Everything around us, and especially technology, is changing at the speed of light.
That’s why every year we have some brand new web design trends and 2021 is no different.
Although some web design trends have been around for years, you can’t rely solely on those trends to dominate your website if you want it to be at the top of your game.
You need to constantly follow the latest web design trends, and also be aware of all those web design trends that have been important in previous years. That is the only way to have a fantastic website.
We will help you with that. Since we are now halfway through 2021 it is the right time to take a look at all the web design trends that are most popular this year.
But we will also talk about all the web design trends that have dominated the previous two years.
So let’s get started!
In this article you will read about:
- Latest web design trends
- Hottest mobile web design trends – 2021
- Web design trends in 2020 and 2019
Latest web design trends
Dozens and maybe even hundreds of new web design trends appear every year, but most of them are short-lived.
So we will focus on telling you more about those web design trends that we think are an absolute hit in 2021 and that there is also a great chance that they will be relevant in the years to come.
These are the latest and most important web design trends for 2021:
- Retro fonts
- Dark mode
- Horizontal scrolling
- AR and VR
- Voice user interface
- Data visualization
We mentioned Parallax web design also during 2020 but it has gained in importance since then.
This is certainly one of the most interesting trends. On the internet, you will read about this web design trend under different names as it is called Parallax effects, Parallax animation, Parallax scrolling, and so on. And all that names refer to this type of design.
It is a special type of animation, which is becoming increasingly popular, both because it looks great and because high-speed internet is becoming more widespread, so websites that use Parallax animation will not be slow-loading as they would be a few years ago.
Old video games, which were 2D, served as inspiration for this type of web design. Layers that move at different speeds are used and this gives the impression of depth.
Also, it is an optical illusion that we encounter in everyday life when it seems that objects that are close to us are moving faster than those that are far away.
So the main method for creating Parallax animation is to make the foreground animation move faster than the background.
If you incorporate Parallax web design most site visitors are going to be delighted, but you should keep two things in mind.
Parallax web design can negatively affect SEO because it relies on fewer, bigger pages. The second thing to keep in mind is that too much movement can make your website unsuitable for all those with a vestibular balance disorder.
Simple design, also called flat design, has been popular for years and we are sure that it will remain so in the foreseeable future. In one of our blogs, we have given examples of the most creative websites and you will see that most of them are minimalist.
We can say that flat design is already overtaking complex design as the most popular type of web design. Quality over quantity is increasingly present in all spheres of our lives, so the same applies to web design.
If everything is too colorful, if you use 5 different fonts, for example, your website will look cluttered and cheap.
To achieve a minimalist look, use a maximum of three colors, use one font, and insert other fonts only if they fit perfectly. Also, hidden navigation is a great option and everything has to be user-friendly.
This does not mean that your site should be boring because extreme minimalism is not beneficial.
The point is that you need to strike a balance by not using unnecessary elements and features just to make your website look as full as possible. White space is a good thing so don’t be scared if white space takes up the majority of your website. It will make the things on the page pop up even more.
And that is why everything else on the website should be interesting and user-friendly. This way you will get a minimalist design and a very functional website at the same time.
Retro things are becoming more popular, which has brought retro fonts back to the scene. Vintage fonts that were used during the ’50s,’ 60s, ’70s, and ’80s are something you will see on many websites this year.
These are various fonts that were used mainly for posters announcing new movies, concerts, and other events. Among these fonts, there are a lot of fonts that will look great on a website, but you also have to be careful.
Many retro design solutions have not aged well, so they will not fit well on your website.
Also, retro fonts are not suitable for all types of businesses, so pay attention to that before you decide to use them.
For example, if the website is an online presentation of a dental clinic or law firm, a retro font is not an ideal solution.
While for a burger restaurant retro fonts can be a perfect fit.
The dark mode is nothing new, as it has been available on Instagram, YouTube, and other famous websites for years.
However, the implementation of the dark mode on websites that do not belong to the largest social networks is a trend in 2021.
Dark mode has multiple benefits. Primarily because it reduces eye strain, which is certainly a big problem for most people today because they spend too much time looking at the screen.
