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Element’s 2016 Design Trend Report


While looking at your latest marketing execution, the last thing you want a customer to think is, “Eeew, that’s so 2015.” Or worse, “So 2005!” Let’s identify trends in the design world to keep on our radar as we build out new projects this year.

Some of these trends are carryovers from previous years because they are still incredibly relevant, and some definitely have that new trend smell.

Let’s dig in.

Worth 1,000 Words …


Visual storytelling continues to be a strong trend this year. Honestly, it always will be. Humans naturally process images faster than text. Interesting visuals are always one of the best ways to deliver your message.

• Huge background photos and video give your content life. They provide the visual hook needed to engage your audience.

• Infographics display complex information in a visual format, making it easy to digest. A good infographic displays a true understanding of your content and quickly explains your data.

… But More Than Just a Photo


Two image treatments pop up consistently enough to fall into the trend pool this year. They both turn simple photos into eye candy that really makes someone look twice.

• Double exposure is an old photography technique of exposing two frames without advancing the film. Now, using digital manipulation, we control these “exposures” and combine subject and context in new provocative ways.

• Cinemagraphs are a technique we’re seeing more and more. These are still images with one small—but significant to
the composition—portion animated in an endless loop. A cinemagraph catches your eye like video, but allows the frame to remain on your intended subject. Best of both worlds!

Step Away From That Computer!

hand drawn art

Handmade design really stands out in the crowd. Whether it’s intentionally loose illustration or polished paste-up, hand work gets your work noticed.

• Illustration in web design is becoming more prominent as a way to make your site a unique beast. So much web work is rigid digital, sometimes it pays to stay loose.

• Hand-drawn type has been big on the scene for a few years now and shows no sign of slowing. Custom type in logos and headlines makes a piece one-of-a-kind.

User Experience is King

user experience is key

People are busy. Attentions are shorter. Time is at a premium. Your design needs to convey your message with no roadblocks to hinder the user. This is accomplished by paying close attention to the user interface (UI) upfront and throughout the entire design process.

• Responsive design is more than a trend; it’s nearly become the industry standard. Now that mobile has outpaced desktop in Internet usage, it’s simply not acceptable to design for one screen size. Responsive design continues to be the easiest way to solve this issue.

• Wearable UI is on the rise thanks to the Apple Watch and advancements in virtual reality. This brings a fresh new approach to the whole mobile-first mentality.

Brick by Brick

website design and print layout

New website construction elements are becoming more than blips on the radar as well. These methods add functionality and simplicity by catering to user habits.

• Users scroll. It’s simply faster to scroll down a page than to click and load new pages, especially on mobile devices. A longer home page tells a story as it controls the pacing of information it reveals.

• Card-based layouts. Content-rich sites are displaying their information in digestible magazine-style modules or bricks. These allow a user’s eye to move around the page quickly and find information that interests them. It also allows the content to easily stack in responsive layouts.

Want Help Keeping Your Designs Fresh?

The Element team includes an experienced group of illustrators, graphic designers, and art directors working on cutting edge material for our clients.

If you have a project coming up, and you want it to follow the most up-to-date design trends, contact us today. We look forward to bringing your ideas to life!

Check out some of our past design work when you view Element’s online portfolio.


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