2017 in design: What to expect

Get up to speed with the prospective developments in the world of design in 2017 with Bristol-based freelance designer, Simon McCade.

The turn of the year cues a pause for thought as a designer.

Last year was a great year for the advancement of design, especially in terms of mobile-first technologies (finally) and a real focus on UX as a result, but 2017 promises to be just as, if not more, engaging and exciting.

Let’s take a look at what the new year holds in store for industry trends, as I see them:

The designer-developer lines will blur further still

It’s commonplace for clients to expect designers to have at least a basic grasp of UX and UI these days.

Rapid prototyping tools like InVision and Sketch have transformed the way we approach our work with their multifaceted software and mobile-first stance, but the best bit about them is that they are forcing us to adapt and think about different ways to solve our problems.

If we are to make our clients’ lives easier and their designs better in line with the demands of modern users, development must be at the heart of our learning experiences as designers — and that it will be in 2017.

Virtual Reality (VR) design will come on leaps and bounds

The astronomical rise in popularity of VR-based game, Pokémon Go, last year has been the catalyst for the technology bursting back onto the world scene.

To some, it’s still a fad; to others, it’s the future. This is where us designers come in. If the UI and overall user experience can be made more ‘real’, I don’t see any reason why it won’t continue to grow in this tech-hungry society of ours.

Expect big movements spearheaded by designers in the arena of VR and augmented reality this year.

More millennial influence on new designs

As more millennials join workforces or go freelance and, now that we’re into 2017, more actual millennium babies who know nothing of a life without the internet, we are beginning to see a lot of nostalgic, minimalist influences on designs in the public arena.

Designers are getting bolder with their statements of colour and throwbacks to the years of their youth, so we can expect a continuation of that trend in 2017.

Our consumerist culture means that we’re bombarded with branding and marketing every which way we look, both online and offline, so cutting back on complicated designs seems to be the way millennials are taking things. And the world looks better for it.

Flexible and remote working will continue its boom

The days of the necessity of a physical office are slowly waning as freelancing becomes more and more popular.

Clients increasingly want flexible and reactive workers as opposed to bottle-necking processes and rigid agencies working on their accounts, so the hunger for that will increase this year.

Moreover, the technology that facilitates remote working is constantly evolving, which means that the flexible amongst us will find it even easier to service our clients as we make our way through 2017.

Greater uniformity and familiarity across the web

Us users demand a seamless experience in all aspects of accessing the internet. Whether we are scrolling through our Instagram feeds, shopping for some new jeans or researching for a project, we all want an easy ride.

That’s why we’ve seen amarked increase in the number of pre-designed themes and readymade templates in the last couple of years or so.

We’ll see the slower adopters begin to catch up in 2017 and more of the web will look kind of the same, which isn’t a bad thing if you look at the big picture.

If brands could unite with one all-encompassing approach to serving their users online, everyone would be a happy user. Sadly, that remains a pipedream, but you can expect to see some more sizeable steps taken to catch up and keep up this year.