In addition, dark mode gives a very modern look to the website and that is why many choose to implement it. It also allows you to easily highlight certain parts.
All low light user interface options will be present in 2021 and beyond and that is why we advise you to implement dark mode. But remember that it is not enough to just insert dark mode, but that you have to adjust the complete design to dark mode.
High-quality 3D content is a major web design trend in 2021.
With the advancement of technologies and the possibilities that web developers have at their disposal, you will often encounter various 3D elements on websites.
These can be 3D animations, 3D interactive content, and much more. Different 3D graphics and 3D visuals will contribute to the attractive appearance of your website.
Also 3D effective in 2D space is a very popular approach these days. The possibilities are endless, it’s up to you to be creative and fit 3D elements into your website as best as you can.
3D elements fit especially well on minimalist layouts because then an ideal balance is created between simplicity and attractive appearance.
Users also like interactive content, so incorporate 3D interactive content to achieve a breathtaking look.
As you may have already noticed, non-traditional scrolling options are more and more popular and horizontal scrolling stands out. As its name suggests, when you implement horizontal scrolling, site visitors will not scroll from top to bottom, but horizontally.
Horizontal scrolling was not too popular when it appeared, but it is now increasingly present.
To successfully implement horizontal scrolling on your website you need to consider a few things.
First of all, we want to emphasize that horizontal scrolling is by no means something that should be implemented at all costs. Do this only if you realize that it will fit well and look better than vertical scrolling.
In other cases, stick to vertical scrolling.
If you manage to create a website that, thanks to horizontal scrolling, will look like a very attractive book and will improve the user experience, then go ahead.
But in case there is a lot of text to read avoid it. The user will quickly get tired of horizontal scrolling and leave your website, which you definitely don’t want.
Sometimes it can be a great option for a landing page.
Many times over the years, you may have noticed that color trends are changing.
Since most websites strive for minimalism, the same goes for colors. Colorless design, where white space dominates and everything else is black is very popular at the moment.
If you don’t want that, then take advantage of soft colors. Use a soft color palette, without flashy colors and too many different colors. Keep it simple.
On the other hand, some businesses need a website full of vibrant colors, so do not use only soft colors at all costs, but in such cases, bold color combinations are allowed.
In case you want a balance between minimalism and lots of colors, consider gradients. This way you will combine several color palettes and overlay application methods. This is a great way to stand out, as you will achieve a unique look.
AR and VR
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will be more and more represented in all spheres of our lives.
You probably already know the difference between AR and VR, but we will repeat it briefly again. AR uses a real-world setting where certain parts are added, so for example you can see how a certain product would fit in your room. VR is completely virtual and you are navigating a world like in video games.
You may think that both are very expensive and complicated to implement on a website, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
If you want to offer multimedia experiences, then it is very profitable to invest in AR and VR.
In case you sell something, AR will pay off because more people will be willing to buy your product when they know how it fits in their room or how it looks on them, which is one of the biggest shortcomings of online shopping.
Although VR is currently in the spotlight with gamers and video gaming companies, it has its application in electronic commerce and all other spheres, so VR content can be very useful. You will definitely stand out from the competition because VR is still not that common. Since it will surely be all around in a couple of years, take the opportunity to stay ahead of the pack.
Micro-interactions have been shown to greatly improve the conversion rate of CTA elements on a website. With micro-interactions, you can influence customers to make much more emotional purchases than they would without micro-interactions.
Those are small animations that give feedback to the user for every action he or she does on your website. Micro-interactions are all those almost imperceptible animations, for example when the colors change or a certain thing focuses when your mouse cursor is on it.
But believe us, even though customers don’t pay almost any attention to micro-interactions consciously, the brain will notice them and remember them. Micro-interactions make it easy to emphasize target buttons.
Accessibility is much more than just a web design trend.
It is something that must be implemented on every website, to enable all disabled people in the world to live a dignified and functional life.
You need to design the website so that each user can navigate and interact with most, if not all, of the content.
Remember that almost 30 percent of the world’s population has some form of disability, so inclusivity and accessibility are very important both for them and for you.
In addition to helping you reach a wider audience, accessibility also boosts your SEO.
We have to remind you not to forget accessibility in the dark mode because it is a mistake that is often made.
