Like all things beautiful, web design goes through phases and trends as certain elements that were once fashionable become old news…
The important thing to remember is that web design is meant to be dynamic and that if you want to keep users engaged you need to evolve and grow with the times.
Here are some of 2020’s most popular upcoming web designs:
In order to communicate clearly and instantaneously, websites are favouring large, prominent elements.
This magnitude in design applies to just about anything on a webpage, from big, bold typography (fonts!), to Fullscreen images and videos, and even oversized website menu icons.
Enlarged elements such as these are eye-catching, and help site visitors understand what the site’s all about right off the bat.
Not to mention, they look great on any screen size.
For this trend to truly shine:
- Reduce the number of design elements on each page
- Keep in mind that too many grand features all at once can be overwhelming and counterproductive.
As part of this trend, more and more websites opt for a fullscreen image or video on their first fold (top of the screen when you first get to the site), paired with large typography. This is called a hero image, or hero section.
This layout serves in delivering a message plainly and efficiently, making sure that the most important information comes across and truly registers – and resonates – with site visitors.
Favorite Example of Oversized Type:
- Apple always delivers.
Vintage Colours and Typography
Instead of going all-in on a retro or a throwback look, in 2020 websites will take nostalgic bits and pieces from the past and incorporate it onto their website.
Think ‘mid-century design’ for your website.
Dark mode web designs not only look ultra-modern, but they’re easy on the eyes and make colours and design elements pop.
Sometimes the most visually stunning web design trends have practical beginnings…
Dark themes are better for OLED screens—saving power and extending screen lifespans—but that utility doesn’t stop them from looking good.
Dark backgrounds improve the visibility of other accent colours for truly dynamic design.
While illustrations have been prevalent on websites for many years, there’s a growing trend of having custom, detailed, and well-executed illustrations grace websites recently, and I’m sure this is a trend that is just getting started.
Pairing the illustrations with a bit of animation really helps grab attention and can be used as another way to communicate with your visitors.
Animated illustrations are great as a supplementary tool to text, and are often better at illustrating and communicating when used as more subtle and secondary features instead of the main one.
Do you have more than one idea to convey, but still want to retain an uncluttered look?
Consider splitting your screen down the middle, allowing each side an equal spot in the limelight.
This captivating web design trend breaks the rectangular mold in two. And for a dash of extra pizazz, you can make each half of the screen behave slightly differently. For example, throw some surprising asymmetry into the mix by playing around with scroll effects and making each side move at a different pace.
You’ve probably seen this before, where as you scroll down, one side of the screen moves in the opposite direction… Pretty snazzy indeed!
To inject visual hierarchy into this partitioned design, place an additional element at the center of the screen, where the two halves meet. Those elements, which could be anything from your logo to a call-to-action (CTA) button or a menu header, will act as a focal point and balance out the screen.
Hand Drawn Icons
A big trend next year will be hand-drawn icons. They’re more emotional, but on a positive note. This trend is connected to the fact that we need more positive stuff around, something that can brighten up the day.
It also acts as the counter balance to the recent onslaught of isometric images for icon (That flat, but 3D look). Eventually someone gets wise to an overblown trend, and finds a nice alternative – Enter hand drawn icons!
Continuing on the split screen trend, some websites break up their content into even more parts, resulting in an array of differently sized squares and rectangles that are separated by colour.
This look can express several messages at once, in an orderly and cohesive manner.
With a photo or a few short lines of text placed in each section, it’s easy for site visitors to follow these bite-sized chunks of information. And to make the composition even more intriguing, be sure to colour the squares in various shades from your website colour scheme.
While this trend is about displaying a collection of items in a visually striking layout, the final result should keep away from haphazard collage work.
I enjoy the solid block style of web design myself, as it definitely makes a website easy to read and navigate.
Ultra-minimalism dominated product design for a long time.
Designers strived to reduce all visual properties and leave only essential objects such as key content and functional elements.
As a result, they created products that used exaggerated amounts of white space and practically no colour. Ultra-minimalism made all interfaces look rather similar…
Users got bored with dull designs, and designers started to experiment with various visual styles. One particular style that found itself in the spotlight — gradients.
In 2018 and 2019, gradients started to replace the flat colours. Gradients add some depth in flat layouts and make them more visually interesting. Both product teams and stakeholders love gradients because branding colours could be used to create them.
Whitespace (or negative space) is a term referring to the blank areas in between the design elements.
Whitespace gives any page or screen a spacious, well-balanced feel. And while most commonly white, whitespace can also be made up of any other background colour. It includes the spacing between lines or columns of text, the space around each of the visuals, or the margins around the page.
Since whitespace is about leaving areas empty, it could be seen as an inefficient waste of space. When in fact, whitespace provides us with a breath of fresh air. It can increase legibility, highlight important design elements such as call-to-actions, separate independent sections, and create an overall tidy and pleasing appearance.
Additional reading on whitespace in web design:
Bold Font. Hero Headline.
If you visit the websites of industry leaders, you might notice that the headline, not imagery, is the first thing that grabs your attention.
Hero headlines aren’t a new trend at all. But the interesting thing is the way those headlines are designed. Have you noticed that many of those headlines are designed with large bold fonts? Heavy fonts put more visual weight to the message and direct the reader to where they should look first.
From an aesthetic point of view, bold fonts also give designs a modern and contemporary feel.
In fact, it was the concept of a front and centre “hero section” that prompted me to start favouring landing pages over blogs a couple of years back.
You’re able to create much more enticing content when you’re a true web design hero!
Offering otherworldly interpretations to familiar materials, these digital 3D images adorn our websites in luminous, neon-coloured shades. Artworks such as these act as tempting little eye-candy that lures in visitors’ attention, contrasted against a layout that’s clean and minimal.
The use of digitally rendered 3D artworks is not new in and of itself, but they’re now becoming more widely used. This could perhaps be traced down to the fact that 3D modelling programs are more accessible now than they’ve been previously.
Combined with fluorescent colours, the result is futuristic and energetic, infusing any site with much personality.
There you have it, some of 2020’s most popular, upcoming web design trends. Just remember, when it comes to designing for a website you always need to blend beauty with usability because websites, ultimately, are a practical tool. Good luck!
And if it helps, I just happen to be in the business myself :)