The one constant in web design is that nothing is constant. Design trends change, technologies provide more opportunities for expression and our appetites and tastes vary continuously. With the new year well underway, now might be a good time to see what we think the top web design trends for 2020 will be.
One of the great things about the world wide web is that it never stays still. It may look the same day after day but when you look back over the previous year, (or maybe you want to jump back to the 90s, and see what trends you really don't miss) you quickly realize just how much has actually changed. This steady evolution is great for web users as the landscape is always evolving. It isn’t so great for developers who have to constantly keep up with the pace of change though!
Here are what our research indicates and what we think the top ten web design trends will include:
- Bright colours and colour blocks.
- Larger fonts.
- Better use of whitespace.
- Dark mode.
- More 3D.
- Increased minimalism.
- Hidden navigation
- Increased use of parallax design.
- Custom illustrations.
As you can see, some of these are continuations of current trends while others take older trends and change them up into something new. We will also be suggesting a way to achieve this in your next web design project.
10 Web Design Trends in 2020
1. Bright colours and colour blocks
We have always been fans of colour so it’s great to see more colour becoming a web design trend this year. We expect to see a lot more use of louder, bright and more standout colours in web designs.
A bright main colour with a complementing or contrasting secondary colour is going to explode. We saw some big brands adopt this style late last year and we think it’s going to accelerate.
eCommerce in particular benefits from bold colour choices
Colour blocks are also going to be influential. Sectioning pages off with colour blocks allows designers to break up pages into bite-size pieces while working well on mobile or desktop. Grids also let you tell a story in an organized and linear way.
The below example by Mango Media blends vibrant colours with great font choice, a strong illustration and nice shading to deliver an exceptional first impression. It is this quality delivery that we think will be a prime web design trend during 2020.
Looking to achieve a similar design? Check out the below.
Divi LMS pack
The Divi LMS pack makes great use of colour blocks and whitespace to deliver a very well balanced theme. The use of colour is very modern and gives the theme a contemporary feel without using gimmicks.
Divi Software Marketing pack
The Divi Software Marketing pack is similar. It uses a bold purple colour scheme with nice page balance, simple fonts, unique illustrations and good use of white space. Another example of contemporary design that uses the latest trends without relying on superfluous elements.
Neve Mountain Bike Race theme
The Neve Mountain Bike Race theme is another fine example of font use, colour blocks and white space. The page is very balanced and could be useful for many types of business, not just leisure. It’s great to see commercially available web themes of this quality!
2. Larger fonts
Larger and bolder fonts are going to be big this year. Typography has always been essential in web design but we are seeing a definite shift towards fewer words in larger or bolder type.
We think this will be a definite web design trend through 2020.
Larger and bolder fonts help reinforce the message and alongside clever headlines and calls to action can be more powerful than imagery in evoking a response. The likes of Samsung has already embraced the power of large type and we expect other brands and many smaller businesses to emulate this success. You can see this in action in the screenshot above from the Samsung website.
Large and bold fonts with the correct font choice can be very impactful. There are hundreds of clean fonts around that would work incredibly well on new designs so choice is certainly not something designers are short of.
Templatemonster Journeo theme
The Templatemonster Journeo theme is the perfect blend of strong imagery, colour blocks and font use. Scroll further down the page and you will also see good use of white space and blocks of content to provide a very modern yet balanced page.
Hestia Pro from Themeisle
Hestia Pro from Themeisle is another example of good font choice, colour pops and blocks and intelligent use of white space. This is another contemporary theme that looks cutting edge while also being realistic for a modern business.
3. Better use of whitespace
Whitespace has always been important in good page design and we expect that to come even more to the fore this year. With the rise of strong colours and bold fonts, the use of empty space is going to be essential for these other web design trends to work. Plus, minimalism is still a strong trend and we don’t expect to see the end of that anytime soon.
