Should your designs be trendy? It’s kind of a loaded question. If you follow the trends then you are being a design leader. However, if you don’t follow the trends, you are at risk of being left behind as irrelevant. Not everyone can make the new, cool thing. So the question remains, how much should your designs follow the trends.
Right now, Google is the trend-maker with their Material Design. The whole world is obsessed at the moment with it. Every new design is trying their best to be exactly like Google Material. It’s the new black.
The trend is not just about the graphics. Material has very specific guidelines about animations and 3D effects. Recently, Salesforce.com released their new Lightning UI, which obviously is influenced by Google. It’s even more impressive in some ways because it deals with a much broader and complex system. Enterprise software has alot more details to deal with.
The new Workday UX tried their best to be Material, but ended up in a strange place where the animations seem overdone and take forever before your content loads.
Just look around at new software and you are bound to see the influence of Material, including the stuff coming out of Apple. However, following the leader will only get you so far. You need to get out in front of trends. For example, I am looking heavily at SVG animations to give my designs a little extra sparkle.
Following trends isn’t the goal. However, understanding the trends and playing nice with them is important. It’s like a playground of elementary school kids. One of them has a new haircut, “oooh ahhh”. Do you copy his haircut or maybe focus on a cool new hat? Change the game.
There is no magic formula. You just have to keep your eyes open and try to make things that are awesome in their own right. Make it awesome and it will always be trendy.