The new decade will have new and exciting opportunities for creating truly amazing website experiences, where design, customer interaction and technology combined will reach new heights.
Like most things, website design trends change and evolve each year. Keeping up to date with emerging trends can help prevent your website looking dated, which could lose trust in the eyes of your visitors. If people think your website isn’t current, they may be thinking that your business isn’t current either.
Some of the web design trends we are going to explore in this article continue where last year’s trends left off. Others will steer us to where the future awaits.
To get your website visitors to pay attention, your website design should have an edge to keep your site looking better than your competitors. Your messaging on your website is crucially important, and your design needs to enhance your message.
It can be difficult for your website visitors to retain what they read on your site, so having unique visuals will make your site more easily remembered. Given this, brave, bold and sometime daring choices of visuals are becoming more prominent in 2020.
As more photos and videos are consumed online, visuals need to be unique to give you an advantage to stand out from your competitors. This means using less stock images and templates, and focusing more on custom designed visuals.
Here are our top website design trends for 2020 to make sure your website design stands out in a competitive market, while still focusing on an optimized user experience, while making sure your conversions are NOT affected in a negative way…
Website Design Trends to look out for in 2020:
- 1. Creative Color
- 2. 3D Design
- 3. Open Compositions & Asymmetric Layouts
- 4. Fluid Design
- 5. Extreme Minimalism
- 6. Super Sized Typography
- 7. Broken Typography
- 8. Custom Illustrations
- 9. Isometric Design
- 10. Micro Animations
- 11. Real Life with Flat Form
- 12. Creative Portrait Design
- 13. AR & VR
- 14. Responsive Design 2.0
1. Creative Color
2020 will expand on the recent trends for bold vivid color by exploring more unexpected combinations to capture attention. This will be seen through highly saturated brights mixed with midtones and soft pastels. Some color palettes for those who dare will ignore the color wheel rules and test the boundaries with attention grabbing & clashing combinations.
Other palettes will explore futuristic colors to create mesmerizing out-of-this-world designs and or tried and tested combinations are updated through intensifying color hues or adding something new to the mix. Color will be applied through flat design, powerful gradients, pattern and texture.
It’s almost an ‘anything goes’ approach to 2020 website and brand colors, however the key to a successful color palette will come down to 2 key factors. Firstly high contrast combinations for impact and hierarchy and secondly carefully selected colors that have specific meaning for the product or service for authenticity. With this trend, web designers can have fun creating websites that hit visitors right between the eyes.
2. 3D Realism Design
If the bright color trend is an answer to moving away from color minimalism, then 3D design is likely a response to flat material design. While clean and minimal design will remain as a key trend in website design in 2020, the evolution of 3D technology has made this trend more accessible than ever. Designers are now exploring 3D design elements in website design to add dimension, depth and tactility. Apart from being fun to look at, 3D design adds a unique depth to designs to create an immediate visual interest and more immersive experience challenging the static of 2D graphic design.
3D design is incorporated into website design through illustrations, typography that jumps off the screen and is a brilliant way to demonstrate and display products. The application can be bold by becoming a key aspect of the design or subtle by combining it with other realities, such as photos and 2-dimensional objects. 3D elements should be used sparingly as it will slow down the speed of your website.
3- Open Compositions & Asymmetric Layouts
After years of confining boxes and frames encasing elements in a strict order, designers are starting to embrace more open compositions. Open compositions and asymmetric layouts push designers away from rigid, grid-based layouts of websites toward a more free flowing and organic feel. Open compositions let your website viewers tap into their imagination, making them wonder what else is there. These compositions embrace white space, often open-styled, broken and cut-up and seemingly chaotic however the placement of each element is anything but random. Done well designers can use these layouts ideas to create harmony and to balance across the whole composition, creating hierarchy for conversions by playing with the elements, like typography, brand elements, photography and copy to create a unique outcome with the design.
As with all design trends, of course, open compositions and asymmetric layouts shouldn’t be incorporated into your brand just because it looks cool. Your website should still reflect your brand and be focused on layouts that are carefully designed for conversions.
4. Fluid Design
In contrast to the evergreen and popular geometric shapes with their strictly fixed sharp edges and straight lines, 2020 will see the strengthening of liquidy in shapes and compositions in web design suggesting creativity, agility, and movement. This evolution of natural shapes is a great compliment to the open composition layouts just discussed.
Fluid shapes in compositions are a great way to break up sections of a website, they create freedom and a natural organic flow from one section to the next. The imperfect and asymmetrical nature of organic shapes makes them the a great candidate for providing the depth help web pages need stand out from the rest and can help conversion hierarchy of copy and call to actions.
