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2020 Web Design Trends to Inspire Your Next Website Project

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Updated January 13, 2020
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Layered Elements - Offset Text, Design Trends 2020
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Tim Brown
Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

We love beautiful websites – focused on the user experience, and built in a way that’s both stylish AND timeless. The key is… not going TOO trendy in a way that will be out of fashion before you can say “parallax animation.”

  • Don’t jump on every new trend.
  • Do keep an eye on what’s both stylish AND effective.
  • Each of the featured trends below will have a little excerpt on why it’s stylish, and a separate one on why – or if – it’s effective.

Top Three 2020 Web Design Trends

Large Typography - Web Design Trends 2020

1. Big Typography

Why is it stylish? In a world where everyone is stuffing as much text into their designs as possible to satisfy 200 stakeholders… if you can boil it down to one key message that’s super short and make that huge – you win.

Is it effective: It is very effective because people know what to focus on! The problem with every piece of text being the same size or just tiny variations of each other of course is that it’s unclear what’s the most important part.

Smaller hero images, organic shapes

2. Smaller Hero, More Impactful Hero Images

Why is it stylish? How glorious is it to not cover up your beautiful images? People love this because it feels cohesive and you’re less likely to experience the problems with layering that are difficult (examples in the next item.)

Is it effective: It certainly can be – the crucial point is that the images are good, and really help people imagine themselves benefitting from your product or service. Without good images, this may just look tacky.

Layered Elements - Offset Text, Design Trends 2020

3. Layered Elements

Why is it stylish? Just like in fashion, intentional layering is artful – it feels intentional, and thus can look very nice.

Is it effective: This is really dependent on the specific item. It can really NOT be effective if it doesn’t have the right photograph, the right supporting elements, the right overlay for contrast, or the right typography (works better with heavier fonts.) Be careful not to overuse this – and to use it when you have solid elements that work together, and you ‘have control over them.’ Often a client might swap in an image that now doesn’t work – and so it’s important it’s done with the right components when you know they won’t change often.

Other honorable mentions:

Vertical typography –  Used for UI elements, can give a more intentional feel on designs.

Organic Shape Cutouts – The Pops Diabetes example above also utilizes this trend.

10% Offset Images – Also the Schaefco item above features this –

Typographic Cutouts – Have seen some awesome examples of this. A big bold letter is cut out of white space and sometimes has a video behind it – giving a really cool layered effect.

Video on every page – If you’re doing video regularly – why not do one for each of your key services and include them to increase “time on site”? Great for SEO – and great for your users who don’t feel like reading. (Hint: most of us would prefer to watch a video.)

Light complementary animations – animations draw the eye, especially if they move a little bit, but make sure your drawing people’s eye to the right thing. Or make sure the animations actually are good / have a style that really compliments your brand.

More Serif Fonts – Serif fonts are easier to read! I’m happy to see serifs making a comeback in 2020 and beyond!

 

Other designers takes on 2020 Web Design Trends (crowdsourced.)

Web design services in recent times focus on providing the best experience to the users at the time when they are browsing through the website. Thus, it becomes quite important on the part of the developers to make sure they work accordingly.
So, here is a list of the top 17 web design and UI trends for the year 2020.

1. Open and Colourful Minimalism
Nowadays, if you are still thinking of minimalist design using black and white backgrounds, gone are those days. Open and colorful minimalism is the latest trend that brings about a cohesive and eye-catchy feel to the web designs.

2. Mobile Friendly
With the increasing use of mobiles, the designers need to make sure that the website is mobile-friendly so that each of the users can view the website through their mobiles with ease. This is exactly where a responsive web design service comes to the rescue.

3. Oversized Headings
Oversized headings and headlines have become extremely common in the recent times so as to attract the attention of the readers since they have much less time to spend on the website. Thus, the headlines are so created such that it grabs the attention of the readers.

4. Vibrant Colours, Challenging Gradients and Dark Backgrounds
Today’s websites focus on providing the best user experience and hence the web design services particularly focus on the same. The use of more complex gradients along with a fantastic rendition of colours with a dark background has become more common in the year 2019. A classic mix of all three is what is the trend.

5. Loading Speed of the Website
Today’s customers are always in a hurry and hence a slow loading website is simply skipped by the users. Thus, loading speed of the website needs to be much higher which is exactly what has become the latest trend for enhanced user experience.

