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4 Seriously Cool Web Site Design Trends That Will Dominate 2017

Jan 03, 2017


web site design training

This year, web site designs strive to be more than just “beautiful”, reaching toward new heights of aesthetic appeal, uniqueness, storytelling, and intuitive functionality.

There are many new trends to play with and explore, but we’ve pulled together four that focus specifically on visual engagement—on how designers are using visual tactics (including typography) to help brands truly stand out, improve usability, and entrance audiences with unique effects.

Just starting web site design training or getting ready to graduate? Here are four hot design trends to incorporate into your portfolio this year.

1. Custom-made Illustrations for More Unique Branding

The growing trend of custom-made illustrations reflects just how fed-up audiences are with generic stock images. Stock photos have that mass-produced, corporate look and feel that simply doesn’t jive with the current emphasis on personalized, authentic content.

Other reasons custom illustrations are so big this year?

They’re ideal for differentiating your client’s website from the competition, not just from a visual perspective, but also in terms of storytelling—a marketing trend that continues to reign supreme.

Beautiful and intriguing illustrations can help define and communicate a unique brand identity, creating a narrative around a company or product. This narrative draws audiences into a “world” they can explore, offering a positive experience they will associate directly with the brand. Done well, custom illustrations and animations will help make a website more sticky, encourage conversions, reinforce brand quality, and enhance the user experience.

Here’s an excellent example from the Lighthouse Brewing Co. website, which also happens to be animated—the fish swim across the page, the waves rise and fall, and the octopus writhes, making this homepage (and entire website) even more impressive and enticing.

web site design training

2. Cinemagraphs Add Hypnotic Appeal to Keep Users Engaged

Cinemagraphs gained traction in 2016 on social media, but have yet to saturate the web site design market. In fact, not many web sites have started using them yet (but almost all 2017 trend forecasters say they will going forward).

What’s a cinemagraph? It’s a mesmerizing effect that combines a static image with moving elements. Here’s a good example of how brands are integrating cinemagraphs into their web sites, making it hard for audiences to look away. This is from the homepage of luxury car rental company Glendevon Motors:


Intrigued? Click on this link for a seriously cool selection of hypnotic cinemagraphs created by designers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck:

Added bonus: Cinemagraphs consume less bandwidth than videos and won’t cause your web pages to load slowly…another reason they’re an attractive alternative to video.

3. Type Gets Bigger & Bolder to Simplify Messaging

Everywhere we turn online (and offline) we are bombarded with a relentless deluge of information, marketing messages, and advertisements.  In response, we’ve come to crave simplicity. We want more straightforward, less cluttered, more easy to digest web pages—content we can understand at a glance, and actually trust. That’s where bigger, bolder type comes into the picture as a hot design trend for 2017.

In a recent blog post, Webflow’s product designer Gadzhi Kharkharov points out that big, bold type isn’t all about the weight of the font.  Sometimes it’s more about where text is placed on the page.

He cites these two web sites as strong examples of how bold type can be leveraged to drive home a simple, yet powerful message.

web site design training


4. Visual Navigation “Cards” Replace the Conventional Homepage

A recent blog post by Usersnap does a good job of explaining the “card” navigation trend in web site design, which is expected to continue picking up steam in 2017.

They use Netflix as an example of how cards—or images—are used as portals on the homepage, which once clicked, open the door to further information and other web pages. Here’s a reminder of what the Neflix homepage looks like, and how cards are used to simplify content discovery and make the process more intuitive. We hover over the card to get a plot synopsis and other key information, and can click directly on the card to launch the video:

web site design training

It’s quick, fun, intuitive, and visually entertaining. We’ll see more web site designers adopt cards throughout 2017 as a way to attract visitors and funnel them toward conversion.


Are you considering becoming a web designer and want to learn more about local training options? Looking for a reputable web site design program in Toronto?

Consider Herzing College’s Web Site Design training program, delivered at the Toronto campus. The program takes just 10 months to complete and includes a 6-week internship for on-the-job experience.

Courses cover a wide range of theory and technical skills, including the fundamentals of web site design; digital typography;  dynamic web applications PHP and MySQL; animation for the web; Javascript; and Photoshop design and editing.

Visit the program page for a complete list of web site design courses, potential career options, and application requirements—or to chat live with an academic advisor. We’re here to help!

Visit Web Site Design Program Page to Learn More 

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