimalist
  • Make sure your design is individual
  • Stay away from drop shadows and gradients


2. Motion graphics

2014 is the year for motion graphics as gif's have made a comeback, bringing with them a whole world of possibility. There really is no better way to bring text to life - and if done right - a gif can really grab the readers attention and keep them intrigued. There are quite a few brands that have jumped at the chance to create an animated gif for their website, but Campaign Monitor is a fine example of motion graphics at its best.

How can I stay relevant?

  • Think about smooth transitions
  • Use engaging animations
  • Keep it short and simple


3. Pastel colours

Think you need to use bright colours to stand out? Well, not anymore you don't. Using a pastel palette has fast become the new thing to do. Everything on the web is now simplified, to make it easy for users to do what they came to do, and the best part about pastel colours is that they work really well with flat graphics. Think about muted tones, subtle designs and a softer look. If you need help deciding what colours go best together then take a look at design seeds to help give you some inspiration.

How can I stay relevant

  • Use pastel colours to match your flat graphics
  • Think about muted tones
  • Use web tools to help you decide the right colours for you


4. Sparse Design

If you hadn’t figured it out already, 2014 is all about simplicity. So it's hardly surprising that over the past few months we have seen simple web design pop up on all over the place. Just take a look at your homepage and think about stripping back all the stuff that doesn't need to be on there. Big hero images and a few lines of copy is definitely a trend of 2014. And if you are worried that you're not getting your key messages across then think about creating an explainer video which will help you do that just perfectly – it's much better for engagement!

How can I stay relevant?

  • Strip back your homepage and take out content you don't need
  • Use a big hero image
  • Use a video explainer to get your key messages across


5. Continuous scrolling

We have become so used to getting all of our best content above the fold that continuous scrolling sounds so wrong! Well, 2014 is a time for change and many designers have implemented a continuous scroll on their website. The secret to keeping your audience engaged is to not over-do it with content and to keep a huge image as the main focus.

Many web designers are now implementing the parallax scoll, in which the background moves slower than the foreground. This is a great way to set the theme of your homepage and keep your readers engaged all the way down to the bottom of your page.

How can I stay relevant?

  • Think about telling a story on your homepage
  • Check out parallax scroll examples
  • Keep your audience engaged


6. Illustrated Graphics

Illustrated graphics are a great way to connect with your audience. They look slick, they're easy to remember and they will keep your brand current. The thing about using illustrated graphics is that you are pretty much free to do whatever you like. So no matter what industry you work in, even if it's corporate, implementing illustrated graphics on your website can really help bring your brand to life.

How can I stay relevant?

  • Keep graphics slick
  • Match them with your brand
  • Think outside the box

Closing thoughts...

So there you have it, 6 ways that design has changed in 2014! Ahead of anything else, the takeaway point here is to keep things simple, while still being individual. Have you noticed any other trends? Let me know in the comments below!

Content Marketing

Sarah Quinn

Written by Sarah Quinn

I eat, sleep and breathe great content so it kinda works out for me that I get to do this as a job. But waaaaait, I'm not one dimensional..... I also LOVE peanut butter, odd socks, running, daydreaming about time and space, corgis in top hats, afternoon tea and Chandler Bing.