web-design-trends-2021
Trends

20 Top Web Design Trends for 2021

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Standing out from the crowd, especially if you are a small business owner is hard. That means that you need to stay on top of the trends in web design even if you are not a designer yourself. Your potential customers visit tons of websites on a daily basis, so making them stay on yours is a tricky job.

The first step you should take is to create a visually appealing and intuitive website. In today’s environment that’s awash with information, your website needs to be intuitive, to communicate a strong message on a first glance.

Also, consider taking some web design courses (or make sure your designer does) as they also help to keep up with the most recent trends and skills polishing.

Let’s explore the web design trends for the upcoming year that will ensure your website is clear and uncluttered, yet still rich in information…and trendy.

Here is our choice of 20 trends in web design that will be noticeable in 2021:

  1. Dark mode
  2. 3D elements
  3. Oversize
  4. Whitespace
  5. Exposed grid
  6. Minimalist navigation
  7. A mixture of photography and graphics
  8. Tailor-made illustrations
  9. Luminous color schemes
  10. Bold fonts
  11. Split-screen content
  12. Overlapping layers
  13. Fullscreen forms
  14. Retro fonts
  15. Horizontal scrolling
  16. Augmented reality 
  17. Custom cursors
  18. Monochrome with a pop of color
  19. Scrollytelling
  20. Physical products turn digital

Trend #1 Dark Mode

Dark mode has been around for a while and the predictions are that it will still be present in 2021. The interesting thing is that this trend has a practical beginning. Big brands, such as Instagram, Android, and Apple offer an alternative dark mode as it is easy on the eyes. Today, many other apps and websites offer visitors the option to choose if they want to activate this ultra-modern, yet healthier mode.

Dark backgrounds are praised by designers as well. Why? – They allow other elements to pop-out. Besides, if you are using an OLED/AMOLED screen, the dark mode can significantly save your device’s battery power.

dark-mode-trend
Image source: Dribble

Is there any reason you haven’t still implemented dark mode to your site’s theme?

Trend #2 3D Elements

3D elements fascinated both users and designers for several years now. The reason why they haven’t been around that much is the costly technology behind them. Still, as VR technology is gaining momentum now, our forecasts are that the 3D trend is going to reach its peak in the next moths.

3d-web-design-trend
Image source: Dribble

When the designers combine VR and 3D we’ll enjoy some hyper-realistic visuals on our screens! On top of all, users will tend to stay longer on the websites to explore other stunning 3D visuals which will increase the average session duration.

A small warning: one of the main requirements to implement 3D visuals is a high performing website. Make sure you double-check if everything is well optimized before investing in these captivating visuals.

Trend #3 Oversize

Large, oversized, prominent elements will help you to communicate your message clearly and right away. This trend can be applied to just about anything on your website: from enlarged fonts or menu icons to fullscreen images and videos.

Big-size elements are eye-catching and can be a great complement to the overall idea of making your website intuitive as possible. Plus, they look great on small screens.

oversize-trend

Well, just don’t go big with too many elements on your website – you don’t want your website to seem overwhelming.

Trend #4 Whitespace

Whitespace (negative space, the blank area between the design elements) can give any page, on any screen a well-adjusted look. Of course, the whitespace doesn’t necessarily have to be white, yet in 2020 many designers have embraced this trend. And it is going to stick around.

whitespace-trend
Image source: Apple

This trend isn’t that new among designers. The whitespace has always been a design principle, yet today it is larger, noticeable more than ever.
This trend is a great addition to the previously mentioned oversized elements – the combination of these two gives a pristine, fresh, and clean page look.

Trend #5 Exposed Grid

What if we told you that it is trendy to have a UX inspired by operating systems and apps? We beat that you won’t imagine such an appealing design. However, if you take a look at websites that follow the exposed grids trends, you’ll see that their look is contemporary, yet with a humoristic approach.

exposed-grid-trend
Image source: Cyberchimps

Rectangles and strokes, or thin lines, divide up our screen into sections, guiding our eyes in the desired reading direction. explained at Wix.

