Five Design Trends

I may not be much of a designer (this site being case in point) but I still notice good design and certainly design trends. Back in June, Cameron Moll over at Authentic Boredom made some predictions. No predictions here, though. Just the facts, ma'am.

Let's get this party started. The first item on this short list is the vertical drop shadow. Despite Cameron's prediction that the horizontal drop shadow would become all the rage, it just hasn't come out of hiding, yet. The vertical one, however, is still just as popular as ever. Cameron's own site is a testament to that. Along with almost every recent blog site out there seems to sport this little touch. Check out All in the head, Andy Budd, Mike Davidson and if you don't believe me. Trust me, this list is huge! Kudos to YourTotalSite for putting a great twist on this by fading the drop shadow out. Nice touch!

fcuk.comcameronmoll.comI forget what site this is from!

Just as popular as the vertical drop shadow is the subtle gradient background Most popular in gray and blue tones, it can also be spotted in other sexy colours. Often seen in page backgrounds (ala Macromedia or A List Apart) it can also be seen in more minor elements such as the buckets on the current Nike Running site. I've seen this in numerous navigations, too, which I find so much more appealing than the old glassy Apple look of a couple years ago.


Patterns were seeing a bit of a comeback (see Cameron's site again or Nundroo) but textures add life and interest to the flatness of a solid colour or subtle gradient background. Take a gander at or this Audi site for a sense of what I'm talking about. The diagonal line is the most popular implementation of texture but the worn look is mighty hot!


Next up is the inner drop shadow. This effect is unlikely to take off in any great sense but like all drop shadows, it aids in creating a sense of depth.

TargetOntario TravelShockmedia

Last but not least is my current favourite: the sunray and its variant the starburst. After the subject came up on Authentic Boredom (I swear I'm not stalking him), I've noticed this everywhere. This is one of those treatments that will likely come and go fairly quickly but I'll enjoy it while it's here.

(The third screenshot is from the k10k site but for some reason, it's lost its starbursty-ness. Hop over to the site while it's still got the design element to see what I'm talking about)


I wonder what the next fad will be?

Published October 01, 2004 · Updated September 17, 2005
Categorized as Other
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7 Comments · RSS feed
Brent Wilcox said on October 04, 2004

An interesting look at design details.. I never noticed this stuff before.

will said on October 04, 2004

I see the 'retro' era approaching, with the return of blinking text and scrolling marquees. It will be hip to be a 1990's-style designer again.

Ryan Johnson said on October 05, 2004

dear god no. I will shoot the first person to attempt a blink implementation.

At least I have some old templates lying around I can probably use...

Jonathan Snook said on October 05, 2004

ars technica just redesigned and makes use of the diagonal line for texture. It's faint but it's there:

Eric said on October 08, 2004

Go with what works, I say (and I'm guilty as charged... I've been using these techniques in 90% of my designs all year.).

Anyway, I didn't chime in to write about me. I live in Houston and have noticed two billboard advertisments in particular that also use these styles. Shiner Bock [beer] has a couple of billboards that not only use paisley texture patters, but they are using thhat 'Wicked Worn Look' that Cameron keeps pushing. The other billboard, Ziegen Bock Fest (another local beer fest) is using the sunrays and texture patterns.

Both use these well and are worth looking at & mentioning. I haven't been to either of their websites to see if they carried this look over there. I hope they did. I also hope to find some online samples of these ads to use for more inspiration.

Andrew Faulkner said on November 12, 2005

Nice opinions. We're having a discussion over at fadtastic on the very same thing:

I predict soild colour backgrounds coming back into the frame soon.

said on March 31, 2006

your page layout has left the font almost unreadable increase it's size amd give more room for spacing of wider lettered fonts because it looks crap.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.