Everyone knows that trends tend to be flaky. Nowhere is this more apparent than website design. What is popular one day might not be popular the next, the tides constantly shift.
Luckily, there are certain things that you can predict based on where most websites are headed. If you know where to look, you’ll be able to beat the competition before they know what hit them.
Here are some essential web design trends to watch for in 2020:
1. A 3D illustration is in
The future was starting to look flat recently, but things are quickly changing. The cut-out illustration style used by Slack is fading and designers are opting for more three-dimensional and vibrant illustrations that will blur the lines between reality and the digital world.
In a way, this will sharpen the contrast between human beings and digital products. Long gone are the cold and flat minimalistic days of Facebook-like web design, which make you feel like you’re the product in an information market.
Instead, your experience on websites is going to be interactive and akin to entering an imaginary world where you can manipulate different elements to get you where you need to go.
It’s not a huge, revolutionary change, but it will add a new level of artistic skill to making websites that will be designed to make you feel a certain way. Users will appreciate websites more and that’s all that matters.
2. Screen dominating text
Content specialists have always argued that content should be the priority when it comes to publishing. It might seem obvious in theory, but online publishers have hanged their design choices a lot over the years, and they tend to forget the publishing aspect is the most important part of their website.
Luckily, we’re trending toward content being pushed to the forefront again. Designers are getting reacquainted with letter forms and websites are giving textual content center stage.
This welcome change is represented by huge letters on the front pages of many websites, akin to a special announcement. Huge fragmented messages on pages instantly grab your attention and make you focus on the message being displayed.
Whether it’s a worthwhile message or not doesn’t matter, it still makes you feel like it’s something urgent.
Sometimes the format is intentionally made too large for the page, meaning it’s set up in fragments. This adds an additional level of urgency to the message.
3. Playful cursors
The humble cursor serves just one purpose, to get you where you want to go with the magic of a simple click. It’s long been a disregarded element on websites, since changing it seemed unnecessary considering it serves no aesthetic function.
Times are changing, and websites are opting for more interactive and interesting designs which open the pathway for cursor changes as well.
The aesthetics of the cursor are changing most of all. Most of the time, it will match the style of the website in question. If it’s a website about photography, the cursor might be turned into the center dot of a camera, with which you take “pictures” of the part of the site you want to access.
The function of the cursor is also affected. The days of just pointing and clicking are gone for modern websites. You can click and hold some elements to get a gif to load or a video to play.
You get different functions based on whether you click or hold your mouse, giving the website designer more ways to toy with interactive parts.
4. Helveticization of the logo
Websites might become more vibrant and interesting over time, but the same trend won’t be followed by website logos. The common logo constantly changes its form.
In 2018 we saw an increase in playful wordmarks that represent more eccentric brands. Once again, things are changing for logos. They’re heading towards the minimalist look of sans-serifs and similar styles. Simply put, every brand logo you see is getting itself a Helvetica version.
Some brands will benefit from this cold and simple approach, while others might not be appreciated as much. This kind of design is synonymous with a kind of cold corporatism that is starting to annoy people more and more.
It might be symbolic of maturity and growth, but this lack of quirkiness will remove a much-needed warmth from certain logos.
5. Black and white with a cherry on top
If there’s anything that you can consider important on websites, it’s the color. Colour is literally the way we see the world, which is why picking the right ones lets you change the perception of your website.
We associate different colors with different moods and this is something designers have taken advantage of since the dawn of time. Getting rid of most colors doesn’t seem like the most effective idea, but designers have become creative with the two most simple colors in the palette.
White and black have always been an interesting pair of art. One conveys openness and light, while the other is a stern opposite that makes you feel trapped. Modern websites like taking advantage of black and white designs because they feel more professional and they let you show off the skill of the designers.
There is a rising trend of using black and white, while at the same time using a minimum of other colors to emphasize something important. A gentle shade of red behind one element is going to stick out like a sore thumb on a black and white website.
Using this with other colors properly allows you to focus the attention of the user however you please, while still maintaining aesthetics.
6. Going horizontal
The design of websites has always mimicked what we feel is natural on paper. You read from left to right and from up to down. This is the way menus and elements on the website are oriented as well. The way you change pages has always varied, however.
Sometimes you click a button to take you to the next one, while other times you scroll downward to continue the same page indefinitely.
Scrolling up and down has become one of the most popular ways to move the page around, but even that is changing.
Horizontal scrolling is all the rage on modern websites. Combined with the vertical scroll, it can make a website’s layout more concise.
Even alone, horizontal scrolling helps mimic how you read a book, without having to necessarily change a page. With sufficient intervals between pages and scrollable content, the page isn’t as overloaded as it would be in a vertical scroll type design. The only downside is you might be restricted due to the page’s space usage.
7. More chaotic elements
Standard allocation of elements on a website is becoming an outdated concept. Nobody likes predictability in their website, or even outside of browsing the internet.
It’s all about creative chaos nowadays. However, what may seem like chaos is actually a well-designed simulation of chaos. Sometimes you’re going to have letters and links all over the place, allowing you to be a creative as you want with your design.
Chaos brings certain problems when you get to the core of the website. How will you optimize your links if someone gets confused by the website layout?
Ads and optimized links are an essential part of a modern website, which means you have to make sure they aren’t inhibited by the design. To help you with this, you should consult companies like GWM SEO Agency to improve SEO on your website. Another option would be considering to hire an SEO consultant. There are various website that you can attract talented candidates by publishing your job vacancies with.
8. Natural shapes
Along with colors, shapes are something every visual designer has to focus on. Websites might be set up for systematic grids, there’s still room for improvement in design. Designers are turning towards more organic and natural shapes in order to bring the most user-friendly experience on their websites.
Geometric shapes like triangles and rectangles do give a sense of security and professionalism, but 2020 is all about making the user feel like the website is accessible and friendly. The curving shape of trees and hills make for an interesting change on websites.
Their natural imperfections and asymmetry provide depth to the design. Free-drawn elements are becoming just as popular, as they show you that manual effort was exerted when making the website you’re using. Handmade is popular in general, which is why adding such things to websites is a great change.
Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. Sometimes experience will tell you what to look out for when you design your website, while other times you’ll see rising trends everywhere.
The important thing is to always be three steps ahead. If you follow some of these pointers, this year you’ll no doubt be making the most up-to-date website money can buy.