Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes
With it’s constant stream of updated content and ever changing array of new tools that effect the way we interact with it, it’s entirely possible that nothing is more effected by visual trend than the Internet. That is why it becomes extremely important that your own website be influenced by and utilize these latest design trends but still maintain a timeless classic design that will stay fresh and relevant no matter which way the visual Internet trends sway.
Embrace Trends for the Details but Maintain Classics for the Foundation
For some time now the freshest designs have used subtle gradients and drop shadows to render 3D styling that help keep the site from looking too flat and static. Textures have also become increasingly important since they help break away from the typical cold sterile feel of flat computer graphics. Protruding title banners that break out of sidebar columns and non standard web fonts that are now possible are everywhere and making the Internet a more beautiful place, but all these things are good in moderation. Instead of running away with the latest design tools and splattering them across every portion of your site, using them in a subtle manner will actually make them more appreciated and will keep them from compromising foundational design that is vital to maintaining a look that stays fresh and usable over time.
Your Brand Must Stay at the Core
No matter what, your established visual identity and branding must influence every design aspect. If you have been representing your company with the same shade of green, sans-serif font and rounded mark for the past ten years, these visual elements can be carried over into your site layout. Green element can be added throughout the site to carry on the brand, creating a unified look and the same sans-serif font being used by your company can be utilized (especially with the @font-face capabilities of CSS3) in header and title tags throughout the site.
Functionality Above All Else
All of this doesn’t matter if usability is compromised. If the entire purpose of your site is to sell used books, having a search function that is buried at the bottom of your page will greatly compromise the user’s ability to successfully find the items they are searching for since it is the primary way content will be found on your site. A site like this could even put the search front and center with advanced search filters and gearing the design around this function while keeping product category menus close at hand. Your site should be as intuitive as possible, which basically means the user should be able to actually use the site without having to think too much about it.
Reflecting Back in Time to Understand Where We Are Headed
Possibly the best way to understand what designs will withstand that test of time and stay fresh and relevant for years to come is to look back at what has already withstood the test of time up until now. Neutral colors will always be dependable and clean fonts will always be readable, for example. The level of skill and care with which graphics are created really can make a difference, even seem to defy the limitations of technology if implemented in clever ways, just like a watch that is created with care by a skilled craftsman.