By Tobias van Schneider Published December 17, 2020
Considering how unpredictable this year has been, it’s amusing that several of our top articles of 2020 are predictions.
Our industry will never be the same, and that’s exciting. I won’t try to make any guesses about the future now, but I am optimistic. Some of the most beautiful movements in history came after a time of crisis. I can only hope this year inspires more creativity, more beauty, more ideas we've never seen before.
In the meantime, we will reflect on familiar ones: Skeuomorphism. Typefaces. UX design. Portfolio building. Of the 161 articles we published in 2020, these are the most-read:
1. The Kawaiization of product design
Claymation-style 3D hands imply our design tool is our friend. Circles and squiggles say our form-creation app is here to party. Muted colors and soft, rounded shapes signal safety. It is approachable. It is charming. It’s Kawaii.
Something is missing in these modern UIs. They're clean. They're streamlined. They're optimized for productivity and speed. But they’ve lost their soul. Our apps and interfaces have all started look the same and feel the same. Even the icons blend together on our screens. People feed off visual stimuli, and the visual world online has become less and less stimulating with each year. And so we’re gravitating toward something new.
Every trend is an answer to the movement preceding it, and minimalism has just about had its run. We are emotional and sentimental beings; we survive on self-expression. We will forever return to what has colored society since humans first walked the earth: art.
We have yet to see how this plays out but can only hope it’s true for the coming year.
There’s a page I don’t see on portfolios as often as I’d like. When I do, it feels like a treat. I go through all the other pages on the site first. I scan the homepage, usually click straight to the About page, followed by a few case studies. Finally, dessert: The Playground page.
A great onboarding experience can increase your conversion rate, engagement and brand recognition while lowering the barrier of entry – meaning, how fast someone can start using your product the way it's mean to be used. It's one of the most crucial elements of your entire product experience.
If you're a branding or identity designer, you typically have an obsession with detail. You are, naturally, an expert in typography. You've learned how to distill a story to its most powerful parts and present it in a compelling way. So it's no wonder branding portfolios are some of the best out there.