WordPress Design Trends 2017 – Gradients

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WordPress Design Trends 2017 – Gradients

Where we used to see solid-colored backgrounds, now we’re seeing a lot of backgrounds with gradients. A gradient is a smooth transition from one color to another. Most background gradients transition between two colors, but it’s possible to transition between multiple colors and include features such as animated transitions.

image from colorful gradients

Gradients can be created as image files or with CSS. A well-designed gradient can make the web pages more colorful and interesting while still loading fast. Gradients are not limited to backgrounds. They can include images with overlays, backgrounds, logos, headers, buttons, backgrounds for forms, etc.

The image above can be accomplished with a plugin such as this premium plugin for Divi called Fullwidth Header Extended. It adds a CSS gradient to the custom header and includes particle animation, multiple color gradients, and gradient animation. It even adds dynamic text effects, icon animations, image effects, and other background effects. It also includes a sub-header that can be placed above or below the header title. I consider this a must-have plugin for every Divi user.

Online Tools to Create Gradients

Gradients can be created with graphics software such as Photoshop, Gimp, Sketch, PaintShop Pro, and Paint.NET. There are also lots of online tools that will create gradients for you based on colors you choose. Some have more features than others but they’re free to use. Some have pre-made gradients that you can save and reuse. A few include CSS tutorials. Just be sure to compress them. I like TinyPNG.

Here are some good tools for downloading or creating your own gradients:

Let’s Discuss

  • Do you use gradients?
  • What’s your favorite tools to create gradients?
  • Do you prefer to download pre-made gradients?

Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading and please subscribe if you haven’t already. 

Featured image from James Douglas

Web Design Trends 2017 – Better Use of Parallax

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Web Design Trends 2017 – Better Use of Parallax

Parallax is one of those design elements that can be difficult to get right, but it works great if you do. Often parallax is overdone or used as a gimmick. There’s sometimes so much of it that it doesn’t stand out anymore (I’m guilty of this myself). Too much parallax can become annoying and it loses its intrigue.

Use Parallax Sparingly

I’m starting to see parallax used more sparingly and with a greater effect. For example, rather than parallax just for the sake of parallax, I’ve seen it used where it creates an interaction between image layers such as a person in the background moving independently of objects in the foreground, making them seem to interact.

Another good choice is to use it to identify sections in a homepage or  to create a window where the content scrolls differently from the page or maybe it remains in place as the foreground scrolls over it. I’ve seen this used to show content on a monitor or within a small image.

Plugins

In the image above the background is blurred while the foreground is in focus. This can be added to any theme using a plugin such as D.ex – Multilayer Parallax WordPress Plugin which has unlimited layers that can scroll according to your settings. Another good plugin is The Parallaxer WP – Parallax Effects on Content which includes lots of customizations and works with any theme, Visual Composer, and is mobile optimized.

 Themes

Lots of themes have parallax built in. Here are a few:

An Example Using Divi

Since this website was built with Divi, this article itself works as an example. The featured image remains in place while the content scrolls up. Another example is a child theme called Creative which uses parallax as a header and to reveal the footer.

Here’s an example using Divi from Elegant Themes that shows text over images of food:

Let’s Discuss

  • Do you use parallax?
  • What the best use of parallax that you’ve seen?
  • What’s the worst use of parallax that you’ve seen?

Let us know what you think in the comments. As always, thanks for reading and please subscribe if you haven’t already. 

Featured image by Caleb Jones

Web Design Trends 2017 – SVG Logos and Icons

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Web Design Trends 2017 – SVG Logos and Icons

JPEG’s and PNG’s used to be the most popular file-types for logos and icons. One problem though is they don’t always scale properly. They become pixelated when you zoom in. Another problem is file size. They can become large and if you compress them you’ll lose some of the quality.

A better solution is to use Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). SVG is an XML markup language that’s used to describe vector graphics. in other words, SVG’s are text files and can be edited with a text editor.

SVG’s have a smaller file size (they’re about half the size of the equivalent PNG) and they’re scalable, meaning they don’t lose graphic quality when you zoom in, making them a perfect choice for logos, icons, and even featured images for responsive websites. They look  great on retina displays. They can be manipulated with CSS. The smaller file size of course will improve your page-loading time, so it’s win/win.

Raster Vs Vector

Here’s a look at raster (PNG, JPEG) vs vector (SVG) (image from the QuickLeft blog). Both look fine at small sizes, but when you zoom in it’s obvious the raster image gets pixelated while the vector remains sharp. To solve this, many designers have used a sharp larger image, but that increases the file size and load time. The SVG solves all of these problems.

Example Logos

This image, taken from Responsive Logos, shows a set of popular logos. The image above is regular size.

The image above is 25% of the original size. You can see the logos retain their definition.

The image above is at 300 zoom. The logo is still sharp.

Tools for Creating SVG’s

Some popular tools to create SVG’s include:

SVG Downloads

Let’s Discuss

  • Do you currently use PNG’s?
  • If not, do you plan to move to PNG’s?
  • What are you favorite tools and resources for SVG’s?
  • Is there another file type you prefer?

Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. 

Featured image from seabass creatives

WordPress Design Trends 2017 – Child Themes and Layouts

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WordPress Design Trends 2017 – Child Themes and Layouts

Child themes and layouts are great tools to help speed up the design process. They’re easy to get. Many multi-purpose themes and plugin builders allow you to export and import, so they’re reusable and you can buy them, share them, and even sell them. This trend will become even stronger through 2017 into 2018 as designs get more complex and interesting.

