Staying up to date on current design trends is a never-ending process, especially in the digital age. Designers are constantly researching the latest and greatest styles and techniques to help the rest of us stay relevant. As important as it is to be aware of these trends, the real skill is deciding which ones to adopt and which to avoid.

Just as you wouldn’t try to wear every current fashion trend in one outfit, you shouldn’t try make every new design style work for your brand. Keep your web design current by figuring out ways to combine what’s “new” with what’s “you.” We’ve done the research and come up with a few ways to set your brand apart this year by putting a fresh twist on today’s hot design trends.

Large photos. Can they work for every business?


Large photographs are all over the web. They keep getting bigger and bigger, and some of them take over entire home pages. This need for larger-than-life photos is especially evident on social media. Every time we turn around, there’s a new update to Facebook or Twitter, allowing pictures to further dominate our screens.

Many small businesses will write off big imagery as an impossible design challenge, especially if they’re in a field that isn’t typically considered a visual one. However, if you’re trying to set your brand apart from the competition, a striking photo may be exactly what you need. When executed properly, a large, eye-catching image will create enough visual interest to pique the viewer’s curiosity. You’ll leave them wanting to know more.

The trick to mastering this style is getting the right photographs. Don’t always settle for stock photos. If your business has the means to hire a photographer, do it! People often enjoy large photos because they feel better connected to your brand. Having a bit of a personal touch can go a long way.

Try new things. Photograph your product in new, artistic ways. Get action shots of your employees interacting with clients. There are endless possibilities- don’t be afraid to push your brand to explore the visual side.

Hand lettering and bold typography.


A result of the ever-growing DIY movement taking social media by storm, hand lettering and fonts that are designed to look like handwriting are extremely popular. They’ve been around for ages, but we’re now seeing them used on everything from clothing store windows to doctor’s offices and every single food blog on the internet.

Certain businesses can pull this off with great success, but it’s definitely not for everyone. It’s important to think about the way you want to present your brand, and typefaces  have a big impact. There are always exceptions, but typically a hand crafted or art related product will be well represented by this style of type. Heating and air conditioning companies on the other hand, are not poised to incorporate hand-lettering designs. Setting your brand apart is one thing, but following a trend which confuses your customer can be detrimental to your business.

What kind of fonts should you choose instead? Can they still be unique?

Of course they can! There are many ways to use type to get your brand noticed. There’s no definitive answer for what kind of type to use, but if you tell your designer you want to convey your brand as “strong” and “bold,” they can work with typefaces that send the right message.

Print is not dead!


These days, most brands have a website, several social media accounts, online advertising campaigns, and apps for mobile devices. We’re constantly checking our smart phones and tablets, so it only makes sense for businesses to use them as a way to sell products and raise brand awareness. All businesses should have some sort of online presence, but is it a mistake to write off print marketing?

With less print marketing out there, brands that do print have a greater chance of standing out. People scroll past hundreds of ads per day online but typically only receive a handful of printed materials. This is your chance to make an impression. With technology like variable printing readily available, you can send direct mail with a personal touch without a large added cost.

Sending something in the mail or handing out a brochure doesn’t mean you’ll get noticed or garner responses. It’s obvious when a print marketing piece is well thought out. This is where good design becomes extremely important. A unique, well-designed piece sends a message to potential customers that your business values its image and is willing to put extra effort into building relationships.

There’s a time and a place to use trendy design if you want to see results. It’s important when trying something new to find a good balance of thinking outside the box and staying true to your brand.