10 of The Best Design Trends for Your Website in 2021

05 Feb 2021, Category: Branding  by Sukhbir Mehla

2020 was a highly disruptive year that saw rolling global lockdowns, forcing us all to rely heavily on the web for information, interaction, entertainment and essentials.

Mercifully it has also been a year in which a range of website user experience (UX) enhancements have become widely accessible.

Zeemo has collected 10 of our favourite fresh and friendly features and inspiring design elements that will be adding wow and whimsy to websites in 2021.

1 Dark mode

Since 2019 light-on-dark mobile and desktop user interface design has become increasingly popular and desirable colour scheme and is available on most popular operating systems such as iOS, macOS, Windows and Android.

Sometimes referred to as dark mode, black mode, night mode or dark theme this colour scheme uses light-coloured text, icons, and graphical elements on a black or dark background.

Especially popular on mobile devices for conserving battery, dark mode can also be easier on the eyes and less disruptive for those trying to sleep next to a night scroller.

Increasingly, website developers provide users with an option to toggle to a dark mode version of regular white sites. However, some, like writer/director Arsum Rouhanian have opted to fully embrace a modern elegant dark mode aesthetic, as seen here on his Belward Tree Films website.

light-on-dark mobile and desktop user interface design

2 Font Trends for 2021

With CMS website builder platforms becoming more sophisticated and including more font options to personalise templates we are starting to see a few general digital typestyles trends.

While legibility and accessibility are still vital for a successful Webfont, you don't need to stick to boring standard fonts. This year break from conformity with bold, retro and Alpine fonts that balance eclecticism and character with readability.

Bold Fonts

Whether a characterful humanist sans serifs like Stickler or a minimal, chunky script like Beautiful Vibes bold fonts make a strong statement, especially when paired with bright colours.

Stickler
Beautiful Vibes
Retro Fonts

Boutique hipster brands have led the demand for retro web fonts inspired by 1950s to 1970s typeface styles.

A bold, retro serif font like Fogie has curvy contours and minimalistic styling and manages to be both classy and friendly. Retro-futurist fonts like Helios combine futuristic elements with vintage-inspired styling to create a cool, clean and contemporary feel.

Retro Fonts like Fogie
Retro-futurist fonts like Helios
Alpine Display Fonts

Create a rustic, vintage feel with rugged, Alpine-style fonts that draw their influence from typeface styles of the 1930s.

An alpine font like Bahn provides bold and commanding propaganda-like styling, whereas Athena offers a soft and calm elegance.

alpine font like Bahn
alpine font like Athena

3Colour Palette Trends

The best website colour schemes of 2021 will focus on colour psychology to evoke a mood or engender feelings that align with their brand and site's core purpose.

Many natural product and fashion sites are beginning to challenge the paradigm of showcasing products against a simple minimalist white background. Instead, adopting thematic palettes in their featured photography.

Popular in 2021 will be flat, modest, muted and subdued coloured palettes for backdrops and props within product photography.

Underwear brand Thinx use subdued colour schemes that contrast with the skin tones of their models and apparel to showcase their products beautifully.

Colour Palette Trends

Tech and services websites looking to stand out in 2021 can energise their audience by choosing a bold and vibrant colour scheme. Audio tech giant Bose is not shy when it comes to using bold colours.

Bose Products in Attractive Colours
VIITA TITAN HRV premium smartwatch

Finally, colourless design continues to be in vogue. Whether white-on-white, black-on-black or black and white, monochromatic site schemes continue to be a stylish minimalistic design choice for contemporary websites.

Check out this brilliant black and white site for the VIITA TITAN HRV premium smartwatch.

4Filters and Effects

It is easier than ever to add professional-looking after-effects to photography to add polish, personality and pizazz, so pep up your pics with 2021's trendiest photo filters and effects.

Add Noise - Photographs often need some manipulation to prepare them for use on a website; unfortunately resizing, adjusting brightness, editing out blemishes and so forth can lead to images having a flat, lifeless feel.

Adding noise makes your images appear more natural by overlaying random pixels to create a subtle grainy texture, giving photos atmosphere and depth and seamlessly combining other photo effects.

2021 trendiest photo filters and effects

Gaussian blur - Perhaps your images would benefit from a soft, diffuse glow rather than the gritty realism of added noise.

