If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’re eager – some might even say impatient – to get your business idea up and running yesterday. Perhaps your current website is out-dated and long overdue for a rebrand and redesign?
A a big part of making a public debut is setting up shop online. Sometimes, that first website is something you quickly threw together with the help of a web-savvy friend––or maybe you’re taking all the critical steps in creating a website that not only reflects your brand but works to convert leads from day one.
Either way, if you’re ready to give your website a professional refresh or to build an entirely new site from scratch, your brand will benefit from familiarity with some of the most significant web design trends of the year. With that in mind, here are five website design trends the 99designs community forecasts to dominate web design through 2020 and beyond:
1. Dark mode
From mobile to desktop, one of the biggest overarching aesthetic trends this year is dark design. Dark themes make design elements stand out more, especially in a digital context, creating a higher contrast ratio with the use of other colors, but still improving visual ergonomics by reducing eye strain.
Coincidentally, dark mode complements many prevalent graphic design trends that include dark and moody color schemes combined with glowing neons, as well as futuristic cyberpunk and dystopian styles. The style can also work well with more restrained classic colors and striking photography such as the landing page for a floral design studio, Revelation, and digital studio, Ever&Ever.
2. Mixing photography with graphics
Overlapping original graphics on top of photography creates a collage-like look that can be used to add charm to an otherwise bland product photo. It’s also an effective way to communicate complicated or abstract concepts (even in industries like tech or finance) in a more attractive, consumer-friendly format. Think of this trend as a way to instantly add more personality to your product.
3. Immersive 3D
While 3D visuals have been on the rise for a while now, today’s technology enables people to incorporate these elements in their web design without uber-expensive equipment, making it accessible to more businesses than ever before. For example, A-0 Design features an intriguing animated 3D experience on its homepage that delights a user with a visual fairytale-like narrative, taking inspiration from game design in a striking way.
4. Hand-drawn design
Unique hand-drawn elements inject emotion and humanity into websites. While perfect but impersonal graphics have dominated web design for years, users seem to be craving this stylized aesthetic that adds a distinctively human touch to the digital visual experience.
In fact, this rebellious trend is almost a countermovement to the trend of pixel-perfect flat designs and seek to convey, via scratchy edges and open shapes, just how human and relatable your brand is. The sky’s the limit when it comes to creative possibilities, and brands can incorporate any number of styles from the quirky cartoons to more detailed surrealist landscapes favored by Whereby, a video conferencing software company.
5. Ultra minimalist navigation
The rise of wearable devices like smartwatches has web designers thinking smaller. Navigation, in particular, is becoming progressively simpler to accommodate small screens and even shorter attention spans.
Extreme minimalism in navigation takes away much of the difficulty in usability and is a typically underrated aesthetic style when it comes to web design. The less a user has to think about moving around, the more time they spend immersed in the site, absorbing your content and interacting with your brand instead of wondering how.
At the same time, large-scale photos and videos in this context are your chance to make an impressive statement—while only using the bare minimum of text. This smartwatch app design by Sathish on Dribble, for example, is about as spare, clean and minimalist as it gets and yet powerfully beautiful and effective. You can also see how one single word or image can make a striking first impression via the homepages of Wokine and We Ain’t Plastic.
Endless opportunities to keep your web presence current
The dominant theme across current web design trends is that the opportunities for creativity are limitless. On the one hand, we’re seeing entrepreneurs and web designers play with extremes, experimenting with new techniques and technology.
But at the same time, brands are leaning on popular styles and familiar aesthetics to engage users and create instant rapport. Ultimately, whichever side of the scale your business is leaning, it’s a great time to evaluate and refresh your online web design in a way that connects your brand with consumers in an accessible and on-trend way.
Shayne Tilley is Head of Marketing at 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. Wrangler of collaboration, diversity, and creativity to help bring more opportunities to people all around the world.
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