Detailed designs and illustrations of this manner are going to be a big deal.

All you digital designers out there need to listen up. It's time to prepare for the New Year. Why? Because I said so.

Actually, just in case you hadn't noticed, there are only so many days left in this year. 2014 will be your best year ever if you follow this list to the nth degree. Well, maybe. Definitely maybe. We've compiled some of the now-happening trends, and guess what? They probably look a lot like this year's. Oh well, who cares?

The point is that the following items are probably going to see wider adoption, and as a designer you don't want to get left in the dust. It's like wearing bell-bottoms to school when everybody's onto the skinny jeans already. How embarrassing.

Anyway, let's move on to the list!

1. Use Custom Buttons

Dude, if you don't start using buttons for your marketing campaigns, I'm going to disown you. Just kidding. I will hunt you down.

Look, they're fun, they're affordable, and they make for great giveaways and/or merch items. Just think; you can showcase your awesome designs using buttons in this coming year. Legit.

2. Create Simple Designs

You know, simplistic designs will probably never go out of style. The fun part about this point is that it's almost certainly going to be contradictory to another point on this list. You've been warned.

Simple design is usually characterized by fewer colors, fewer shapes, and fewer elements. If there's any challenge in particular, it would be that you need to make simple designs look attractive without going overboard. Negative space, man. Negative space.

3. Use Flat Designs
Motorhead Logo
Forget style; go flat. This design courtesy of Andrew Keir

Designers used to make fairly realistic looking designs with the use of drop shadows, gradients, beveling and embossing and so forth. Basically, logos and company branding usually "popped" on-screen.

Perhaps because of Windows 8 (oh god), and other apps and interfaces that look similar, many companies are now going with flatter, less stylized designs. And you know what? It actually looks kind of cool.

I'm not going to lie; sometimes flat design is a little ambiguous and confusing, but basically it just means minimalist design elements that haven't been styled.

4. Create App Style Designs

Even if you've been living in your parent's basement - which you probably have been - you should already know that the mobile trend continues to expand.

People have started to grow accustomed to app-style design interfaces, and this means that designers, like you, can start experimenting with similar elements in your own design (using icons and buttons and so forth). It might be kind of fun to make static designs that look like they should do something functional but actually don't. You could fool your friends.

5. Use Vector Graphics

This really goes hand-in-hand with the last two points. Vector graphics work really well in flat designs, and they can also be found in app-style designs. If you want to cheat, you can download a variety of different shapes entirely for free. Man, things sure have gotten a lot easier for designers. Maybe I should become a designer too.

6. Use Bright Neon Colors

Evidently, we're going to start seeing the use of bright neon colors again, especially for call-to-actions or important design elements (oh god). Actually, now that I think of it, we've already been seeing some of that on various websites.

So, if you want to emphasize particular items in your design, neon colors might suit your style (no, I refuse to believe that they suit anyone's style).

7. Use Circular Design Elements

What the what!? Circles are back?

Well, they never really left us, but perhaps because of the popularity of icons, circles could start trending again. After all, a circle is one of the most basic shapes, and for simplistic flat designs, they work quite well.

8. Use Creative Typography

Digital designers are doing this interesting thing where they're mixing and matching serif and sans-serif fonts at different sizes and weights (and sometimes different orientations). They've finally gone mental on us.

Because you have to think about flow and composition and eye movement and all that other educated nonsense, this is pretty hard to do well. You have to predict how people are going to read a block of text, and place your text accordingly. It's effective when it's done right.

9. Use Large Photography

Large photo backgrounds are all the rage. That should make your photographer friends happy, unless you already do your own photography. Then you're just going to make them mad.

Yup. Gone are the days when you had to crop and nudge and blend your photos. Now you can go all out and use the entire photo, man. Freedom at last.

10. Create Detailed Designs And Illustrations

Remember how I said there would be contradictory items on this list? Well, here's a prime example.

Detailed designs and illustrations (think infographics), especially flat ones, are going to be a thing. Like the typography mess, it can be a little hard to do right, because there's a lot of detail and you have to draw people's attention to the right things. You have to predict eye movement again. Good god.

But if it's done right, the end result is pretty cool. You can help create unique brands like never before. Well, probably not never before.

What do you think? Have you observed any other interesting trends? Make sure to leave a comment so we can poach your best ideas.

Cover image by coleypauline

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