Brutalist Web Design Trends

The Washington Post has recently published an article highlighting brutalist web design trends.

Web brutalism is a term coined by Pascal Deville, Creative Director at the Freundliche Grüsse ad agency in Zurich, Switzerland, and the owner of Sites which are classified as brutalist have a “ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy”.

The site showcases both recent and historical sites which ignore comfortable, familiar templates; approachable interfaces and comfortable colour schemes.

The website has received a lot of attention of late, with a huge increase in visitor numbers and around 100 submissions of sites a day.

The brutalist label can be widely applied, and sometimes include more than just the aesthetics. Deville also looks at the code: “… In the code you can see if it’s really a streamlined application or it’s a very rough, handmade, HTML website,” he explained.

Deville’s curation of such sites have sparked interest with designers, coders and developers. A number of people are drawn towards the aesthetic, with some people trying to imitate and develop it.

While we don’t see this aesthetic movement taking over traditional and justifiably well-established design rules, it’s an interesting rabbit hole to go down for a while before resurfacing to a world where the interfaces, layouts and colour schemes make a bit more sense.

The hottest trend in Web design is making intentionally ugly, difficult sites

Work Better by Working Nicer

Google has recently released the results of years of research; that working nicer is a better way of getting along.

It may seem obvious, but the team charged with studying the secrets of successful teamwork admitted they were “dead wrong” about their assumptions.

Known as Project Aristotle, Google’s research team interviewed hundreds of employees and analysed data from 100+ teams in the company. Researchers were initially looking for a perfect combination of people to make the perfect team. However, Project Aristotle discovered they were on the wrong track. Good teamwork isn’t about putting the right people together, it’s about fostering an environment where people feel safe to interact with others.

Respect, mutual contribution, allowing people to voice their ideas and opinions, and encouraging genuine interaction were the main ingredients of a happy and productive team

These factors have been summed up as “psychological safety”. Encouraging such an environment allows people to open up and interact with each other in a more respectful way. It also allows team members to speak up, share ideas, and ask questions without concern of the embarrassment which can occur in a less welcoming environment.

After years of intensive analysis, Google discovers the key to good teamwork is being nice

Charmingly Animated Tips for Productivity

We’ve found a double whammy of lovely design and handy tips for productivity with Fast Company’s 15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity.

if you’re looking for inspiration for web design, animation and how to boost your working practice, this guide is a great place to start. While tips such as “declutter your desk” and “meet smarter” may  not be anything new, each entry is backed up with research, further reading and the aforementioned kickass gifs.

The guide goes a bit further than simple “just ignore your phone” advice. There is a detailed guide on how to activate an email-to-text feature on smartphones which allows users to close their inbox and ignore all but the most important of emails.

The guide also advocates good sleep, and the power of midday naps. Long misunderstood and misconceived as laziness, the benefits of napping are now undeniable and can be as important as getting a good night’s sleep for some people. Knowing how to nap to avoid the grogginess associated with interrupting certain sleep cycles is important, and lifestyle website Lifehacker has an excellent guide to get you started.

All in all, this is a delightfully illustrated, comprehensive and very useful guide.

Types of Animation in Web Design

We’ve found an excellent source detailing the types of animation in web design.

One of the main web design trends in 2016 is animation. No longer a optional extra, animation is often expected by the user. As well as looking nice, animation provides excellent visual feedback to user’s interactions. They can also save crucial screen space by bridging the gap between main screens and navigation menus. Done well, these interactions can be seamless and non-invasive.

Animation is also excellent for drawing attention. Hover animations (still the sole domain of laptops and desktop computers), show interactive elements of a website. A well-placed animation or two can also guide the user through a website and help steer them in the right (or desired) direction.

In this image-driven age of the internet, galleries and slideshow animation are especially important. Loading animations help distract the user from the inconvenience of waiting. Scrolling nimation may not be glamorous, but without it, we’d still be living with literal web pages. Animation with no purpose other than looking pretty also have their place in brand identity and web presence.

For a full breakdown of these types of animation accompanied with examples, check out the link below.

Web Design Trends Analyzed: 8 Effective Types of Animation

Shutterstock Gallery of Pantone’s Colours of the Year 2016

There’s a Shutterstock gallery of Pantone’s colours of the year 2016 (a pale pink and gentle blue called Rose Quartz and Serenity respectively) available to view through the stock image site’s blog. It’s a visual feast of pink and blue, showcasing some of the best examples of the colour combination we’ve seen so far this year.

pantone colour of the year 2016 - Shutterstock Gallery of Pantone

A natural combination

Pink and blue are two very distinct colours. However, these calming tones are present in natural landscapes such as flowers, glaciers, seascapes, and underwater life. Other photographs capture the striking pink and blue combination in architecture, homeware and even children’s sweets. Other works include digital art, fashion photography and photoshoots involving ice cream, cocktails and currency.

Seeing all these images collected together is a sensation for the senses. Seeing how much the gentle pink and calming blue occur naturally is fascinating – it’s similar to the experience of learning a new word and then hearing it everywhere. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to use the colour combination, or just want to zone out with the tranquil imagery, this gallery is a great place to start.

16 Images Inspired by Pantone’s 2016 Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz & Serenity

Things to Consider Before Embracing a Trend

While it may be tempting to adopt the latest style, there are things to consider before embracing a trend. Jumping on every device, meme or design layout can be exhausting and pointless if badly considered. Taking a step back from the bandwagons and asking a few simple questions can save you from making a change for change’s sake.


The Development of the Design Sprint Process

The design sprint process is a 5-day development process based on agile thinking. Used by many tech companies both big and small, it’s a popular process which gets quick results without employees burning out or sliding into destructive “crunch” periods.

Design Sprint Process

Business website Fast Company has a fascinating interview with Jake Knapp, one of the pioneers of the design sprint process.


Accessible Images on Twitter

Exciting news for inclusivity as there will now be accessible images on Twitter.

The social media giant has implemented the ability to insert alt text into images. Long a tool for silly internet jokes, alt text is actually an excellent way to provide a more engaging internet experience to the visually impaired. Alt text allows users to insert descriptions of the image which can be scanned by accessibility software to read the descriptions to visually impaired users. Descriptions can be up to 420 characters, and the feature is available on iOS and Android smartphones.

Accessible Images on Twitter

Announcing the feature, Twitter posted in its blog: “We’re excited to empower our customers and publishers to make images on Twitter accessible to the widest possible audience, so everyone can be included in the conversation and experience the biggest moments together.”

As we covered in our Blind Online:Considering Visually Impaired Users article, alt text is an excellent way of giving visually impaired users an extra level of online experience that others may take for granted. This update from a company as big and influential as Twitter shows that accessibility is a big topic. Accessible web design will only expand and become easier to implement as more companies adopt similar features.