With ad blockers and digital transformation at the forefront of our minds, we follow our 2016 marketing predictions of the year with our 2016 design predictions.

After predicting hidden main menus, simplicity and greater interaction for 2015, users have become savvier and we expect UX to become even more important moving into 2016.

Naturally, we all want to have the most impressive site and beat off competition however with new and exciting concepts and techniques being introduced every day, it can be difficult to always keep a finger on the pulse. To create truly beautiful sites we need to keep up to date with the latest trends, really think about user experience and take a step outside our comfort zone to create truly beautiful designs.

Design Predictions

So, here are our design predictions for 2016:


Although they’ve been around for a long time, GIFs became very popular in 2015 (if you could see our email inboxes you could tell we’re huge fans). Back in June 2014, Twitter began supporting in-tweet animated GIFs however it took until May 2015 for Facebook to follow suit after years of restraint. GIFs can be a fun and compelling way to communicate and as they are dependent on new memes, pop culture and topical events, more and more GIFs are being developed each day.

Now you might look to GIFs when you want to share funny memes but there has been a resurgence in their professional use and a number of companies have embraced GIFs to enrich their designs. One website using GIFs professionally is Headscape. This website uses a GIF on the homepage illustrating how the company works through collaboration. A simple, yet effective way to use GIFs and we expect to see more of this next year.


Following on from GIFs we’re chatting cinemagraphs and if you’re unaware of what a cinemagraph is, ‘it is a living moment in an otherwise still photograph. It exists in the world between a photograph and a video to bring the image to life.’ Created by Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck back in 2011, cinemagraphs are gaining traction and you can check out some amazing cinemagraphs here (I think the travel section is the most impressive)!

Thanks to HTML5 Canvas being used more, effects can now be rendered in real time without the limitations of traditional GIFs and with the launch tools such as Flixel, it is becoming easier than ever to create cinemagraphs.

Savvy users forcing us to design better

Back in November our Senior Designer Stephen Kay had spoken about the changing nature of users - they’re becoming savvier when it comes to design and this is something we have to take into consideration. Yes, some users still need a bit of hand holding but the majority of users (especially millennials and those who have grown up with technology) are becoming more advanced and more and more, it’s about creating that WOW moment. The digital world has become quite homogenised as Stephen said and we think it’s about time to step outside our comfort zone a little when it comes to design. There are multiple best practice UX guides out there and of course designers have to put the user at the forefront of their minds when designing however it’s time to give users credit that they’re smarter than we often think and we can be a bit more experimental with our designs.

"There are three responses to a piece of design, yes, no and WOW! WOW is the only one to aim for."

Milton Glaser

Card layouts / split content

It’s no secret that information presented in bite-sized chunks is perfect for scanning as each chunk represents a unified concept - they act as content containers effectively. As the look of these can vary, it provides designers with more space for creativity and is great for user engagement too.

Following the introduction of iOS 8 and Android 5.0, flat design garnered some well-deserved attention and Android contributed to this a great deal after introducing material design (find out more about this in our blog here). As card layouts have been growing steadily over the last few years alongside responsive and flat, material design we only expect this to become even more prevalent in 2016. You can see some great examples of card layout designs here.

Bolder use of typography and colour

Gone are the days when designer and developers are relegated to using compatible fonts such as Arial and Comic Sans. The web has grown up a lot in terms of typography available thanks to Google Fonts and with more and more well maintained sites being more selective with their fonts and sizing, this small, yet difficult change is already impacting our perceptions of sites for the better. Typography has transformed online and we have started to see a shift in the way fonts are rendered and so we expect to see a shift from corporately safe to more experimental now that web fonts have been made available to all.

Alongside fonts, we expect brands to become more experimental with colour. In the past we have seen brands sticking to web safe primary colours however after seeing many opting for neons and brighter colours in the latter half of 2015, we think 2016 will be marked with a lot of colour!

What are your design predictions for 2016? Let us know your thoughts...