Web design is always changing to accommodate new search engine optimization tactics, user experience preferences, creative branding, website speeds, and more. So what’s going to be big in the world of web design for 2021? Here are the top web design trends we expect to continue or take off this year!
Mobile device use accounted for 50.88% of 2020’s global internet traffic. Why does that matter? Well, flat design is more small screen-friendly, which makes it ideal for mobile-friendly web design in 2021. This minimalist approach is simple, clean, and intuitive. In addition, because flat design often lacks oversized photos, videos, and other flashy elements, webpages are able to load more quickly and have fewer issues.
Rising from the ashes of skeuomorphism, neumorphism is quickly becoming the next big thing in interface design. As a blend of one-dimensional flat design and realistic skeuomorphism, this design style utilizes simple shapes and color schemes to create a soft interface that’s easy for users to interact with. Already being implemented by companies like Apple, neumorphism should continue leading interface design in 2021.
A unique way to lead visitors through a website is with storytelling web design. By designing a visual narrative that features content structured with acts or chapters, along with interactive elements, a website can grab and keep site visitors’ attention. This 2021 design trend takes more effort upfront with story formulation, but can pay off later by keeping visitors on a website longer and clicking through to more pages, both of which are metrics that provide positive user experience signals for search engine optimization.
Just because skeuomorphism is declining doesn’t mean websites are done with three-dimensional designs. 3D visuals are still popular, and web designers are finding new ways to add depth and break up page content with three-dimensional colors and layouts. The big difference between 3D designs in 2021 and those of the past is that designers are focusing more on creating immersive user experiences, not just cool visuals.
Dark Mode Design
The more we learn about blue light and how screen time affects our eyes, the more we expect web design trends to limit blue light exposure and improve overall user experience. One of the big website trends of 2021 is dark mode design. While dark web themes go in and out of style every few years, there’s a chance we’ll see more websites offering both standard mode and dark mode options for interfaces, similar to the way social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allow users to switch back and forth.
Old-school typography featuring round serifs, block-style lettering, and bold colors is making its way back into the mainstream. In 2021, we’re already seeing a retro design trend emerging among major brands like Burger King—which recently rebranded with an homage to its 1970s design—and it’s clear that it’s going to impact web design as well. Retro typography allows designers to go big and add more personality through typeface, while still maintaining simple functionality and design.
Illustrations & Animation
For years, design trends relied heavily on minimalism—specifically sleek, modern, and monochromatic looks. Recent trends, however, show that more colorful, personalized designs are here to push back against the “generic” look. Custom illustrations and animation in particular are all the rage for 2021. It’s an easy way for websites to showcase personality and playfulness that’s appealing to consumers looking for authenticity.
Similar to illustrations and animation, abstract art is making a comeback. This 2021 web design trend utilizes everything from geometric elements to abstract stock in a seemingly unstructured manner for background imagery, supplemental graphics, and more. Abstract art can give minimalist websites bold focal points, be used in conjunction with animation and 3D design, or catch site visitors’ attentions in deep-scroll sites.
One of the biggest challenges for web designers is finding ways to keep site visitors engaged with a website for as long as possible. That’s where the parallax scrolling trend has been helpful—and will continue to be in 2021. This design moves layered images on a webpage at different lengths and speeds to add depth and dynamic elements that drive site visitors to continue scrolling. It can be particularly effective when paired with other web design trends like immersive storytelling designs and 3D designs.
Immersion is a popular theme throughout web design trends in 2021, which is why creating interactive website experiences is a priority for designers and brands of all sizes. With a combination of storytelling design, multimedia use, and the occasional easter egg, this design trend is meant to engage site visitors, share content in a more unique way, and ultimately keep visitors on a website for longer periods of time.