Design Trends 2017 and Envato’s 2018 Predictions

Top trends in web design, audio, video, graphics design, and more – all picked by the Envato team.

Portrait for EnvatoBy Envato  |  Updated November 27, 2020

To recap, we’ve put together this list – curated by the team at Envato – of our top ten trends of the year, and predictions for what will be popular in 2018. Of course, there’s a lot more that happened in 2017 than what’s in this top ten.

A few honorable mentions for trends this year:

  • On WordPress and web development, we saw a focus on accessible design, simpler and more functional landing pages, an obsession with cryptocurrency, and the growth of ecommerce websites.
  • In the business world, we saw the rise of more video on platforms like LinkedIn, the continued dominance of subscription services, and more remote-friendly career paths.
  • In video & audio, trends included cinema-style logo reveals, Taylor Swift-inspired lyric videos, all things Cyberpunk, made-for-Youtube music, flashy Eurovision inspiration, and stock audio genres like boom-bap, tropical house, and electro swing.
  • Meanwhile, designers made custom illustrations, debated the pros and cons of Figma, designed for the growing ebook market, switched to iPads, snuck 3D renders into their 2D design work, made everything into marble, and avoided Helvetica this year.
  • On the Elements Blog, we analyzed the history of video game design, asked whether or not Gutenberg would change WordPress, and developed a love/hate relationship with trendy flat lay photography. Envato staff shared their expertise on everything from SEO tips for keyword research, authentic photography, and the potential legal consequences of ‘borrowing’ content.
  • We also highlighted our favorite and most creative items created by Envato’s community, including music-inspired fonts, stunning landscape photography, motion graphic collaborations, and a turtle-centric design challenge.

Top 10 Trends of 2017

#1: Geometric Shapes

Geometric and polygon art was big in 2017. Backgrounds, textures, and more, all with regular lines and repeating patterns.

David Appleyard, Editor, Envato Tuts+

From zig-zig geo patterns to retro triangles and designs, we saw geometric patterns everywhere this year.

It’s also a simple style to try some DIY design – you can learn about it in 60 seconds, or try your hand at creating your own simple geometric pattern.

#2: All Tropical Everything

2017 had us dreaming of luxurious holidays, complete with lush palm trees, exotic fruit and beautiful wildlife. It was a real feast for the eyes.

Kate McInnes, Envato’s Content Specialist for Graphics

#3: Fast Typography in Video

One of the biggest trends of this year is fast typography. In an era where we’re constantly overwhelmed by the amount of information being thrown at us, the popularity of templates that help deliver messages in fast, visually engaging ways has risen.

Dom Hennequin, Community & Blog Editor, Envato

Fast Typography Templates:

Rhythmic Typography by blinque

Rhythmic Opener by levmotion

#4: Color Fonts

Color fonts are poised to take over the graphic design world in 2018… this unashamedly in-your-face trend promises to put the fun back into typography.

Grace Fussell, Writer, Tuts+

The Fiesta Color font (pictured below – available to download on Envato Elements or DIY with this tutorial) highlights a new trend of colorful, custom fonts. We think this trend will continue into 2018. 

#5: Future Bass

THE dominant 2017 audio trend on AudioJungle was Future Bass. While there’ve been a few noteworthy emergences, such as the SynthWave renaissance we’re seeing, it’s the contagious sub-lines, the slick sidechaining, and the catchy chopped vocals that have made Future Bass the big consistent winner this year, which is still non-stop exploding.

AudioJungle review team – Envato

Future Bass tracks:

That Future Bass by TheQLon

Future Bass by Alexiaction

The Future Bass by OddVision

What’s next in audio trends for 2018?

we may expect to see a continued and rising interest in ’80s Synthwave (à la Blade Runner, Stranger Things), Hybrid HipHop tracks (sporty stuff!) and we also have the more subtle Chill-Step showing strong signs of proliferation.

The reviewers said

#6: Simplicity in Email Design

I think email will become sharper, smarter and more simplified… there will still be GIF’s, but they’ll be subtle and interactive at times. Text and content will be more concise, and I think emails will be created based on that premise. I imagine we’ll actually see more text-dominant emails with text links, and less overwhelming imagery.

Monica McCormick Email Marketing Specialist, Envato

2017 was big on bringing back loads of 90’s design, especially early 90’s American pop influenced design. We’re seeing more nods to the 80’s creeping in. 2018 could see us rehashing more 80’s & 90’s pop designs, as well as grunge, earthy tones being used in creative ways.

Sharon Milne, Editor, Envato Tuts+

90's design in back in 2017
90's american pop influnced design is back in 2017

#8: 2D + 3D Design

We’re going to see a lot more of 3D and ‘faux-3d’ effects, abstract & geometrical elements flowing into the designs to help enhance the visual impact of landing pages, hero sections and newsletters.

This will naturally also expand into print and out-of-home advertising platforms. With the evolution of screen technology in recent years, motion graphics will be taking advantage of this design language and have a particularly strong presence in 2018.

Calin Teodorescu – Freelance Creative

Can you tell the difference between stock photos and 3D designs?

Check out our side-by-side comparisons: How 3D Renders Are Being Used for 2D Artwork.

#9: More Microinteractions

These small “product-related moments” add magic to sites, delighting and surprising users, while at the same time engaging users and enhancing user experience.

Jenni McKinnon Freelance writer, Envato

A microinteraction is a small moment that accomplishes a single task. We’ve seen them everywhere from social media sites to our WordPress themes on Themeforest, and it’s a design detail that will only grow in popularity. 

#10: Print isn’t Dead

Designers feel strongly and positively about print, and print remains crucial to how professional graphic designers make a living. Print lends itself to certain audiences and offerings where communication needs to be retained, contemplated, touched or trusted.

Eric Schwartz – Content Insights Manager, Envato

According to a study done by Graphic Design USA (GDUSA), 97% of graphic designers work on print design projects, compared to 36% who work on TV, film, or video projects. The top print project types include brochures, marketing materials, cards, and direct mail. 

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