These natural lines and shapes not only work for composition layouts but can be incorporated into design elements like text boxes, image frames, buttons, and even abstract shapes in the background. You can crop the shapes of your images into rounded frames, add in an array of brightly colored organic shapes often combined with other effects, such as semi-transparency, and color gradients, etc.
Fluid design is a great way to alter how web visitors perceive your brand if your brand voice is one that needs to communicate comfort and accessibility.
5. Extreme Minimalism
Simplicity and minimalism will remain an important aesthetic in web design in 2020. This polished look will be seen in clean and airy website compositions, photography and brand design. Minimalist design is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t have to be white to be minimal nor does minimal design need to be stark or boring. A carefully considered combination of a creative color palette, impressive typography and brilliant memorable images is the perfect recipe for a minimalist design creating attention-grabbing design that is easy on the eyes.
Minimal design means reducing the design clutter and bringing what actually matters to the fore front: Content.
6. Super Sized Typography
Big, bold and oversized typography is gaining more and more importance in website design. When it comes to making your message stand out, you’ll find that the bigger and bolder, the more impact.
Super sized typography has functional benefits as well as aesthetic appeal. For one, you can draw attention to your brands unique selling point and call to action by putting it in a big type on the main page of your website. Visitors will definitely remember what was written in bold and are more likely to come back to your website. Large impactful type can also communicate strength, confidence, and individuality. As with minimal design the use of supersized typography needs to carefully designed, use in moderation otherwise you risk overwhelming your visitors and choose the right font style that suits your brand voice and is easy to read.
7. Broken Typography
The more visually interesting your website is the more likely a visitor will stay and explore, which results in a higher conversion rate. Using custom typography offers a sense of creativity, creating interest for the viewer of your website and be a unique way to add impact.
Cropped and broken custom typography has been an emerging trend for the past couple years, and is still going strong. Letters are chopped, cropped, broken apart, placed at different levels, and explore combinations between vertical, diagonal, and horizontal orientations, still keeping the letters recognizable. Think of it as broken grid for typography. This technique gives designs more unpredictability, making them more attention grabbing in the process. This technique works best when use as headlines or with key banner imagery.
8. Custom Illustrations
Custom illustrations are a perfect way to make content stand out. Custom illustration adds a unique sense of personality to web design and will definitely make a business stand out. Your brand can display it’s unique personality, making it memorable to the visitors. Next time when users see one of your custom illustrations, or any other branded touch point that uses illustration, your brand will come to mind. Just one more trick to boost conversions!
This custom illustration approach flows into other brand elements such as custom iconography, freestyle doodles, unique brush strokes, and organic textures or hand drawn typography that compliments the illustration style. These elements can also work in perfect harmony with photography, custom typography and flat graphics.
9. Isometric Design
Isometric design is a method of illustrating a 3-dimensional object on a 2-dimensional surface. Isometric illustration design has been evolving over the years, starting predominantly as an illustration style for infographics. Their detailed design makes them the perfect vehicle to explain information in a fun and immerse way. Isometric designs create whole world in tiny little spaces. Isometric design works well in web design to visually communicate how a product or service works or as an explainer graphic.
Isometric design is clean and polished but has a depth that flat design can’t compete with. It’s a simpler way to introduce 3D to your website design with our slowing the speed. In 2020 isometric design will become a key illustration style for iconography with their tactility and visual interest they will help draw users in.
10. Micro Animations
Micro animations are subtle, yet captivating movements that show up when your website’s browsers do a specific action. The essence of this trend is to surprise and delight it’s audience. Micro animations are a great way to add energy and engaging motion to your website designs without being distracting and effecting loading time like videos and larger background animations can.
In addition to functioning as lively interactions, micro animations catch the eye and are extremely helpful when it comes to guiding users through their interactions with your website, which can help conversions. Think about them as road signs that help signal a visitor about where to go. They can also be used to create a more engaging user experience with products on e-commerce websites by demonstrating details of a product or how something works.
11. Real Life with Flat Form
Innovation is a key word when it comes to web design trends in 2020. When it comes to creating something really innovative and unexpected consider the trend of combining real-life objects with completely flat visual elements to please the viewer’s eye and create unique and memorable visuals.
This unconventional mixture of real-life objects and flat objects is changing the way we see design. These opposites interact to give dimension and depth. It’s a great vehicle to introduce brand personality to photographs in web design but can also easily carry over to so many other branded touch points, especially social media where standing out is a must.