Let’s just add that this trend is great for online skim reading

#6 (More) Minimalist Navigation

Wearable devices are getting more popular each year and that means that web designers need to think smaller. Therefore, the navigation has been simpler over the past years.

Today, we see the rise of ultra-minimalist menus, easy to navigate on basically every device.

minimalist-navigation-trend
Image source: 99designs

In addition, this trend gives websites a very sophisticated look and encourages users to use their imagination. One more trend that goes hand in hand with large-scale elements and minimum text!

#7 A Mixture of Photography and Graphics

A challenge that designers are facing today is how to communicate customized messages with users. The trend of mixing photography and graphics can be a great solution! Photos of real people or products can support the overall branding in a way that will distinguish you from the crowd.

photo-graphics-trend
Image source: Shutterstock

Create stunning visuals by overlapping graphics on top of real photos. Or, communicate abstract concepts in a simpler way – just imagine how easy can you explain your finance or tech business by the combo of visuals and photos.

Do you need help with website design?

Based on behavior patterns and human psychology, we create a fantastic user experience – it’s simple, intuitive, and effective. Together, we will shape your idea into a beautiful visual story on your website.

#8 Tailor-made Illustrations

Spice up your story with visuals that fully support your brand’s identity. Surely, you can use some pre-made elements and combine them to craft a unique visual. Or even better – add some emotions and humanity to your web design with hand-drawn elements. Yes, they will be imperfect, but that’s the catch!

illustrations-design-trend
Image source: Dribble

Users will appreciate if the see some realness in your design, they will recognize the designer’s heart and soul.

#9 Luminous Color Schemes

In the past years, we’ve seen glowing elements on websites that promote cryptocurrencies or ICOs. However, the trend of these futuristic color schemes is going to be around in 2021 as well.

web_design_trends
Image source: Xmoneta

Futuristic color schemes and designs will be on trend next year, continuing with the isometric trend and bringing in colors like blues and purples and hot pink to give designs that futuristic glowing feel. – Adrianne Mesnard, Art Director at 99designs

We are excited to see how will this trend develop especially with the combination of dark mode and minimalistic design. Just imagine those glowing purple shades on a dark background!

#10 Bold fonts

Okay, so we know that bold fonts aren’t something new. But, in 2020 this trend has made a statement. Everybody is competing in grabbing the user’s attention faster, better. Bolded titles can be a great solution.

bold-fonts-trend
Image source: FranaFX

Apart from this practical aspect, the trend of big, bold fonts will add a modern feel to any site. Apple is a great example…and we are sure that they know what they’re doing, right?

#11 Split-Screen Content

The captivating trend of breaking the rectangular mold in two (or more) is a great way to convey more ideas. Unleash your creativity, play around with different scroll effects and make each block move at a different pace.

web-design-trends
Image source: Inextwebandseo

#12 Overlapping Layers

This trend is a good complement to the previously mentioned split-screen content. This time, try layering up elements to add a 2D effect. Visuals piled on top of each other can be a bit confusing, so don’t forget to use whitespace around the elements to make your composition clear.

overlapping-layers-trend
Image source: WebINTENSIVE

#13 Fullscreen forms

Online forms are a crucial part of many online businesses: from eCommerce, signing up to a service, webinar, etc. With the trend of big elements comes the popularity of forms displayed on a fullscreen.
In addition, expanding your forms looks more inviting and can result in improving your user experience.

web design trends
Image source: JethSloth

We are eager to see more trends that will 2021 bring us – stay tuned for updates! Be creative, don’t be afraid to experiment, yet if you need a hand with making your website OSM – just send us a quote, no strings attached.

Do you need help with website design?

Based on behavior patterns and human psychology, we create a fantastic user experience – it’s simple, intuitive, and effective. Together, we will shape your idea into a beautiful visual story on your website.