6. Animations and Next Level Illustrations
The users are always looking forward to something new at all the times. This can be readily achieved with the animations as well as the next level illustrations which is exactly the reason as to why these have become the latest trend.

7. CSS Grids
The CSS grids are still one of the most popular web design trends that plays a vital role in making the web design much easier. In the recent times, it is a mix of some new tools with existing features. The modern CSS of today offers a completely new level of responsiveness, interaction as well as data visualization.

8. Colour Schemes That are Light and Dark
To create something exciting for the users, the use of light and dark color schemes is just too good. This creates a positive impression on the users hence beneficial.

9. Immersive 3D Experiences
The 3D images and graphics are undoubtedly too good for web design services so that attractive web designs can be created which makes it eye catchy for the users. The immersive 3D experiences bring life into your website and offer great experiences to the users.

10. BrutalismBrutalism is another major trend that is on the rise which is quite evident from the fact that more brands prefer to make use of bold, gritty as well as brash concepts for embracing their inner rebellious side.

11. Flying and Floating Elements
For grabbing the attention of the users, flying as well as floating visuals are extremely effective.

12. Organic and Geometric Shapes
The use of geometric and organic shapes for web design services have quite solidly taken their place lying somewhere between the flat designs & the broken grids.

13. Overlapping Things
The overlapping effect is certainly one of the hottest trends of the year 2020. Overlapping things bring about visual interest to some of the specific types of contents. This concept is a great trick for exciting the interests of people but needs to be done carefully with web design services.

14. Increased Video
The addition of more video brings in more life to the website and it has the ability to capture the attention of almost all like no other forms of media. This is undoubtedly a 2020 trend and will continue for a long time.

15. Asymmetrical Layouts and Broken Grids
The asymmetrical layouts of the website along with the use of broken grids at the time of web designing have become more common nowadays.

16. Augmented Reality
Screen only interfaces are not enough for today’s world and the users want physical interactions to take place within the real world. This is where the web designers have to think of something new to offer the function augmented reality.

17. Micro Interactions
The importance of micro-interactions cannot be neglected at any cost. These are just great for creating events that are quite inviting thereby on the rise in the year 2020.
Now, when you know the top web design and UI trends for 2020, do not waste more time but incorporate those in your website for providing the users with fantastic experiences.

Examples of Common Web Design Trends Used Poorly

How do you determine if a trend is used poorly? Empathy and intuition. Consult your inner jiminy cricket. Would you like it if someone did this to you with their website? If the answer is no, perhaps you should forgo the fifty pop-ups even though you ‘got so many newsletter sign-ups’ that you can spam them for the rest of your life.

Does it work? Congratulations you converted 5 more people and pissed of another 40, ruining your brand perception and making them re-consider ever clicking on your self-congratulatory content again. So yes, you guessed it my number one example of a web design trend used poorly is:

Invasive pop-ups

Invasive pop-ups and the kind that you can’t figure out how to close or that force you to answer a ridiculous question are awful.

What would you rather do? Give us your e-mail? Kill your best friend

How to do it better – Give something of value away when someone is leaving

Instead of trying to push somebody into your e-mail list, pull. If you’re giving me something of value I’m not upset that you put a big old pop-up in my face, in fact, I might be a little intrigued. What’s important to note, is that the content is the variable. Don’t dust of some shitty white-paper, build something great – work with a team to build something great – whatever you have to do and then make that the centerpiece. Pair that with an ‘exit-intent’ pop-up and don’t force anybody to make a decision – always give clear ways to x the pop up out.

Web Design Trends - Popups

Infinite Scroll

We don’t need a clear call to action at the end or a beautiful footer with well thought out navigation

Bad examples of Infinite Scroll

Maybe this is an example of my cynical old man brain because I can’t even handle when twitter changes from stars to hearts – but if we’re applying the golden rule here, I hate finishing an article and having someone else make a choice about what article I want to read next. Making the decision for them might be pleasant with facebook and youtube videos because hey, it’s video and I’m just vegging out anyway – but for content you have to read, I’m sorry I don’t think you’re going to make a decision about my preferences accurately based on one article or piece of content I finished.

I’ll caveat this with the fact that gallery type / Pinterest-esque sites where you’re browsing an array of items seem to have some benefit to this type of navigation, but it may be limited to social. The rest of us need the satisfaction of a conclusion and more navigation.

