The concept of a design trend is of course highly subjective and obviously depends on the aesthetic of the person that is putting the list together and it can only really canvas a small selection of the designs used in the millions of sites that are launched on the web each year. There is however what seems to be a degree of consensus among the lists and from what I’ve observed in my favourite web galleries (see the notes at the end), most of the predictions below certainly cover a majority of the sites that have made it onto the online web galleries so far this year.
As a template designer myself, I know from first hand experience that the Joomla! template market is incredibly competitive and that design is not always the key driver behind a template release. The power of Joomla, as you probably already know, is that it can cater to a wide range of website purposes so having a cutting edge design isn’t necessarily the biggest priority for a site and thus the biggest factor in a template shop putting out a theme. That being said, Joomla template design has matured considerably over the last few years and as other commentators have noted, Joomla has certainly influenced theme development in other content management systems like Wordpress and Drupal.
The list of Joomla templates below is not a defininitive list of cutting edge Joomla Templates but I think they reflect the trends as outlined by the design blogs.
A greater emphasis on typography. Larger fonts and big intro text blocks. Serif fonts and slab typography.
Sketches and hand drawn elements. Subtle texture backgrounds.
Large images, oversized logos and headers.
Single page layouts
White space, minimalism, minimal grids.
Stricter grids, wider designs, horizontal page layouts, intro blocks, intro boxes, magazine layouts, oversized footer, change of perspective.
Designing for the mobile platform
It's going to be interesting to see how the rest of the year unfolds in terms of keeping up with and setting new design trends. Template design and functionality will certainly continue to evolve, and as the growth in Joomla! template frameworks has proven, Joomla! template developers will continue to be part of the leading edge when it comes to influencing where this amazing content management system of ours can go.
Web design blogs that I used as a source for the 2010 trend predictions:
Web design Galleries