Expect to see a lot more empty space on web pages with a lot of attention given to banners, larger headlines, colour blocks and imagery. It takes a great eye to effectively balance content and empty space and usually a great negotiator to convince clients it’s a good idea. We expect all those things to be a trend design trend in 2020.
Wistia is a good example of how empty space is used well on a page. The pages still convey a lot of information but show perfect balance between page content and empty space.
StudioPress Foodie Pro Theme
The StudioPress Foodie Pro Theme is another minimalist theme with great use of font, whitespace and minimalism. It works well for its food theme intent but could be customized to fit other industries too. Another worthwhile theme that works on mobile.
Astra Custom Printing Pro
The Astra Custom Printing Pro theme shows great use of whitespace, font, colour and imagery on an eCommerce theme. The page is very attractive and draws the eye to the products while minimising web content to complement that intent.
4. Dark mode
With more apps offering a dark mode, we expect websites to begin offering the same. Perhaps a colour switcher at the top of the page so the user has a choice of using light or dark modes depending on the device or situation.
There is a lot that goes into dark design, but done right it can offer a feeling of luxury and exclusivity to a page. Alternatively, it can make a page easier to read on some devices or in low light conditions.
Browsers and browser plugins are increasingly adding ‘force dark mode’ tools to manipulate even light designs so they go dark. As this is an increasing trend, you may as well incorporate it into your pages so you control the end result!
Like whitespace, dark backgrounds also feed into the other web design trends of the year, bold colours, large font and minimalism can all work together to deliver an exceptional user experience. Just one of the reasons why we think dark designs and dark modes will rule in 2020.
The Bear Grylls website (pictured above) is a good example of dark mode done well. It is also a great example of strong font, great imagery and minimalist navigation too!
Themeforest Jupiter theme
The Themeforest Jupiter theme demonstrates what we mean about dark website designs, strong colours, and fantastic font choice. It’s a striking theme that stands out immediately and gets the core message across in the first 2 seconds. Not much more need be said about this one!
The larger the font, the fewer examples of it you should have on a page. This leads us nicely onto…
5. More 3D
Many web designers previously avoided 3D imagery because it would take time to render.
Improvements in both design tools and device capability means that 3D is no longer out of scope when designing web pages. We think this will feed a new web design trend in 2020, that of 3D images and web content.
The Welly website (pictured above) is a great example of 3D in action and doesn’t take any longer to load than a standard page. This does take a lot of skill to design an interactive 3D image without causing slow loading but done well, it could create an awesome effect that makes a page stand out from the crowd.
This is one of those trends that demand the highest possible quality in terms of layout and animation. There is no room for second best when working in 3D so this could prove as much as a challenge as an opportunity!
Many think 3D design keeps a visitor on the page for longer and increases interaction. That and the fact it looks very cool is why we think 3D is going to be big this year.
6. Increased minimalism
Minimal design works everywhere. On desktop, on mobile, on web pages, apps and anything with a UI. It is not a new trend by any means but we think it will increase in popularity throughout 2020.
Minimalism is one of the hardest web design techniques to get right (though we have discussed it in a lot of detail here). It takes real skill to be able to balance a web page properly while satisfying the needs of the design, the client and the audience.
Minimalism is compatible with larger fonts, bolder colours, dark mode, custom illustrations and the many other web design trends we are seeing right now. It also works incredibly well on smaller screens which is why we think it will explode this year.
Minimalism fits in with our need for speed, desire to remain on task and little patience for fluff or unnecessary flourishes in web design.
Evoulve (pictured above) is an excellent example of minimalist design that uses colour and font very well. Even the navigation is kept to a minimum!
Templatemonster Kuba theme
The Templatemonster Kuba theme is a masterclass in minimalism. The lack of things to see and do works to the page’s benefit and showcases the elements the designer wants you to see. It loads quickly and works on mobile too.