Well laid out footer design with call to actions - next steps

How to do it better – Think about what a person would want to do after reading type this category or type of content on the site.

Each type of content on the site can have a type of pre-footer with other similar articles, navigation elements and ideally a couple clear next steps tailored to what they just finished. As much as I hate the ‘Lobster’ font in the above example (Messages Home), I think that Jared thought long and hard about what people might be interested in after they finished reading a page of content and shared those in a visual way that is clear and simple. If only other footers were so lucky. I’ll admit it, I have a footer fetish.

3. Painfully distracting Parallax that adds no value except for one millisecond of oooh-ahhh.

Bad Parallax Example Website

This arts and the cultural organization has movement, it has depth – but does it have meaning? I can’t imagine how the circles in the back add any useful element except for at one point it was original, or not done a lot yet. I.E. a gimmick – but hey they won a site award… so the site must be good right?

Movement and depth can be great when tastefully implemented, unfortunately, a large number of people rushed in to implement parallax without a lot of thoughtful intent on how it would really help visitors and add value. Big spacy designs are beautiful but if you’re trying to get to the meat of a website’s content and really learn about how or why you’d want to work with a company or buy a product  – lengthy parallax sites miss the point.

How to do it better – Implement subtly to add some depth and use sparingly in a way that adds a bit of intrigue for products when appropriate. 

By now, perhaps many of you have seen The New York Times Snow Fall Article which was published in 2012. The article uses parallax and video in a way that was almost disarming because it was so progressive at the time.

Snow fall - Subtle Parallax

 

Keys that make this site work so beautiful?

  • Strong emphasis on the content – typographic elements are super well thought out and readable
  • Title treatments give clear hierarchy
  • All of this plays together quite nicely so that the parallax aspect isn’t center stage, but rather a pleasant subtle piece to a bigger picture.

Which is exactly how parallax can be used tastefully in 2016, without feeling like a gimmick.

Web Design Trends from 2019

Web designers are no different than fashion designers, in that they must constantly keep an ear to the ground when it comes to listening for what the latest trends will be for the upcoming year in web design.

A smart web designer not only keeps the brand image in mind when creating the layout of a site, but also the usability for the user. Because of this, each year designers weed out design details that users didn’t like and expand on the ones that users do like.

This year is no different, and here is a list of the top trends to look for in web design for 2019.

Video Backgrounds

You’ve probably seen a decent amount of websites that incorporate large video backgrounds to engage the user. Video backgrounds are a great way to give the user an inside look at your business.

websites with video backgrounds to engage the user

Check out property development company Ditto’s website, which highlights their residential developments with people going about their days, offering the user the ability to see the inside of the units in an engaging way.

Website Design Trend 2019

We worked with Deneen Pottery to help implement a video on their background as well, which features actual footage of their pottery being handmade.

Particle Backgrounds

For businesses who still want to incorporate motion into their websites, particle backgrounds are a great alternative to video backgrounds, especially if you’re worried about load time with a larger background video. These animations are javascript that create natural and engaging movement as part of the background.

heystack website

Heystack used an intricate particle background for their site, and we expect more designers to do the same.

Asymmetrical Layouts

The unique and distinctive aspects of asymmetrical web design make it appealing in terms of differentiating your site from others. In contrast to the minimalist style that has been popular for a few years now, asymmetrical designs are busier but still look just as clean and professional when done right. 

asymmetrical web design

We recently launched this website for Sustainable 9, which features shapes overlapping and while there is a semblance of balance to it, there are certainly asymmetric elements, adding depth to it.

Bold Typography

Choosing the right typography can be the difference in having a low bounce rate rather than a high one. Choosing bold typography, especially in a big font size, can really grab the attention of your site user.

bold typography in web design

 

bold typography in web design

These two websites home pages, created by a web designer on Dribble, perfectly exemplify the simple and modern nature of bold typeface.

Integrated Animations

Integrated animations are exactly what they sound like: animations that are placed throughout the website to add an extra feeling of liveliness, motion, and engagement to the website. As you’ve noticed, motion is a big theme to look for in web design for this upcoming year.

integrated animation in web design

30 Species in Pieces, a website that is dedicated to educating people on endangered animals, uses crisp and engaging animation in their simple web design to bring it to life.

