The new web design trends for each year are often inspired by the events of the previous year. 2020 was a year full of challenges. The pandemic created dramatic changes in our lifestyle. While it brought us closer to the reality of everyday life, it also pushed us further into the digital world.
This influence can be observed in the latest web design trends for 2021. We see an unusual merging of digital and real- new grounds of realism being implemented in web designs. By relating web designs to real-life experiences at such a close level, the trends seem to portray how normal websites have become in our day-to-day lives.
Here, we want to share with you 21 modern web design trends that have caught our attention. We promise you an interesting read, so hop in.
21 Modern Web Design Trends for 2021
1. Aurora UI
Soft, blurred gradient background is a web design trend that will be a big thing in 2021. Called Aurora UI, its name is inspired from the northern lights, Aurora borealis.
Aurora UI is about creating a subtle background gradient by mixing different colours in a non-linear way. It brings a fresh feel to a design, thus satisfying the users’ need for change. At the same time, it maintains a minimal outlook and does not interfere with the accessibility of the interface elements, like buttons or labels.
It is the perfect combination of functionality and beauty. By making a decorative background and using it to differentiate your UI, you will have a design that will stand out from the rest.
A new web design trend that is in the limelight since the release of Apple’s Mac OS Big Sur update is glassmorphism. Glassmorphism gives a frosted glass impression in designs and creates an illusion of layers of glass panels floating in space.
This design trend is characterised by transparency, a multi-layered approach, vivid colours, and light borders.
It goes in hand with Aurora UI as background blur is used to achieve the glass effect. This blurring adds depth to the design, bringing a sense of perspective. The background colour is a crucial factor for this effect as low contrast or cluttered backgrounds fail to project the impact. The background should be colourful for this effect to be visible.
And a final touch to bring out this effect is done by adding semi-transparent borders on objects to imitate a glass edge. When used the right way, glassmorphism is a great trend to experiment with and add some fun to design.
The Stripe website you saw in the previous example beautifully merges aurora UI and glassmorphism.
3. 3D Illustrations
The latest web design trends for 2021 aims to lighten the line between real and virtual. 3D illustrations and techniques are an effective way in which designers are implementing this.
Rather than using 3D shapes to create surreal motions or futuristic effects, we see 3D visuals being weaved seamlessly in the design to give a realistic feel. 3D illustrations add depth and provide a new dimension to the design. By making them a natural part of the design rather than an ornamental element, they add value and improve user experience of the website.
Disclaimer: This is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Anti-design is unpredictable, just like 2020 was! It is for those who want to defy the conventional design and experiment with raw and chaotic style. It is a reflection of the designers who think on the lines of “Break the rules”.
Anti-design brings into life distortion, asymmetry, exaggeration, mismatching – all the elements that are perceived as ugly or bizarre by most designers. Because of its unconventional approach, it is sure to stand out. However, if you decide to go down the anti-design path, make sure that you provide a website UX that is simple and functional.
5. Hand Drawn Illustrations
Illustrations have been through several changes over the years. Vector illustrations and custom character illustrations were a popular trend during the past years. In 2021, we will see illustrations take a more human approach in the form of hand-drawn illustrations.
You can see black and white illustrations adorn the homepages of popular websites like Mailchimp. They effectively succeed in attracting the attention of users 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.
6. Multiple Images in a Single View
An innovative web design trend in 2021, seen primarily on e-commerce platforms, is showcasing product images in a single view. Like the other UX design trends, this also aims to increase the usability of a design.
Traditionally, product images used to be displayed in a carousel format. Users had to click next to see different views of a product and couldn’t see multiple views simultaneously. The new design trend takes care of these issues by allowing users to see multiple images of products in a single view.
From the usability perspective, this creates excellent ease for shoppers. This trend is widely being implemented by popular e-commerce stores like IKEA, Myntra, H&M. etc.
7. Pastel Colours
Today, we spend a considerable amount of time-consuming digital media due to the pandemic induced lifestyle change. This increased screen interaction tends to cause eye strains in users. Taking this into account, the new web design trends for 2021 focuses on pastel and muted colours.
It brings an organic and calm atmosphere to the designs and positively influences user experience.
Soft colour palettes, earthy tones, and pastels shades give a feeling of sophistication and lightness. They are a subtle yet powerful way to enhance designs. And it is a welcome change from the bright and bold colours that were dominating web design in the last years.
Neumorphism was a web design trend that was launched in 2020 but is expected to remain prominent in 2021 as well. What neumorphism does is, it adds a dimension to flat designs like buttons and icons to give a 3D like appearance. It breathes life into a design with a touch of realism while maintaining simplicity.
Neumorphism is subtle in the way it does not use flashy elements but rather lights and shadows to create the protruding effect. However, it does bring out some usability and accessibility issues. But a good designer knows how to make it work despite its flaws!
9. Black and White Design
In illustrations, we witnessed a return to black and white. The same way, websites are also approaching a black and white theme in 2021.
Contrary to the trends in previous years, websites are not looking to flaunt the brand colours. A black and white theme, with minimal appearances of brand colours, seems to be the trend this year. Rather than designing buttons or selections in colours, black and white is used throughout.
The focus seems to be on creating a clean design that is minimalistic, easy on the eyes, and gives out a classic outlook. The websites of Medium and IKEA showcase this trend beautifully.
10. Text Prominent Homepages
We see another practical aspect of modern web design trends in text prominent webpages. People value their time much more and are looking for direct interaction. When a website tells them what they want to know, in the first look, it satisfies their requirement.
