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Top 20 website design trends in 2023

Web designing is a diverse and rapidly evolving domain. Designs reflect technological development, as well as the devices we use, which are getting ever more powerful, not to mention the promising progress in the development side of the technological stack. This enhancement on the tech side gives designers more room to experiment as they can push the limits of storytelling on the web and also human-computer interaction. In this article, we can explore where design stands today and where it is headed in near future.

  1. Brutalism: Brutalism is a classic example of anti-design. It seeks to go beyond the conventional laws of design and incorporate chaos in design. The lack of rules makes brutalism very hard to differentiate from bad design. Common characteristics of the brutalist design are asymmetry, broken hierarchy, bold typography, overlapping elements and bright colours. Brutalism gives designers a level of creative freedom which is not often found in any other design trends, there are pretty much no rules to follow. All this might make you think that it’s easier to design brutalist interfaces, but brutalism still does require a lot of understanding of the very laws you are supposed to go against. it is not easy to get brutalism right, you have to differentiate between brutalism and poorly designed UI.

  2. Micro Interactions: Micro-interactions are very simple and small animations that are triggered either by the user or the system. These animations still do play a pretty significant role in enhancing user experience. User-triggered micro-interactions can be seen when a user interacts with the elements of UI such as buttons. The system can also trigger micro-interactions such as the animations you see when there is an error.
  3. Aurora Gradient: Aurora gradients go well with most other modern design trends like Glassmorphism and Minimalistic design layouts. Unlike traditional gradients, aurora gradients are much more subtle and blended in with the background giving them a very natural muted look, just like Northern lights. Despite the subtleness of the design, aurora gradients can make the UI look much more engaging, or even nudge user attention to the CTA of your website.

  4. Neumorphism: Neumorphism is a style born with a combination of skeuomorphism and modern minimalism. Gaining more and more traction over the past few years, a lot of big brands are recognising this as a sweet spot between the complexity of skeuomorphism and minimalism of the flat design. Despite its widespread use on dribbble, we are yet to see many big brands getting behind this trend, this might be because of some common accessibility issues with the style as maintaining contrast between different elements is tricky.
  5. Asymmetrical/chaotic layouts: Asymmetrical layouts are another result of the anti-design movement. Just like Brutalism, Asymmetrical layouts don’t follow the conventional grid and balance rules. These layouts still adhere to most other design principles which set them apart from the brutalist style. These designs sit perfectly between the anti-design movement and classic web design principles. Anti-design movement itself started because designers and users alike got tired of most mainstream designs looking way too similar. Brutalism, in my opinion, is way too chaotic to become mainstream, giving way to something more relatable, but still unconventional.

  6. 3D graphics: Not a very new trend but 3D graphics are increasingly being used on the web. A lot of this can be attributed to increased access to 3D designing software like blender and more powerful computing machines to handle such websites. With the emergence of the metaverse, we will be seeing more of these websites. 3D is used in both static and interactive formats. Ecommerce is one of the avid users of the technology to give potential buyers a more immersive product experience before they buy.

  7. Skeuomorphism: While there are newer versions of skeuomorphism (Neumorphism), the real deal is not going anywhere. Humans will always take inspiration from the real world around them to create their digital world. Metaverse is an excellent example of it, while there were advanced tools available to interact online, we had to create something that feels closer to real-life meetups. Skeuomorphism is making a comeback with hyper-realistic 3D imagery, VR and AR. Digital museums and art galleries constantly attempt to replicate the layout of their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
  8. Glassmorphism: Glassmorphism requires a multilayered design with the top layer having a look of frosted glass. The effect works well with vibrant and colourful backgrounds which emphasise the frosted glass effect. Microsoft is one of the avid users of glassmorphism when they implemented it in windows vista and called it windows aero (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and Open) design. In the latest version of windows, glassmorphism is used in acrylic material which is a part of the Fluent Design System.
  9. Bauhaus Style: Although a very old design trend, Bauhaus is making an impact on digital designs in the past few years. The Bauhaus design philosophy is a classic example of form and function, making it a go-to style for sophisticated and tasteful crowds. The Bauhaus movement championed geometric shapes, primary colours and clean lines. The style uses little to no decoration in said shapes, geometry itself is the decoration while being a functional part of the design.

