“The Web Design Forecast of 2021 – Trends Influenced by the Pandemic“

After one of the weirdest years in quite some time, we have arrived in 2021. A year that most people look forward to with hope, while still recovering from the infamous year 2020. This year has undoubtedly left a mark in our lives and will continue to influence society. It’s nothing new that a societal happening has great influence on people’s preferences in life. When we look back at the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918, it’s clear that when the pandemic was over and the roaring 20’s started, everything changed; parties were as extravagant as can be, and so was fashion. Today I’m sharing how I think the current pandemic influences and shapes web design, as we might just again enter the roaring 20’s.

Trend 1: Minimalist vs. maximalist
In this article I will talk about some trends that I will definitely expect to see this year, concerning web design. One of the trends, that will run as a common thread throughout the year 2021 (and this article) is the battle between minimalism and maximalism. The past year has certainly been rough for all of us, but together we made it through. Although, it will affect everyone of us in a different way; some people are in need of some peace and quiet, while others want to take their mind of things by extravagant fun. I don’t want to say that there are only two types of response to this pandemic, but these strong opposites will definitely be a leading trend. I expect that this trend will express itself through extreme opposites of colors, typography and imagery. 

Trend 2: Comfortable colors and calm design
After all of the chaos that occurred in the past year, people have a need for comfort and calmness. Color palettes that we will be seeing are neutrals and naturals, that are easy to look at and make us feel at peace. Some examples of colors that fit this trend are earthy tones, pastels, nude colors and faded colors. A bonus point, these soothing colors are less straining to the eye and cause the user to stay on the website longer (99designs, 2020). I think this trend is a great trend overall, because it also anticipates the growing need to become closer with nature.

Trend 3: Playful typography effects and animations
Besides comfort and tranquility, a lot of people are also in need of some lighthearted fun; to take their mind of the heavy situation that has been a leading factor in their lives. This trend will express itself in playful typography, effects and animations. Typical elements that we will see with this trend are flashy neon colors and gradients, retro and bubbly typography and a lot of animation, like GIFs and drawn animations. Even the use of Emojis has made its uprise in the web design scene. I personally love this trend, and the endless possibilities of it, the sky is the limit. A great example of a company that regularly uses a lot of these elements is the music streaming platform Spotify. 

Trend 4: Dark mode 
For a few years now, the working culture has shifted from nine to five, to a looser construct. In the past year, this new work ethic only increased; demanding more solutions to be able to look at the screen for an extended amount of time, even at night. Because of this, dark mode has made its way into our daily lives. More and more apps and websites joined in on this trend that keeps our eyes from straining. Dark mode is a setting that can often be switched on and off to the user’s liking and changes the lay-out of the website to a darker look. When dark mode is switched on, typically the white surfaces are replaced by a black or dark grey color (JUIST, 2019). Some examples of famous companies who already successfully implemented dark mode on their platforms are Apple, Instagram and Gmail. In 2021 I expect to see a growing number of websites that will implement this trend on their website, to serve the growing need of their users. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Let me know in de comments what trends you expect to see this year! Did you like this article? Please share it with your colleagues. Have you noticed a mistake, do you have questions or comments? Please let me know by commenting below. 

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