Trends come and go. Designers, especially in the world of interfaces, easily follow new trends without paying due attention to them.
While I don’t want to demonize trends, some of them, if used thoughtlessly, can be a real disaster for a product.
As beautiful as they look on flat screen compositions, creating visually stunning mosaics, they won’t be functional or easy to use. Some trends are becoming so popular that the popularity of a certain image or effect poses a danger to the product itself – different products begin to resemble an army of clones – without originality and without the recognition factor.
Let’s take a look at these trends.
1. Syndrome of the same type of illustration
It started two years ago – use photos in the interface are no longer cool… Thus began the mass production and use of illustrations.
It got to the point that almost every digital product had an illustration in the interface – some of them were minimalistic / linear, some with a single accent color or completely colored. They all used the same faces and gestures over and over.
Remember when almost every finance or crypto site had the same isometric illustrations with blocks, coins, and little “lab” people doing the same job with them? They all looked the same – it was almost impossible to tell one company from another.
Libraries of ready-made / free illustrations only made the situation worse – hundreds of products started using literally the same pictures.
And now the same thing happens with 3D images – they are almost everywhere.
Personally, I think the illustrations are cool – some of them are amazing (check out the app Sleepiest – one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!).
It doesn’t feel like it is sometimes better to use photographs of real people / scenes / devices than trying to keep up with the trend and use pictures (especially if your product shouldn’t be perceived as childish or frivolous). This can make users mistrust your service!
If you want to use illustrations anyway, make sure they are visually representative, unique, and consistent with your brand identity. Do not copy other sites or applications. You want your product to stand out from the crowd and not get lost in the crowd.
2. Unsplash effect
This problem is very similar to the illustration problem discussed above.
I really love the idea of unlicensed photos that are high quality and look very organic. It was a lot of fun at first – these photos were different from the stock sites and could be used for free. This is probably why they began to be used almost everywhere.
As much as I adore these photos, when I see the same images on many sites or applications, I start to shake. It’s incredibly dull and boring.
This raises a problem with originality and recognizability – products and companies start to look the same.
For example, if you run a software company, you shouldn’t choose the laptop and programmer picture that 100 companies around the world already use. It can make your business look unoriginal, inaudible, and cheap.
Maybe sometimes it’s better to invest and buy a stock photo or two so that almost everyone in the industry doesn’t use it? Better yet, if you can hire a photographer or try to take photos yourself – you no longer need a fancy camera – a smartphone is enough.
3. Fashion for roundness
Ah, rounded corners. I personally love this trend – the rounded corners make the interface very organic and friendly. With one or two rounded elements, you can make the interface very unusual and original.
But what happens if you use this trend without measure? What happens if every little UI element is rounded? The interface will start to hurt the eye and look completely weird. It is no longer a functional interface. It’s even unpleasant to look at him.
Rounded corners are cool, if you want your product to look elegant and friendly then you should use them in moderation. You don’t want your interface to look ridiculous.
4. Doubtful neomorphism
I never believed that neomorphism would last long. It was fun to watch this trend, but nothing more. It was quite obvious that it was impossible to create a functional interface with this style – due to the low contrast between elements, it had too many accessibility issues. I was very surprised when I saw that some companies decided to follow this trend and design their product in this way – take a look at Paytron!
Not that this trend is bad overall, but it definitely suits the role of “Dribbble likes generator” more. I think you can get some inspiration from this – and make some interface elements in a “neomorphic” style. But to make the whole product like that? It sounds dangerous and definitely takes courage.
5. The transparency trap
I don’t understand this trend, but judging from what I’ve seen, this is the latest mod on Dribbble. This makes the entire interface look like the early version of iOS7, especially with colorful gradients and a blurred background effect.
Unfortunately, this is one of the visual trends that does not work in a real product. There is no contrast between elements that simply blend into each other due to transparency.
Imagine a transparent application or website on your smartphone or laptop … The transparent interfaces may have looked great in Minority Report (2002), but we are probably still too far from using holograms on a day-to-day basis.
Therefore, like neomorphism, this is another “like generator” – it looks beautiful, but absolutely non-functional and meaningless when it comes to modern digital interfaces in real life.
The overall style and look of this trend is very reminiscent of iOS7. If you want your app to look like this, feel free to (although you might be a little late – it was cool about 7 years ago? Who knows, it might be trendy again). I think it’s best to keep this passion for transparency for Dribbble shots.
The main thing to remember is that it is not the trend itself that is bad, but its incorrect and thoughtless use.
I urge everyone to keep an eye on what’s new and pay attention to what’s hot and cool these days, but always stay critical! Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s good for your product or brand.
And remember that platforms like Dribbble are mostly about fun and creativity (there is too much hate in the design community, although this is probably the most amazing place to get rid of creative stagnation!).