As a web designer, you should be familiar with current web design trends. A modern website mostly uses these web design trends. In this article we will show you the current web design trends 2021 and whether you should use them.
Is it even possible to create a fancy and user-oriented website – without using current web design trends? Is there a timeless website that will be just as impressive in 15 years as it was at launch? From an aesthetic point of view: maybe. From a technical point of view: no.
Technology Influences Web Design Trends
Web technologies have evolved tremendously over the years. And with new technologies, web design was also able to break new ground. One could always observe a trend’s oversaturation. Perhaps you can still remember Flash – and what strange web design layouts resulted from it.
Since web design does not exist in a vacuum but also has to be implemented technically, web design trends are strongly influenced by technical innovations and possibilities and vice versa.
Some of these “web design trends” based on technical innovations make a lot of sense. Therefore, one should not speak of a trend. Trends are temporarily tied to a time and then disappear again. But responsive web design, for example, is not a trend. Responsive web design was a reaction to the surfing behavior of the users and has (deservedly) secured a permanent place in modern web design.
Other trends are rather laughed at today. Critical handling of some web design trends is essential for sustainable web design. Therefore, as a web designer, you should always stay innovative and not do everything one-to-one. Think critically about trends and add your own creative mustard. Web design trends 2021 are good and nice, but should also make sense or support your goals.
Some trends later turned out to be an absolute mistake and nevertheless these web design trends have been adopted and used by many web designers over the years. A good example of such a failure is Microsoft’s Metro design (which was later adopted by many others). The latest studies prove: Metro Design was a mistake. And still a hyped web design trend back then.
Web Design Trends – Good or Bad?
Should you base your trends on website creation? Surely only anyone can answer the question for themselves. But before you answer, we would like to give you a few thoughts on the way: Certainly, a web designer should be very knowledgeable about web design and always be informed about technical and web design developments. He should know the web design trends.
Many customers expect a modern website from a web designer that is based on current web design trends. Some customers even associate it with a certain level of competence. There’s not much you can do wrong on the trend trails and you don’t need a great aesthetic sense. The design was thought out. This doesn’t hurt, the customer has already seen it and the user can quickly find his way around because he already knows it from other websites.
However, it can happen that the website will be sucked off and copied in a few years. Some trends laughed at today and the unconditional imitation of a trend can be clearly seen on some older websites. And yes – we also shamelessly copied trends at the beginning of my web designer career. Today we are ashamed of it. Certainly, there is the learned behavior of the user. Using this to make the website as intuitive as possible should be the primary goal.
But please always remember to only adopt elements and trends that also make sense. In this respect, we would summarize:
Web design trends are important. Nevertheless, you should use it with caution and also incorporate your own design.
But lamented enough now. Here are the current web design trends 2021:
- High-Contrast Gradients
People believed dead live longer! In the past, color gradients were frowned upon after an absolute oversaturation on the web. Today, they are becoming socially acceptable again. And whoever thinks it is about subtle gray gradients has cut. The gaudier the gradient, the better. On Gradient, you can let yourself be inspired. These new color gradients have a dynamic effect and the combinations of retro colors create an emotionality. These color gradients are usually combined with a sober, clean design. This combination is new. In the past, color gradients were celebrated and used with all possibilities. Today, they serve more as a contrast to the clean rest of the respective website – for example in the header.
But these color gradients do not only appear as CSS3 backgrounds. Color gradients with strong contrasts are also increasingly being used as icon colors and logo colors.
- Standard Layouts/Design Templates
The web is becoming increasingly complex and fast-paced. Good web design has to adapt to all device sizes. This would involve a very high technical effort if you want to reinvent the wheel with every new web design project. There are templates and frameworks so that customers on a small budget can also afford a modern website. Simply put, these are ready-made code blocks from which the respective website is then put together. The consequence of this is that many websites look the same.
On the other hand, there is now also learned user behavior. The navigation is mostly on the top right. The user knows that and can find his way around websites that are structured similarly. This increases user guidance. The user does not have to have much cognitive capacity for navigation and can, therefore, concentrate more on the content. If each website looks the same, the operation of the individual websites is the same. So, you see there are not only disadvantages of having a uniform look.
The established layouts have prevailed because they work. However, this is only partially true. After all, the slider in the header is still standing even though there are already studies that prove that such sliders are ignored by the user.
From a design perspective, the standard layouts are of course horror. Except for the header image and the color palette, today’s web designer does not seem to have much creative freedom. That is a shame, but the economy forces the competitive web designer to use pre-built themes and frameworks.
- Home Slider / Hero Images
You can see it again and again: Slider in the header of the homepage. Unfortunately, the user ignores these sliders consistently. These sliders should actually build more emotionality. Meanwhile, header sliders are part of the standard repertoire of a website. No WordPress theme that cannot do without such a head slider.
In general: Sliders hardly pay attention to the second or third slide and if your slider or hero image looks too much like advertising, this element gets no attention from the user. The user cannot view everything on a website. What happens now is selective attention. The user focuses on the things that seem useful to him. A header slider without real content or a marketing hero image will get no attention from the user.
- Asymmetrical Layouts
The oversaturation of the typical grid layout of websites created a counter-trend: asymmetrical layouts. Technically speaking, these websites are of course based on a grid. The user can only see it at first glance. This web design trend was formerly state-of-the-art and actually only reserved for puristic companies or institutions (theaters, galleries, museums). In the meantime, this web design trend has become mainstream and there are also WordPress themes with asymmetrical layouts.
This trend is probably not interesting for established and reputable companies. We personally have never been able to get excited about this trend. Falling out of the ordinary with all means – this usually came at the expense of usability. And so, users are left alone with content and now have to fight through a confusing layout. Because: The difficulty with such asymmetrical layouts is user guidance. Removing it from the grid certainly pays more attention to certain web elements and makes the layout interesting. On the other hand, with this raster lessens, you can quickly overdo it and the content will go under.