Dynamic Gradients

As we’ve noted before, color gradients are starting to make a comeback. Gradients allow for customization with your website’s colors to create something that truly embodies your brand.

color gradients in web design  Apple used gradient for their font color to stick with the theme of their new iPhone X ads.

Under-rated Web Design Trends from 2018

Every year, web design trends are constantly changing – so what seemed ‘trendy’ a few years ago may not be the best option today. It’s therefore important for all business owners to stay up to date with the latest web design trends in order to sell their business and maintain the attention of visitors. Read on to discover six of the biggest  under-rated web design trends of 2018. 

 

Broken Grid Layouts

Many websites use grids to ensure there’s a structure behind the text, images and navigation buttons. Not only do grids provide a guideline for the designers, but they also help visitors easily navigate around the website. However, this year saw the typical grid layout is broken. Instead of following a definite rule, there was an opportunity to do something different with the web design. Developers have moved towards broken grid layouts that are less restrictive. Broken grid layouts allow the text and images to drift into and across the page more freely. When elements overlap, this creates a harmonious web design that flows naturally for the visitor. Broken grid layouts can also be achieved through the use of layers, unusual positioning, and subtle touches that make the page more engaging.

Broken Grid Layouts

2. Chatbots

More and more web designers are starting to implement the use of chatbots into websites. Chatbots are commonly seen on business websites situated on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. The little pop-up window gives visitors the chance to talk to someone from the business or get automated help with any inquiries. Adding a chat window to your web design means any visitor with a question can have it answered immediately. Some businesses have trouble with having a staff member available to chat. However, it’s possible to program your chatbot to answer the most common questions and provide details on how to contact the business if it doesn’t know the answer to a question.

Customized Illustrations

In the past, web design images mainly consisted of product shots, GIFs and editorial photography that emphasized the features, functionality and human dimensions of the product. In 2018, there has been a slight move away from this, with illustrations now dominating the market. Developers have found that illustrations are more engaging and inviting. They have a clear and focused message that’s customized to the brand. Illustrations are normally completed with non-traditional color combinations that experiment with various contrasts, creating tension but also maintaining the readability of the web design.

Page Transitions

Anytime a user’s experience is interrupted, there’s a high chance they could leave the website. This can also happen when they change from one page to another. Some websites take too long to load, while others take the user out of the context they were in before the new page opened. It’s therefore essential that every web design has smooth and efficient transitions between pages. This year, more and more websites are introducing cohesive page transitions for their visitors. Rather than navigating to a new page, visitors are able to view different information on the same page. These smoother page transitions can enhance user experience and boost engagement with your brand.

Brutalism

2018has seen an increase in the use of brutalism in web design. Brutalism is opening a space where developers and designers can do what they want, rather than what they should do. This style of web design was inspired by the architecture of the 1950s that was simplistic, cost-effective and practical.  Brutalism web design is raw and captivating. The main focus is on the content, as it’s important to make it visually pleasing for the visitor. Brutalism web design manifests itself through exposed structures, a sense of roughness, and thoughtful processes.

Video Content

This year has also seen the increased use of video content on websites. Video is a great way to convey complex information in a visual format. Not only does video content make websites look more modern, but it also creates a sense of artistry that a static image can’t simply do. Videos are a powerful tool because they can slip seamlessly into your web design and still remain extremely high-quality, even with plenty of colors, gradients and detail. Videos can also be looped to ensure the details of the copy and those of the video remain in unison. Many website developers see visitors stay on websites for longer when video content is present, with visitors also more likely to sign up or opt-in to their product and service offerings.

From a business perspective – what trends for web design in 2017 matter?

  1. Contact form on every page
  2. Constant strong call to action on header
  3. Overloading the design with ‘trust factors’ like organization badges and testimonials
  4. Having a short video to explain or show your key value proposition
  5. Highly attractive design with white space – consider using meaningful transitions, overlapping grid systems, and split content to draw out dichotomies

Web Design Trends That Move The Needle

1. Contact form on every page

Don’t get it twisted – if your website is a lead generation website, you don’t want to make the contact form hard find. If you can include it on every page, all the better.

It may seem like a simple trick, but the best ‘tricks’ are.

