New Year, New Design Trends

We’ve already given up on our New Year’s resolutions and we’re struggling to commit to dry January, but one thing we are dedicated to is predicting the biggest digital design trends for 2018.

Incorporating strong visual content will be essential for your new year marketing campaigns to reach your audience and create impact.

Make sure you’re adopting best-practice design with our round-up of the 2017 design tricks that are sticking around for 2018, and the newest trends you’ll want to be adding to your design skillset…

Gradients/ Colour Transitions

Gradients (or the new ‘fancier’ term Colour Transitions) have come a long way since their PowerPoint slide appearance. Designers have side-lined them in the past few years in favour of flat design. But as they become more versatile, with their reappearance in iOS, and industry leaders now adopting them for branding, buttons and backgrounds, we’re starting to see them work better as backdrops to our content.

Instagram’s new logo for 2016 got a makeover, with gradients becoming smoother and flatter, paving the way for a new style of background designs and overlays.

Spotify’s rebranding successfully uses Colour Transitions with its duotone approach. Cleverly overlaid with varying type and shapes, it works well for the brand and their millennial target audience. Emphasis on the rich and lively music culture it fronted was key for the brand, transforming from a tech service to an entertainment brand.

2018 Design Trends 01 Gradients

Split Page Design

With advancements in UX and web design, designers and developers have been able to work closely together and grow the split page design. As an evolution of the hero image, split page creates a contrasting effect to promote specific content, offering users an unconventional experience.

It gives brands more freedom to feature multiple touchpoints, and helps the user find what they’re looking for faster – with fewer clicks.

Bose cleverly uses a 5-way split page design to promote select products. The bright use of colour contrasts with the products, and emphasises the brand’s personality. This is coupled with dynamic animations – crucial for delivering a great user experience.

2018 Design Trends 02 Split Page

Responsive Logos

As minimalism increases and more smartphones are released, mobile first design continues to reign on, and designers now lead by the mantra of ‘less is more’. And that means brands are having to revamp their logos to become universal and embrace technology advancements.

Brand giants such as Coke, Chanel and Nike have mastered the responsive logo, and start-ups will need to follow in their footsteps to compete within the digital landscape.


“Video First” is a term coined by Facebook to encapsulate the growing phenomenon. We’re seeing more and more moving graphics online, and GIFs and animations will still be trending in 2018.

Animations allow the user to engage more in their online experience, making it more seamless and enjoyable. And more brands are responding, animating everything from icons, to logos to get in touch CTAs.

Google’s brand motion animation is clever and memorable, and is just one of the ways the search giant is adopting motion branding.


A slow adopter – but a trend to look out for in 2018 is Cinemagraphs. When used correctly, a Cinemagraph tells a story, and adds excitement to a still image.

Cinemagraphs are essentially short clips, with the same opening and ending shot to help create an endless video loop. One element of the image displays as a moving video, showcasing one single component to move, while the rest of the shot remains still.

These living photos work particularly well for travel brands looking to showcase beautiful oceans and rippling lakes, or to create a wind effect for product shots, as seen in the fashion campaign  below. We’re naming them the more elegant version of a GIF.

Cropped Type

The perfect balance between creativity and professionalism = cropped type. Erase parts of the letters, or cut up the words (but keep them readable) to create the effect.

This technique allows the typography to have more substance, and lets the eye read the subject in an unusual way. You’ll get a minimalist type with a modern twist.

2018 Design Trends 04 Cropped Type

Creative Type

Different to cropped, Creative Type cleverly works into the design to communicate a message in an abstract way. This trend of playing with type has heavily-influenced designers in 2017 – and it’s here to stay for 2018.

Graphic designers get more creative freedom and see just how far typography can take them – As shown by Fiat below.

2018 Design Trends 05 Creative Type

If we can sum up the digital design trends for 2018 in three words, they would be – Pretty, Damn, Awesome. The next year will undoubtedly drive new innovations and creative ideas we haven’t touched upon, but the excitement to see what it brings is one we’ll look forward to.

The goal for every designer is to be unique, and create something memorable and appealing. But to do this, you need to make sure you’re keeping your design fundamentals in mind. Constantly stay up to date with the latest innovations in design and branding, and sign-up to our newsletter to receive digital marketing industry news. We discuss how the newest design tools and trends impact your digital marketing strategy.

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