5 Design Trends You'll Need in 2016

As we inch closer to the start of a new year, it's time to think about what your company needs to refresh its marketing efforts and online presence in 2016. I've selected five trends that will play a big role if you want to stay fresh in the new year. They may seem familiar, but these trends continue to evolve each year so make sure you stay ahead of the curve:

1. Handcrafted/Illustrations

There's a reason why a company like Etsy went public in April and is worth over 1 billion today. People love the feel of something that is handcrafted. Artisan pastries, handcrafted brews, local produced goods – it all screams personality and quality. Maybe it's just that we've grown tired of the mass-produced or it's the draw of the unique. Whatever the reason, this handmade trend is growing quickly. Taking the time to use custom illustrations or adding a handmade look provides the opportunity to express a company's personality. It shows you as an original, friendly brand rather than just a replica of what everyone else is doing.

Source: Chipotle

Source: Chipotle

TRY THIS: Maybe your drawings aren't quite worthy of the fridge, but that's no excuse to miss out on this trend. Freelance artists are everywhere. Find a local artist to work with this year and it will be worth the investment. Who knows, it could be the start of a beautiful...working relationship.

2. Cinemagraphics

So these have actually been around for a few years, but are projected to become a big deal in the coming year. When Apple introduces a feature like "Live Photos" you better pay attention. There is something about a photograph with that touch of life that is an instant attention getter. Think "Harry Potter newspaper" and you're not too far from where the draw is. As this technology becomes more relevant and accessible for more people it will continue to rise.

TRY THIS: Instead of placing the all too typical GIF, find one of your friends with an iPhone 6S and take a well-framed Live Photo.

3. Semi-flat

It's not news to anyone that flat graphics are in. Just look at your phone and you'll see almost every app follows this theme. But, as this trend continues to evolve, a new element is being introduced into flat design. This semi-flat trend takes the minimal design we've come to know and love and adds slight gradients and shadows. One company that has pushed this trend sooner than others is Google. With the release of their 2015 logo update, their suite of apps is all about semi-flat design.

Source: Google.com

Source: Google.com

TRY THIS: Remember to keep it simple, but try introducing a shadow or slight gradient to your normal flat marketing graphics.

4. Minimalism

This is a trend that's here to stay, and it's one that will continue to be pushed to its limits in 2016. The experience comes to mind of seeing a monochromatic painting in a museum for the first time. It's hard to compare a giant white canvas with one of Da Vinci's detailed masterpieces, but it may not be far from where we're headed. It's not about boring people with design, but rather the focus is the user. In the most fundamental sense, what does the user need to understand who you are and what you want them to do. Once you break it down to the essentials, use that to communicate much more efficiently.

Source: Apple.com

Source: Apple.com

TRY THIS: One place to start is by hiding unnecessary links, sidebars, and submenus on your website. Show your audience where you want their focus and they'll figure out the rest.

5. Bold Color and Typography

In 2016 bold is beautiful. Bright, retro colors like we just stepped back into the 80's will be important for your marketing efforts. These exciting colors provide an adventurous feel and can express fun personality to prospective customers. But color is not alone in this developing trend. Bigger, bolder typography will also be a readily used feature. If you're not a designer and fonts just look like fonts, know that the right use of typography can breathe life to your marketing efforts. Bolder, contrasting fonts will even add interest to the content you've worked so hard to create and who doesn't want that?

Source: Passion City Church, Atlanta, GA

Source: Passion City Church, Atlanta, GA

TRY THIS: Contrast is a fundamental principle of design. If you're using a texture or simple photograph as a background, make the contrast bold with a drastic font.

What other trends do you think will become big news in 2016?

Tucker King