5 Web Design Trends Predicted by Shutterstock [Infographic]

By Adrienne Erin, April 06, 2017

Imagine a client asks you to redesign their golf course website. Easy enough. However, they want you to deliver a site design that’s not only on trend but will be relevant a year from now, too.

Identifying (and anticipating) design trends requires some homework. Shutterstock’s annual stock photo trends infographic is a great resource. It highlights what stock photos are being searched and purchased, providing insight into current and upcoming design trends.

Got your pen and paper ready? Here are a few trends, courtesy of Shutterstock, that’ll take your web designs to the next level.

1. Global Trends 

Across the globe, the current focus is on white texture, head-up display, halftone, and emojis. The latter is the most recognizable. Boasting an impressive 328% search rate, clearly the emoji hype of the past couple years hasn’t died down yet. In fact, from pillows to pinatas to Facebook Live videos, it seems like emojis are still everywhere.  

Related Post: How to Best Use Emojis in Your Marketing

But before you add emojis to your design, make sure they’re relevant to your target audience. Baby Boomers likely won’t understand the nuances of emojis like Gen Z. Also double-check emoji slang to avoid a potential brand safety crisis. FYI: an “eggplant” emoji has a totally different street meaning...

2. Cultural Trends

Currently, society is thinking about the past, present, and future simultaneously. As a result, designers are mixing together nostalgic and futuristic themes.

For example, childhood favorites such as bold patterns and images of yesteryear are on the rise, with searches up 213%. Shutterstock has also seen an uptick in searches related to robots and virtual reality.

To incorporate in your client’s design, first interview your clients. Be sure to ask them the history and future of their business. Then focus on meshing the two into a cohesive design that makes customers nostalgic and hopeful for the future at the same time.

3. Design Trends 

Design trends are pointing in polar opposite directions: nature and technology. Designs focused on nature are messy and fluid, but also beautiful. Searches for tropical designs with bold, bright colors are up 44%.

In contrast, tech-based designs are featuring hard, sharp edges and right angles. They’re more predictable and less fluid.  

Related Post: How to Know When It’s Time for a Redesign

Again consider your target audience and brand. If you’re designing a website for an IT company, adding laser cutting to your visual elements can make the site trendy. On the other hand, a website featuring lotions that use natural ingredients will be better served with bold, tropical florals or other plants.

4. Visual Trends 

Visual trends are running the gamut globally. In Italy, designers are leaning toward geometric patterns while images being searched in Russia are leaning toward vintage lace.

Knowing design patterns in different countries is helpful for when you’re designing for an international audience. Let’s say you’re working with a client in Brazil, whose website is targeting residents of France. Well, “girl power” is a popular theme in Brazil, while medieval is reigning supreme in France. Your design theme will need to cater to what’s resonating with the French.

5. Video Trends 

According to Shutterstock, society appears to be experiencing an underlying wanderlust. Video design trends include transportation technology and the desire to just "get away from it all." Some of the most searched videos include a short video of a person packing a vintage suitcase, people hiking, dancing, climbing, and even aerial footage from a drone.

Related Post: How to Build Brand Awareness With Mobile Video

With the reduced price of video technology and accessories, top-view videos are rising in popularity. This is a unique perspective where the image is shot from a bird’s-eye view. It works particularly well in a top slider or to show a product off to its best advantage. You can easily add this element to your designs to draw attention to your client’s product.

Applying Trends to Your Designs

Knowing what’s trending allows you to create designs that are relevant and even futuristic. Keep in mind that you still need to take the client’s preferences into consideration. However, you’ll be able to point your client to a more modern design that still meets their needs and personal style.


Infographic courtesy of Shutterstock

Adrienne Erin

Adrienne Erin

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer and designer based in Pennsylvania. To see more of her work, visit her blog Design Roast or follow @adrienneerin on Twitter. More Articles by Adrienne Erin