Trends. They’re a funny concept.
Even though they are there for a reason — people like them. Designers tend to feel that it’s wrong to follow them. After all, creativity isn’t about being a sheep, is it?
For those who are in this camp. The only benefit to knowing the trends is to see the competition. You probably shouldn’t just do the opposite of everything other designers are throwing out but, it’s helpful to know what to comment on or critique (nicely, of course).
Conversely, you might be in the camp that doesn’t particularly care if they follow trends — they just want the credit for the design. After all, keep your friends close but your enemies closer, right?
Regardless of your opinion, it’s easy to figure out what’s on-trend. The harder part is understanding why and how these styles and universal preferences came into fruition. It’s just a fact — trends tell us about a certain era’s likes and dislikes. Yup, they’re a historian’s dream!
So, let’s have a look at what history buffs in 2420 will be saying about our current web design preferences and why your web design agency is so excited to get started!
1. 3D Illustration is Back
Flat minimalism is still a thing. But, some big brands have done a 180 on us and taken it back to the 3D imagery.
These designers want depth, natural lines and hyper-realism to further mix the digital world with the physical. Although, some may say this highlights the distinction between the two. Pretty much the opposite of the artist’s intention.
Or is it?
Maybe the graphic designers who are putting realistic touches back into websites are trying to hand us our humanity back? Twitter, Instagram and Facebook damaged, right? Perhaps this is the case. Rather than distort the boundary between digital and physical, they’re trying to create a bigger divide.
2. Dark Mode
Ah yes, the famous dark mode.
For some reason, dark mode has become quite a thing in 2020 and not just for websites. Smartphone interfaces, operating systems, browsers and much more have bought into this hype.
Personally, not a fan but… this isn’t about me, it’s about the planet. So, continuing.
It’s true; they do look super modern and pretty fancy. The contrast ratio is higher, the site’s elements seem to pop more and it reduces eye strain. That’s quite a lot to compete with.
3. Imperfections are Perfections
This year, imperfections are making a stand as perfections.
Hand-drawn elements seem to incite empathy and positivity in the hearts and minds of everyone who sees them. And boy have web designers ran with this one!
Whether they’re part of the logo, clickable icons or just part of the background design, many websites feature cute, handmade illustrations. It’s appealing, it’s completely human and it is very, very soulful. What more could you ask for?
4. Taking it Back, Vintage Style
Vintage style didn’t stop its comeback in 2019. Oh no. It has run full-force into 2020 and honestly, I’m here for it.
Although, some website’s body text doesn’t seem to have got the memo on this one. Maybe this is for readability, but I’d like to see the whole typewriter font thing — perhaps that’s my old soul talking. Still, logos, headings and icons seem to be rocking the vintage vibe.
5. Huge, Screen-Filling Words
Websites have finally started giving their content enough attention. Either that or they’re just super into typefaces. Regardless, their making text which fills the screen.
Short, snappy bites take prime position on many pages across the internet. Not only is this eye-catching for the viewer. But it actually saves time. It’s easy to read, simple to understand whether you want what they’re offering, and stress-free to navigate. Perfection!
6. Pairing Photos with Graphics
These days everything can be customised. Including the message that websites send out apparently!
Mixing real-life photography with digital graphics makes for a stunning, custom display. Whether it’s your thing or not, you’ll remember it (which is all marketers really want at the end of the day, right?).
Adding more humanity and personality to connect with the viewer seems to be the main web design trend in 2020. Everyone’s into making friends, living life and…veganism? That’s Generation Z for you!
In all seriousness, this design trend is really effective. Anyway…
7. Super, Super Minimalist
Smartwatches have experienced a wearer surge recently. Thus, here comes the ridiculously easy to navigate sites which features less text and more videography/photography. *sigh* Where have the good ol’ HTML sites gone, eh?
8. Split Screen Stuff
Uncluttered, clean, crisp websites are all the rage (have been for a little while now). Enter the middle split-screen design; a fool-proof way of conveying 2 ideas while keeping it simple.
Honestly, the effects are really beautiful.
9. Exposed Grids? Really?
Yup, not a particular fan of this either but it’s a definite trend this year.
Flat rectangles and thin lines are the main focus here. They guide your eye effortlessly to the most desirable content. It’s a fab marketing ploy since pop-ups or ads fit perfectly on the page without disrupting the design.
While I did say I’m not really into this look, I do quite like when designers use it as a witticism to earlier technology. I’m here for that.
10. As Per Usual — Whitespace
Whitespace has never really left the chat room. It’s always been here, chilling in the background while we pay no attention to it. But that’s the point.
I’m not sure if I should be calling whitespace a “trend” since it’s more of a technique. It ensures all the best bits pop and makes the site feel well-balanced.
Even though it’s called whitespace, it can be any colour. Pink, blue, red, you name it! However, the most effective designs use white since you get a higher contrast ratio. All very technical, isn’t it?
The Bigger Picture
And they’re the trends, people. But, what are they trying to say?
Designers, marketers, copywriters, every maker (creator, artist, whatever you want to call them) is trying to infer an idea, make a statement or formulate a plan. What will you make of it?