7 of the top web design trends for 2021
Like many forms of fashion and art, web design trends are heavily influenced by what’s going on in the world around us.
The dramatic events of 2020 have forced businesses to evolve, adapt and – in some cases – reinvent themselves entirely.
Many web designers have taken this opportunity to rethink tried-and-tested themes and approaches, and try something new.
The next 12 months will see more brands ring the changes, as they continue to navigate this strange new world we’re living in.
So, whether you’re launching a new website, planning a complete re-design, or just making a few strategic tweaks for a client, take inspiration from these in vogue trends and make sure your website is on top form – whatever 2021 might have in store…
As the lines between the office and home become increasingly blurred, 2021 will see us all multi-tasking to the max. With less time being spent on individual websites by visitors, you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to capture your audience’s attention and stop them bouncing.
Next year will see large, attention-grabbing fonts and text-only heroes continuing to grow in popularity. With fewer words to play with, it’s vital your homepages communicate your client’s overarching brand purpose or product USP as concisely and as eloquently as possible.
Take a steer from creative agency Absolute or branding experts Smakk Studios, who have their messaging nailed.
Beautiful product imagery
Worldwide lockdowns have driven a record number of shoppers online this year. Spotting an opportunity to stand out from their competitors, e-commerce web designers have focussed their attentions on product imagery.
In 2021, we’ll see a move away from small thumbnails and towards bigger, more detailed photos that really give a customer a feel for the products. There’ll also be an increase in 3D imagery and 360-degree image rotations, as well as product videography.
Big tech giants like Apple and Samsung lead the way when it comes to product imagery. And while you might not have their budget to work with, you can take inspiration from their approach. The imagery for Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live is not only stunning, but it shows the customer the product from every angle possible – including the inside.
Leave the squares and right angles in 2020 – next year will be all about slanted shapes and off-kilter text. Done right, diagonal lines can add an element of interest to your website and give a clear path for the users’ eyes to follow. They also help to create natural breaks in page content and give your websites a grid-less feel.
American shoe brand All Birds keeps things subtle with a sloping title sitting inside a rectangular image. Digital experts Bright Media take things one step further, using a mix of sharp diagonal lines and angular geometric shapes to guide you as you scroll down the page.
Sophisticated split screens
Split screen web design is a trend that just keeps on growing. It’s a highly-effective way of highlighting multiple products or bits of content, and encourages the user to make a conscious choice and proceed down the sales funnel.
As we enter 2021, split screen design will continue to become more sophisticated. Whereas the first designs were fairly simple and symmetrical, now you can play around with zigzag patterns and grid-based splits.
Just take a look at what Bose are doing. This landing page is split into five, with each of the vertical panels featuring a different type of headset.
Luminous colour schemes
Say goodbye to muted pastels and monochromatic hues. 2021 will see web designers experimenting with neon shades and highly-saturated colours, to really make websites pop. It’s a really quick and easy way to give your site a modern makeover, and present yourself as a bold and daring brand.
Look to London-based Chunk Agency for encouragement. Their minimalist website features lots of white space offset by splashes of highlighter yellow and green. The website for AI-powered voice assistant Fridai, meanwhile, boasts hot pink and magenta accents that provide a great contrast to the dark mode design.
Digital illustrations have gained in popularity in recent years, as brands move away from cookie-cutter stock photography in favour of something more unique. And with big-names like airbnb leading the way, it’s a trend that shows no signs of going away.
Many designers are leaning towards whimsical illustrations that take inspiration from traditional art forms like comic books and fairy tales. You can up the ante by combining illustrations with some animation, like web design agency Huemor.
Attractive data visualization
From the government’s daily briefings to the latest news headlines, bar graphs and pie charts have dominated TV and computer screens this year. And the amount of data we’re all consuming is only set to increase in 2021. Web designers will therefore be placing a big focus on communicating complex information and statistics in an engaging and easily-digestible way next year.
If you need some guidance, online magazine The Pudding does this brilliantly. Its unique visual data articles cover topics as quirky as ‘An Illustrated Guide to Masked Wrestlers’ and ‘Defining the ‘90s Music Canon’. Whatever the subject matter, their graphics are eye-catching and informative. Time to step away from the Excel graphs…
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