As each year winds up, the design community looks forward to exploring the trends that will reign in the coming year. In a dynamic industry like design, adapting to the latest trends is key to staying competent. As 2023 is nearing the horizon, the predictions for popular web design trends for 2023 are doing the rounds. An amalgamation of old, trendy, traditional and modern, the trends reflect a feel of return to old aesthetics.
In this article, we share our top 18 predictions for web design trends that will gain popularity in 2023.
- 1. Fluid gradients
Gradients have been a part of digital design since the 90s and they are the designers’ go-to choice for creating a distinct visual appeal in a minimal way. While gradients as such is not a new web design trend, in 2023 gradients take a new form.
Fluid gradients or gradients that blend smoothly into one another will be a trendsetter in 2023. Also called Aurora gradient (named after Aurora Borealis, the northern lights), fluid gradients bring an artistic and beautiful touch to web designs. Mixing of colors in a nonlinear way channels the attention to the background without distracting the user. It adds a sense of visual depth to the designs and a fresh look.
- 2. Horizontal scrolling
Once considered a design mistake, horizontal scrolling is set to make things straight in 2023. Rather than replacing the conventional vertical scrolling, horizontal scrolling will be used where it can improve the users’ navigational experience. It will be of particular importance in designs with large volumes of visual content, for eg, portfolio websites, image galleries and catalogs. Here, horizontal scrolling will provide a seamless user experience, optimally utilize the designs’ real estate and motivate users to explore the full length of the website without getting tired of scrolling.
Important aspects to consider in horizontal scrolling are:
- Give clear visual indication where horizontal scrolling is implemented
- Use them only where it can contribute positively to user experience
- Provide alternate ways of navigation
- 3. Creative typography
Experimentations with typography will be among the prominent web design trends in 2023. From staying on the sidelines in designs for years, typography will come to the limelight in 2023. This can be read together with the growing focus on quality microcopy and its impact in improving the user experience. Below are some trends we can expect in typography.
Treating typography as a complete visual element, oversized typography adds a captivating look to websites. The hero image of websites will be dominated by typography and it will create a lasting impression.
Kinetic or moving typography will be widely used in websites to convey information in a delightful way. Apart from being an attention grabbing element, it can be used to convey information incrementally. In 2023, moving text will be used as a functional design element instead of ornamental.
Emotive typography will add the power of visuals with words to create an emotional response in people. Using emojis, textures or colors that complement the words will be used to make the typography impactful and get users’ attention.
Serif typography is on the rise in digital designs. Owing to their elegance and classic look, serif typography will be used in many website designs. Serif typeface brings back memories of the print era and is yet another website design trend in 2023 which brings back the old aesthetics.
Retro will be making a comeback in many areas of web design in 2023 and typography is one of them. Retro fonts have been used by many websites in the past but didn't see much acceptance due to the readability issues. In 2023, retro fonts will be experimented with and will get a modern twist.
- 4. Blur effect
Using blur effect to highlight certain information by downplaying the other elements in a composition will gain popularity in 2023. When used with gradient backgrounds, blur effect creates a nice contrast and adds texture to the design. Glassmorphism, a blur effect that gives a frosted glass impression, has been gaining popularity since the release of Apple’s Mac OS Big Sur update – 2023 will witness widespread usage of this trend.
Depending on the background it’s paired with, whether monochrome gradient or mixed color gradient, blur effect can be used to add either a sophisticated touch or an adventurous feel to web designs. This trend is an enhancement of gaussian blur, which has been a favorite among creative professionals for many years.
- 5. 3D visuals
3D elements have been trying to make their way in web designs for the past couple of years and are expected to be in full bloom in 2023. With the advancements in screen resolution, high quality 3D visuals that integrate seamlessly with web designs will become prominent. Rather than creating a maximalist feel, 3D visuals will be used with minimalist designs to add some depth and improve the user experience.
- 6. Neobrutalism
Brutalism or anti-design has been a trend in website designs for a while. Brutalism was inspired by the architectural movement in the 1950s which encouraged the raw and brutal nature of buildings and advocated against decorative elements. The brutalist movement when translated to web design was all about raw, distorted and chaotic style. Predictably, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Neobrutalism takes after the brutalist design concept but uses a more structured approach. While brutalist designs were maximalist, neobrutalism promotes minimalism. It brings an unconventional look to designs through usage of high-contrast and clashing colors, quirky fonts and modern illustrations.
- 7. Custom illustrations
As websites are increasingly focusing on delivering users a personal experience, stock images and graphics will be replaced with custom illustrations. They add a human touch and showcase creativity which are wonderful hooks for user attraction. Colored as well as black and white illustrations will be equally popular. Moreover, 3D illusions and animated illustrations will also add to the trend, making it one of the stylish web design trends in 2023.
The below example shows the homepage of Mailchimp, a marketing automation platform which uses black and white illustrations. The illustration effectively succeeds in attracting user attention with simple and engaging visuals. These hand-drawn illustrations exude creativity, add a unique touch, and take people back to the time of black and white print media.
