1. OLD SCHOOL TYPOGRAPHY
- Old-style:Lettering has an old-world vibe that carries over from some black letter and gothic styles from early ages of printing. Letterforms often have small serifs (those tiny strokes at the end of longer stokes) and a rounded form. RSQ, below, is a perfect showcase of old-style typography.
- Modern:This style of lettering is quite common in printed design, such as newspapers and magazines, but is just starting to make its way into web projects. Modern serifs have alternating thick and thin stroke widths in each letterform, sometimes with great amounts of contrast. Ink + Volt, below, uses a beautiful modern serif. But also note how the lettering is used. The type is inside of a white box so that the thin parts of each letter do not get lost in the video background, which would limit readability. This is the perfect solution for using a modern serif.
- Transitional:These letterforms look a lot like modern serifs with one big difference – letters have uniform stroke widths. This makes traditional serifs easier to use because they can be more readable in more design situations.
Not all old-school typography falls into a serif category. But some of the old-school styles that are popping up just remind all of us of another time, such as that used by the Frontend Guide, below. The funky, tilted, late 1970s-early 80s theme really does take you to another time and place. (And that’s totally old-school approach.)
2. DEFINED GRIDS
Either way, defined grids can look amazing for a variety of projects on pretty much any screen. What’s nice about using a defined grid that is that it makes life really easy for the designer. Once you get the hang of working within a grid, placements, sizing and design options clearly present themselves to you. The ideation of this trick is to, using defined grids is not to look too structured or overly-gridded. For many designers this means switching up sizes on different “screens,” such as having a full width hero image over a grid of elements. The Elegant Seagulls “Decade” page, below does this nicely. The website also features subtle gridding on the homepage in the picture, which is dark any mysterious, leading you into the mystery-themed grid pages. High Tide, below, does something similar with a cool intro video above grid blocks.
But a grid can be well-defined and a little less boxed. Zumtobel, below, uses the letters in its named to create grid blocks for specific product information. Only on hover do you see the perfectly sized grid boxes, even though the placements are ideally spaced horizontally and vertically in a clean grid.
3. MINIMAL MESSAGING ABOVE THE “FOLD”
Then there’s this: Plenty of users enter websites through pages other than the homepage, so why not take a risk there? Look at the data and clicks, see what happens. This is one of those trends that will be interesting to watch. It could vanish almost as quickly as it has appeared, but there are a lot of sites using this model.
It’s a lot of fun to watch design trends cycle back into fashion. What’s nice about two of these trends — old-school typography and defined grids — is that they are highly usable in a number of design styles.What trends are you loving (or hating) right now? I’d love to see some of the websites that you are fascinated with. Drop me a link on Twitter; I’d love to hear from you.