Each year, we see certain design trends come into the spotlight. They catch on like wildfire and leveraging them can contribute significantly to your success. Keeping up with the times not only speaks to your user, but also validates your brand. Below are the top 5 design trends we’ve seen in 2020.
1. Dark mode
With the introduction of dark mode on popular apps, many users have grown to love giving their eyes a rest. Dark mode allows users to view their screen in a color scheme that uses light-colored text, icons, and graphical user interface elements on a dark background. When incorporated into web design, dark mode gives your website an ultra-modern look. Consumers usually want the most up-to-date products and services, so your website should reflect these trends and preferences.
Dark mode is a great way to build contrast and make your design elements pop. The dark interface complements the bright elements, allowing your users to read your copy with ease as they navigate throughout the site. In addition to great contrast, dark mode is known for saving battery life on digital devices, which is always a nice extra gift for your users.
Coffee website landing page in dark mode. Image credit akorn.creative.
Landing page in dark mode with main image of a shirt and suit with a button saying, “Get Started.” Image credit Davenport Blazers.
2. Mixing photos with illustrations and graphics
Layering graphics on top of photos is a great way to mix illustration with realism in your design. This rule-breaking trend has dominated the market in 2020, seen in many industries from fashion to home cooking. This alternative, creative approach adds a certain amount of “cuteness” and delight to otherwise bland, common images.
You can also leverage this tactic to call out serious attributes, such as communicating complicated concepts like finance or technology. Whichever reason you choose, this is a great way to add some personality to your web design.
Landing page incorporating photos and graphics to make a visually appealing initial impression. Image credit Zhenya Rynzhuk.
Main page for company promoting airbags for cyclists. It incorporates real photography of bikers surrounded by graphics to make a visually appealing landing page. Image credit Igor Vensko.
3. Minimalism and white space
Minimalism is a classic design trend still popular among today’s best website designs of 2020. Its elegant, beautiful, and easy-to-understand appearance makes this technique highly usable, yielding a delightful user experience.
It’s also a trend that has evolved over time; in 2020, for example, we’re seeing even larger sections of white space. This helps guide the user’s eyes to the most important parts of the page, such as copy or a product image. With little to distract, a minimalistic approach keeps the user focused on the product and what’s important.
Photo of Despicable Me 3’s marketing campaign incorporating white space. Image credit Illumination Entertainment.
4. 3D everywhere!
3D designs have found their way into many mainstream experiences. From Nintendo to cartoons, we’ve evolved from flat experiences to something more 3D. It’s no surprise that this trend has found its way into design, as well.
A parallax website design 3D design to break the boundaries between digital space and reality. It adds depth and realism to your site and captivates the user in a unique way. And with the rise of VR, designing 3D elements is in much higher demand. It’s a great way to create an immersive experience on your site, encouraging your user to stay longer.
Image of a 3D shoe giving a lifelike experience. Image credit Toke.
Image of a 3D frame with items inside and Gucci logo written above it on the wall. Image credit GG Marmont.
5. Streamlined, minimum navigation
Another design trend is to incorporate streamlined, minimum navigation. Minimum navigation limits the amount of choices a user has to make, allowing them to focus on your product. With your information architecture minimal, you can create an experience with few distractions.
Another reason for this trend is due to the decrease in screen sizes over the years. From desktop to phone to present-day wearables, UI real estate is becoming smaller and smaller. Designers are challenged with fitting navigation into smart watches, a very popular form of wearable tech. With screens as small as 44mm, it’s no wonder minimum navigation is a popular design trend.
Landing page showing very few options for navigation besides down or “Notify Me.” Image credit deandesign.
Example of a website with limited navigation; the only call-to-action is an email sign-up. Image credit Clint English.