Web design trends 2021

Published: 21/02/2021

Web design trends to look out for in 2021.

We have rounded up the biggest web design trends for 2021 and how they will impact the way people interact with the web.

1. Retro Fonts

Throwback typography has elevated and transformed, instead of the traditional tired fonts, there is a new, modern spin to the retro fonts. Adding a breath of fresh air and experimenting with bold fonts adding a sense of retro-futurism, incorporating a hint of the past and future.

retro font trend

2. Parallax Scroll Animations

Throughout history, parallax scroll effects have been a trend within website design, yet this year the focus is adding more subtle features and how it can be incorporated in creative methods. Factors that should be considered when implementing parallax minimally are:

Overall, parallax animation does not have to consist of grand movements and gestures across the website, however smaller, more subtle movements ensure key information is taken in by the user.

parallax scrolling example

3. Horizontal Scrolling

The more successful web designers tend to experiment with the horizontal scroll, straying away from the traditional methods and alternating ways to navigate, for example:

For example, McBride Design uses this method to display large photos of their work and venues, whilst also including a clear arrow at the bottom right of the page that implies that the page will scroll horizontally.

horizontal scrolling websites

4. 3D visuals everywhere

The evolution of 3D visuals has elevated the overall user experience, we are now seeing more high-quality 3D visuals weaved seamlessly into web designs. For example, the company Pitch use a variety of 3D visuals through colourful layouts full od gradients, layered elements, three-dimensional shapes and drop shadows, these features advance the web page overall. An example of this is through the creative agency Sennep, who have a minimalist layout, with a 3D affect that adds character to the page.

3D visuals in web design

5. Multimedia Experiences

The rich user experience is created through a variety of text, video, visuals and audio etc. Furthermore, successful designs which will improve the multimedia experiences is created through:

An example of this is through Nicolas Errera’s site as it includes playback buttons, allowing you to pause or play the video and it also displays how far into the video you are as shown below:.

multimedia website experiences

6. Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences

AR is more than just hunting for Pokémon, for example Jeep uses this feature on their website called ‘Build & Price a Jeep’, this is great for individuals who do not feel comfortable entering a car dealership and can avoid the social aspect through the power of AR to elevate their sales and products, motivating customers through the process of purchasing.

augmented reality websites

7. A Focus on Grain

Grainy textures and effects can emanate a more of a natural feel, however on the other hand, flat blocks of solid colour and rigid grids can drain the personality from a website. An example of a beautiful graininess is used through Studio Gusto, the way in which this is created is through the lo-fi design elements which give a rougher user experience and therefore in turn feels more natural.

grain effect websites

8. A Focus on Muted Colours

Similar to grain designs, more neutral tones and colours can also add a more natural feel to a web design, for example Magic Theater Studio use a house style that consists of cool and light tones and colours, contrasted with blocks of dark green/ black colours, highlighting certain aspects of the site that the designer wants the user to focus on. The difference between the light and dark colours really bring the design to life.

muted colours in web design

9. Designs based on preference

Web development has elevated significantly in developing and offering more personalised experiences to users, through features such as including a dark/light mode on a toggle and many other ways of transforming a site’s appearance and navigation to offering customisable content which is specific to the user, for example Spotify playlist that are specifically created as a result of what music the user has previously listened to. New design practices focus more on the user rather than the experience, the future will consist of a more user-centred focus and will depend on the needs, wants and taste of the user.

10. Gaussian Blur

This method provides a soft focus to different gradients and images, for example Moment House use a pleasing gaussian blur of colour on their homepage, and smoothly blends in with the Los Angeles cityscape images, creating a calming atmosphere throughout the site.

gaussian blur design

Similarly, another example of this method being used is through the background of Monograph Communications, the blur of purple, red and blue being used creates a contrast between the straight lines and bold, dark typography used.

gaussian blur in web design

11. Scrollytelling

We've seen a developing pattern in creators telling stories through web experiences. This is the place where scrollytelling comes in — visual narrating that uplifts story and guides you into its narrative.

The best uses of scrollytelling practice restriction:

Web Design Art History webpage utilizes subtle movements and excellent outlines to signify the significance of art history within web design.

12. Dark Mode

Dark mode is beginning to become significantly more popular, designers are really delving deep into the dark mode aesthetics, through the use of black backdrops to highlight certain elements from the screen. An example of this is through Obys Agency beautiful tribute to fashion designer Peter Lindbergh, using a contrast of black and grey tones.

dark mode websites

13. Cartoon Illustrations

Cartoon illustrations are gaining popularity as they create a sense of humanity through different illustrations, such as Blush create customer character illustrations which creates a sense of personal contact with people/ users. This method adds a sense of character and personality to a brand.

cartoon illustraitons in web design

14. Geometric Grids

Grids are simple and easy to use; however, they are becoming gradually more popular as they create a clean, sleek and bold appearance to the structure and layout of the website. For example, Hudson Gavin and Martin use blocks for content and navigational purposes, the squares and contrast in colours keep the user focused on what is important.

geometric grids on website

On the other hand, geometric grids do not always have to align in layout, for example Flowmingo use a more abstract use of geometric grids, with the main focus being on the bold squares and outlines of their layout.

geometric gride trend in web design

15. Custom Cursors

A plain old arrow can be dull, therefore when a designer is able to turn an insignificant part of a site into something interesting that grabs your attention, it elevates the quality of the website and user experience. For example, Hudson Gavin Martin, use neutral colours originally, however when you scroll through the different aspects of the site, the part selected highlights into a neon colour and a bold black cursor is used.

custom website cursors

16. Scrolling Cards

Scrolling cards add snappy action to a website which can display information in a sleek and clean manner as well as ensure the user is focused and interested in the text and images etc. For example, Ofcina use a variety of bright, attention-grabbing colours for their scrolling cards.

scrolling card website example

17. Colour-less Design

This method is created for ensuring user attention is fixed on certain information, for example Latinxs Who Design have a monochrome colour palette for their web design, however when you hover over certain aspects of the site, the image transforms into full colour, which attracts users and makes a more interesting user experience.

colour-less design

18. Audio

The option of audio on a website is great as it removes accessibility barriers for individuals with visual impairments or users who have dyslexia or prefer to listen to information rather than read the text. This method widens the door to a larger variety of users who might not be able to use websites that do not include audio.

19. Web Inspired by Print

With the constant innovation of technology, there has been a resurgence of popularity within old media such as vinyl albums, people want the old back and therefore incorporating the new with the old elevates the overall user experience. For example, a magazine styled layout and other traditional graphic design adds a sense of nostalgia for the user.

print inspired web design

20. Design Systems for Consistency

Designer frameworks are incredible, by utilizing a CMS to create repeatable layouts and related collections, it is in turn easier to update, maintain and duplicate websites at a efficient speed. It does not matter whether it is a small company or large organisation, either way it is a great method for businesses to be able to create and manage their designs in a quick, easy and sleek manner.

web design systems

Get a professional website for your business

Let's talk