The web is constantly changing. Some would argue it evolves so quickly that you need to have a degree in web design just to keep up with it all. Trends are evolving every day, pushing the boundaries of creativity and being one step ahead of your competition is a necessity. With the crazy amount of content available, keeping on top of what works can be pretty hard work – how do you know what will get people clicking?
I’ve done the research for you! Having scoured the internet in hope of finding some answers, here are my top 20 web design trends for 2021.
1. Fractured Design
We don’t know if we’ve just been watching too much Stranger Things, but Fractured Design looks like a possible new trend that could sweep the web by 2021. It’s a play on Perspective Design – going beyond creating a sense of depth and layering with images to giving an element of deconstruction or disruption to your design work.
2. Super Clean Interfaces
You don’t have to go far in the world of web design before you find clean, simple UI elements being used across whole sites – from brands you know and love, right down to small one-page blogs. In 2021 this design will become refined further still – playing around with brighter colors and more elegant typefaces that really highlight a site’s core purpose or message. The key is not to overcomplicate things – so even if you have a lot going on, you need to make sure it’s really easy for people to understand.
3. Large Background Photos
One of the most popular design trends to emerge in recent times is the use of large images as backgrounds across entire pages (often with creative and beautiful results). This trend will continue into 2021, but we’re also predicting that people won’t be afraid to play around with transparency and overlays too.
4. Increasingly Popular Single Page Sites
This trend has been gaining speed for some time now and shouldn’t be slowing down any time soon. The reason behind it is simple: one-page sites are clean, simple, easy to navigate, and extremely engaging. This makes them perfect for product or service showcases (don’t hide your light under a bushel!)
5 . Stylish Typography
As I touched on earlier, web design highlighting key messages is going to be all the rage by 2021 – so it only makes sense that good typography will stand out. We’re expecting more elegant layouts playing around with fonts of different weights and sizes, as well as styles like Italic, Script, or Monospace too. The aim is always to make text scannable and easy on the eye.
6. Bigger Is Better (+Wider)
By 2021 we fully expect the trend towards larger images (and videos) across websites to continue – but our crystal ball is hinting that it could be offset by a rise in width too. So not only will you have more to look at, but you’ll need to spend less time scrolling left and right to see everything.
7 . Multi-Layered Navigation
“How do I navigate?” It’s the first question people ask when they land on your website or blog for the very first time. Well, come 2021 this problem should be solved once and for all! We predict an increasing number of sites will have multiple navigational elements so you can get around easily no matter what page you’re on. This means sidebars, footers, and even flyouts appearing mid-way through a single page design (without cluttering up the page itself).
8. Experiential Content
Have you noticed how many brands are turning to content marketing? It’s a great way of building brand awareness, getting customers to share your stuff on social media, and winning awards in the process – but it doesn’t work unless you engage with them on an emotional level. This is why experiential content will continue to rise in popularity over 2021 – bringing emotion into forms like animated infographics, videos, gifs, and feature articles too.
9. Voice Search & Virtual Assistants
It’s no secret that voice search has been growing in popularity over recent years, giving rise to digital assistants like Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa (and many more). But this growth will continue into 2021 – so if you haven’t optimized your website for voice search yet, then now really is the time to get on board! There are also other areas this technology could impact too: chatbots for example.
10 . Cinemagraphs Everywhere!
If you’re creating video content, whether it’s an explainer video, live stream, or longer-form feature, there’s one design trend we really want to see more or 2021: cinemagraphs (essentially still photos with subtle animated elements). We’re predicting they’ll become popular because of how easy they are to create (video is often the preferred method) and how compelling they can be.
11. Traditional Logo Recognition
The humble logo is not dead yet! By 2021 we believe the increasing popularity of minimalist designs will mean that these logos can appear anywhere on your site (header, footer, etc.) and still be instantly recognizable. This will make the website more engaging but still easily scannable too (if done right!).
12. Really Big Animated GIFs!
This one is a little bit tongue-in-cheek: we do expect animated (GIF) images to really come into their own by 2021 – at least for branding purposes. Think of all those ads you’ve seen with scrolling graphics behind the text – well they’re not going away any time soon. They may even enter the mainstream as arty animations become more widespread on websites and social media too.
13. Lightbox Popups
Lightbox popup overlays can be extremely effective tools when it comes to capturing new email subscribers, increasing conversion on a landing page, or even increasing social media followings. However, they’re a real nuisance when you’re using a small screen to browse the web, so we predict these popup boxes will be replaced by something even more subtle.
14. Storytelling On Homepages
In 2021 storytelling will likely spread from articles and individual blog posts to the homepage of your website – especially if you run an eCommerce store. This means not just text but also short videos, audios, and pictures being used to tell people about your brand in a more engaging way than just stale ‘About Us’ pages that nobody reads anymore!
15. Easier Integration With Blogs & Social Media
Blogs are really useful for content marketing, but they’re equally good for getting more exposure on social media too. We predict this trend will continue in 2021 but with added integration across various platforms to make this much easier – even allowing you to schedule your posts across Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest without having to do things manually.
16. QR Codes Everywhere!
One of the most popular web design trends in recent years has been embedding traditional URLs into print materials like newspaper adverts, flyers, and posters. In 2021 we expect this trend to move from just QR codes being used to full-sized images or cards linking visitors out of physical locations onto a digital platform! This means you might get a code on a store window leading back to the website, while bus stop posters could link to a company Facebook Page.
17. More Interactive Animations
Remember those old-fashioned flip books that kids used to play with? We expect this trend to come back into style by 2021 as we explore how animations can be more than just simple slideshows of images, but evolve into full-on interactive experiences. From subtle background animations to full-on parallax features, it won’t be about creating a single image anymore – but rather making things look somewhat lifelike with movement, focus points, and transitions between elements throughout the user experience.
18. Progressive Images or Videos
Progressive images – where you see the image loading piece by piece rather than all at once – are likely to gain even more traction in 2021, especially for responsive mobile web design. Of course, videos will continue their rise, but typically they’re best left for full-screen displays or where bandwidth isn’t an issue.
19. Everyone Has An AR App!
Augmented Reality apps are predicted to boom by 2021, with the ability to scan almost any surface and discover more information about whatever you’re looking at (potentially even links back to your website). The only problem is that few people outside of hardcore tech fans will have access to AR technology – so this one’s unlikely to really take off in the mainstream unless devices become far cheaper.
20. Mobile Optimised Sites Only
Mobile optimized websites will become 100% mandatory by 2021, especially if Google continues its push for faster mobile search results. Nowadays a lot of webmasters simply strip away a lot of their content when they build a mobile version of their site, however, in 2021 these stripped-back versions will likely become even more popular than fully-fledged desktop websites!
As you can see, there are some really interesting web design trends to watch out for in 2021. These are some of the more interesting and engaging trends that will help you better engage with your customers on a digital level. We hope you found these tips useful! We wish you all the best in your business ventures and hope to see some of these trends within the next four years. Thanks for reading!