- 8. Audio
Today’s generation wants the freedom of choice in everything they do and it applies to their browsing experiences too. By implementing audio in website designs, users are given a choice on how they would like to experience content. It’s of particular importance in information rich websites, such as blog platforms and news sites. Popular websites like Medium and The New York Times are already ahead on this trend.
Apart from providing users the freedom of choice, including audio removes accessibility concerns and contributes towards inclusive design.
- 9. Parallax scrolling
Due to the visual storytelling impact it delivers, parallax scrolling will be a web design trend to watch out for in 2023. It makes content consumption interactive and effortless, encouraging users to explore a site by scrolling through. Dynamic scrolling of background videos, triggering animations, gradual image/text unveiling are some applications of parallax scrolling which can be expected in 2023. The illusion of depth created by this trend makes it worth exploring.
- 10. Visible borders
Invisible grid lines and borders were the norm in the past, but in 2023 the trend will be all about exposing those grid lines. By revealing the borders, grid lines and frames, the trend adds a futuristic and modern touch to the web designs. It also has the added advantage of making each section distinguishable and easier to scan. The webpages look less cluttered and more organized even with large volumes of content due to the explicit separation.
Geometric grids will be gaining traction and contributing to a “clean” look. Both symmetric and asymmetric grids are expected to trend with focus lying on the weighted lines that showcase a solid layout.
- 11. Creative cursors
From simple arrows to custom triggered animations, cursors have come a long way from the early days of design. In 2023, cursors will undergo creative experimentations and contribute to elevating the user experience. Playful cursors with innovative shapes or that implement cursor-triggered custom animations add delightful effect to websites and convince users to spend more time exploring the web pages.
- 12. Dark mode
Although not a new trend, in 2023, the popularity of dark mode will increase and reach new peaks. When the trend was first introduced in 2020, many were skeptical about its life span. But, renowned companies from diverse verticals including automobile, social networking and technology to name a few, popularized the trend and made it a crowd favorite. It proved that irrespective of the industry vertical, dark mode is suitable for all, paving way for its universal acceptance in 2023.
A noteworthy shift in this design trend is that many websites will offer a choice to the users to adjust the UI interface between light mode and dark mode according to their preferences. This trend is already well established in many mobile and web applications where users are allowed to choose the desired mode from Settings. Websites will embrace this design trend in 2023.
- 13. Design systems
Though not an outwardly web design trend, design systems are something to look out for in 2023. This trend is particularly applicable to large website designs like ecommerce designs where consistency and need for scaling are crucial. Design systems make updating and maintaining websites simple and quick. Tools like Figma simplify creating design systems by providing free design systems templates to designers. Moreover, by taking inspiration from the existing best design systems, it is easy to build an effective one.
- 14. Onboarding questionnaires
The number of products and services that have entered the online market has shot up after the pandemic. In such a competitive scenario, personalization is key to attracting the visitors and converting them into customers. Adding a questionnaire on the website is a great way to get to know exactly what the users want. And depending on their preference, an engaging website experience suited for the users can be curated.
Onboarding questionnaires are useful for websites where users have plenty of choices, such as music streaming sites where a quiz about the music taste of users can give better experience or a health insurance site where users can input their requirements and get customized insurance plans that meet their needs.
- 15. Abstract compositions
Abstract art will take a totally new look in 2023 combining with the web design trend of neobrutalism. Loud and vibrant colors, mixed shapes and out of the box illustrations will add an energetic and creative look to websites, making them stand out from the crowd. Abstract compositions will be a major element of the neobrutalism design along with retro typography, visible borders and modern illustrations.
- 16. Image presentation
A web design trend in 2023 for ecommerce designs is showcasing product images in such a way that multiple images are shared in a single view. Aimed to increase the usability of designs, it addresses a pain point with transitional carousel format display where users have to click multiple times to get a full view of a product.
From the usability perspective, this creates excellent ease for shoppers. Companies like IKEA are already using this trend and more websites are expected to join the bandwagon in 2023.
- 17. White space
White space or empty space will remain among the prominent web design trends in 2023 owing to the evergreen nature of minimalist designs and its widespread acceptance. The less is more approach will continue going strong. Neobrutalism designs make good use of white space to make the design more legible. In fact, a major difference between Brutalism and Neobrutalism is the shift from a maximalist design to a minimalist design with the addition of ample white space.
Given how white space aids navigation, improves clarity and creates a visual hierarchy, it is expected to remain a consistent trend in 2023 and beyond.
- 18. Micro interactions
Micro interactions add extra delight to web designs in 2023. Rather than being used in an ornamental way, micro interactions will be used to add value to designs such as to give a hovering effect to logos or inform users about action completions. They will be less superfluous and more organic.
Significance of 2023 web design trends
The exciting web design trends for 2023 has an underlying emphasis on bringing back the old style. Whether it is retro typography, brutalism or horizontal scrolling, the trends that didn't fare well in earlier years will come back better in 2023. Along with it, the new design trends intend to bring a sense of awe in people, which is evident from the trends such as creative cursors, custom illustrations and 3D visuals. If you are looking for a UI UX design agency to build or revamp your website, Aufait UX is the perfect place for you. We have hands-on experience designing websites across various domains, in line with the latest trends and user expectations. Get in touch with us right away to discuss your website design.