Web Design Trends in 2021
Web design is essential
Web design is essential; it impacts how your audience perceives your brand. A good web design helps engage your leads on your page. Web design that can grab attention from a first byte will make all the difference between users staying on your site or quickly clicking onto the next one.
Importance of building a solid online presence?
A well-designed and functional website can set a brand apart and increase traffic and engagement with competitors, and now in 2021, more than ever. As always, during hard times, necessity becomes the mother of innovation.
The intersection of business and society in the last two years due to Covid-related issues is on top of the list of reasons so many companies innovated to overcome new and unforeseen challenges.
DoubleVerify reported exciting results from a study conducted with Sapio Research. An in-depth analysis involved 10 000 people across the UK, US, Germany, France, and Spain, measuring user behaviours and attitudes concerning content and advertising during the turmoils of 2020.
According to this report, online content consumption doubled, and interest in Social Media and CTV soared.
This astonishing jump in our time spent online indicate that premium quality Web design is more critical than ever.
Navigating the ‘New Normal’
With the significant global reshuffle and so-called ‘new normal’, we saw more and more businesses finding new ways of operating. New technologies are changing the patterns of how we live, work and think.
Right now would be an excellent year to start thinking out of the box and create a new online business, redesign an existing website or re-brand and build a new one.
New and emerging web design trends will improve UX, ensure better engagement, and help stay afloat during turbulent times.
It is a bit similar to fashion, classic design elements will always be in style, but now that Web design trends move faster than ever before, it is essential to keep up the pace.
How to be noticed?
Anyone who wants to make any impact should stay fresh and updated. Especially considering how much content is out there and how easy it is for users to get distracted.
Of course, like with any trend, there is no need to follow blindly; picking and choosing the elements wisely and keeping up with constant changes will ensure staying on the right side of progress.
Web designers must keep the focus on elements such as loading speed, interactivity, visual stability, and safe browsing. Being aware of it will make ranking on Google easier and give a brand a fighting chance to be noticed.
Web Design Trend #1: Dark Mode
The dark mode is one of the UX design trends. Our eyes are more strained than ever with all
those screen time hours racking up between our computers, phones, and TVs.
This trend started in 2020, with giant companies offering dark modes, such as Instagram. Apple
and Android followed suit offering dark themes for their devices.
Apart from providing an aesthetically pleasing experience, it is also less tiring for a user. The
dark mode theme is a significant feature if the goal is to entice people to stay on your website or
In 2021, we started seeing dark mode expand into web design for businesses and organisations.
A dark mode-inspired web design is modern, calm, and sure to make your site stand out.
Not only is it easy to the eye, but it also allows attention redirection to specific segments of the
page by highlighting them with white or colour.
Web Design Trend #2: Fresh Take – Gradients
Popular with designers for a few years now, this trend is holding firm, don’t expect them to go
anywhere in 2021.
Updated gradients with 3D effects are all the rage now.
Becoming increasingly sophisticated, we can expect to see more gradient background and
elements updated and juping of the screen.
The flat gradients of the past few years may still look fresh; if you wish for your graphics and
logos to stand out, it is worth considering making gradients pop anywhere you may want a splash
of colour and depth.
Web Design Trend #3: Depth and Dimension
Jumping right off the 3D gradient trend, depth and dimension in website design will be
something we will keep seeing going into 2021 and beyond.
Flat design elements and icons can be updated with a bit of depth and dimension with what is
known as flat design 2.0. – this is a 2D evolving graphic style that seems flat but not completely
The effect is achieved using a two-tone design and shadowing.
If the website is designed in a minimalist fashion, a flat design with a touch of depth will create a
fresh and calm effect and take UX to the next level.
Web Design Trend #4: Neumorphism
Is neumorphism a new concept or a comeback of the good old?
It is not a new concept. Steve Jobs first popularised it in the ’80s under the name skeuomorphism. iOS designers used it in the early 2000s; the idea was abandoned and replaced by flat design in 2006 and resurrected in 2020 under a buzzword, neumorphism.
To put it simply, it is Skeuomorphism with few tweaks here and there. Neumorphism works very
well when designing apps adding the futuristic feel and breathtaking visuals.
What is Skeuomorphism?
Skeuomorphism is user interface design used to describe interface objects that make interface
objects familiar to users by mimicking real-world counterparts.
The two concepts are closely related; the main difference, neumorphism, focuses on the colour
palette. Colours are softer, lighter, and rid of flashy designs, presenting a gentle palate, light
touch, and smooth interface.
Neumorphism combines flat design elements and Skeuomorphism to create new dimensions of
otherworldliness that still feel intuitive.
Web Design Trend #6: Interactive Web Design
We see a more interactive approach to web design in 2021, and this trend will continue to grow
in the future.
Immersing users in engaging and enjoyable experiences is one of the top web design goals;
keeping users interested and spending longer time is the number one priority.
The most used effect is scroll-triggered animations, which encourage users to explore the site and
discover the full range of animation effects.
