Top 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Create Trendy Designs

Following trends is a part of many creators in all creative mediums: design, fashion, music, film, whatever. It’s only natural: you see what people want, then you give it to them. What’s the problem, you might ask?

Well, that system, while fine for short-term gains and immediate profits, is fundamentally broken. In fact, there are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t create ‘flavor-of-the-week’ designs.

By choosing to instead hone in on and dominate your own style – even while following trends – you’ll set yourself up for long-term benefits:

  • More profit
  • Less unnecessary work
  • An identifiable brand
  • Clients coming to you
  • A more meaningful impact to the world

Again, you could even be following trends, as long as you’re conscious that it isn’t the most viable long-term strategy for your design career and instead focus on honing in and dominating your own style. You get your needed short-term benefits while building your foundation for a butt-kicking and long-lasting design career.

So read on to find out 5 reasons why you shouldn’t create trendy designs:

Top 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Create Trendy Designs

1. Your work will become dated

This one is pretty obvious. Trends come and go, so any work you create that follows a trend will automatically become dated years later. That glossy, reflective web 2.0-style website? Dated years later. An Apple-aping mobile app interface? Dated years later. You get the picture.

Now granted, this isn’t as critical for client-based work, where they specifically request a style and the work would’ve been one-off anyway. But for passive income generators – selling themes, icons, graphics, creating a store, and so forth – this is a problem, because…

2. You’ll make unnecessary work for yourself

This is an extension of #1. Because your design work’s lifespan is automatically shortened due to it being of the time and not timeless, you’ll have to constantly follow trends, see what’s hot, reinvent your style, learn new techniques that you may not be into, and on top of that create new designs to replace the outdated unhip ones.

Plus, any themes, icons, and graphics that you designed for passive income selling will become outdated and unprofitable. So you’ll have to constantly design new of-the-moment stuff to replace your outdated designs – instead of adding to still-profitable timeless designs and increasing your long-term profits.

So basically: lots of busywork. Time that could otherwise be spent just creating new designs and further pushing your own style that you’re dominating.

Even for client work many of those tasks would apply. Rather than clients wanting your own style, you’ll need to constantly research the latest and trendiest styles – and then go and pursue clients.

3. Clients won’t necessarily come to you

As mentioned, since you don’t have your own desirable style but instead are creating in whatever the current trendy style is, you’ll have to do more work finding clients. Clients won’t come to you since you won’t have as unique and desirable a style and ethos.

After all, if you’re creating designs that are in the same current style as every other designer out there, what separates you from them? Why would a client choose you over them, much less independently seek out your non-existent unique style?

4. No identifiable brand will be established

These reasons just keep feeding into each other: this is an extension of #3. The reason why clients won’t come to you is that, by only creating trendy designs, you don’t have an identifiable brand. You are creating in the style that all the other designers are creating in, after all.

Not having an identifiable brand isn’t just a sexy thing. Sure, everyone wants to have their own brand and unique identity established – it’s cool and it attracts members of the opposite sex. No, having an identifiable brand established is also important from a business standpoint. Why would someone choose a Nike shoe over, say, a Reebok? Because the brand resonates with them more, or the Nike brand screams #1 and champion more than Reebok.

It’s no different for designers: the reason a client might choose designer A over designer B is because the brand is more attractive, more cool, more unique, and associated with the right clients. Just look at any of your favorite designers and design firms – web, visual, and otherwise. It’s very likely the reason you like them is because of their unique style and ethos, not because they create trendy designs just like everyone else.

So dominating your own style and establishing your unique identifiable brand is what gets clients finding and coming to you. And you don’t get that by only creating trendy designs and not separating yourself at all from other designers.

5. You won’t make as world-changing of an impact

This is less tangible a reason but perhaps the most important one. By simply following trends, what kind of a impact are you creating in the world? Forget the design community and clients, think bigger: are you making as world-changing a dent in this world as you can by limiting yourself to creating trendy designs? In the style that all the other designers are also creating in.

The world doesn’t need more me-too’s. People want something fresh, unique, positive, life-improving. A design can do that for a client, if it’s fresh, unique, positive, and life-improving enough. And you get that by dominating your own style and then offering your unique contribution to them – not by simply creating a trendy design that other designers are also offering.

