Each year’s web design trend promise to be different to last year’s. But from our experience, while web design trends change, they don’t change all that much.
2021’s web design trends appear to share a common theme: rather than aspiring to hi-tech design, web designers are seeking new heights of realism. They are blending the digital and the ordinary like never before, and it reflects just how much a part of everyday life websites have become.
As such, the following web design trends for 2021 are literally breathing life into the digital world:
You’ve seen these before, and they’re great. 2021’s web animations are getting even more complex through the separation of page elements into foreground and background extremes, creating a parallax effect.
But what exactly is a parallax animation? Parallax is the optical illusion that happens when objects near to the viewer appear to move faster than objects farther away. Although we see this in everyday life—when viewing passing scenery while driving, for instance—the effect on web pages comes across as equal parts real and sometimes even surreal. The depth created through the use of foreground and background also has the added benefit of immersion.
Abstract shapes, especially those that consist of geometric elements, such as squares or circles, can come across as super simple, modern and elegant, at the same time. However, in 2021, web designers are incorporating them into complex, sprawling compositions that exude freedom.
The result is web pages that feel expressive and alive, even in the absence of familiar human faces.
Just think about how much time we all spend every day in front of a screen, be it a computer, laptop or tablet. Because of this, it is not uncommon for users to experience eye strain after staring at screens for long periods of time. Web designers have been taking this into account with color schemes that are focused on being easier on the eyes.
But what exactly are these colors? Think pastel. Think dark colors. Many websites even have a dedicated dark mode nowadays. This trend overall is a hopeful sign that web designers of the future may be more concerned with accessibility and comfort than dramatic innovation.
Scrolling is one of the most subtle forms of interaction, and as such, 2021’s web designers are ramping up the visual feedback users get when they scroll. This can range from full color scheme changes to complex animated transitions to wholesale shifts in the layout. All in all, web designers are taking the time making each scroll feel like a new page—sometimes even a new website.
It all comes down to this – When users scroll, they are doing more than navigating the page: they’re interacting.
Color schemes in web design have been trending towards gradients for a while now, and this year’s trend feels like the next evolution, with color transitions becoming more lifelike than ever.
Taking their ideas from Apple’s Big Sur OS, we expect colors that are saturated and three-dimensional, almost like fruit you can pluck right out of the screen.
This trend is usually accomplished through fine shading that tends to give a rounded feel to those flat icons of the last decade. While we do anticipate it to appear most commonly on app icons, web designers are also abandoning the neat transitions of gradients for background blended colors that come across as more imperfect and natural.
Two colors side by side might abruptly smear together or they may retain the shadows and depth of painted objects. All in all, this trend suggests that the web design colors of 2021 are aspiring to higher realms of realism.
A design trend that absolutely refuses to quit, minimalism has become the bread and butter of the work of web designers over the last decade. But what is minimalist web design? Less a visual style and more a design principle, minimalist design is based around using only the essential elements – such as basic shapes, clean text, limited color palettes and empty space – to create something simple, functional and memorable.
Over the years, website footers have often been overlooked or left out of the overall web design – until now. A web design trend making a splash are ‘footer boosts.’ What was once just used to provide contact information or a signup form has transitioned into a space to include additional elements of the homepage.
Just take a look at the footer below, while it’s a bit complex, it’s also pleasant to look at, all at the same time.
It goes to show how increasingly common websites are as a part of our life, and the designers of 2021 are bringing them down to earth. Expect to see some changes towards minimalism, elegance and three-dimensional colors.