Voice user interface
Voice user interface (VUI) is a technology that allows people to control various devices by voice.
You’ve all heard of Alexa, Siri, Bixby, Google Assistant, and others, both on smartphones and as separate devices that serve as home assistants.
VUI has a huge potential and is more and more present in our homes every year.
That is why in 2021 it has become an important web design trend. Implement different types of VUIs, such as voice chatbots and other virtual assistants.
It’s something that people will expect more and more to be available everywhere, including on your site. They will not want to search the website with the help of search options, but only with the help of their voice.
Voice user interface is also very important for accessibility, which we talked about in the previous paragraph because it helps blind people and people with other types of disabilities to use the Internet without interruption.
Even the illiterate have great opportunities with VUI. And it will be great for SEO.
Is there a person in the world who didn’t want to have the possibility of data visualization after watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day or some similar superhero movie?
Data visualization is something you can offer to the users on your website and make it look very attractive.
This will not only have a positive effect on the overall look but also on the functionality because as people are visual creatures, it will be easier for you to convey certain things to them.
People will probably be much more interested in your brand and want to know more about it.
And finally, they won’t have to scroll for long, but they will be able to see everything right away. That way they will be more interested and you will also be remembered for it.
Hottest mobile web design trends in 2021
Until a few years ago, mobile web design trends were very different from web design trends for computers.
As smartphones have now advanced to the level that you can do almost anything with them, just like with the help of a computer, the trends have become practically the same.
All the web design trends we have talked about so far are also hot when we talk about mobile web design.
Some things, like dark mode, are primarily made for smartphones.
The only thing you need to pay attention to is that the website is completely adapted to browsing from a smartphone and that it loads as quickly as possible because the internet is slower than when the computer is connected to a LAN cable.
To help you build mobile friendly website
Web design trends in 2020 and 2019
We want to take a look at the web design trends from the previous two years to help you can conclude what is similar and what is changing in 2021.
So let’s see which trends were in during 2020 and 2019:
Oversized lettering and bold color
Big and bold headlines are one of the biggest trends of 2020. They started gaining popularity years ago and are still going strong. It probably wouldn’t be wrong to think that they will never go out of style. But why are they so popular?
They’re very effective and can be stunning. Big headlines with nice fonts draw the attention instantly and can make a whole simple page feel fresh. Paired with a nice fitting background, big lettering can look amazing. Be careful though, it can look really bad if it’s on a page with multitudes of images or if the background image is supposed to be the focus of the page.
It is often combined with simple solid color backgrounds, such as red, green, black, purple, and honestly pretty much any color you can imagine. Similarly to oversized lettering, bold colors draw the attention as well and make sure that a website stays in your memory.
Colorfulness and gradients
Colors can be used to deliver messages, express ideas and emotions and they are an important part of branding.
Combined with gradients, they are the two elements that can work on pretty much any type of design. Used on both typography and backgrounds, the right combination of colors can go a long way.
Color theory is one of the most important skills a designer can possess. Knowing how to use colors correctly means everything in the world of web design.
Combined with a unique illustration, the right colors can attract attention easily and look stunning.
This is another element that instantly captures attention. It ensures that a visitor stays on your website more because they want to see where the video is going.
They can be videos of products, tours, projects, members of a company in a relaxed or professional setting or a combination of both or they can feature a portfolio. I can think of so many times when I’ve clicked on websites that had videos for backgrounds so I stayed and watched them sometimes even multiple times. They’re interesting and often captivating, but if done wrong, they can slow down a website significantly, so make sure to optimize your video and all the other elements on your website.
One of the biggest trends of 2019, asymmetry remained relevant until today.
Yes, it is the absence of symmetry, but it doesn’t mean it’s messy and disorganized. It is actually quite a difficult thing to master because it is hard to maintain the relationships and balances among elements.
Asymmetrical grids are so much more unique and offer a ton more freedom than symmetrical grids. If you want your website to be remembered and outshine all your competitor’s websites, consider hiring a web designer who can make a great asymmetrical grid for you.
Speaking of creativity, nothing says creative more than asymmetry.