Most are designed by top WordPress designers using best practices and design principles, so you’ll have a great start on creating your own website. They’re available in the marketplaces online and directly from the designers themselves.

Child Themes

Child theme usage will become more popular for themes that allow for heavy customization. New features can be added to the theme itself. Many builder themes come with demos or pre-designed child themes, and some of them allow users to create their own which can be sold in the marketplaces. Divi is one such theme. Developers are creating and selling child themes more than ever and that will continue to gain popularity.

Layouts

Many themes and builder plugins allow for easy layout importing. These will become more popular because they’re relatively easy to make and they don’t require the user to adopt the complete design like a child theme does. Instead, they can be used on a per-page basis. There are lots of free and premium layouts and even the premium layouts are not that expensive when compared to child themes. Several designers give them away as incentives to sign up to their newsletters. They’re also being included within services such as Divi Cloud.

Let’s Discuss

  • Do you use child themes or layouts?
  • Which do you prefer between child themes and layouts?
  • What platform do you use them with?

Let us know what you think in the comments below. As always thanks for reading, and please subscribe if you haven’t already. 

Featured image from Divi Cloud

Web Design Trends 2017 – Drag and Drop Theme Builder Plugins

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Web Design Trends 2017 – Drag and Drop Theme Builder Plugins

One of the greatest problems with standard WordPress themes is they are limited in their design. They have the layout they have, and that’s what you get. That’s fine if you want the layout they provide, but what if you want to customize it without having to dig into code? You have a few good options:

  • Use a different theme
  • Use a drag and drop builder plugin

Conductor

There are lots of great themes out there and some even have built-in drag and drop builders. However, changing themes is not always an option. Changing to a theme that has a layout you like is still limited to that layout. Changing to a multi-purpose theme can be a better option to help solve that problem, but what if you’ve already customized your current theme? What if you don’t want to change themes? What if you like your theme but just want to add some builder functionality? For these reasons, and many more, drag and drop builder plugins are becoming more popular and this is a trend that will pick up speed into 2017-2018.

Advantages, Elements, and Design

MotoPress front end

The advantage of a plugin is they don’t require a specific theme to work. This means users can install the plugin and start building without having to set up a new theme first. This also means that designers can create new layouts within their client’s current themes.

MotoPress

They allow you to create layouts, place rows, widgets, resize, move things around, edit, add code, and lots more. They include content elements such as text, images, video, audio, sliders, galleries, post grids, buttons, social buttons, accordions, tables, charts, HTML, maps, widgets, and more. Practically any type of layout can be created with a drag and drop builder plugin. Some even work from the front-end, making it easier to see the design as you go.

Siteorigin

Drag and drop builder plugins still require the use of design principles. They’re just a tool, so they’ll never take the place of a designer or developer, but they do make the job faster. Depending on the features of the builder you might have to keep the plugin installed even if you move away from it in order to keep the pages built with it intact.

Elementor

Some even include template libraries, allowing you to load a layout to modify. Some even allow you to import and export layouts, so they’re reusable.

Popular Builder Plugins

Here’s a list of the most popular drag and drop builder plugins:

We’ll take a closer look at each plugin in future articles.

Example – Divi Builder

Divi Builder back-end

Here’s a look at the Divi Builder plugin using the Twenty Seventeen theme. Both the back-end and front-end look and work just like the Divi theme. It even includes pre-made layouts that you can load and modify. It’s even compatible with Divi Cloud.

Divi Builder frontend

Let’s Discuss

  • For page builders do you prefer themes or plugins?
  • What’s your favorite page builder plugin?

Let us know what you think about page builder plugins in the comments below. Thanks for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. 

Web Design Trends for 2017 – Creative Typography

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Web Design Trends for 2017 – Creative Typography

Creative typography has been popular in the past few years and that trend continues. Fonts are getting larger and more creative, and text is getting more of the screen to itself – often taking up large blocks of the page.

In the past fonts have been limited by screen resolutions. Most users had low resolution screens which made fancy fonts difficult to read. That’s not the case anymore. Even most smartphones have a resolution well above 1080. This opens up possibilities for creative font design. This means more serif’s, vintage, retro, and even custom fonts. Just be sure to keep it readable.

Larger, Bolder

Many designers are using larger typography for headers and logos to help create contrast and make the content look more interesting. This can be seen in themes like The 7 (The Creative Agency demo shown here). Popular blogs are using larger and modern fonts. For example, Elegant Themes just updated their website for a cleaner look and are using sans serif (a Google font called Poppins) for their headers and titles. WPMUDEV continues to use sans serif fonts (Monaco). Both use large titles.

Text is becoming animated, highlighted with color, etc. Typography is being used within backgrounds. I’m seeing more drop-caps than ever before. I suspect as designers focus on how the typography layout looks on screen we’ll see more multi-column layouts with overlapping images, drop-caps, headers, etc. I’m also seeing larger fonts being used. I’ve also seen fonts used more creatively within layouts and sometimes having a large portion of the screen to itself.

Font Pairing

Font pairing is the science of matching typography to the content. Many websites simply use the default font that came with the theme. Using font pairing, a designer will match the font to the genre they’re best suited for. This will actually help in communicating with the audience. Font pairing makes the site look more professional and I expect to see it become more popular in 2017.

For a great resource on font pairing see the articles

Let’s Discuss

  • Do you use large fonts?
  • Do you prefer fonts that are more creative?
  • Have you tried font pairing?

Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading, and please subscribe if you haven’t already. 

Featured image by Clem Onojeghuo