Why You Shouldn’t Create Trendy Designs

Yes, creating trendy designs can get you short-term benefits: clients, sales, profits. But as these 5 reasons have hopefully shown, it’s not the best long-term strategy. A much more viable path is to hone in on and dominate your own style. You could even be doing that while creating trendy designs – hey, we all have to pay the bills after all. As long as you remain conscious of the fact that it’s not as viable long-term as dominating your own style and creating more profit, getting clients to come to you, and making a more meaningful impact to the world.

Your Turn To Talk

Do you create in your own style rather than only creating in the latest and trendiest styles? Share your favorite reasons for dominating your own style – and real-world benefits that resulted because of that. Of course if you disagree, we wanna hear about it, too. Take a minute to chime in and leave a comment below.


  1. says

    I’d have to say that I stick to my tried-and-true look, when I’ve done something that doesn’t look like something that I would do, my friends and fellow designers call me out on it.

  2. Bobby_moore says

    I agree that following trends just because it’s trendy is bad. But in your article, nowhere you mention the importance of the clients needs. The designer job is to make the bridge between the company and his customers, and a designer can’t just sit down and do as an artist, and wait for client who like his style to comes. At least, not the majority and not at the beginnning of your career. When a company like Nike pays you millions, you put your style aside and do as they want.

  3. Stevedunno says

    Typically your design should be configured to suit the needs of the client brief. Trends can be fit into that solution but all of your justification should come from research post analysis of the brief.

  4. says

    I completely disagree with this article. Trends are what we archive and look back to. Trends are what keeps you fluid and updating a trended design is what keeps money in your pocket.

  5. says

    Sometimes a client wants something trendy – something that is not ‘different’. You can choose to take the job, or not. If you’d like to grow as a designer, learn from trends, but don’t use them. In the end, trends are like cliches, they work for a reason.

  6. kiwus says

    I agree with you. While looking at concepts on one of the sites you get to notice, that they all look the same. There are like 3 tracs: grunge, doodles, bevel & emboss and that’s about it. Oh and there are “minimal” themes which actually aren’t minimal. It seems that choosing a style is basis of web design process and everything else must fit in.

  7. says

    Just want to add to the previous comments that sure we need to have personality and inevitably preferences which compaund our style, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate and use other styles and trends, especially the ones appropriate for the brief. What makes a good designer is exactly the flexibility, to apply good taste no mater if it’s a grunge style or refined one.

    However this article it’s relevant when we see so many “collages” of trendy elements in works that not necessarily ask for them.

  8. says

    He did mention addressing the clients needs in the 2nd paragraph of reason 1.

    “Now granted, this isn’t as critical for client-based work, where they specifically request a style and the work would’ve been one-off anyway.”

  9. says

    Depends on the Trend. Doing something almost every site/blog does is unimaginative and not creative at all as a designer (Ribbons, Badges, Glossy buttons, etc…).

  10. says

    I totally agree with your article… I think there must be people doing trendy designs, but it’s necesary some people create something timeless. I mean: great designs can live through years and years….and they still are good designs.

  11. says

    I disagree completely. #1 everything dates on the internet especially, the idea of creating something timeless on the web is ridiculous. #2 if you work on the web you have to learn constantly and that should really be for any profession. #3 You are assuming that people/customers read web design blogs and understand the trends. This is nonsense. I work for a big corporation and when they finally realise there is a trend on the web they want to be a part of it. #4 I agree that you need an identifiable brand but the brand could be cutting edge and up to date. #5 This again is true to a point but again you could be just seen as the guy/girl/company that keeps doing that same old thing. I honestly think you have be incredibly special to create unique off trend designs constantly whilst making a living. 99% of the population aren’t.

  12. says

    I totally agree. Whether a designer or developer, do you want to sell yourself as a leader or a follower? For instance, WordPress themes are for sale out there that are following “trends”. Many look very nice. So, why then would a client use your design for $”x.00″ when they can download a similar “trendy” theme for $30? IMO, a website needs to promote branding through uniqueness and creativity.

  13. Oliviabest says

    The question could be viewed from different sides. From one hand, many of us are trying to follow a fresh tendency in a certain issue, be up to date in many aspects and of course in design as well. But still it is the definite choice and position of definite people. They pay for trends and sell the trend, in turn. And we should’t blame they for that. From the other hand , someone is just full of desire to a unique one and have the same unique and creative things around. They refuse to be common and duplicate others. It’s their full right. As to design, the situation is still the same. If somebody is interested in the different webdesigns, both innovative and more classical one, please you are welcome.


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