Digital marketing is an exciting and dynamic field, one that is always evolving. It seems like every other week there is another change to major advertising platforms, a hot new social media app, or brand-new trend — and users develop new habits on a regular basis, too.

While the constant evolution offers plenty of opportunity to get creative with digital marketing, keeping up with an industry that is so dynamic  presents a number of challenges for designers. Whether you design online marketing materials, want to create cutting-edge  marketing strategies, are looking to  build a brand or to make sure your current business is up-to-date, read on. We’re breaking down the top digital marketing trends of 2019, so you can keep your work relevant with your audiences — and and ahead of the competition.

Make sure your web design is really,  really  mobile responsive ( image source )
Make sure your web design is really, really mobile responsive (image source)

Create Really Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design(or RWD) isn’t a new concept but it’s more important than ever. According to Google’s recent digital trends research, it still takes about 15 seconds for most websites to load on mobile. As Google’s Daniel An, the author of the report, says, “that’s far too slow when you consider that 53% of mobile site visits leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

Websites today can’t just load quickly, they need to load at the speed of light — and when they don’t, the impact has a tangible effect on a web-based business. There may be more overall traffic from mobile sources, but it continues to convert sales less frequently than desktop. Why? In large part, due to slow mobile loading times. Many businesses lose customers who may begin to shop from their phone, but aren’t patient enough with the site to ultimately convert.   

Want to increase a brand’s revenue and set it apart from the competition? Shorten your webpages’ loading times as much as possible. Avoid bloating pages with too many elements, compress images that before you feature them on your site, and set your images to load as the user scrolls, not when they open a new web page.  In short, do as much as you can to design a mobile browsing experience that is easy and seamless, and you’ll be able to attract the kind of high-quality traffic that leads to better conversion rates.

Bonus Tip: Make sure every element of your website is mobile-responsive, even small elements like the logo and any pop-up screens!

Make sure your website is optimized for Voice and AI ( image source )
Make sure your website is optimized for Voice and AI (image source)

Optimize for Voice & AI

In 2019, it may not always be a person reading your website or materials – it may be a robot instead. Every designer should consider the Alexas, Siris and Googles of the world when designing digital materials. You don’t want to lose users who are using virtual assistance to access your website.

The best way to do that? Keep your designs simple and straightforward, and rely on text to convey important information so it makes sense when it’s read aloud. If you’re designing a website that uses chatbots or other AI technology, make sure that those features are easy to find and use across pages.

Luckily (and perhaps not coincidentally) websites and advertisement designs have been trending toward more storytelling and text-heavy looks in recent months. Incorporating the trend into your work will make it easier than ever to make sure your digital marketing is Alexa-ready without sacrificing any cutting-edge aesthetics.

Stand Out with Serif Fonts

Onboard with incorporating more text into your design? Make your next design pop by embracing the return of Serif fonts, a trend that started to emerge in 2018 but one we expect to explode this year.

Audiences love serif fonts in 2019 ( image source )
Audiences love serif fonts in 2019 (image source)

Major brands like MailChimp have recently rebranded to a Serif font, to give themselves a more stylish and professional look. Use Serif fonts in your own brandmark or website for a design that’s both modern and classic at the same time.

Bonus Tip: Consider Cooper BT for a font that’s sure to have a moment in 2019.

Use Gradients & Bold Colors

Though text may loom large in current design trends, it doesn’t mean you can disregard images or other visuals. Gradients were a major trend in 2018 and it  shows no sign of becoming less popular. If anything, it’s only picking up speed, with cutting-edge designers relying on brighter and bolder colors to give new life to their latest work.

Bold is beautiful in 2019 (i mage source )
Bold is beautiful in 2019 (image source)

Incorporating bold colors can make individual words or images stand out in anything  from print designs to email campaigns. Experiment with loud gradients on marketing materials, a la Spotify, or in your logo designs like Instagram and Apple Music both have. Your use of color will not only emphasize specific content; it will also help evoke the kinds of emotional responses in your audience that have been proven to aid in marketing goals.

Bonus Tip: Read up on color psychology for the perfect color combinations to capture attention in a crowded online space.

Get Your ‘Gram On

For professionals working in a visual field, there’s no better place to market your side hustle or full-time gig in 2019 than on Instagram. It’s the ideal place to showcase your work, interact with other designers, find inspiration, discover potential clients, and really showcase your personal brand.

No matter what kind of design work you create there is a community for you on Instagram. Take a few minutes to post examples of your own work, or what inspires you, a couple times per week. Use relevant hashtags, from broad categories like #graphicdesign (with over 27 million posts) to more niche categories like #vectorgraphic (with about 34 thousand posts). If you want to grow your Instagram account, use hashtags like #design_hunt, #logoworlddesigners, #welovedaily or #dailygrafix for the chance to be featured on a large account and get more visibility. Follow your favorite artists or brands and engage with them by liking, following and commenting on their posts, too. You never know what new connections (or future work!) might come from those interactions. .

Bonus Tip: Instagram Stories are hugely popular and give you more opportunity to get creative. Post behind-the-scenes video on your Stories, moving animations, or highlight a new post in your feed.

Make Your Designs Move

Speaking of Instagram Stories, video should still be a key component of any marketing strategy that you’re helping to execute. Moving images aren’t just fun for consumers, they lead to better results for paid online advertising and are good companions to all kinds of digital marketing content, including social media posts, blog posts, and influencer marketing.                

If you create moving animations or other video types, be sure to advertise that prominently on your personal portfolio or website. If you don’t typically design moving images, though, don’t fret! It’s easier than ever to create moving elements like cinemagraphs, GIFs, or slideshows of still images.

Bonus Tip: Use easy (and often free!) online tools like Biteable and Facebook Ads Manager’s video template to create short videos for brands or take one of Skillshare’s animation classes to learn how to turn your illustrations into animations.

Looking for more on digital marketing? Taking some of these Skillshare classes will help your efforts stay relevant in 2019.

Written by:

Kelsey Thompson