As we enter into the third month of 2012 the trends in web design for this year are becoming more and more apparent. The trends come and go and some of them hang around longer than the rest. But knowing the trends are necessary for designing websites that can help in developing and growing our skills. So as a web designer it is important that we know the current trends, apply them and challenge ourselves to expand upon them.

Reading this article will give you an idea of what are the trends for this year, it is obvious that most of the shifts in the trends are subtle and one can recognize some of these trends already. But it is estimated that these concepts will grow and become even bigger as the year progresses.

1. Fixed-Position Navigation

It is a great technique that is often used for personal websites and individual blogs. This trend saw a sharp decline in during 2010-2011 but it can be seen over the web that in the last few months a resurgence of fixed-position navigation has occurred.

The concept is to keep the navigation bar sometimes along with the logo locked in place as a visitor scroll through the content. It is a great idea for the websites that doesn’t have a lot of main navigation elements and just a few small links. It helps in keeping these links visible to each user at all times and as a result in improving the website’s performance and improving the layout of the page by easily blending with it.

One can accomplish the task of designing a fixed position navigation in a number of ways. The easiest being with the use of jQuery which allows rapid prototyping of this effect. Simple CSS code even without JavaScript can enable you to replicate the fixed navigation effect.

2.Big Vector Art

Just a few years back it was hard to find a lot of illustration work tied into web branding but with the quality of individual illustrators improving greatly the oversized mascots have begun to claim a brand of their own on websites. And frankly there can be no better marketing brand than a goofy vector-based creature.

Mozilla, Firefox, MailChimp and the mailman monkey are a few of the best examples of the websites that use big vector art for their branding. The 2011 saw hundreds of these websites and this trend will not only continue but will also see a rise for the year 2012.

3. Multi Column Menus

This approach is great for the websites that has way too many links in them. If the traditional type of navigation is used in such cases then they can get too messy and congested. Although this problem can also be solved by using a side bar menu but testing shows very good results in keeping core links at the top of the page.

This trend offers a whole new realm of creativity waiting to be explored by the designers. Multi column layouts are brilliant as you can easily display a lot of links to your visitors and keep this section squarely around your logo.

4. Custom Fonts

Typekit the free online font library provides a free trial for web designers. It allows you to write any custom font into CSS styles by embedding a little JavaScript into it. This was a popular trend during 2011 and it was especially popular with the WordPress designers who wanted to keep their blogs unique from the rest.

But until a few years ago Typekit was a buggy system and had a very little support. Google Web Fonts however has completely changed how it is perceived by the designers and it has become more popular than ever. All you have to do is that you can go through a library of supported fonts and Google will output the code you need to include. Then you can reference these fonts by name when you declare the font family in the CSS properties on a HTML element.

Even developers are creating their own free plugins to make custom fonts just that much easier to install. Now you don’t need to upload the fonts required and there is very little that can go wrong. This gives a designer that much more freedom while choosing his or her fonts for a website.

5. Minimalism in Web

The goal of any website is to take a visitor from point A to B as quickly as possible. And there is no better way for doing it than creating a simple and intuitive interface which will be way of our future. The minimalism is fast gaining acceptance and in fact popularity with the designers especially in the last 5 years.

The lesser number of elements on a page will naturally keep a visitor focused on their goal on a page as it offers a lot lees distractions to them. You can search my article on minimalist web design here on WHB where i have provided links to a number of nicely designed minimalist websites.