Top Design Trends for 2017-2018

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Why did I make a typical article with design trends

Hello girls and boys! Today I want to talk about the trends that I was tracking the past year. But first I want to mention how I feel about articles like these. I think that the stupidest thing a designer can do — is to simply list the trends with awesome pictures from How does it work?

Step 1. Go to the

Step 2. Copy and Paste shots from «Popular» to your Google document.

Step 3. Write 2 or 3 sentences why these shots are popular now.

Step 4. Get the «Claps» or «Thumbs-up» from people who like pretty images.

These «Top Trends» don’t include really useful and resourceful information for young designers and your colleagues. If you want to create something interesting, show your reflections! You can write how these projects help you in work, or what you like in these streams of trends.

In 2017, we couldn't help but see how the design community promotes new styles and creative solutions in all areas of design. The big bang illustrations, substandard methods in branding, revolutions in the virtual technologies, nostalgy of 80’s, and many other interesting design solutions in the digital space.

In this article, I want to place the tendencies that are really interesting to me. And, in my opinion, these trends will be developing in 2018.

1. Design Systems

I'm a fan of a system approach. I love studios and teams of big products that create inner Design Systems and promote them to the masses.

The systems thinking creates a pattern that helps solve many issues in development and users interfaces design. The products that were created with Design Systems result in a greater efficiency than works done simply with the help of beautiful pictures.

For creating Design Systems yourself, the experience and knowledge of all teams members are essential. You can conduct a dialogue with your team and create a design system for your company. And then all the brand assets will contain certain rules. The system will help your company create new solutions for all design needs: website, mobile app, illustrations, events, advertising etc.

Below you will find the examples of products and promo-projects of my favorite studios that created Design Systems. All new interesting studios always save and share them with each other. Now we working on our design guide for our company needs, too.

Design Systems by Figma

2. Commercial Illustrations

2017 has shown a real breakthrough for illustrators and their relevance. The most popular companies used the potential of young and true professionals in Illustrations and created the absolutely new brand identity for products on websites and mobile apps.

Graphics movements, crazy brushes, and unique styles of illustrators amaze with their diversity:

  • typical flat
  • isometric projections
  • noise like a power tool
  • story animation
  • soft and fluidity shapes
  • variable style combinations

True professionals and underground artists with a personal style and finely-honed skills will always be relevant. The list of the most popular brands always grows. In the future, we will see more wonderful and stylish products. Attaboy, illustrators! Well done!

 Commercial Illustrations
Malika Favre
Commercial Illustrations

3. Movement: UI, Characters, and Logo

A modern designer is a designer who uses animation. We can create animation for everything: user interfaces, illustrations, typography, logos, etc. A vivid design is a source of emotions, and it brings the absolutely different perception of content.

Why do we empathize with characters from the Disney cartoons? When I look at Bambi, which was created in the year 42 of the last century, I still cry and sympathize with this story. Many factors influence this, of course. But Walt Disney managed to create such an approach in animated cartoons that helps us enjoy the most lively and realistic characters.

The same goes for design animation. A designer should tell stories and show the evolution of his/her design decisions, and not just make beautiful static layouts. In addition, you can learn Disney's Twelve Basic Principles of Animation. And create new realistic projects with your story.

Movement: UI, Characters, and Logo
by Adam Grabowski for Google

4. The rise of VR (Virtual Reality)

I believe that five years later every teenager and adult will have Virtual Reality Glasses. And we are going to a fight on laser swords in the mountains with the awesome nature, right in our rooms.

Now we see how VR is making a revolution. Many different promo-websites and games from big studios start on a worldwide level. You with your friends can visit an exhibition of modern art or go to a forest straight from a sofa. Designers can paint with a brush in the air. And all this is very cool and powerful, in its own way.

In 2017, our CEO visited the DrupalCon conference in Baltimore. He brought several Google Cardboards to our team. We are still having fun with these glasses: arranging carousels on our office chairs and enjoying new promo-websites of crazy Russian and foreign studios :-)

The rise of VR (Virtual Reality)

5. Variable fonts

Thanks to the teamwork of Google, Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft, we can imagine the creation of a user interface, branding, graphics, etc. in all creative fields with a new kind of typography — Variable fonts.

Imagine that one font family can include all of the styles options: weight, height, a paragraph, letter spacing, etc. In one project, we can create styles combinations for various goals including: Regular, Bold, Italic, maybe Black, and all of these — one font.

OpenType Font Variations is a new technology that requires substantial updates and implementation in our typical working process. Also, it has a very limited backward compatibility. So, we will wait for new updates and transformation of designers and web developers work.

