Five Digital Design Trends to look forward to in 2017

With a new year come new trends. TWG Plus is looking to the future as we break down five trend worthy topics!


“…done correctly, GIFs can take your engagement and click-through rates to the next level.”

GIFs, really? I know what you’re thinking. GIFs are everywhere, and you’re right. So what’s so great about them? The GIF is nothing new, but their usage is becoming more popular than ever. Let’s be honest, abusing GIFs can kill your UX (user experience), but done correctly, GIFs can take your engagement and click-through rates to the next level.

According to The New York Times, 23 million GIFs are posted on Tumblr every day. Facebook gets more than 5 million daily. Slack sees more than 5 million GIFs each month.

GIF or JIF? Let’s Settle It.
I can’t tell you how many debates I’ve engaged in regarding the pronunciation of the word GIF — it’s sad really. The “G” in GIF stands for the word “graphic,” so many people believe that it should be pronounced with a hard G. But according to its creator, Steve Wilhite, the correct pronunciation is “JIF,” like the brand of peanut butter. I’ve been saying it wrong for all these years — who knew.


They’re easy to digest.

They’re mobile friendly.

They draw attention to important information.

They help tell a story. 


They bring emails to life.


As we focus more and more attention on content, designers will pay closer attention to headline size. In a world of constant distraction, visual hierarchy and headlines that draw attention are key. It’s important to dedicate plenty of screen real estate to the simple statement defining your company’s product or services. Start playing with space and mixing different fonts…the possibilities are endless.


Google Fonts first launched in 2010 as a way to move the web forward and make it faster and more expressive by creating a simple way to add type variety to websites. It offers an intuitive and robust directory of open source designer web fonts. Google allows you to share and integrate typography, into any design project seamlessly; no matter where you are in the world. It’s Googles world now anyway — we just live in it.

Expect more designers to explore Google Fonts in 2017. Check it out!

Google Fonts



“Duotones can spice up an overused image, add a fun element when once is lacking and just help engage users visually.”

As minimalism came to the forefront in 2016, designers sought out ways to inject personality into their design work. [Insert big, bright colors here]. Duotones can spice up an overused image, add a fun element when once is lacking and just help engage users visually. Expect to see more duotone imagery used to bring consistency when several images are displayed. Check out these color soaked websites that really draw your attention!

As you can see, it’s not only about bright color, but gradients are also making a comeback. Yes, I said gradients, but let’s not get crazy here. There’s not always a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Use gradients thoughtfully and with purpose.



“88% of online users are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.”

So what is UX exactly? Short for user experience, UX brings user’s problems top of mind, and all design decisions should be centered around them. It’s important to focus on understanding your target audience, not who you think your target audience should be. Get to know your users through research and solve their problems (spoiler alert: actually talk to them!). Research is that genuine friend that tells you not what you want to hear, but the actual truth that makes you think twice. Use the information to your advantage to better impact your decision-making.

Still not convinced? Here are some powerful stats on UX:
• 88% of online users are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
• Judgments on website credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics.
• First impressions are 94% design-related.
• 85% of users think that a company’s mobile website should be as good or better than their desktop website.

Posted in News & Information, Web

About Antonio Gentile

Antonio, a Chicago, Illinois native, graduated from Bradley University, in Peoria, Illinois, with a degree in Graphic Design. Prior to graduation he spent time interning for World's Finest Chocolate's marketing department. Upon graduation, he spent two seasons as an assistant women's volleyball coach at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, before moving back to Chicago to begin his design career. Prior to TWG Plus, Antonio spent 4 years working as a graphic designer for a Chicago government agency, responsible for overall brand consistency, marketing collateral and design. Antonio joined the TWG Plus team back in 2014, bringing a wealth of knowledge in print design and production. Having over 6 years of experience in the field, he is responsible for the lead design on digital campaigns, branding, publications, and interactive products. Some of Antonio’s clients include: Morgan State University, Catawba College, HACC, Maryville University, Texas A&M University at San Antonio, Georgia Southern University, John Brown University, Manhattanville College, Stevenson University and William Peace University. Outside of design, Antonio is heavily involved in the volleyball scene, having coached both men’s and women's volleyball at the junior and collegiate levels. He brings a wealth of knowledge to our higher education team via the sidelines. Most recently as a Volunteer Assistant coach at Texas State University and head coach at Austin Junior Volleyball Club. When he's not coaching, Antonio enjoys being in the Texas sun, playing sand volleyball, exploring Austin, eating great food and drinking coffee.

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