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Expert Tips for Staying on Top of the Latest Web Design Trends

As a student earning a degree in web design, you should feel confident that you are learning the skills and techniques necessary to create a strong foundation on which to build. But the fact is, like many industries, the design world is constantly evolving. Because of this, staying on top of the latest web design trends is critical to your success.

With new techniques and technologies emerging every year, it’s important to be sure you don’t fall behind the latest web design trends. Your education, combined with a passion to continue flourishing as a designer, will keep you sharp when it comes time to enter the workforce.

So to help keep you organized in your professional development efforts, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help you stay on top of the latest web design trends. These are real tactics that industry experts have shared with us, so pay close attention.

1. Read web design blogs

Keeping tabs on the top web design blogs is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. But be careful because it’s difficult to determine which trends are worth adopting and which are just a fad. If you notice multiple blogs mentioning the same topic, trend or technique, chances are it’s worth knowing.

Some of the best:

Go the extra mile: When you come across an interesting blog post, share a thought or question in the comments section. This is a great way to spark conversation and start building relationships with other web designers!

2. Follow industry leaders on Twitter

As an aspiring web designer, it’s always smart to take tips from the pros when you can get them. Twitter is an outstanding tool for getting up-to-the-minute thoughts and ideas from the industry’s biggest names. By following professionals in the field, you get a taste for what they’re working on and the techniques they are using.

Some of the best:

Go the extra mile: When you find designers worth following on Twitter, add them to a Twitter list. This will make it easy to keep tabs on them and retweet any helpful tidbits.

3. Join professional design organizations

Becoming a member of these organizations has numerous benefits. Not only will you form relationships with other members but you’ll also have unique opportunities to participate in events. Most of these clubs also distribute newsletters highlighting new industry trends.

Some of the best:

Go the extra mile: Do some research on various organizations that have chapters in your area. Once you determine which is best suited for you, become an active member and contribute to the community. If there are no chapters in your area, exercise your leadership skills and start one!

4. Participate in design forums

Web design forums provide a unique opportunity to interact with other designers. They can be used to solve problems, learn new techniques and bounce ideas off one another. By participating in these communities, you can hear opinions about new trends.

Some of the best:

Go the extra mile: Rather than merely reading through these discussions as a spectator, get involved in the action! Post questions, share your opinions and make connections with other designers.

5. Attend conferences/networking events

It’s easy to limit your learning to only what can be accomplished behind a computer screen, but attending events offline is invaluable. Not only will you get to hear live speakers present about web design trends, but it’s a great way to network with others in attendance. Rather than merely being known as an avatar, showing your personality face-to-face may help open doors in the future.

Some of the best:

Go the extra mile: Every time you attend one of these events, challenge yourself to collect and hand out at least five business cards. If you’re feeling really brave, you can even introduce yourself to the keynote speaker!

6. Listen to design-related Podcasts

Listening to podcasts is a great way to hear about new techniques and ideas from thought leaders throughout the industry. This is an easy way to introduce yourself to new information and challenge yourself without leaving the comfort of your own home. You can even listen to them while working out or in the car while running errands!

Some of the best:

Go the extra mile: When listening to these podcasts, devote all of your attention to the speaker. Keep a notebook on hand to jot down the most interesting tidbits!

7. Browse websites for inspiration

One of the best ways to stay fresh as a designer is to allow yourself to be inspired by the designs of your peers. Whether it’s designed by a rookie or a seasoned pro, every design can teach you something about what (or what not) to do.

Some of the best:

Go the extra mile: Whenever you come across a website or design element you are particularly fond of, save it to a folder on your computer. By keeping a virtual inspiration journal, you can easily refer back to favorites for ideas!

8. Participate in online tutorials

Your web design courses are providing you with the basic skills and training you’ll need to work in the industry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn some of the fun stuff on your own! There are hundreds of tutorials available to help you add new skills to your repertoire.

Some of the best:

Go the extra mile: Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. If you routinely use a certain technique, take a stab at an alternative method. Try to learn one new skill each month!

9. Set Google Alerts

Since your time is valuable, Google Alerts can be a life saver! Simply set an alert for a specific term (e.g., WordPress or jQuery) and any new articles involving that term will automatically be sent to your email every day. It’s the easiest way to stay informed about new developments or releases without having to check ten websites daily, says Micah Warren of Large Media, Inc.

Remember ... learning never stops

So besides your assigned coursework, you now have a handful of new tricks up your sleeve to help you stay up-to-date on the latest web design trends.

Piled on top of your schoolwork, your family and maybe even a job, it may seem like you’ve got limited time to spare. But even taking just ten minutes a day to focus on a few of these tactics will help keep your skills sharp and your mind developing.

These tactics can play a big role in helping you stand out to future employers. But once you’ve landed a job, the work isn’t over. Bookmark this article to keep it handy because as a web designer, you should always be thirsty for more knowledge!

For more information about web design and other careers in the design industry, download our FREE Design Career Guide today!


Callie Malvik

Callie is the Content Manager at Collegis Education, overseeing blog content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She is passionate about creating quality resources that empower others to improve their lives through education.

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