Retro, Vintage, Handwritten Notes & Watercolors – Hot Trends in Web Design for 2008

About a year ago, I compiled a huge list of artistic sites. It seems like the trend has carried on in 2008 and is growing stronger (thank God the glossy style is gone). So what’s hot now? Pencil sketches, handwritten notes, card stocks, watercolor effects, collage art, script fonts, grungy and splatter ink backgrounds (glossy gradients are not “in” this year). Another trend to be on the lookout for are the vintage and retro styles. >>Full Story

Thoughts// If you’re like me and feel indifferent about the modern—and sterile—look of “Web 2.0″ sites but have a nostalgic fascination with all things retro and vintage, this is a good year to surf the web! The talented creatives at WebDesignerWall, just posted a really inspiring blog about 2008 design trends. Among the “hot” trends this year are:

  • Vintage/Retro: Designs inspired by ’40’s and ’50’s design elements, which interestingly at the time were considered “ultra modern or futuristic”; example: McTarnahan’s

  • Handwritten Notes & Paperclips: Handwritten fonts and paper clips add depth and emotion to what can be a sterile online experience; it’s no surprise that many sites are using it to add personality to their site; example: Point of Entry

  • Grunge: While the word “grunge” evolved as slang for “dirty” or “filthy”, this design style is anything but that. The unconventional style is defined by irregular, ugly and crooked visual elements, subtle dark tones and weathered or worn textures; example: Sundance

  • Spatter Ink: Punctuated with bright colors, free flowing design elements and large blots of color, this design aesthetic communicates “vibrancy” and “fun”; example: Virginia (for ‘passionality’ art) & Pointless Ramblings.

  • Watercolor: Inspired by Monet’s impressionism, sites designed in this style are soft, vivid and feminine; example: Spring in Tennessee; (wow props to TN for being in two trendy categories!)

  • Woodsy: Irreverent yet timeless, this whimsical retro inspired design is increasingly popular with state tourism offices; examples: Travel Oregon, Minnesota, & Idaho

  • Collage: Free flowing and refreshing, collage designs are a nice break from the more conventional and rigid design schemes that litter the web; example: Free People & Tennessee

Of course, it goes without saying that using an ephemeral design trend just for the sake of “being cool” without consideration of brand, audience or goals will get you no where.

~ Happy Wednesday!

Update: I originally was thinking of Tennessee’s old site when I put them under “splatter ink”; looks like they’ve since evolved to a more “collage” aesthetic.

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