#14 Retro – Futurism Style Fonts

Many old things are becoming very trendy again, same goes with throwback typography. However, we are not seeing the exact same fonts as before, rather a bit stylized version with a futuristic look and feel.

Designers have been experimenting, added a fresh touch to traditional fonts. The result is a new trend that would surely be around in the upcoming months.

Futurism Style Fonts
Image source: goliath-entertainment.com

#15 Horizontal Scrolling

At one point horizontal scrolling was a big no-no, however in 2021 it is having a comeback! More and more established designers are continuing to experiment with horizontal scroll and making this forgotten feature a rising trend.

However, if you want to implement this type of scroll to your website, be careful – it is not always completely UX friendly. Try to find the best way to make this trend work for you. It can be a very practical way to show secondary information, but let your users be able to find all crucial info through buttons, arrows…

We certainly encourage you to try out this trend since it can make a strong impact on your user experience, but  try to avoid horizontal scroll for text that is important to read.

Horizontal Scrolling
Video source: momentomultimedia.com

#16 Augmented Reality 

The trend of multimedia experiences goes without mentioning, but we beat that you haven’t seen that many augmented reality (AR) experiences on commercial websites. Well, the cost of implementing such an experience to your website is still pretty high, but software made by Wayfair Technologies has made it more affordable.

Take a look at Jeep’s Build & Price a Jeep page (not just our recording, enjoy the whole experience!). Jeep leveraged a very useful solution during the pandemic times since it doesn’t require stepping foot into car dealerships. The AR trend will surely be seen on more e-commerce and retail websites and we just can’t wait to see all the creative designs they will promote!

Augmented Reality
Video recording: jeep.com

#17 Custom Cursors

Why do designers overlook cursors when they can make such a big change to the browsing experience? Well, it seems that this won’t be the case in 2021, since cursor design is getting attention! 

Just have a look how Büro’s morphing circular cursor changes its design depending on the element it’s hovering over! Simple, yet amazing, right?

Custom Cursors
Video source: burocratik.com

#18 Monochrome With a Pop of Color

For monochrome look lovers here’s a design trend that will spice up your grey scale. Add a pop of color to an element or a hover effect – this simple touch will immediately make the desired element stand out.

Even a minimal plain design can cause a super-engaging experience with some colorful details. How do you like our e-commerce project where we utilized this trend?

Monochrome With a Pop of Color
Video source: rekakaftans.com

#19 Scrollytelling

Copywriters and content marketers have been telling stories through web experiences, for quite a while. This trend is known as storytelling, but in 2021 it will be brought on a whole new level! Please welcome scrollytelling – visual storytelling that makes the whole experience even stronger, that hooks the reader into its narrative. 

How?

This is where the creativity comes in. Try to add playback controls so the user can interact intuitively. Just make sure that the scrollytelling elements don’t distract the visitor from some important text.

Webflow’s Web Design Art History is a great example of scrollytelling done right, so make sure you check it out.

Video source: webflow.com

#20 Physical Products Turn Digital

There’s no need to mention that products are the heart of the websites, especially e-commerce ones. In 2021, we’ll experience a highlight on creative, digital interpretations of physical media.

This might come in the form of color smeared across a page like nail polish or images that are cropped in rounded rectangles like smart phones. Not only does this approach create visual synergy between the product and its website, it makes web pages feel more organic and unexpected. – explain at 99designs.

Image source: oralondon.co

Do you need help with website design?

Based on behavior patterns and human psychology, we create a fantastic user experience – it’s simple, intuitive, and effective. Together, we will shape your idea into a beautiful visual story on your website.

We are eager to see more trends that will 2021 bring us – stay tuned for updates! Be creative, don’t be afraid to experiment, yet if you need a hand with making your website OSM – just send us a quote, no strings attached.

If you have doubts when it comes to outsourcing web design services, here’s a great guide on How to Hire a Great Web Designer. We assure you that our team will surprise you with their creative ideas!

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