StudioPress Breakthrough Pro Theme
The StudioPress Breakthrough Theme is an excellent example of minimalist design with bold fonts and little blocks of colour. There is also good use of whitespace throughout the theme that translates well on the mobile version too.
7. Hidden navigation
As mentioned above, minimalism works hand in hand with hidden or minimal navigation. We think this is another design trend we will see during 2020. Most web users are familiar enough with website design that they know that if a menu isn’t immediately visible, it will be on the page somewhere. As long as the design is clear enough, we think that’s more than enough to encourage hidden navigation.
While essential for some designs, navigation and menus take up a lot of screen real estate. The smaller the screen, the more compact the design needs to be. Hidden navigation solves that. As long as the overall design makes it clear where the navigation can be found of course!
Hidden navigation does present a challenge though. Studies have shown that hidden navigation can impact time on page, interaction and visitor satisfaction. Care will have to be taken to match minimalism with good design alongside brand and audience fit.
Themeforest Salient theme
The Themeforest Salient theme includes many of the web design themes we have talked about. Colour, whitespace, font, blocks, minimalist navigation and great design to deliver a very modern theme that would work for all kinds of portfolio types.
8. Increased use of parallax design
Parallax design is nothing new but we think we are going to be seeing a lot more of it this year. This design style was often left to entry-level web designs or template marketplaces where it served no real purpose and made no real impact. Designs like the one at ToyFight.co will change all that.
Better animation tools and techniques means creating genuinely accomplished parallax effects that work across browsers and devices to make a real impact. Along with good colour choice, clever imagery or illustrations, and good page balance, there is no reason why you cannot tell a compelling story through a scrolling page.
Astra Yoga Instructor
The Astra Yoga Instructor theme is another that uses modern trends of strong imagery, colour use, good font size, colour and choice and a neat parallax effect with the logo in the background. This is an excellent theme for its niche and works well.
9. Custom illustrations
Custom illustrations are a way for a brand to really stand out. Forget stock images or mass-market vectors, custom illustration are where it’s at. Built within the brand colour scheme, truly original illustrations can be a powerful way to engage and to evoke emotion and an outcome. We think this is going to grow exponentially this year.
The benefit of custom illustrations is that they can be continually updated, configured to meet a mood or situation and can be used differently across devices. They can also be paired with animations to deliver an involving experience without slowing the page down or getting in the way of the customer journey. Fixate (shown above) is a great example of custom illustration that works to great effect.
They can involve extra expense during the development phase but most graphic designers can turn around illustrations fairly quickly. This is yet another benefit of using them.
Voice is becoming increasingly relevant on the internet. Search is already having to implement voice and web design will have to follow. According to this survey, 65% of web users aged between 25-49 will use voice to interact with their devices. Using voice in page design as well as navigation and search is a logical evolution. One we think will be a key web design trend in 2020.
Siri, Alexa, Google Now and Cortana have all introduced us to voice commands to one degree or another. Our increased dependence on mobile provides the ideal opportunity to use voice in search so why not website navigation and interaction too?
Voice User Interfacing also improves the accessibility of a website, improving access for all abilities. Various countries are introducing more stringent accessibility laws but making a website available to all is a core tenet of both the internet and the world wide web so why wouldn’t we integrate voice into a website.
Summing up Web Design Trends for 2020
The web design trends we think will rule the web in 2020 are mainly evolutions of existing themes. There is nothing completely new here but there is still a lot to look forward to whether you’re a web user or designer.
One reason we find ourselves excited about all of these is that they offer a genuine challenge to web designers. Gone are the days of template pages and turnkey design.
Now is the time of individuality, customized fonts and illustrations, perfectly balanced web pages with whitespace and imagery and a truly personal browsing experience. Add in functionality such as 3D, much-improved parallax scrolling and voice and you have a more usable web for everyone. That has to be a trend worth following!
Do you agree with our trend selection? Have ideas of other web design trends this year? Tell us about them in the comments section below!
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