The beginning of a new year is always a good time for new inspiration. As a graphic designer, I’m always trying to keep up on the latest and hottest trends and while I don't have a crystal ball, I do see some recurring trends that have the potential of being the big design focus in 2012 based on the industry:
- Big Vector Art
Large, illustration-type graphics seem to be popping up everywhere. In the past, people were inclined to shy away from using vector artwork on Web sites, but now it seems much more commonplace. Even the use of vector mascots is becoming popular. Some other good examples can be found on the Mozilla and Mail Chimp sites.
Circular shapes were the rage a few years ago, but seemed to fade away for one reason or another ... possibly due to the fact that they were challenging to create on Web pages. Currently, through the use of CSS3, circles are making a comeback. With CSS3, designers can incorporate circles into their designs without even needing to create images in Photoshop.
With Apple discontinuing further development of Flash Player for mobile devices, it left designers and programmers scrambling for other options. The use of JQuery, CSS3 and HTML5 are all viable options for creating animations, especially considering HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices. Here's a nice CSS3 animation example that if you didn't know better, you might think was created with Flash.
It was difficult in the past to program a Web site to use custom fonts because you had to consider whether the user would have your particular font installed on their machine in order to see your true design intent. Now it's all too easy for Webmasters and Designers to embed non-standard fonts into their Web designs, providing more flexibility to create without being concerned with using a font that all Web users can view. Google Web fonts is probably one of the easiest services to use and Typekit is another viable option. At the end of last year, Adobe acquired Typekit, currently being offered as a standalone service, but has plans for adding it to Adobe® Creative Cloud in the future.
- Shades of Blue
After skimming multiple Web pages displaying Web trend colors, the blue colors seem to dominate on most of the Web designers color palettes. I’ve typically seen the shades in combinations of three - light, medium and dark - along with a few accent colors like white or grey. Even I have succumbed to using the blue hues on several print and Web pieces that I have created recently.
Nobody can say for sure what to expect, but these are a few of the more common design trends that seem to be driving the creative culture in 2012.