Contrary to popular belief, asymmetry doesn’t mean that a bunch of elements just got thrown together. It is actually quite a complex thing to pull off that, when done well, can result in a beautiful design. A good asymmetrical grid design can take ages to achieve because there are no written rules on it, you just have to decide it if looks good or not.
All the elements must be in balance, so the most important parts aren’t outweighed by the less important ones.
The trend of hidden navigation is directly tied to the popularity of minimalism. People want as little as possible on their homepages, because it makes the background stand out and achieves peak minimalism: a website with only the background and headline.
The hidden navigation can be used in multiple ways: a small button you can click to see the navigation, it is hidden and appears as you move the mouse over a certain area of the screen, or the navigation just appears by itself over a few seconds. If you want to use a video as a background and have people focus on it, hidden navigation is definitely the way to go. But don’t forget to make the navigation button visible, so people don’t get confused.
Animations, GIFs, and dynamic illustrations were big in 2019 and undoubtedly will continue to be.
They can effectively spice up a page and make even the simplest websites look more lively and professional. If you find that a video slows down your website significantly, an animation can be just as effective. You can also use it to transition between pages, and if big animations aren’t really your thing, there are always smaller ones that add personality to pages.
This is another trend that was big in 2019, and the reason for its remaining popular is that it doesn’t only look good but is also quite useful.
It creates a special visual flow, helps with organization, and makes a website look different from all the other ones that have more of a traditional-looking homepage. Concerning the usefulness of this trend, it works out well with website responsiveness. While a page with split content has two parts side by side on desktop, on mobile they stack and go one under the other.
Organic and natural shapes are another trend from 2019 that is continuing and for a good reason.
Web designers are continuing to move away from strict and sharp lines, which limit the freedom of design. Natural shapes are innately asymmetrical and imperfect as well so they are giving an appearance that provides more comfort to the websites. They also feel more spontaneous and human.
Natural and fluid shapes were one of the most prominent web design trends in 2019. Designers abandoned straight lines and started using more organic lines. Images put in circles, backgrounds with curvy lines that separate colors, and buttons with elliptical shapes all made websites look more natural and feel more approachable.
2019 was the year of web designers slowly moving away from the strictness of straight lines and allowing websites to look more creative and diverse.
One of the trends of 2018, chatbots remained a relevant web design trend.
They are artificial intelligence (AI) integration and are used to talk to customers and answer important questions. Their significance lies in them being active 24/7, so whenever a customer visits a website, they are greeted by a chatbot who offers help should they need it. They can also redirect customers to a human assistant or different pages.
No matter if a website is being visited by a hundred or even thousands of people, one chatbot can manage all of their questions at the same time and immediately, with no delay. Additionally, 70% of people prefer texting over calling, so having a chatbot doesn’t have any disadvantages.
Every day, we are stepping further and further away from the traditional and strict design. Overlapping elements were probably the most unique web design trend in 2019, with numerous possibilities.
Similar to asymmetry, this creative trend gained in popularity pretty fast. Text over images, images over text, images over images, the possibilities are plentiful and they form a unique look and instantly grab attention.
But it isn’t all about aesthetics. Overlapping elements are also used to represent different kinds of interactions that allow users to know what to click to go to the next page or to switch to the next image or article.
There are many people making web design-related Pinterest boards, so examples of overlapping elements are numerous and easy to find.
Stark, rugged and bold, websites with a brutalist style were all over the internet in 2019. What characterizes them is the use of giant fonts that take up most of the screen, saturated colors, weird choice of cursors, asymmetry and images and buttons in odd places.
They might be hard to navigate (and look at), but we cannot say that they don’t look intriguing.
So, we have come to the end of this blog. We talked about web design trends in 2021 which we consider to be the most popular and also the best for improving your website.
Of course, there are many others, but these are our favorite.
Our advice is to not be afraid and try different trends because you can always remove them if you don’t end up liking them or that the numbers regarding your website are in decline.
Some trends from 2019 and 2020 will still be relevant, even from some years prior to these so use them as well. It does not mean that everything new is better than the old.
We can’t wait to see what the second half of 2021 will bring.
Thank you for reading!
Need advice in choosing a web design trend that fits you?