5 Color Trends Making a Splash in Web Design

5 Color Trends Making a Splash in Web Design

Color is a central component of any website design, but it’s also a form of self — and brand — expression. In 2018, designers are pushing the boundaries of expression by coloring outside the lines.

 In the olden days, colorful expressions were bound by screen technologies that could only display a limited number of “safe” web colors. Now, the glory days of technological advancements are upon us and devices are equipped with screens that reproduce richer colors, more vibrant shades, and saturation levels that accommodate expressions previously unimaginable.

In 2018, the question is not what designers are doing with color, but what they’re not doing with color.

1. Palettes and patterns inspired by the 80s and 90s

Spotify is acting like its 1995 self. And we love it.

Everything old is new again — 2018 web design color trends are no exception.And neither are scrunchies. But I digress.

 The vibrant color schemes and electric hues that defined the 80s and 90s are making a bold comeback in web design. Designers are abandoning the color safety nets of the past and taking risks with contrasting colors to create memorable visual experiences.

But hold the leg warmers and pause your Madonna cassette. The ribbon reds, violets, and muaves of these decades don’t easily fall in line with every esthetic — take this trip back in time with your brand in mind.

Spotify shows us how to embrace theses wild, unconventional color schemes without completely going off-brand.


2. 50 shades of … pink

‍The site’s desaturated shade elegantly undercuts pinks fading reputation as déclassé.

No, pink is not the new black. Why? Because, let’s be honest, no one asked for a new black.

2016 named Roze Quartz and Serenity as colors of the year — but this didn’t mark the peak for pink. Liberated from the shackles of outdated gendered connotations, pink continues its rise to popularity as one of the most versatile colors in the game.

Millennial Pink, for example, is a toned-down version of the polarizing Barbie Pink that’s embraced by an entire generation — proving that in 2018, pink is the new neutral.

So neutral, in fact, that it takes center stage on the homepage for Mission Chinese Food, a San Francisco cult favorite.



3. Gradients

Gradients are making a graceful, yet rapid, comeback in web design. Designers are making the most of color options in 2018 with gradients in many forms like vibrant UI, backgrounds, illustrations, and even overlays.

Checkout the colorful turn towards gradients by Stripe, for example:

Then (2013):
Now (2018):

Designer Meagan Fisher applies gradients brilliantly in her portfolio. Multi-color gradients decorate individual elements on the page, and you’ll also get gradient backgrounds on hover.

Gradients take center stage on Meagan Fisher’s site.

4. Daring (and delightful) embraces of Ultra Violet

Claiming that the “color of the year” constitutes a color trend in web design may seem obvious, or perhaps lazy, and I assure you, it’s probably both. (Kidding.)

Embracing purple in any form of design is no easy, or safe, task. People have strong reactions to purples, rarely feeling indifferent about the color. This makes the dive into a purple color scheme a bit more daunting and consequential for designers.

That being said, this year, we’ve seen designers fully embrace the depth of Pantone’s Color of the Year: 18-3838 Ultra Violet. Pantone describes it as “[...] symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Nuanced and full of emotion [...]”  

So, which brands and designers are bravely swimming in the deep end of this Ultra Violet pool and staying afloat? Here are two of our favorite examples:

BDDI 2018 3D Music Experiments

‍Rich shades of violet enclose mesmerizing music videos created by students of interactive design and development.

5. Duotone

Designers are implementing vibrant and contrasting shades to achieve the powerful effect of duotone. Two-toned images are not only a means of catching attention but also of using stock photography in a new way.

New Deal Design, for example, gives the old printing technique new life in its eye-catching site:

New Deal’s bold use of duotones is a big deal.

With more possibility comes more responsibility: Designers, color your sites with caution. You want your site, and brand, to be remembered by visitors — but not because you cost them a trip to the optometrist.

What are you seeing and loving (or hating) on the color-trend front?

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