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The 8 web design trends your business needs to know about in 2016

by | Feb 22, 2016 | Design, Online Branding, Wordpress

January is synonymous with lists; resolutions, goals, and of course Triple J’s Hottest 100! It’s the time when we put our best foot forward in the hope of achieving unprecedented success.

A large factor in the success of any SME these days is a solid online presence; the kind that combines design with usability. And just like the Nicholson St hipsters pouring your single origin drip of a morning, your website needs to stay bang on trend too.

We don’t mean that your male staff should all be donning man buns, rather that you brand your business so that it remains relevant to your customers. As Forbes note “if advertising isn’t relevant it’s annoying—and consumers have little patience for anything annoying.”

To help keep you relevant, we’ve profiled 8 web design and branding trends of 2016:


Of all the 2016 web design predictions, everyone seemed pretty unanimous on the typography front. What may seem a simple choice is actually one of mass importance, with Quertime believing the right typography:

“Can breathe life into your text content, enhance the rest of your site’s design elements and help your brand stand out. Done badly, it can become a huge flaw in an otherwise flawless site.”

While there are an ever increasing array of fonts becoming available, Creative Bloq expect we’ll see “big bold and brash colour.” Ernesto Olivaresconcurs, though he also predicts the use of designs that hark back to the handwritten.


As web sites move away from stock images towards the customary, illustration is being touted by IT World as a way to reinject originality into websites. Creative Bloq believe illustrations will “connect to the viewer in a more personal manner.”


Staying with imagery, many are predicting an increased use of cinemagraphs in web design. Straddling a void between static images and video, cinemagraphs have an almost ethereal quality, thus painting more than just 1,000 words.

Flat design

Sounding like something you may take home from Ikea and later regret, flat design represents a minimalist approach. It’s described by Adobe as:

“Simply a design that’s stripped of any sort of impression of the third dimension. The elements are meant to appear as if they’re lying flat on a single surface.”

Think of the evolution of Google’s logo and you’ll have an idea of what flat design is all about.

It’s by no means a new weapon in the web design arsenal, but the prediction from Uxpin in their Web Design Book of Trends 2015-2016 is that the style will continue to evolve throughout 2016, with “playful flourishes” such as creative iconography and accented colours likely to feature.

Material design

Material design is Google’s baby. Launched in 2015, it is essentially flat design with “depth and shadow.” And the consensus among web designers is that it will dominate in 2016.

While Hongkiat notes that material design’s genesis was in simplifying “the process of crafting user interfaces for Android smartphones,” its ability to enhance the UX has seen it applied across the spectrum.

Responsive design

And what a perfect way to segue into responsive design, which awwwards consider to be “less of a trend and more of a best practice.”

With studies showing that people are increasingly using their mobile phones to access information, it is essential that your website looks as good on a small screen as a desktop. If your website does not load, or cannot easily be read by your customers, their frustration may lead them to look elsewhere, something most small businesses can ill afford.

For a great example of a responsive rebranding, consider the cropped logo adopted by Netflix;

“By offering just a glimpse of the brand identity, [they got] rid of all the noise or white space that [didn’t] need to be there, staying 100% responsive at the time.”

Uxpin suggest that a card layout is also great for achieving responsiveness.

Interactive storytelling

Engagement and content have been branding buzzwords for a while now. So imagine if you could design your website in such a way that it told a tale your customers could participate in. Enter interactive storytelling!

The premise is that your customers are asked a serious of questions, which pique their curiosity and “by the time the visitor is done, you’ll have ended your story, and converted a new fan/paying customer.”

For a great, albeit heavy example, check out Slavery Footprint.


As visual gems which quickly impart information, infographics are apparently shared more than anything else on the web. Just imagine the impact sharing an infographic could have on public awareness of your business.

With storytelling and statistics so popular in the online world, it’s little wonder that the infographics of 2016 are predicted to blend the two.

Which trend is right for your business?

While it might be appealing to incorporate as many of these trends as possible into your web site, you could earn the dubious “mullet website” title coined by Reddit user ironmetal. Instead, the preference is to create minimalist sites that are “clean, fast, and easy-to-use.”

So how do you choose which trend is right for you? Quertime suggest the choice is contingent upon your brand:

“Regardless of what’s hot and what’s not, though, the trend you choose to follow should serve your customers – and your brand – before anything else.”

If you’re having trouble making that decision and branding your enterprise, why not get in touch with our team of web designers with a difference.

Interested? Still have questions?

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Ross Dour / About Author

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