2021 was a crazy year, to say the least. So now let’s take a moment to see what the future holds by taking a peek into the new year’s web design trends. The upcoming 12 trends to spark you.

As of late, designers have been crafting sites as a piece of art. Sites as like interactive projects and sites that are here for just pleasure and play.

Web design is moving into the future, with thrilling modern techniques like advanced interactions, animations, and visual effects like grain effect. And with no-code tool enable designers to do it all easier and quicker.

1. Blocks and Grids

Milli Agency Blocks And Grids

Milli Agency – https://www.milli.agency/

Site designs that either has lots of content or even lack of true elements can benefit from using strong block or grid patterns to help pull everything together.

The thing about using this trend is that it can take on so many options from either minimal block styles with text to more complex image grids that piece together visual elements.

For you to make the most out of this trend is to think about how the blocks or a grid can pull together and help organise your information. So use the design time to create additional click elements, entry points or ways that your site visitors to interact.

2. Toggle that Light/Dark Mode

Having the ability to toggle between dark and light mode is in-demand feature. But you may not know that you need it. As users love to be in control of the core visual base of a site or app.

Example of a nice toggle for light and dark modes

Silvio Meira, has a nice toggle for switching between light and dark mode – https://silvio.meira.com/

As modern devices (phones, tablets and laptops) for example allow for this. So adding that toggle to your site will only enhance it even more for that extra user experience that we all secretly crave.

But remember when it comes to light and dark mode, just swapping from white to black or vice versa isn’t enough, your design should contain palettes for both.

3. Page Speed Prioritisation

Let’s speak out on the technical side of a site, as page speed has become a front of mind consideration for a developer. In an article post in April 2021, Google’s 2021 algorithm update makes speed a more important consideration than before.

Page Speed Prioritisation

For SEO, this reflects users higher expectations for site speed performance. Since there’s a high percentage of 53% of users that will abandon a page if that page takes more than 3 seconds to load. So gone are those days of waiting on a loading screen to experience a site.

Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse can be used to assess your page speed. There are a few steps developers or their platform of choice can take to make sure that pages load quickly, such as image optimisation or deferred off-screen image loading, limiting how many fonts you are using can also help to optimise the speed. Also, you can avoid developing pages on a platform that relies on plugins since you don’t know exactly how well coded it is can make a big impact.

4. Split-Screen Sites

An interesting way to break up a design is with a split-screen layout.

Decathlon United Media has a great split screen design

Decathlon United Media has a great split screen design – https://www.decathlon-united.media/media/d-profile/kerensa

What is great about split screens, is that they provide more interactivity and boost engagement. There are many great examples you can use with this trend, one look you can use this trend with plenty of interactive elements that have video, or three-dimensional elements to them etc.

Mastering this trick is to make it your own. Split screens can deliver this-or-that interaction choices. For users or simply provide a bit of visual balance between text and image elements.

5. Grain Gradient

Hard Work Club One Page Websites

Hard Work Club – https://www.hardworkclub.com/

Gradients are already popular. I use a simple gradient for the Featured Image posts background effect. But adding a little bit of a grain to them, create an entirely different effect.

A gradient is slick and modern. And it gives objects a futuristic glow or a shiny, technological feeling. However, using Grain grounds a design and gives it texture and helps it feel more natural.

Flayks Grain Gradient

Flayks – https://flayks.com/

Grain can mimic film, photography and print mediums. You have a few grain options. Choosing a fine multi-colour grain can make the gradient look like an analog film. But a large monochrome grain can look like a silkscreened poster.

So using this grain gradient can be used selectively or across the whole page. As a full background, or within specific objects.

6. Fewer Heroes (Fewer Images in Hero)

Many of us have been crafting hero sections and even landing pages that speak with design rather than depending on images, photographs or illustrations.

Hero images give a great visual impact right from the start. But sometimes it eliminates the distraction of a flashy image that puts the focus more on style and content.

Dotmick Fewer Heroes

Mickaël Larchevêque – Personal site – https://www.dotmick.com/

There are plenty of great websites that are incredibly different. But each uses layout, typography, colour, and shape to communicate strong, memorable brand identity. Removing images also creates a bit of mystery, enticing visitors to find out what else lies beyond the hero section.

7. One Page Websites

Sometimes the most effective site is the least complex one. With the increasing popularity of the one-page website that withholds the menu and navigation in favour of simple scroll navigation.

Ocean Dev One Page Websites

Ocean Dev – https://oceandev.io/

One page website works the best when the subject matter is narrower, such as a portfolio or a presentation of a single idea like an app.

These types of sites evoke the feeling of holding a flyer or a poster. All the information that you’ll need to review is in one place without all the distractions of navigation or multiple pages.

8. Interactive fonts

Take the use of text even further, join the designers who’d been finding creative ways to make their text interactive. An easy way to make interactive text is just by applying a hover state change (the same way as a button). It helps that it is now easier to create a more awesome effect using no-code platforms.

Slava Kirilenko Interactive Fonts

Slava Kirilenko – https://slavakirilenko.com/

So when you employ this interactivity into your projects, make sure to keep it legibility in mind as some people get…umm.. distracted.

9. Oversized Typography

Photographer Alex Sakhnenko Oversized Typography

Alex Sakhnenko / Photographer – https://shpro.info/

Having your typography in unusual size is a fresh and bold design trend for this year. While at a certain size. Some words have become more of a graphic element than simply a part of the copy.

This is an adaptable technique that can be used both in a minimalist or maximalist design just as effectively. And can be suited in many different styles.

10. Overlapping Design Elements

Did you know! That every design element doesn’t have to be in its container, they can overlap themselves.

Bbdo Overlapping Elements

BBDO – https://bbdo.de/

As overlapping design elements can create depth and dimension. As well as it provides an eye-tracking path from one to the next element in design projects.

But, the catch with this trend is that you have to create and layer elements in such a way that everything remains readable and in an way, that maintains that readability on smaller devices, otherwise you can fall flat real fast.

11. Off-Screen Elements

Sometimes, overlapping is something you may want to do, but instead what makes a design more interesting is the things you can’t see.

So play with the following trend of having an off-screen element with moving design elements, text or even other elements that seem to move right off the screen. Motion can happen on its own or as a result of hover or scroll interaction.

Clevershot Off Screen Elements

Clevershot – https://www.clevershot.co.uk/

Clearly one of the greatest things about this trend is that it encourage your visitor to look closely at the design and think about what they are seeing. Contrarily, if there is too much happening the message can be lost. So the tip to use this trend is to work with the simpler element that is easy to understand.

12. Abstract illustrations

Studio Goliath Abstract Illustration

Studio Goliath – https://www.studio-goliath.com/

While the clean and cute illustrations of humans and objects have ruled the roost in web design for a while. Loads of people are looking for something that feels a little more natural and sophisticated. So why don’t you use some Abstract illustrations that have more of an organic texture and a sense of the human hand creating them?

Using this sort of illustration can be created with ink and paper. Then scan/create in your favourite illustration software.

Tiller Digital Abstract Illustration

Tiller Digital – https://tillerdigital.com/

The key to successfully having these abstract illustration are incorporating the various textures and natural anomalies like watercolours, ink, paint or the texture feature of paper. Plus lines also appear to be softer and imitate variations in line weight that comes from either graphite or ink.

Remember… that Abstract doesn’t have to mean simple!


Web Design Trends for 2022