Introduction

Along with fourteen experienced designers, we’d like to invite you to celebrate creativity, and look into the state of design tools and trends in 2018.

Data is backed by 6,354,110 designs that were added to Avocode that year.

Sketch is feeling the competition

Sketch files accounted for 56.4% designs added to Avocode in 2018, making it still the most popular design format. However, Adobe XD and Figma were closing up on its numbers. Their free tier might have stolen a few Sketch users, but most of their users are coming from Windows, where Sketch cannot compete.
Since Sketch has been pushed to innovate faster, it finally released prototyping, Dark mode, and sped up graphics processing by taking advantage of Apple Metal.

Sketch is on track towards design systems

Sketch designs added to Avocode in 2018 had 40.5 symbols per file on average - the highest number of smart components among all formats. So why are Sketch Symbols so popular? Thanks to infinite overrides they offer the greatest flexibility when reusing components.
Sketch has also taken another step towards design systems, by introducing shared libraries. They are great for collaborating on Symbols with others, especially if you want to have control over the changes in the system.

Version control for teams still happens outside Sketch

In 2018, Sketch still did not offer any official version control solution. As a solo designer, you can manually manage your versions locally. If you need to work with other designers or stakeholders, you can keep your version history in Avocode so that everyone stays on the same page.
However, when you’re collaborating with more designers at once and need to fork the design into various branches, you might want to look into version control tools like Abstract or Plant.

Prototyping in third party tools goes out of style

In 2018, Sketch introduced built-in a prototyping feature which has replaced the prototyping functionality of the Craft plugin by InVision. Connecting screens while designing removes friction and designers seem to love it.
Also, developers enjoy accessing the prototype flow from the design they are coding. Since the launch of the Prototype player in Avocode, 7% of all Sketch files contained a prototype and this number grows monthly by 76%.

Bright colors and psychedelic gradients stand out

If you had a look on Dribbble or Behance in 2018, you would see a flood of bright colors and gradients as designers were trying to avoid mundane and desaturated color tones.
This has been evident also across the designs added to Avocode in 2018. While the year before the top 25 colors were shades of grey, this year we have seen bright yellow (#f5a62), bright blue (#007aff) and then bright red (#ff4b55) among the top 15. Also, there were 11% more gradient-fill effects across all design files.

Postmodernist movements become the source of inspiration

In 2018, many designers rebelled against general guides like Material Design or Bootstrap that put functionality above the visual side. We’ve seen explorations of unorthodox styles in their aesthetic namely experiments with wild layouts, motion, and brutalist typography instead of polishing complex details of each element.
In terms of numbers, this meant that across all design files added to Avocode, there were 15% fewer layers and the use of layer effects per file dropped by 23%.

Custom typography is thriving thanks to the web

According to our data, designers started exploring various font families. Though Roboto and Open Sans were still the most popular free fonts on our platform, the number of unique font files added in 2018 grew by 4X.
A lot of type foundries have already reacted by offering custom typefaces in the WOFF and WOFF2 formats. Also, third-party vendors started offering their traditional fonts as web fonts, and some have even introduced web font generators.

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We hope you enjoyed beautiful illustrations and also learned something new. If you did, you might be interested in our Full Report PDF that contains opinions and predictions from 7 design experts.

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outro & thank you

Meet the 7 incredible artists who joined us on this project.(in order of appearance)

This report is brought to you by Avocode.

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