Today we’re taking a look at 2021 web design trends. From web templates and themes, to code and plugins, and even stock images and footage to deck out your site, everything you need to streamline your creative process is at your fingertips.
A white background has been considered standard to ensure readability in clean, minimal, web design but designers are increasingly using dark mode – a setting that allows the user to switch the background from light to dark – to increase contrast and make neons and pastels really pop. But this web design trend is about more than simply boosting the visibility of various creative elements. Studies show that dark mode is easier on our eyes because it reduces blue light exposure and glare, plus it can save battery life on the user’s device. As a result, many sites allow visitors to customize the user experience with the option to toggle between dark and light themes.
MIXED MEDIA ARTFORM
Anything goes when it comes to this mixed media web design trend. The practice of layering and arranging photographs, illustrations and handwriting has been popular for decades, and now this artform has entered the digital realm. Collages allow web designers to draw on a range of aesthetics and creative effects to get their message across. Like the mishmash of vintage diagrams and old-school photographs that so perfectly promote the quirky and casual atmosphere at Athens’ City Circus hostel. This cut-and-paste trend can celebrate a DIY look and feel but it can also be used to create a modern portfolio that offers a collection of carefully curated snapshots. Not surprisingly, the scrapbook look and feel also appeared in the round-up of 2020’s hottest Graphic Design Trends.
Love it or hate it, there’s no ignoring anti-design. Inspired by the recent resurgence of brutalism, this controversial style subverts traditional design rules and embraces elements that some may deem ugly – like clashing colours, asymmetrical layouts, mixed fonts and layered imagery. With its warped title text, harsh shapes and a combination of regular and italic body copy, it's sure to pique the interest of the visitors to your site. If you’re keen to breaking the rules this style may be for you.
Stripping down web design to its most essential elements, minimalism continues to catch our eye with the use of simple shapes, uncluttered text and empty space. Proving that less is more, a minimalist site with maximum appeal, works with a blend of monochrome and bold color. The sleek, paired back design allows the screen-width imagery to shine, placing the focus on the creativity of the work, over the design of the site. Try out this trend for yourself to make monochrome imagery and a structured layout sing in perfect harmony. This style celebrates usability and functionality - another trend we’ll touch on later - with its easy-to-read typography and responsive design. For such an unassuming aesthetic, minimalism is taking the world by storm.
This year, web designers invited us to stop and smell the roses with sites that draw inspiration from the great outdoors and the natural world. Influenced by an increased focus on sustainability and environmentalism, organic design features earthy colors, natural shapes, raw organic textures, floral flourishes and sweeping landscapes. This style also gives a nod to the collage trend we covered earlier.
ILLUSTRATION AND HAND DRAWN
Similar to organic design, hand-drawn illustrations can add real-life appeal to the digital realm. Wave goodbye to the unattainable beauty ideals and unrealistic lifestyles of stock photography, and display humanity and authenticity in illustration. A great example of hand-drawn illustration in web design is from AHM. They bring a human element to their health insurance products through the use of quirky cartoons featuring relatable scenarios and humorous scenes. Hand-drawn elements work in a variety of contexts, like the coffee beans, latte art and cups. This theme also plays on our last trend, organic design, with its neutral colours and natural shapes. If you’re feeling inspired to put pen to paper, or stylus to screen, now is the time to take this trend for a spin.
FUNCTIONALITY, INCLUSIVITY, AND ACCESSIBILITY
As more and more brands and businesses have come to realise the importance of providing an effective online experience, increased functionality has become a key aspect of web design as users are looking beyond what your website says to what your website can do.
But it’s not all about fast load times, mobile responsiveness, and fancy features, it’s also about inclusivity and accessibility. Incorporating elements such as strong color contrast between text and backgrounds, straightforward copy, and easy-to-spot buttons can really help.
MOTION AND INTERACTIVITY
Time to get a move on, with our next web design trend. Motion and interactivity are breathing new life into static web pages, such as the roll-over effects.
In this case, user interaction triggers motion on the page, which is both surprising and engaging. There are thousands of customizable animated graphics and moving elements you can use to attract your user’s eye.
If you’re obsessed with structure and symmetry, then this trend is made for you. Geometry begins with a simple grid and, in 2021, we’re set to see plenty of stripped-back geometric styles (which borrow from the minimalism trend). More complex geometric patterns composed of polygons, diamonds, rectangles, and triangles have been popular on the web for a while now, but recently we’ve seen more modern elements like 3D shapes and floating or rotating geometric objects popping up in web design.
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