- Experimental Navigation
In the meantime, navigation has prevailed at the top right. For the web designer, this means less leeway in the layout, but the user knows this conventional structure of the website/navigation. In this way, the user is guided optimally and does not have to look at how he can navigate every time he visits a website. However, some web designers are trying to reinvent the navigation wheel. The experimental navigation concept tries to be particularly innovative. And sometimes it works – the user has to “think inside” the website. This creates a special level of interactivity.
However, this experimental navigation is not suitable for every project. If it is a conventional information website that is intended to provide the user with information as simply as possible, experimental navigation may be a hindrance. Here, the user does not want to discover anything new, just to get information quickly. With innovative websites, the special form of navigation can involve the user in a special way. Then experimental navigation has advantages.
- Split-Screen Design
A very nice web design trend is the split-screen design. The website is divided into two vertical areas. Sometimes it looks like a print magazine. The design of the two vertical halves is often different. Sometimes a page is used for navigation and sometimes a page is used for a full-frame image. This increases emotionality, but can only be used on websites with little content.
Unfortunately, this design cannot be consistently drawn through on particularly small screens – in most cases, the full-format image material is then omitted. The split-screen web design is very nice and offers unique user experiences, especially in connection with scroll telling or scroll effects.
Videos on the web are now standard. Hero Video Header, Youtube, and other services ensure that the user is provided with videos. And the users thankfully accept these videos. Nevertheless, these web design trends are further expanded in 2021!
Videos provide variety on your website and meanwhile, decision-makers also watch a video at least once a week. Explainers, employee portrait videos, branded storytelling clips, and mood videos are just a small extract from the various types of video on the web. The video is aimed at a very specific target group. This has no time for long texts and would rather watch a video to consume content.
Google also prefers audio-visual content more and more and more videos are now displayed preferentially in the search results for some search queries.
- Performance/Website Speed
This web design trend has come to stay: The website speed. Website speed has become an important ranking factor and is becoming increasingly important on the mobile Internet. From our own experience, we can say that a website with poor performance ranks much worse. Therefore, you should make sure that your Pagespeed Score is as good as possible.
What started as a flat design was soon to be pushed further and ended in minimalism. Apple demonstrated it: the omission of unnecessary design elements and the use of white space as a design element. Some web designers have taken this style to the extreme and have completely abandoned colors and other design elements. What was left was some writing and a lot of white.
The focus should be on the content and the design shouldn’t distract from it. That sounds good in theory, but you should be careful because the user can be guided by color and design. If everything is minimalistic, it is also difficult to guide the user. Therefore (as with all web design trends) minimalism is good but should be used with sense and understanding.
- Animated GIF Images
Animated GIFs got their relevance on social media. Short animation loops were often shared with friends. Today, animated GIFs are also used on modern websites to attract attention or to represent facts with a small animation, without using a video.
In this respect, the use of GIFs is an alternative to videos and the animation gives the website visitor the impression of a dynamic website.
- Smart Chatbots
A web design trend that has also arisen from the technical development of computer-aided AI: the AI chatbots. Widely used for a few years, these chatbots are now also very popular on small websites.
The design of these chatbots becomes more balanced and the interaction with the chatbots is also more user-oriented. These chatbots are already customizable and can no longer be compared with the efficiency from earlier days.
- Dark Mode Designs for The Contemporary and Sleek Look
The dark mode designs not only look ultra modern, but these are also more comfortable for the eyes. The black elements make the designs pop.
However, one needs to keep in mind that visually stunning web design trends have practical beginnings. These work the best for OLED screens and wok to enhance the screen lifespan and save power. Dark backgrounds improve the visibility of various accent colors and a truly dynamic design.
The design trend is also highly aesthetic and fits in with the prevalent design rends of 2021 comprising of dark and moody color schemes. This can render futuristic cyberpunk and dystopian styles.
- Imperfections to Create the Perfect Design
Adding hand-drawn design elements that inject an emotion and humanity into the websites have dominated web designing trends for years. The imperfect additions give users the craving for impersonal and perfected graphics. In this year, the hand-drawn imperfections will be in trend to lend some realness and appeal to the soul and the heart of the visitors with realness.
This trend is going to bring some extra positivity. You can find some stylized and hand drawn icons as well as other elements that make your brand personality stand out in the market.
- Immersive 3 D touch
3 D visuals have delighted people at all times. However, this trend got held back due to the expensive price tag on the technology. But, today, we area at a place where pone can design in 3-D using accessible equipment. It has also opened the gates of web designing to a higher number of gifted designers.
At this time, the use of hyper realistic 3-D is in the trend. And it is taking the whole screen is one of the best ways for creating an immersive experience on your website. It does not just lend a visual advantage to the visuals but also for the UX. Interactive 3-D designing is a great way to enhance user engagement. You’ll be seeing more and more immersive 3-D designs for attracting users. It time to break down the boundaries between the digital space and reality!
- Floating Elements, Soft Shadows and Layers
This trend is an extension and step ahead of the 3-D trend. The new 3-D web deigning is all about creating depth. Floating elements and soft shadows add a lot of interest and depth and give the page the 3D lite look. One can choose to use this effect not just with graphics but with photos and texts as well.
Designers may choose to add extra pizzazz to the 2 D layouts and using layering elements and soft drop shadows giving an extend depth. One can lend a lightweight feel to the design elements that seem to float above one another,. It is a high contrast to the earlier impenetrable concept of flat design layers.
So, these are the trendy web design and development tactics you should implement in 2021 to make good results.