Signs Your Design Style Is Out Of Date

The reason is that although it’s rewarding and edifying, it also requires you to constantly evolve and start every project like you know nothing. Otherwise, you’ll end up turning into a bitter design whose work looks exactly the same in twenty years.

I’ve compiled a list of signs that your design style has become dated, pulled from the trends of the past couple decades. Bear in mind that these are only symptoms, and most of us have been plagued by at least one of them. But if you check off everything on this list, it might be time to re-think the way you work.


You probably also have a contact button that says “Let’s have a beer together.” Now don’t get me wrong: I like moving away from designer jargon, and I certainly am not opposed to beers. But the novelty of a designer who doesn’t take themselves too seriously has begun to fade. People want quality, in addition to dealing with people who are decent humans. It shouldn’t be celebrated as an added bonus that you’re not a pompous douchebag. We expect practitioners of other vocations to be humble and competent.

studying design history and analyzing the works that have remained timeless is something that designers must do. As the history of design as we know it is inextricably tied to movable type, the faces that have remained in the fold for hundreds of years are surely important. Their DNA, rearranged and combined, makes up nearly all new text faces that are released. It’s worth giving the originals a whirl, especially since they’re so accessible.


Generally speaking, gradients and drop shadows are best left for sports or waterparks. This is one of those “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” sort of things. Yes, gradients and superfluous drop shadows often look silly and unnecessary.

But it’s not just out of principle that I caution against this. In many cases, it is objectively bad to add a shadow to your text, particularly if you’re using dark text on a light background. All that shadow does is muddy up the legibility of your words. With type, you need contrast, and a fuzzy halo around your words mutes that contrast. You can certainly use shadows well, as long as they’re not a crutch, but your design should work without them, with the gradients simply adding a touch more depth. For example, a subtle and abrupt shadow behind light text can help it stand out on a dark background. Just keep your gradients in large chunks of space, and never in body copy.

When it comes to creating online content, especially for small businesses, templates seem to be the path of least resistance. The issue is, no matter how good the template is, it still looks like a template.

For most designers who pride themselves in “hand-craftsmanship” and “uniqueness,” this is pretty much a non-starter.

And let’s not forget when the client asks for something the template can’t do.

Rather than diving deep into the world of development for the sake of the craft there are other solutions which allows designers to create websites with total flexibility.


Leave a Reply