What to Watch: The Web Design Trends Having an Impact in 2021

Jayme Rey
Web design trends

A fter a year unlike any other, marketers may have the desire to seek out new ideas and approaches to better communicate with their customers and create a sense of togetherness. I think it’s fair to say, everyone is ready for a breath of fresh air in 2021 and updating design approaches can help get us there.

Each new year offers us the chance to reflect, reevaluate and reset our brands to better resonate with customers. Afterall, there’s a lot that can happen within a year, and 2020 was no exception. Here are a few trends that will have an impact, all offering organizations the chance to update their brand’s aesthetic, earn customers’ attention, and drive greater results.

Increasing Brand Transparency

2020 challenged people to do their research and look at everyday things with a critical eye. It had us questioning what’s real, what matters, and what impact things have on society.

Instead of having the burden of uncovering the good, the bad and the ugly themselves, users are fond of brands that are transparent, lifting the veil on how the company operates. A company can do this by demonstrating a brand’s ethics, showing the user how exactly products are made, or how services are rendered. Creatively doing so within your brand will help you differentiate yourself among competitors in a resounding way.

Credit: Panera Bread

UX Writing and Microcopy

After such a disruptive year, there is a yearning among consumers for reassurance and optimism, and in response, communication styles are changing in 2021. Brands are adopting more personal, less formal copy within their experiences that reads more like regular dialogue. Having a unique and more human tone to your copy will allow your users to feel connected, building closer relationships that support your brand’s individual style.

Credit Dollar Shave Club
Credit: Dollar Shave Club

Unique and Creative Product Photos

Life is messy and unpredictable. It was before 2020 and it always will be. Yet sometimes, designs tend to focus on perfection and society’s unrealistic expectations.

2021 will give brands the opportunity to stand out by incorporating surreal elements within their product photography to grab users’ valuable attention. By reflecting this cultural shift and rebelling against the norm, brands invite their users to spend time with their images, reflecting on meaning and vision. The goal is for potential consumers to use their imagination to make a connection with your brand, spend more time on your website and ultimately convert from browsers into buyers.

Credit: Gucci

Softer Shadows, Layers and Overlapping Elements

Think about how much time you’ve spent staring at screens during the past year. It can take a toll on your senses. To break up the monotony, incorporating imagery with graphical elements, a trend from the last few years, will continue, with the addition of more subtle shadows to enhance depth. Elements that appear to float delight users and can make your website look slightly 3D.

Credit: Ghulaam Rasool
Credit: Ghulaam Rasool

Additionally, as people have found themselves spending more and more time at home grappling with monumental and unfamiliar stressors, tastes in color have shifted to more muted hues that are proven to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of ease. Combining more natural and organic colors with design elements like shadows, layers, and overlapping elements help limit ambiguity and add richness to the brand.

Credit: Feals
Credit: Feals

Remember We Are All Human

I think one of the most important takeaways from 2020 is that the human condition is universal. It does not matter where you live, what you do, or who you are; we all experience the same feelings, hopes, dreams, and disappointments.

Design and “real” life are not mutually exclusive. We can take our own experiences not only as consumers ourselves, but as fellow human beings and use our experience and skills to help others navigate life both in the good times and bad. By keeping this in mind, we can better answer the needs of others and service them through experiences that bring comfort, optimism and unity to everyday things.

Wishing you all brighter days ahead – happy 2021!

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