Everpresent CTA

 

2. Ever-present CTA: Constant strong call to action button

You don’t have to have the contact form to nudge people to contact you, to get a demo, to get a quote, or whatever the main action is you want to drive the customer to take. Instead, you can include a big button on the top right all the time. When they scroll, leave the call to action button at the top of the screen with a ‘sticky’ header that follows visitors.

 

3. Overloading the design with trust factors like organizational badges and testimonials

I’m sticking with only the most effective things I know that some of my audience may not have been as aware of before. Trust factors are everything in web design – they are almost all I think about besides clean, modern, and aesthetically pleasing visual design.

The only way you get people to take action (big Call to Action buttons, and Buy Now buttons, etc.) is surrounding them with these elements that explain and nudge them to continue – because TRUST is absolutely crucial in any transaction.

Do you have free returns? Do you have fast and free shipping? Do you have a guarantee? Showcase these things.

Web Design trends 2017 - trust factor badges

Part of a local trade group? Better Business Bureau? Have an SSL Certificate on your online store?

Add visual representation for these items and consider branding them to the style of your website to increase the trust even more.

One of the biggest items in the category of trust factors that most quality businesses have is online reviews and testimonials. I highly suggest showcasing these in a very visual prominent way on your site. If it’s testimonials, ideally you have photos of the customers themselves to lend even more credibility to what they said about your product or service.

Web design trends - trust factors

4. Having a video to showcase your key value proposition

When I first designed DeneenPottery.com, I worked with what the client had – images of their high-quality mugs and a video that was hidden away a bit in the design. We drew out this video by taking a little highlight of it showing undeniably the handmade nature of their mugs and giving people a taste of their process:

 

 

5. Highly attractive design with white space – consider using meaningful transitions, overlapping grid systems, and split content to draw out dichotomies

White space is that delightful element of design that seems to make everything feel more ‘high-end’:

2017 color scheme - pale pink
In this website, I decided to utilize the natural openness of the photography to create a feeling of roomy decadence.

Apple understands whitespace. It doesn’t mean the background is white – it just means open space around the main subject matter in the design.

Here’s a really tall example of Apple’s use of whitespace in their site:

apple-design-web-design-trends-whitespace

Meaningful Transitions

Google has used meaningful transitions in their ‘Material Design’ for years – but more and more web designers are getting into using this to create an effective way to give more context to the action the user is taking on the site. Check out the hover state on the button below, the spreading out of color as the user clicks the button, and then the way the modal/popup window grows after it’s clicked:

Material Design Website

Using material design in this website allowed me to make the site feel very interactive and very modern. It also helps that by using conventions from Material Design you also subtly associate yourself with the kind of user experience on Google.com and Google’s many products – since they all match and use these conventions.

Overlapping Grid Systems

Boxes in web design are traditional side by side, one on top of the other, but many designers are utilizing a very 2017 style called overlapping grid system, or an offset grid system. This style juxtaposes boxes and photos on top of each other for a more organic, free-flowing effect.

Web Design Trends 2017 - Overlapping Grid Systems

Split color or split imagery to draw out a dichotomy

A dichotomy is the separation of two things – like ‘hot and cold’ or ‘good and evil.’ By making two sides of a website super different from each other, it grabs a visitor’s attention.

Split dichotomies - 2017 web design trend style

You can use this to draw out the emotional elements of being opposed, or the two sides of the brain ’emotional and logical,’ ‘creative and systems-oriented,’ or just use it to create some visual appeal like this design by Mateusz Koziorowski.

hotjar-dichotomy-split-side-web-design-trend-2017

Whatever you do – don’t jump into web design trends willy nilly

Be sure to consider your business goals first and foremost. Visual design trends are nothing without considering what it will do as far as moving the needle with your revenue.

A Better Website is Just Around the Corner
We’ve come a long way since the first websites were launched. Web designers are becoming more detailed, more adventurous, and quite frankly, better. The next few years of web design will be all about pushing the envelope and trying daring new ideas. Here at Hook, we love to take an old site that you’ve grown tired of and turning it into something that truly encapsulates the cutting-edge, uniqueness of your brand. If you’re looking to build a new site, one that will engage users and lead to more conversions, then reach out to Hook Agency today to set up a meeting, where we will talk about what your business goals are and how we can implement them into your new site.


 

Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads:
 

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Tim Brown
Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

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