These 2012 app design trends are a blast from the past

11. Fun illustrations

App design trends: Benfro

It's perhaps in game design where UI designers have more room for experimentation. We're sure we'll see more highly original UIs such as those in the likes of the gorgeous Whale Trail and the beautiful Sir Benfro's Brilliant Balloon. The latter is far from anything you've ever seen on the iPhone – a stunning interface with crazy characters littering the screen and fitting hand-drawn typography providing simple, yet classy navigation.

12. Photo-realistic icons

App design trends: Icons

It's the way your users recognise your app on their home screen and is hugely important when designing your app. Icons that are highly realistic, yet stylised, defining the core function of the app, have become commonplace this year. Instagram is a great example, as is Facebook Camera and Physique – the latter icon designed by Roman Jusdado. See here for a tutorial on creating your own.

13. Notification boxes

App trends: Notification boxes

You know the kind – the square speech bubbles that pop up when you tap a button (or pop-up modal boxes as they're known). If there's one shape that's dominated UIs over the past year, and one that will continue to dominate, it's this. It's popular because it works, giving your app contextual information that is only shown when needed.

14. Buttonless design

App design trends: Buttonless

2012 may just be the beginning of a move to slicker, buttonless UI design. It's the complete opposite to Apple's skeuomorphic approach, embracing digital devices as just that, digital devices. A perfect example is Realmac Software's Clear, a to-do list app that uses simple gradated rectangular blocks along with common iOS gestures to great effect. Expect to see more minimalist, gesture-led apps such as Clear in the next year as designers and developers get bored of the often OTT skeuomorphic apps that have been commonplace since Apple decided it was the way to go.

15. New approaches to buttons

App design trends: new buttons

Similarly, UI designers are pushing apps in different directions when it comes to the designs of their buttons. We've all seen the skeuomorphic button approach a million times, but apps such as Figure (a music-making app) takes an app that 'needs' buttons but presents them in a flat, graphic, animated way that is both easy to use and visually appealing. 

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The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of seven full-time members of staff: Editor Georgia Coggan, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, Tech Reviews Editor Erlingur Einarsson and Ecommerce Writer Abi Le Guilcher, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq. 

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