Web Design Trends Dominating 2021

Design trends are often shaped by global themes and occurrences.

You can bet your shorts on a global pandemic having a major impact on the way web-designers approach their craft. The remote, stay at home reality web designers have been facing has forced them to dig deep. 

Thankfully, many have been able to continue producing awesome websites.

However, even when armed with the best website design solution, it’s not always easy coming up with a final product that truly feels cutting edge; the kind that people look at and immediately know it is a website that reflects the state of web design in 2021. 

Don’t worry.

We’re here to help:)

Here are the top seven trends within the world of web design in 2021 as identified by Elementor.

Leveraging just a few of these should do the trick.

1. Seamless surrealism 

Seamless surrealism entails positioning elements upon counterintuitive, unusual backgrounds. It may sound weird. However, when implemented correctly, the results can be striking. 

Check this Gucci landing page as an example.

a bag      

 The high-end retailer positions each handbag within a unique, image-based background. Potential customers are approached with products in a completely different, unique way.

Suddenly, there’s an added layer to each handbag’s look and feel.

The key to getting seamless surrealism right is thinking in terms of flamboyant colors and textures. Those will really help deliver the visual experience you’re aiming for.

2. Negative colors

2021 saw designers and web design agencies gravitate towards very bold colors, specifically primary ones:
Red, blue and yellow.
Using them effectively often entails combining multiple deeply contrasting primary colors, akin to comics-like themes and 90’s-style motifs.These types of color palettes often target younger audiences, their upbeat, exciting vibe resonating with their unique aesthetic sensibilities.

Check this out:

Goliath Entertainment’s home page is a perfect representation of negative color combinations done right. The rotary telephones, boomboxes, and other iconic 90’s items will resonate strongly with Millennials who grew up in that decade.

3. Collage art

Like with many other UI trends, Collage art initially rose to popularity on social media. A go-to format for Stories and news feed content, collages’ ability to stimulate was soon discovered by web-designers.

Web-design collage art will typically encompass a number of core elements:

Most collages will sprawl out across a full-width visual. Additionally, they will include a precise cut-out of an image (usually a photograph). These elements will all be integrated using a mix of solid color graphics and patterned illustrations.

Sounds a bit complicated:) But it makes total sense once you see it in action:

The City Circus, an Athens hostel, created a collage and set it as its homepage’s centerpiece. Incorporating images and art related to the historical area in which it is located, The City Circus has one of the most striking hostel websites you’ll ever see.

4. Black outline

Black illustrations have become fan favorites among web designers. Enamored with their sleek, striking aesthetic, web designers leverage this dark graphic approach in other areas. A prime example is black outlines around different elements throughout their website. These black lines and borders can vary in thicknesses; they’re often used as page dividers, specifically as grid boxes of numerous sizes.

The following example is unique in that it combines said black lines and illustrations with real photographed images. 

The black borders and accents have a powerful impact on user engagement. This type of graphic design catches visitors’ attention instantly. The latter will find themselves drawn to the messaging and experiences the designer seeks to relay.

5. Use of emojis

In 2021, the debate regarding the use of emojis in web design has been settled 👨‍⚖️ .

Web creators have taken to the fresh, endearing language of emojis, incorporating them within their designs.

Leveraging these illustrated gestures is now an effective, simple way to illustrate brand sentiment.
Non-verbal messaging in a language familiar to users of all backgrounds can be an extremely powerful approach. 

Check this site out:

This high-end French restaurant doesn’t merely settle for adding emojis to the hero text stripe.
Its site’s designer arranged for the cursor to appear as an emoji, as well.  The latter alternates between a 🍑 and an 🍆.

6. Elegant Serif fonts

Serif fonts are incredibly popular among web-designers. 

This has been true for a while now.

But current stylistic trends help Serif’s popularity soar even higher amongst web designers.

Larger screens, for example, enable serif fonts to appear less cluttered and more readable — thanks to increased space in and around the words.
Likewise, their higher resolution makes the heavier, more illustrious letters appear more clearly.

This ecommerce website makes use of an elegant Serif font by the name of Abel. This font is very vivid and clear, perfectly complementing the website’s high-end offerings.

Despite being quite thin, each letter is very sharp and visible, and the messaging as a whole jumps out at you.

7. Black & white illustrations with textures

Designers were much, much more limited in what they could do back in the early days of journalism.

Tasked with creating something visually stimulating with a 2 colored, monochrome palette, illustrators had very little to draw upon (no pun intended).

However, creativity is born out of necessity.

Inspired by the emerging world of animation, newspaper designers began honing their animation skills, en route to heavily incorporating cartoon elements in their work.

Cartoon animation was discovered to have a drastic effect on the way readers consumed newspapers. Soon, alleviating the reader’s cognitive load with simple engaging imagery had become an industry go-to; the kind that would shape modern design, and which is a dominant fixture of web design in 2021.

Today, texture-based illustrations are created digitally.

This inevitably causes them to look slightly different to their hand-drawn predecessors. This subtle change has minor design implications, such as a more uniform shade of black, and more precise symmetry and alignment.

Check out Mailchimp’s homepage:

The hero image style differs slightly to the three-column section with three black digital illustrations, exemplifying this old but true aesthetic approach.

Final thoughts and takeaways

With less than 4 months until the end of the year, web designers have their work cut out for them if they hope to stand out in 2021.

Adopting the aforementioned design trends will help attract visitors by standing out within an increasingly competitive landscape.

We wish you guys good luck in implementing them!


About the author

Yoni Yampolsky is a marketing manager at Elementor. The most popular WordPress website builder, Elementor powers more than 5% of all the world’s websites.

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