Going "Off-Grid"

By Samantha Silver


     One of the big design trends that have been steadily picking up popularity is the idea of going “off grid”- breaking away from harsh grid lines, and paving the way for edgeless screens and borderless designs. Both edgeless screens and borderless designs have a similar goal in mind: doing away with chunky, blocky borders in order to create a more fluid and immersive storytelling experience. But what exactly does going “off grid” mean?

     Traditionally, designers have been reliant on grid-based systems in order to try to create consistent and logical blueprints for devices or experiences. Grid-based systems help to keep everything neat and organized, as well as help the design process by outlining where everything should go. Grid-based design systems are excellent for minimalistic approaches to design, such as a single-page scrollable website. However, grid-based systems can often time lead to other kinds of design feeling clunky, rather than seamless and fluid.

    Throughout 2018, we have seen a rise in the popularity of “edgeless” screens- which helped to give rise to a whole new way of thinking in regards to design and optimizing user experience. Edgeless screens help to create an immersive, full-screen experience that better engages the user without feeling intrusive. Users are now able to fully immerse themselves in whatever they are looking out without being confined by screen-edges, which allows the experience to become captivating and mesmerizing for the user. These edgeless screens helped designers envision a design process that paid less attention to rigid lines and focuses more on flow and fluidity, something that could adequately fill up all this new space. The concept of borderless designs was born and quickly began challenging the previous ideas following rigid grid models.

    Borderless designs focus on how to create the most fluid and seamless storytelling experience for users. Borderless designs often focus on creating a continuous story-like presentation, rather than designing based off of grid-based, organized wire frames. Borderless designs reduce the need for multiple page redirects and offer users an uninterrupted, immersive experience. This streamlined presentation helps to capture maximum user attention. Borderless designs help create a sense that the webpage is infinite, which is why borderless designs are often referred to as “infinity screens”. While borderless designs do move away from traditional grid-based thinking, it does not mean that designers are doing away with grids entirely- borderless designs simply allow designers to create more intuitively and innovatively.

    Going “off grid”- edgeless screens and borderless designs- is all about creating the most immersive, streamlined user experience possible. In 2018, designers are swapping chunky screen borders for borderless designs to fit within edgeless screens, putting an emphasis on making navigation smoother and storytelling more fluid for all users. Edgeless screens and borderless designs are not only innovative, but encourage us to keep thinking and creating outside the box.


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