Contextual Studies; Design Trends Discussion

Wednesday morning and it’s my half day today at College! We have been focusing on our Contextual Studies work and going through a couple of presentations on certain topics. The fist year students joined us as well this morning as they are doing this module at the same time! So first of all we talked about ‘Design Trends’, which was initially for the first years but Libby thought it’d be a good idea if we listened to the discussion as well. Secondly, we went on to talk through our topic, which was about Mobile Devices! Below I have wrote about what I have learnt from today’s session and a couple of possible questions for my essay. I’ll start with Design Trends then the post after this will look at Mobile Devices.

Design Trends

22 years ago, a certain Time Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web. The first website was published on August 6 1991 (It was simply a page on plain html and a few links! How exciting ay?). Websites in the early stages were much more functional than designed. Reason being was simply down to technical capability!

Advances in software was the next big thing! Photoshop now had filters; WOW! Illustrator was invented, WOW! The introduction of Splash Pages, WOW! The web was soon beginning to change the way people worked! What we would say are terrible designs nowadays were unbelievable 15 years ago! Miiton Glaser once said that “Computers are to design as Microwaves are to cooking”. What he meant by this was that a Microwave can cook a good meal but it doesn’t make you a gourmet chef; a computer can build a good enough website but it won’t be the best of the best.

When we look at designers, the traditional kind would study the art & design history; colours, typography etc. The process was generally time consuming and actually quite difficult! These days, any old soul can download PhotoShop and master the software then claim they are a designer. Design work can now be completed in a fraction of the time that it used to. Sounds unfair doesn’t it? Well web design has been strongly lead by trends. Influences usually stemmed from the advances in technologies or even popular ideas from key people in industry.

What sort of things did people cotton onto and use in their designs for web?

  • Frames – Everyone loved frames
  • Drop Shadows – My god was this overused! Still is now…
  • Tiled Backgrounds – Say no more
  • Splash Pages – You were nobody if you didn’t have one of these bad boys!
  • Tabbed Navigation – MY GOD! What is this world coming to?
  • Drop Down Menus – Ah now you’re just being silly
  • Rounded Corners – The best thing since sliced bread!
  • Mobile – The way we live our lives today
It’s very easy to gain Interface Design inspiration as well now. All you have to do is look at different sharing websites. Twitter, Behance, Dribble, you name it! We can look at these and just copy other peoples ideas. Nothing is very original these days, it’s already been done by someone if you look hard enough.A quote which has inspired me is another one of Milton Glaser’s, he said “Drawing is like thinking”. Basically telling you to stop staring at your computer for inspiration, it won’t happen. You need to draw, map out your ideas quickly and something will pop up eventually if not straight away :)

The question is; Who is my favourite Artist / Designer? Let’s find out…