The Gaussian Blur filter reduces image noise, moiré (interference) patterns and detail using weighted average and radius to create a pleasing, smooth blur of dissimilar pixels.

Make images more Natural with Zeemo

Frosted Glass Effects

Our final filter pick for 2021 is the frosted glass effect. This versatile filter adds a blurred transparent effect to an image while still maintaining an impression of what lies 'beyond the glass'.

This filter is fantastic for creating webpage backgrounds as it adds more dimension and interest than flat colour or gradients, while still allowing the overlaid text to be clear and readable.

Frosted Glass Effects

5 Original Artwork and Illustrations

With the pandemic disrupting their regular work, many artists are currently working from home and making themselves available for commission projects.

Forget stock photography; now is a great time to support independent artists to produce original graphic content, elements and illustrations that will make your website unique and exceptional.

UK boutique florist Wizz and Wild have a delightful hand-drawn logo and small illustrated botanical elements dotted throughout their website.

UK boutique florist, Logo design specialist

63D Visuals

More websites are starting to incorporate interactive 3D visuals to make their brand leap out of the screen to engage their audience.

International, non-profit marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd have launched no-fishing.net to save marine wildlife from deadly fishing nets. Navigate into their site to find a 3D world globe you can spin to see where their fleet is and find out more about the different vessels.

3D Visuals websites

7VR, AR and MR

While still not common yet, VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), and MR (mixed reality) are starting to be incorporated into web design to create immersive experiences.

Tech giants Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are heavily invested in the development, so it won't be long before hardware and software become mainstream. These exciting futuristic technologies will change the way we interact with websites.

VR (virtual reality) uses a headset to shut out the physical world to provide a complete immersion experience. Virtualis is a conceptual VRChat tourist agency.

VR, AR and MR in to website design

AR (augmented reality) overlays digital elements onto live views, usually within an App using a smartphone's camera. IKEA's Place App lets users see how their furniture would look in their space.

MR (mixed reality) uses an apparatus such as Microsoft's HoloLens to combine VR and AR elements to create an experience in which real-world and digital objects interact. The potential uses for this technology are education, engineering, medicine and entertainment.

8Scroll Storytelling

In our time-poor information-rich lives we have become increasingly reliant on technology for reading.

However, in the move from paper to screen reading, numerous research studies have consistently shown that reading onscreen encourages the use of "non-linear" or "skimming" reading styles, which comes at a cost to our comprehension of the text.

Faced with an endless supply of content competing for our attention the TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) conundrum has lead online publishers to get creative when telling stories.

Also called Narrative Visualisation, Scrollytelling uses a logical sequence of visual elements, integrating images, animations and multimedia experiences to convey a message and break up text to hook and engage readers.

In 2019 the ABC with their ABC News Story Lab and Digital Story Innovations team won the top award of Most Outstanding Outfit at the prestigious international Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards.

Their portfolio of stories showcases some of the best data visualisation and digital storytelling in the world.

Brainwashed

9Multimedia

Faster internet speeds have allowed multimedia web experiences to flourish. Websites that seamlessly combine graphics, visuals, text, video, and audio create rich and memorable user experiences.

When planning to integrate multimedia into your website, it is essential to give your user full control over how they engage with elements containing motion and audio.

Opening a webpage and being instantly blasted with a video or music is more likely to be a turnoff, so let your visitor tune in slowly with simple, intuitive and accessible multimedia controls.

Fast Internet for Multimedia sites

Species In Pieces is a unique interactive multimedia website that invites the user to explore 30 endangered species through an exhibition of animated tessellated animals, with information, stories, videos, music and more, accessed by simply clicking and scrolling.

10AI Support

Support Chatbot plugins have been a popular feature on many websites for a few years now.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are developing and becoming more sophisticated, allowing chatbots to create a more human-like and personalised customer service experience.

Product identification and barcode technology company Matthews adorable chameleon mascot, named "Albert" as the face of their New Intelligent Assistant, helping visitors find out more about their products and services.

Artificial intelligence support and Chatbot plugins

We are excited for 2021

At Zeemo, we keep on top of the latest and greatest web design trends and standards so that we can continue to build creative and current websites for our fabulous clients.

If your website feels a bit tired and needs a zshoosh after the year that's been, our team is ready with expert advice and ideas to get you off to a successful start.

Wishing you a happy, safe and inspired New Year!