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What lies ahead for digital design in 2017

Graphic design and UI trends

This appears to mainly be a continuation from 2016, with further refinements and a larger focus on ease of use.

Mobile first approach: This approach is one that Mark1 Labs has been working hard to perfect and subsequently emphasize to all our clients. It will see advertisers create more content in portrait for mobile, especially video and 360 video. This approach will lead to better engagement and brand sentiment.

Material design: Created by Google, it is a design language that attempts to simplify how users interact with the internet, especially on mobile. Many social media platforms have already adopted material design - such as Twitter and Whatsapp – and we can expect to continue seeing this.

Material Design in UI. Source:
Material Design in UI. Source: Ehsan Rahimi on Dribbble

Impactful text and bold photography: This is about less unnecessary imagery that serves to only fill space, and more strong text that is over-sized and modern. Font selection and colour choices are very important here. The collaboration of bold photography and sleek copy is becoming a more prominent trend.

Function before form: While this notion is not new in design, it is perhaps one of the most important things to remember. This year, however, it will remain particularly true and will be over-emphasized with many websites and products pulling back the design to the bare essentials, whilst ensuring that function is the most significant performer for 2017. As emerging technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality come into practice, it is essential that designers understand what action the user needs to take.

Web design trends:

A return to basics and the death of the template, these are the key web design trends we expect to grow in 2017:

Cut to the chase: Less is more, keep the landing page as clean as possible with the most important information being easily accessible. This trend stems from the ever-decreasing attention span of consumers, which has recently been compared to that of a goldfish. If content takes too long to find, the user will drop off and go somewhere else. This trend feeds into brutalism, see below.

Brutalism in web design: Brutalism comes from the French, meaning ‘Raw’. A school of thought made popular by design; Pascal Deville. Brutalism in web design is the extremely stripped-down and unpolished (borderline bad) design that completely scraps the template-based websites we are used to. "Look at Craigslist," Deville says. "This is totally a brutalist website... and commercially, very successful." Another good example is the new website. – an example of a Brutalist website – an example of a Brutalist website

What can we expect in the digital advertising spaces this year?

“Interruption instead of Disruption.”
This is the intention of the new IAB Ad Portfolio. Set to launch this year, it includes some cool new formats and allowances, some of which include augmented reality, virtual reality & 360° video/images and ratio-based flexible ad sizes.

Flexible ad sizes: With the constant inconsistency of mobile screens and the cross-screen nature of users’ online behaviour, the flexible ad sizes looks to be the solution.

The main “perk” of the new feature flexible formats is to seamlessly adapt across screens. These online ads will be responsive to the screen-size which is a significant change from the previous method of creating multiple banner sizes for each container across the desktop and mobile platforms.

The major change in the new portfolio, is that ad sizes are now defined by ratios and NOT pixels as it were before, e.g. A banner is now defined as 4:1 instead of 728x90.

More about flexible ad sizes

Illustration of Flexible, Ratio-based Ad Sizes. Source :
Illustration of Flexible, Ratio-based Ad Sizes. Source : IAB

360 degree video and VR rich media: Virtual reality and augmented reality are some of the most talked about subjects in tech these today. This technology will change the way we as humans communicate, learn, create and most of all, how we are entertained.

Virtual reality has finally begun to mainstream adoption and consumer acceptance. As consumers use VR for gaming and for learning, brands will need to find imaginative ways to create engaging ads. Mark1 has partnered with ADVRTAS (the world's first 360/VR marketing and advertising solution) to start serving engaging 360° and VR ads programmatically.

The earlier that brands can become involved in 360° video and VR the better. The key is creating meaningful brand experiences and marketing messages using VR, thus, advertisers can connect with consumers in a new and unprecedented way.

Wrapping up

These trends are based on our research and what we saw occurring towards the end of last year. However, based on the extraordinary rate of change and growth in the digital and technological spaces, we’re quite sure that we’ll see some of these trends come to fruition before long.

26 Jan 2017 14:08


About the author

Chad is writing on behalf of Mark1 and Mark1 Labs