  10. Dark Mode: Over the past few years, users are leaning towards darker UI because it is supposed to reduce eye strain. Whatever the health consequence or benefits may be, it’s hard to argue with the slick feel it provides to the UI designs. Brands like Netflix, Steam and Prime-video have shifted to dark mode as their standard theme.
  11. Bold/Loud Typography: These are the designs where typography takes the center stage. Often the typography is making a statement that designers don’t want users to miss. Designers have to make sure the type is big and bold without coming across as too aggressive.

  12. Typographic overlap: Typographic overlap can just be an extension of Bold and Loud typography competing for space with nearby elements. The overlap can be used to establish dominance and depth in a rather flat UI. One thing to note in such designs is to maintain readability and sufficient contrast with graphics that typography is overlapping.

  13. Data Visualisation / Information Design: Digital age is data-rich, where data holds a significant value. A well-designed data visualisation can tell captive stories which are intuitive and don’t require the user to spend much time understanding the narrative. One of the great examples of data being used to communicate complex stories is the “State of independence 2021” report.

  14. Complex Gradients: Gradients are as old as graphic design, but the newer implementation of gradients is very different from what was being done earlier. Rather than standard linear and radial gradients, today complex multi-colour blends are a common sight around the web. You can take these gradients one step further and animate them to add life and emotion to your designs.

  15. Retro UI: There are multiple variants of Retro UI, there is one where you can find vintage looks or the ones which give you 90’s nostalgia. The vintage style of UI is often combined with earthy tones and gives the feel of vintage magazines. Simple arches and rounded shapes are almost exploited. On the other hand, Retro UI’s which try to emulate 90’s aesthetics, tend to favour more geometric and harsh shapes along with grunge and textured backgrounds. Where vintage style seeks old sophistication, 90’s retro style is rebellious in nature.

  16. Neon: One of the most recognizable and hard-to-miss design trends. There is no better way of making an intense visual statement than to use neon colours on dark background. Although with the evolution in neon graphics, today most neon-inspired designs are limited to using neon colours. Neon colours can be derived from any colour in the rainbow, we just have to make the colour extremely bright. Neon aqua is the brightest of the colours that are in use but if you want to make something pop using neon colours, neon green will do the trick.

  17. Monochromatic designs: A colour palette is one of the most important design decisions designers make while working on a project. Monochromatic style can produce a really clean and simple appearance. Most people think of black and white designs when we talk about monochromatic, but it can be any other colour until you stick with a single base colour and shades, tints and tones of that hue. Monochromatic designs usually derive colours from the branding and help establish brand recognition throughout the website.

  18. Kinetic typography: When animations are applied to typography, it’s referred to as Kinetic Typography. It’s one of the most effective and creative ways of getting user attention on your primary message. The ability of motion to grab attention and evoke emotions in a short space of time is undeniable.

  19. Virtual and augmented reality: Big tech is pushing for an alternate reality as the next big thing in the human-computer interaction realm. VR and AR might not take over every industry and vertical all at once, but we can surely see a vast amount of opportunities in certain industries like Education, Gaming, Real Estate and eCommerce etc. Sometimes these visuals are captured using 360-degree cameras and sometimes recreated in 3D.

  20. Horizontal Scrolling: The trend initially started when a secondary piece of information had to be revealed only when the user needs it. For example, a user can scroll vertically to find the relevant category, and then scroll horizontally to explore the contents of said category. Today, the trend has evolved to full-page horizontal scrolling as the only option. This might look amazing, but designers need to be careful about the UX implications of the same. Horizontal scrolling defies the user’s expectations and may leave them perplexed.

Conclusion

While we see new design trends come and go every other day on dribbble, we should keep in mind that the core principles of design are timeless. Some design trends might stick around longer than others, but most eventually fade away. Following every design trend that you see on dribbble might make your designs have shorter than intended shelf life. Every design choice you make should have sufficient enough backing that quantifies it, just because it’s trending is unfortunately not a reason big enough to make most design decisions. All this shouldn’t deter you from experimenting with your designs, just be cautious of the risks you are taking with new design trends and how that might affect the quality of the products that you are designing.

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