2014 Design Trend: Hierarchy of Content

It’s quite apparent that flat design will dominate in 2014 design trends. And the concept and principles that apply to flat design fit under the umbrella of hierarchy of content. Considering the hierarchy of content in the initial stages of design has always been the traditional approach to the design process. But how that hierarchy of content is presented is becoming even more prevalent and important. Here are three design trends in 2014, that place hierarchy of content in the forefront:


1. Flat design

What is it? let’s start with flat design itself. In a nutshell, flat design embraces minimalism, solid colors and fills. Complex gradients, drop shadows, and design elements derived from existing objects are dramatically reduced. 531b444574d19

Why? With emphasis on communicating content clearly, and the omnipresence of the Apple effect, the minimalist graphics of flat design lend themselves to this approach. Flat design also proves faster page loading, as gradients and drop shadows are no longer there to add extra weight.


How and where? You’ll see flat design EVERYWHERE. Mostly in the digital realm through websites and mobile, but it’s making its way into print ads, equally. Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 6.24.31 PM



2. Simplicity

What? Like in flat design, designers are also taking a much simpler approach to content, ripping out the bells-and-whistle-remnants of skeuomorphism. Simple palettes with fewer colors (often as few as two) are becoming more prominent as well. finch

Why? With so much content saturating the web, clean and simple, distilled designs are a respite in the storm. Fat and fluff will be cut out to stop obscuring the meat of the matter.

How and where? Mainly web and mobile. And again, similar to flat design, the visual approach of design is being simplified, leaving the complexity to web development and implementation.



3. The narrative of a design

What is it? Storytelling is everything in brand development — but this isn’t a solo performance. The product or service, while important, must now share the stage with stories about the brand’s mission, its people and culture. This is where the designer can have some fun being a “writer,” weaving both content and design into a cohesive brand narrative.

Why? Now more than ever, designers and companies must consider how the presentation of their message will impact the way it is received. Some questions to ask are:

  • Do you want to tell the story of a company or product all on one page, without the viewer having to scroll?

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  • Is what you’re trying to communicate largely visual, and may therefore benefit from a layout with minimal supporting text?



  • Is the “story” anecdotal, benefiting from a more whimsical approach?

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  • Or technical where content needs to be laid out clearly with a more methodological explanation?

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 2.06.55 PM How and where? Again, this approach will be largely found in websites and mobile, but, of course, the “story” of a company or product has been considered in design from the beginning.

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