Whether creatives choose to embrace current design trends or steer clear of them, one thing cannot be argued – they impact the Web tremendously.

As a creative, there tends to be a question as whether to be trendy or to be a trendsetter. To stay current and relevant to popular visual interests or to create innovating and timeless designs that will inspire others. I believe it is important to be mindful of current trends and to appeal to the interests of your clients and to competition on the web, but that as a designer, continuing to explore and break those confinements of popular trends to produce unique and creative work is the best way to stay true to yourself and create quality work.

Said simpler: Good trends solve problems. They inspire a design, not dictate it.

With that said, below are a few trends that I feel will be a positive influence in Web design during 2013!

Responsive Design

Responsive Web design is not a new concept. In fact, we’ve already talked about it quite a bit right here on the blog. But with the increase of tablet and smartphone use, the need for responsive design is greater than ever and continues to grow.

If you’re not familiar with the term, responsive design is a strategic approach to Web design in which a site is built to detect the screen resolution of the device it’s being viewed upon and adapt accordingly. This provides an ideal experience for the user by keeping the design intact, while also keeping the site easy to navigate and view across a wide range of devices.

Another draw for responsive design is the type and amount of content can be customized depending on the device the site is being viewed on. This is integral in helping users find the information they need most when navigating your website.

For example, if a user is looking up your site via their iPhone, then contact information and/or directions to a location may be more important in that moment than a full company history. But on a desktop experience, the user may be much more inclined to read up on how your company was founded in order to get a better sense of who you are and you’re a company they want to align with. This coming year will surely see a spike in the use of responsive design.

Large UI Elements

As mentioned before, mobile device use is growing exponentially. With that, the size of these touch-screen devices continue to get smaller. Creating a user interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate is a design priority. Larger UI elements not only add nice visuals to a site, they combat the shrinking screen sizes and help users effectively tap their way through information. Small text links no longer cut it when it comes to viewing the Web on mobile devices. Online shopping especially will benefit from this trend, making it easier for the user to “Add to Cart” and “Checkout” from their mobile devices.

In addition to larger buttons, type will increase in size to decrease the amount of zooming necessary to read relevant information. Overall, creating a much easier and fluid experience for the user.

Gemtones

Pantone®, a worldwide, design industry color matching standard, has declared Pantone 17-5641 Emerald the 2013 Color of the Year. It is described as “Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.”

The influence of Pantone’s Color of the Year spreads across all aspects of design from interior to fashion to Web. Gemtones such as emerald, ruby and sapphire, are bold and confident colors that inspire trust and portray establishment and success. They are bright and inviting, as well as rich and opulent. These tones will liven up the Web replacing or complementing the much-used muted tones seen in 2012.

Geometric Shapes & Stripes

With the use of larger graphical elements and buttons in web design, geometric shapes like circles and squares lend themselves nicely as containers for highlighted text and/or imagery. They also provide visual contrast to other types of content on the page. This year will continue to use such shapes as strong design elements.

2012 saw an explosion in use of chevrons, not just on the Web, but in fashion and home décor, as well. I see this trend carrying over into 2013, but throughout the year straightening out into classic stripes. Stripes can be delicate and textural or bold impactful. I personally hope to see diagonal stripes!

Conclusion

Those are a number of the design trends for 2013 I see on the horizon. I hope they inspire and spark innovation in my fellow creatives!

Check out what other experts are predicting: