It’s human nature to eventually develop an aversion to fads. Design trends that once seemed like the bees knees, like beveled edges, flash intros and attention grabbing bursts and badges, can make a website designed after 2012 look downright antiquated. It’s no surprise that at some point, most popular trends will go into retirement. When it comes to identifying design trends to avoid, you’ll find that graphic designers that aspire to redefine tired fads are typically on the same page.
A beveled edge is one of the most popular trends to hate on these days. The consensus seems to be that a beveled edge, along with emboss and gradients, was an attempt at realism at a time when Photoshop was at the top of the design food chain. Unlike other recyclable design trends — like anything that starts with “vintage” — you’re pretty safe chucking those clunky, bevel-edged buttons with your VHS tapes.
Skeuomorphic features refer to graphic design elements meant to resemble an object from a different medium. This is a common characteristic of many Apple’s software design, for instance their iBooks app, which is meant to look like a physical bookshelf.
Designer, Espen Brunborg, doesn’t like this type of ornamentation because it populates your device with “redundant visual references.” Other designers just soured on the concept’s overuse. Skeuomorphic features will likely never fully disappear. Instead, work on developing clean, simple vector graphics.
Using flash intros probably seemed like a far out idea at first. But after finding yourself on a landing page with a motivational speaker screaming about his proprietary confidence-building program coupled with the Chariots of Fire theme song or a daycare center assaulting your ears with a synthesized rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, it’s enough to make you permanently ban sites that utilize these attention-grabbing annoyances from your browser.
Like skeuomorphic features, script logos are a clean, easy-to-conceive design element. Some of the world’s most iconic products are branded with a script logo (Coca-Cola, Cadillac). Now it’s time to put the trend to bed. A simple design 101 exercise, script logos will probably never fully go away.
Badges and Bursts
The sales badge is a very Web 2.0 concept and for that reason, it’s a trend to dodge. These days, the design element can be found in abundance on poorly designed marketing sites, further classifying the concept a tackless, cheap visual. Done well, and when in a certain context, starbursts and tags can work. I can see it being a retro concept in the future. For now, though, leave it for the unskilled designer.