This trend extends to hover triggered micro-interactions and micro animations, emphasising each
brand’s specific aesthetics and personality. These charming little surprises make for a delightful
user experience and increased brand following.
Web Design Trend #7: Vertical vs Horizontal Scrolling
The constant vertical scrolling has been standard as long as websites have been around; it is an
intuitive constant forward motion, such as driving.
As horizontal scrolling has become more sophisticated and UX friendly, it slowly evolved into a
new web design trend.
Horizontal scrolling is especially useful for mobile devices as it allows for quick left and right
swipes. designed to suggest the appearance of such as driving
When it comes to websites, horizontal scrolling is a great navigation tool for the more visual
sites, such as artist and photographer portfolios.
Another great idea is to combine horizontal and vertical scrolling creating new and exciting ways
to make neatly organised and user-friendly websites that feel exciting and novel to navigate.
Web Design Trend #8: Individualisation
The trend for individualisation and personalisation has been widespread across various industries
for a few years now.
It impacts web design through questionnaires that prompt users to share information, personalise
product suggestions, and improve their experience. Increasingly this method is used on a
homepage instead of a hero image.
Attracting and captivating users as soon as they click on a page can be a very productive way to
entice them to spend time on the site and prompt and gather valuable information that can help
improve products and services.
Web Design Trend #9: Designed Footers
Historically, it has been a purely functional section where the web designer could throw links to
less frequently accessed pages and a link to a contact page or newsletter; usually, an area
neglected in most web designs.
With the ever-increasing competition, even footers are getting a makeover in 2021, and we see
designs that incorporate footers and make them an integral part of the page. In industry, these
footers have a cute nickname – ‘fat footers’ – they can include a myriad of information deemed
useful to a visitor.
Web Design Trend #10: Video Elements
Web designers have been taping into the communicative power of videos in new and innovative
The use of embedded videos on the home pages is on the up as it is an excellent way to say a lot
in a tiny amount of time.
The logic derived here is from an old saying – a picture is worth a thousand words – so how many
words is a video worth?
These videos have limitless options and can be anything – from musicians performing, behind the
scene clip of a fashion photographer or product used for manufacturing companies sites, or
anything else deemed appropriate by a web designer.
Web Design Trend #11: Muted Terrestrial Tones
Colour phycology is a relatively new field but is highly influential in all areas of design and
naturally spills into the world of Web designers. Earth has strong tones that, when mixed
appropriately, induce a sense of calm and well being. So it is not surprising to see all over the
web the sites with muted and earthy backgrounds popping up like mushrooms after rain. This is a
clever approach to design; considering how much time we spend on screens, this approach is
easier on the eyes and, as a bonus, helps with the Google algorithm. Praheps, most importantly it
is in tune with our social awareness of the environment and our effect on the world. Pleasing
botanical themes are very much en vogue, and we are all the better for it. We are obsesed by Kristjana S Williams animations for Penhaligons.
Web Design Trend #12 Fun and Optimism
Web and app design was dominated by minimalist and purely functional interfaces, althrough
Considering that the first iPhone was launched in 2007, shortly followed by the first iPad in
2010, the general public wasn’t tech-savvy; functional and minimal design that was easy to
navigate made sense. Many creatives would agree that creating digital services that are easy to
understand curbed down the early web’s fun and experimental side.
Now that people are more familiar with various digital platforms and restoring some level of
normality after two years of lockdowns and uncertainty, a bit of lighthearted fun is in order.
Website design has seen a lot of visual optimism of late – bold colours, outlandish typography,
cartoon characters and subtle animated elements.
In regular times, web design tends to evolve at a subtle and gradual pace, with enormous cultural
and societal shifts reverberating everywhere, including the web design world.
Web Design Trend #13: Collage Delight
Collage is a perfect solution for illustrator portfolio websites, and it is another dismissal of cold
minimalism and grid websites.
Collage seems to be one of the must-use web design trends of this year and the next. This trend
evokes arts and crafts aesthetic by unexpectedly mixing media and elements, echoing the
collages we all so lovingly made back in our school days.
With a bit of imaginative work, using this method will result in making seriously delightful
websites. It also encourages more extended page views since visitors will want to spend some
time taking in all the visual stimuli.
Web Design Trend #14: Large Headings
When it comes to web design in general, more is in 2021, and that trend extends to headings.
With attention spans dwindling and the Internet offering endless options for mindless scrolling,
web design is moving toward large, bold typography.
New and unusual bold and large fonts can capture users attention and ensure that visitors the key
message as soon as they land on the home page.
Web Design Trend #15: Imperfection
Given that it is easy for an eye to tire and get bored with a generic, grid-based web design,
imperfection is one of the key web design trends in 2021. Imperfection can be achieved in
various ways and demands a lot of creativity. Some of the methods can include the parallax
effect, hand-drawn elements, broken and blurry photography, to mention a few.
Human touches like this transform web designs and induce an unexpected and individual feel
that is refreshing and appealing, especially when most of our hours are spent looking at digitally
rendered design elements.