6. Brutalism in the new reality

In 2017, I discovered for myself and my colleagues a crazy style that has been existing since the 2000s  — Brutalism. Personally, I really loved it from the bottom of my heart. And on the corporate party, we even designed a game for our big team — «Brutal design or poor design».

Brutalism is a powerful architectural style from the 1950s. The main features of this style were massive concrete usage, sharp angles, and rough shapes. This style doesn't need to look pretty as long as they serve their goals.

User Interface in this style goes back to the basics of website design and reminds us of the Internet's early days. Bold and large content, custom colors and pictograms, fun and weird photos scattered all over the space, sloppy layouts systems. All of this isn’t a real style, but in such projects, we see a lot of humor.

Brutalism with its idea, shapes, and content shows us that design it is not only aesthetics in its traditional sense. This style shows to viewers that aesthetics isn’t necessarily elegant and that websites don’t have to be only selling.

Again, no one expected that Helvetica Light used by the most popular brand can smoothly evolve into Bold and still look cool ;-) You just look at these work of crazy designers. They are beautiful!

Web Brutalism
Web Brutalism
Southbank Centre

7. Powerful Storytelling

Websites that present a product or a company through a story and power content will always be on a big step ahead of those that display products using only pretty images. The product that is promoted by only “awesome” or really awesome graphics goes out of fashion very quickly and a designer has to create a new solution with the current trends.

A qualitative and seriously robust text will always be in high demand in the digital area, products, mobile applications, branding, and so on. The designer should be bound with the text: read about an experience of many different designers, learn how to use content in case studies and in live projects, and, of course, the designer can write about his/her own background in the profession and share a work experience.

When you work on design, you must always think how a text will work and be friends with it. In addition, you need friends and more communication with marketers, managers, and all who work with you on a project.

8. Bold typography and Serifs return to the web

In the digital products, we are accustomed to seeing the modern and power Grotesque font families in combination with typical grid systems of designers layout. But now, we can see how big brands are choosing more traditional solutions for work with the typography and the graphic design.

Increasingly we can meet Serif Fonts in the UI Design. For example, that can be applications for reading big articles or just beautiful website with a perfect work of a designer. Also, you can see this trend in posters, branding, and everywhere it is appropriate.

Designers create more lettering and new interesting fonts. Russian font designers start to steadily use Cyrillic and create more wonderful font families which we really want to use in the world projects. And I am sure that we can show how Russian design can be unique and independent of the world designers community with its own school of design.

Bold typography

9. Design Inspired by the 80's and 90's

Trends are cyclical. Now everything that surrounds us - fashion, games, music, popular films, and serials, posters - all of this are trends from the 80's and 90's.

Colors, images, patterns, and favorite characters are replaced by others. And now instead of soft and cute colors more electric hues colors and palettes come. With moving away from super-duper flat characters, we can find an inspiration in new shapes, different dimensions, emotion, wonderful colors, patterns, and textures of that time.

Today, successful personalities are people of the 80’s and 90’s. And it's not surprising that fashion trends intersect with the most popular and influential people of our generation. Maybe, the noisiest and popular solutions in the design are created in order to remember the old days and enjoy the nostalgia.

Design Inspired by the 80's and 90's
Design Inspired by the 80's and 90's
by Shuka Design

10. Cyberpunk and Glitch effects

Now in the world, the robotics development is gaining momentum. Hence, a lot of games, movies, comics, and promotional projects are dedicated to cyberpunk.

The technical and industrial designers, illustrators, and graphic designers amaze with their diligence and results. These wonderful works are precisely deserving attention. I really love monitoring these projects and find inspiration in everything that I consider interesting and indicative.

The robotics together with the digital design and a neon light make a perfect combination, I believe. When I go to movies to watch «Blade Runner 2049» or «Mother!» I take many design ideas from the movies for myself: characters, colors, animated credit titles, new emotion, of course. After that, I always analyze everything: assembling, music, actors, scenes, and story. All of these materials from one film I absorb inside myself. This affects my work, imagination, and perception in all spheres.

In 2017, we saw many different graphic solutions with cyberpunk style and in 2018 we will see something new and more dazzling.

Cyberpunk and Glitch effects


I want to repeat one thought and add a one new.

First, don't learn only from digest and articles that are created by many designers. I am one of those designers ;-) Look for the information and keep it for yourself. Learn how to organize «favorites» in your browser, apps, and social networks. Fall in love with the order and always write your own thoughts about the works of other designers.

The second thought that I want to emphasize for everyone:

«All the designers can use a variety of graphics solutions. It is just tools and a demonstration of skills. Anyway, all of your design should be alive and emotional. All of the rest doesn’t matter.»

Thank you so much for reading all of my thoughts about modern trends. I hope that my article was useful or at least interesting for you. If you have questions or you just want to chat with me about design, email me: And see you in 2019!

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