Web design trends are continually changing and in 2020, the technical possibilities seem endless, and we’re seeing designers play with limits, re-invent previous styles and ceaselessly experiment with new techniques. At the same time, some popular styles just won’t go away, such as the ever-present minimalism and colourful flat illustrations we’ve been seeing for some time now.
So for 2020, it’s time for me to make an educated guess on the trends that will dominate the web design world this year.
It’s a known fact that using a custom illustration style is an excellent way to make a brand stand out. Good illustrations are part of a product or brand. Competitors can copy your colour scheme or typography, but not your illustration style.
Digital illustrations have taken centre stage over the past years, and in 2019 we saw a growth of illustrations. We have already seen that large companies have introduced illustrations in their visual communication. Here just a few noble mentions:
Recently, it has become more apparent that illustrations don’t have the same eye-catching power that they had before as with many illustration styles around, it becomes hard for the users to match a particular style to a specific company.
To make illustrations more powerful, designers started to adopt more abstract illustrations styles, and this style will rule in 2020.
Nevertheless, there is an important thing that designers should remember while working on abstract graphics. It’s vital to make sure that your audience can understand what you are trying to say. Illustrations that are too abstract won’t have much business value, and they will be more like a work of art rather than a functional component that serves a specific business purpose.
Making sure it’s Accessible
Web accessibility it’s the practice of ensuring that websites and web applications are usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities has long been a vital part of the web design and development process in organisations, this particularly true in government agencies, where accessiblity has long been a requirement.
So make sure design aspects like the colour choice for colour blindness, optimisation or screen readers, and well thought out image descriptions when designing and developing websites & apps.
Ultra minimalism controlled product design for a long time and designers tried to lessen the visual properties and only leave the essential objects such as crucial content & functional elements, as a result, they created products that used excessive amounts of white space and practically no colour. Ultra minimalism made all interfaces look similar.
Users got tired with dull designs, and designers started to experiment with various visual styles — one style in particular that found itself in the spotlight are gradients. In 2018 and 2019, gradients began to replace the flat colours. These gradients adds some depth in flat layouts and make them more visually appealing. Many product teams and stakeholders loves gradients because branding colours could be used to create them.
Gradients are a resourceful tool, as they can be used in various contexts such as a background for content, as colour filters over the images or illustrations, and even as an accent for functional elements such as a call to action button.
Bright gradients are used as background colours, that brings in depth and dimension to the UI, voice shopping interface. Gradients look equally great on the large screen of TV, desktops or a small display of mobile devices.
Although compared to the gradients used by designers in past years, the new generation of gradients have different styling. Gradients 2.0 can be subtle (created using muted colours) or loud (created using vibrant colours), still in both cases, they are comparatively simple, using a single clear light source and created utilising one or two colours.
If you visit the sites of industry leaders, you might see that the headline, not imagery, was the first thing that grabs your attention.
Hero headlines are not a new trend at all, but the impressive thing is that those headlines has been designed, but really have you notice that many of those headlines been designed with large bold fonts?
Heavy fonts puts more visual weight to the message, and it direct the reader to where they should look first and from an aesthetic point of view, bold fonts also give designs a modern and contemporary feel.
With the release of Apple iOS 13, we see that bold headlines becomes an integral part of iOS apps and if we assess this design decision in terms of usability, it will be clear that heavy fonts are option for creating contrast in which improves text readability and visual hierarchy of elements that can improves content comprehension. That’s why including bold fonts are so popular among mobile designers.
But at the same time, when using any heavy or bold font, it’s important not to overuse it.
Here are some things that you need to take into account:
Bold typography can be a bit overpowering when there’s a lot of it to read. So if everything is bold, then nothing is really bold at all. That is why you should try to use these bold fonts for only short pieces of text or headers/subheaders.
Don’t forget about the contrast, when using a heavy font it will have more impact when you contrasted it against a neutral background.
Using simple fonts, when it comes to text elements, the first decision should always be readability as it’s recommended to use Sans Serif fonts because they scale well plus when picking a bold sans-serif font, look for letters with round shape.
Hero Video Headers
For a long time, web designers had use static imagery to convey their main idea, but the situation has changed.
Since high-speed connections make it much easier for designers to turn their home pages into immersive movie style experiences. That’s why in 2019, we’ve come across more and more sites that use short video clips on their home pages.
Video makes the experience more live and dynamic and it engages users, and they are more willing to spend time watching clips. Video clips used in a hero section can vary from a few seconds of looped video to full length preview clips with audio.
Dark UI Mode
You’ve have may noticed that some of the largest companies, developers who has their own portfolio have already adding an light and dark modes to their products.
A dark mode is a low light user interface that displays mostly dark surfaces, that embrace the dual-coloured design trend has two significant benefits to user experience, first is the dark themes is here to help reduce eye strain by adjusting the brightness of the screen to current lighting conditions, second its that they conserve the battery power of mobile devices by reducing the use of light pixels.
Humans are visual creatures, and for many people, it’s easier to comprehend information when it’s presented visually, rather than in text. Data visualisation is quickly becoming an essential tool for creating visually engaging stories, the stories, like the example below, can captivate your audience and make them want to learn more about your brand.
Geometric shapes are a simple but yet it is a powerful asset that allows designers to create more appealing visual compositions; commonly, geometric shapes are used to create visual dividers between sections.
Since 2019, designers started to find more interesting ways to use geometric objects, and many teams use geometric shapes to send a specific feel. For example, soft geometric shapes can help create a futuristic look and while sharp lines and edges can convey a brutalist feel:
This trend works well with other visual design trends, such as gradients and bold fonts.
If you are contemplating adding geometric shapes into your design and looking for inspiration, you can find perfect shapes in nature.