5 big trends in web design for 2021

2020 has been a huge year for digitalization, both for companies that have realized the importance of having a digital presence and also the way we consume and shop has changed a lot during the year. People are spending more time online, E-commerce is growing like never before and we are constantly finding new and smart digital services that help us both in our everyday and working life. To sum it up, 2020 is a year we will remember forever and that has affected us all in so many different ways.

Let’s get to the theme of the blog post, trends. We can start by looking at some of the biggest trends in web design under 2020. Something that became big during the year and that more companies understood the importance of was UX writing, writing for the web with a more personal and casual feel. The trend of using big and bold headlines in the designs was not really a new trend, but it grew even bigger in 2020. When it comes to imagery, we liked to mix images with graphic elements in the design to create cool contrasts. And finally, we have Dark mode. A feature that has been used by a lot of programs over the years but grew more popular in 2020 when major software companies such as Instagram and Slack introduced Dark mode to their interface.

Now let’s get to the good stuff, what are the trends for 2021? Below we have summarized some of the trends we believe will grow big in the year to come.


The minimalist trend for web design has been popular for many years now, every year there is a new twist on the trend with a new cool name to go with it. No matter what the trend is called this year, the mindset is here to stay. With the minimalist trend, the design in recent years has been quite flat, almost the opposite of 3D so to say. Creating a shadow-effect on a button or image is something that is often used. But now we are taking it to the next level and letting the different elements on the page almost float. The 3D effect is also trending when it comes to illustrations, backgrounds and blocks, really all the graphic design we can create on the site. Quite simply, the more we can make the visitor almost want to touch the screen to see if something stands out, the better.

Dark mode

Okay, we know that we just wrote that Dark mode was a trend for 2020. So why are we mentioning it here? Yes, because as with most trends, it evolves over time. In 2020 we saw that many of the largest apps and programs began to offer Dark mode to their users. What we are seeing now is that Dark mode is being applied more and more in web design. The clean and minimalist design is still there, but now they are starting to replace all the white with black instead. Against black, text and design elements "pop" more, colors become a little clearer and for many visitors it is more user-friendly when reading. Now, web designers are giving the visitors the ability to choose a Dark mode themselves when they visit a page, a little switch so that they can choose their own preference. As some know you can switch to Dark mode yourself in the settings on some browsers, but now the designers make it easier for visitors without knowledge of the setting to choose their preference. To sum it up, we will see more Dark mode-designs in 2021.

Little surprises

We have been talking about Banner blindness for a long time and our ability to miss information on the websites we visit. This often applies to advertising, but the more time we spend online, we also start to miss more and more of the information that companies want us to take part in. Most visitors today know their way around the normal logic of websites and therefore they miss a lot of content that we want to show there. Therefore designers need to find little ways to make the specific content attract the visitors attention. What we are seeing more of now is small animated surprises on elements that simply make the visitor stop and react, nothing big but just some small fun details that they were now expecting. It can be anything from when hovering over a specific element then a small animation pops up or when the visitor scrolls, instead of going down the scrolling takes place sideways for a short while before continuing downwards as usual. Something that is also trending is to have large design elements on the page that moves but it moves so slowly that the visitor may not first realize  the fact that it is actually an animation. You should give the visitor an experience that is not necessarily revolutionary in any way, they may not go WOW but they do get a visit that stands out and that sets you apart from other competitors. 


Just as it says in the heading, we are starting to get a little nostalgic in our creations, trends tend to usually come back. We see more and more design that feels a bit retro and that in a way stands out against the minimalist design that is dominant today. Working with  big contrast gradients was a “cool” and common design trend back in the early days and surprise, it's  back. Now, we are not talking about a small gradient on a button for an effect, but this time we use big elements with gradients in the design.

The trend is also shifting from just going between different shades of a single color to now switch between two different colors, preferably in clear neon colors. Another thing we see is trending now is to work with a slightly "messier" imagery, styling it as a collage in a way. A type of imagery where we have moved away from the clean and spacious design that is usually used today. Different types of fonts are also going up and down in fashion, using fonts with Serif in headlines with body text Sans serif is one of the big trends recently. Something that you are starting to see more and more of now is to use Serif-font in both headings and body text. This might feel a little crazy but who knows, maybe 2021 is the year that we start to love Times New Roman again!?


Personification is also not a new trend, everywhere online we are met by targeted offers and messages based on our digital footprint. Our name is featured in emails so that we should feel selected and the companies try many ways to make us feel unique. The customer is used to this nowadays and it is not always a positive thing, especially when the marketing messages are misdirected. But what is trending now is personalized experiences on websites itself, especially in e-commerce. We as customers get emails about our abandoned shopping carts, when something we are interested in comes on sale or they send us emails with various relevant loyalty offers.

Working in this way is nothing new, but now we are starting to go from just reaching customers with personalized messages through email to now also creating personalized experiences on the platform itself. This can be anything from being greeted by messages when visiting the site such as "Welcome back xxx" or that the layout on the home page changes depending on our preferences and what we have previously visited for content on the site. We can also place information or product that the customer has previously shown great interest for first, at the top of the pages. Personalize the whole website experience for the unique visitor.

Working with design and functionality that depend on cookies and other collected information can be a jungle these days with new restrictions popping up all the time. But nevertheless there is still a big value for you to find creative ways to build better relationships with your visitors and increase conversion.


These were simply some of the trends we will see more of in under 2021. We already look forward to next year when we can summarize this year and see which trends grew the most. If you want to talk about web design, trends, e-commerce or Umbraco with us, you can just get in touch with us.




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