Moreover, typography will be actively involved in the design trend. In pursuit of more impactful graphic designs, expect to see more photographic images where the typography is an active part of the design interacting with real life objects and people. Take a key headline and blend it with a captivating image.
12. Creative Portrait Design
Time for a new photoshoot? Well this is the perfect time to consider a non traditional approach to portrait photography and design. Portrait photography is one of the most traditional genres of photography. As a result, some of those conventional standards have held on till today. In 2020 expect to see more businesses thinking differently about the way they create portrait photographs of themselves or their teams. Thinking creatively about how you want your customers to perceive you or your team could help them convert. Stepping away from stiff and cold corporate shots and having more fun can help you stand out in the crowd. This can be achieved within a photoshoot or through the creative genius of a design team that can manipulate and add brand personality to your images.
Transform traditional about pages and team pages or take your personal brand to new creative heights. Be sure that the aesthetic reflects your brand, if you are corporate then their will be limitations, consider colour as a way to add more visual appeal.
13. AR & VR
Design in today’s world must be able to create a seamless, almost real-life experience. This is what brands and companies are currently developing through Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. These new reality’s will be constantly changing the way design functions.
AR and VR fill the gap between physical and online shopping. This trend ties closely with 3D design, as brands use 3D models of their products to demonstrate how that product would look like in real life.
AR and VR also allow business to customise their visitors website experience…. Conversions…….
14. Responsive Design 2.0
For the past few years, responsive design has ruled the internet and in 2020 there is no excuse not to have your website designed this way.
Google announced that mobile-first indexing will now be the default for all new web domains as of July 1, 2019, so if you want your site to rank at all in a Google search, then your site must be mobile responsive.
Based on that knowledge, your website needs to be built extremely light and fast on mobile.
On the mobile views, wherever possible place background images with a flat colour, plus it’s worth testing removing images & entire sections or reducing the amount of elements and sections on the page.
Revise some sections so they do not take up as much vertical space to fit on one mobile screen view. The goal is to have it load fast AND convert, so it can be a balancing act of what to simplify.
Make sure there’s a sticky top nav hamburger menu and a sticky CTA if appropriate for the page, so that it’s always visible when scrolling.
For forms on mobile, we recommend reducing the amount of fields to 2 or 3 max on each screen. If more are needed we recommend making it a multi-step form. and show the other fields on the next step.
For ecommerce sites that have a lot of products within multiple categories, use a ‘non-expanded’ accordion for each category then when pressed you can expand to show the products in each category.
Here are a few more tips for mobile…
> ‘Click to Call’ CTAs work very well.
> ‘Text Us ‘ is an amazing underused CTA.
> Dark backgrounds are not ideal on a mobile. It’s hard to read white fonts outdoors.
Use this tool to test speed of your site on mobile > http://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com
Web design trends to leave behind in 2020
While we welcome the above trends in 2020, there are some that we’d rather part way with now. Here are a few web design trends to say goodbye to:
● Parallax. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Parallax effects should only be used, if at all, minimally. Overused parallax effects kill conversions because they are so damn distracting!
● Video backgrounds. I know, they feel exciting right?!? Yes, they are dynamic, however video backgrounds slow down your website and they are very annoying for your visitors, which is bad news for your conversions. Don’t let video backgrounds drive your visitors away!
● Distracting entry pop-ups. Nothing’s more annoying on a website than having a pop-up offer appear as soon as the page loads! Instead, give your visitors time to figure out what your site is all about! If you really want a pop-up to convert without annoying your visitors, try having it pop up from any of these triggers: when somebody goes to leave your site, when somebody scrolls to the bottom of a page, when somebody views multiple pages, when somebody spends a lot of time on your site.
● Stock images. I get it. You don’t have the budget to hire a photographer so you use stock images. The problem with stock images is that your competitors are using them too. Drag one of your stock images from your website into the ‘Google Images’ search bar and you will see all the other websites using the EXACT same stock image!! If you want to stand out, either invest in unique images, or at least customise stock images to make them unique to your business.
● Image sliders. You think you need them, especially if you have multiple offers. 90% of split tests prove that a static image converts better than a moving image or carousel image slider.
2020 website design trends are diverse and impressive, however website design isn’t just about making a site look pretty. It’s about designing a website with your visitors needs in mind and to drives conversions.
Your action step:
Research your competitors websites and compare them to yours. If your site is falling behind and needs an update, we would love to help you. We live and breathe conversion-focused website design to take your business to new heights!
Does your website stack up in 2020?
(**All mood board images are sourced from Pinterest & Google Images. Their purpose is to communicate design trends and ideas. The mood board images above are NOT for resale or reuse.**)