Websites are using large titles in homepages and landing pages to meet customer needs and increase conversion rate. Here, text fills the majority of screen space and is used as the homepage art.
Several experiments can be done in typography to create a unique design. However, it does have its design challenges as text-heavy designs are difficult to execute.
11. Data as a Part of the Design
Data speaks volumes. Then why not use it to hook the visitors? That seems to be the mantra behind this latest design trend. Here, the focus is on making the data a part of the design using simple design structures.
Used mainly by IT websites, this design aims to captivate potential clients with information that matters. They also have the added advantage of impressing search engines as a website’s index rating will increase with the time users spend on the site.
12. Dark Theme
A sensational design trend of 2020, dark theme will maintain its popularity in 2021 as well. The dark theme was one of those trends that won people’s hearts, not just because of aesthetics but also because of functionality.
While it brings a sleek look to the website, it also reduces eye strain. Further, it helps to increase the contrast ratio and make design elements stand out.
The dark mode is widely used by large brands in all verticals- like Apple, Instagram, Pinterest, Mercedes-Benz, Twitter, etc. It shows that dark mode is suitable for all designs, irrelevant of their industry.
Here you can see an image of our Aufait UX website which utilizes the dark theme.
13. White Space
The less is more approach is still going strong. And white space or empty space is an integral part of this minimalistic design trend. The reason this trend remains prominent even today is because of how clean and natural it feels.
See how this website that we designed for Themehigh uses white space to create a minimal look.
White space aids navigation improves clarity, creates a visual hierarchy, and brings consistency into the design. It has become the bread and butter of most designs and is expected to remain a favourite trend of designers in 2021 too.
White space brings comfort and calmness to designs- something we all are looking for in these tough and chaotic times.
14. Collage Art
An innovative web design trend that is ready to take over websites in 2021 is collage art. It can also be called a mixed media style as it involves mixing not just pictures but also illustrations, graphics and text.
The popularity of collage art creations in social media has paved the way for this trend in web design. The convenience with which people could create digital art from their devices like the iPad led to this trend becoming mainstream.
It is mainly used by websites when they want to show the diversity of their offerings through multiple images. And it is a flexible trend as it goes well with both minimal designs and maximal designs.
In 2021, website designs are becoming more inclusive and working towards improving accessibility. As a result, audio as an innovative web design trend is finding its way among the masses.
It aims to enhance the user experience of people with visual impairments or just normal people who prefer to listen over reading. These freedom users will have on choosing how to experience content will be a transformative step in UX design principles.
A great example of this trend is the website of The New York Times, in which featured articles are provided with an audio option.
16. Onboarding Questionnaires
The onboarding process is one of the critical stages in a user’s journey on a website. The quality of this process will determine the future actions of the user. An innovative web design trend in 2021 that aims to make this process more interactive is creative questionnaires.
Here the visitors are asked multiple questions on the onboarding stage. Depending on their answers, their likes and dislikes are gathered, and a website experience that is suited for them is curated. This interactive onboarding process keeps users engaged and gives them a personalized experience.
To achieve this, the onboarding pages shift from a standard web design style to a cards style. It requires the design to implement more transitions and succeeds in keeping visitors focussed.
See how we used onboarding questionnaires in one of our latest designs.
17. Abstract Design
A beautiful balance between reality and fantasy is brought out by the innovative web design trend called abstract design. It involves creating conceptual illustrations with geometric shapes to project a design that looks fluid, natural, and unique. We will see this trend adorn the homepages of several websites in 2021. The abstract design is a great example of creativity that adds life to design and maintains a balance.
18. Micro Animations
Micro-interactions will take a new outlook in 2021 in the form of micro animations. Although micro animations were being used previously, this year, we will see them being used in a natural manner than in a superfluous way.
These are small animations triggered by user actions like hovering over an item or clicking a button. The aim is to use these animations in such a way that it offers users something worthwhile rather than as a mere engaging element. This trend is finding a place in e-commerce UX design where micro animations are being used to show the fit of clothes.
19. Grainy Texture
Another modern web design trend that aims to give a natural edge to designs is grainy texture. Solid colours that allude perfection are being replaced by rougher details. It can be seen as a design move towards finding beauty in reality rather than creating a polished atmosphere. It adds mood to the design and goes well with other trends such as aurora UI and neumorphism.
20. Personalization with a Difference
We know that providing personalized recommendations for users has become an integral part of the user experience. Usually, it is done by brands analyzing customer history to create a customized tone. In 2021, we will see the personalization approach take a different path.
It involves giving more control to users to adjust the UI interfaces based on their preferences. Users will have the option of switching between dark and light modes, selecting themes, controlling motions, etc. In effect, it will encourage users to create an interface that is unique for them and reflects their personality.
Here is an example of a website where users can choose between dark and light mode according to their preference.
21. Pantone Colours of the Year
The discussion about the latest web design trends for 2021 will be incomplete without talking about the Pantone colours of the year. It’s something that designers look forward to every year as they define the trending colours for that year.
This year’s Pantone color pair is illuminating yellow and ultimate grey. It is a mix of bright and neutral, a beautiful balance that exudes cheerfulness while not being overwhelming. We can definitely look forward to seeing several new web designs in this color combination in 2021!
What Does the New Web Design Trends for 2021 Convey?
The modern web design trends for 2021 brings out the human side of design. It seems to convey the message that designs are not mere superficial elements but real and connected to our everyday lives. In a way, it sends an optimistic message to the world by showing them that design is for all and that we are all together in this. It goes on to show how when the world is changing, our roles must also change to offer finer values and contribute towards a better future.