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Trends and Principles of Effective Web Design 2021: From Dark Mode to Movement

What web design trends have taken over the Internet this year and will continue to rule next year as well? We have tried to single out the top trends that need to be paid attention to in 2021.

In the last few years, web design has advanced greatly. The practice exists to intercept creativity and technology – the two fastest moving industries in the world – so it is no surprise that new trends and web design techniques are constantly emerging. So, what are the latest trends in web design?

  • Dark mode
  • Collage
  • Anti-design
  • Minimalism
  • Organic design
  • Illustration
  • Functionality, inclusiveness, and accessibility
  • Movement and interactivity
  • 3D and geometric design
  • Page builders and template sets

While there will always be certain aspects of web design that will stay for long – such as user-friendly navigation, data security, and fast loading times – fads and mods will keep coming and going. But if you keep up to date with the latest and greatest trends, styles, and innovations in web design, you will ensure that your website stands out in the ever-expanding online ecosystem. You can additionally use an appealing email design as means for attracting more clients or traffic to your well-designed website. VerticalResponse is a high-performing email template that you can use to start conversations with business owners interested in the services your site promotes. The key here is to customize your emails and newsletters to stand out in your potential clients’ inboxes.

So, from dark fashion to interactivity, what popular web design trends have taken over the Internet like a storm this year? What is it that makes a website great in 2021? Let’s take a look at the latest and greatest web design trends to look out for right now…

Dark Mode

For a long time in design, a white background was considered the only way to create blank space on a website or in an application. Although some designers began incorporating darker themes and components a few years ago, the dark mode trend truly took hold in 2020, and it will undoubtedly continue in 2021. 

The dark mode is a terrific method to give a modern, stylish touch to any website. It’s used by huge businesses like Apple and even individual portfolios like Clock Strikes Twelve. In addition to letting designers experiment with more creative features like pastels and neon – two of the most popular graphic design trends in 2020 – research has proven that dark mode is healthier for our battery life and vision by lowering blue light exposure.

The dark mode is ideal for creating contrast and making design components more prominent, in addition to being sleek, stylish, and easier on the eyes. You can even add a dark mode switch to your website to allow visitors to customize their experience. Since dark mode became popular, websites have appeared that have a small “dark mode” switch (switching between light and dark mode), which is a great but easy way for the user to customize his experience.

Although originally designed with only white and light color schemes in mind, more and more neuromorphic designs – a split UX style based on skeuomorphism and a flat design often seen in iOS or Android UI – are now including a dark mode trend, which has quickly surpassed lighter color schemes in popularity.

Dark mode

Collage and Mixed Media

Collage was one of the biggest trends that took over the graphic design and social media landscape this year and was quickly embraced in the world of web design. The combined media style has returned to the spotlight of digital artists and influential societies and has been embraced by many brands and web designers – including Chobani, City Circus, and Urban Outfitters.

The collage consists of mixing media such as photographs, illustrations, graphics, movement, and text to create an inspiring and appealing aesthetic. Now that it has moved into the digital realm, the collage trend has evolved into mixed media such as animated collage, large decorative fonts, artistic textures (like paintbrush strokes), and even animated distorted text, which generates some incredibly unique results. And thanks to the digital realm, you can easily find a free collage maker that has plenty of templates for you to use.

Many people now use drawing apps on iPads, and with digital brushes that mimic traditional painting media (such as watercolors, oils, gouache), the boundaries of digital art have been redefined. The collage is a popular trend that works well with minimalist UX design – or even anti-design if you want to go all out. Integrating mixed media and collages into the design of your website is a sure way to add a little creativity to an otherwise common experience and highlight your brand or business.



OK, we know this trend is not for everyone. If 2021 has taught us anything, it is throwing all rules and expectations through the window. Anti-design is a trend spurred by the resurgence of brutalism in 2019, and the controversial style has recently crept into the realms of social media and pop culture, as well as web and graphic design.

Described as “raw”, “indecent” and even “disgusting”, the anti-design movement refers to the acceptance of chaos and ugliness in protest against traditional standards of ‘good’ design. It contains experimental and asymmetrical arrangement, exaggeration, distortion, layering, and traditionally ‘ugly’ elements, which means that it is certainly not for everyone. But if you are someone who likes to stand out from the crowd, there is no denying that an anti-design website is a very effective tool for just that.

Many designers today are rehearsing themselves in the bizarre world of anti-design, which can be seen in the chaotic yet unusual design of the Dutch brand Roze Bunker’s website and the design of Playtype and XXIX. Even the Australian musician Flume has taken a cheerful, bold, and brutal approach on his website. While this style always stands out (hopefully for the right reasons), effective web design is all about balance. So, if you decide to go through anti-design in your user interface, it is important to ensure that the UX of your website remains simple, functional, and user-friendly. We came across a lot of different websites that contain layers of images, mix serifs with the san serif fonts, and use animation in an unconventional way. Still, because of their great UX, they still make it work.



Minimalism, a design style that refuses to die, has been indispensable in the work of web designers in the previous decade. But what is minimalist web design? Minimalist design is centered on the use of only basic elements to produce something simple, functional, and memorable, such as basic shapes, clear writing, limited color palettes, and empty space.

Many brands have nicely executed the trend of minimalism in their web designs, such as the luxury shoe labels ETQ Amsterdam and the Brooklyn-based business development agency, Huge Inc. Although it is usually associated with monochrome and white space, minimalism is not only black and white. In reality, vivid minimalism is becoming more popular in both graphic and web design, with color blocks and bold backgrounds, basic sans serif and minimalist fonts, and minimal design elements to produce a simple yet gorgeous website design.

The minimalist web design trend, which attempts to simplify not just the visual design of a website but also its usability and functionality – another important trend for 2021 – will continue to be a key component of modern user interface design in the future years. We truly believe that minimalism will always be relevant in the space of digital design.


Organic Design

One of the biggest design trends of 2021, organic design is the use of nature and the world around us as inspiration. Although often seen in product design, interior design, and graphic design, this trend is now beginning to gain momentum in the world of web design. The trend of organic design is influenced by the increased focus on sustainability and ecology, which includes warm, earthy colors, natural shapes, and raw organic textures – as you noticed on the websites of Ora Floral Agency, A Better Source, and Melbourne’s Abbotsford Convent.

Neutral colors reflect the natural palette of our environment and are one of the easiest and most effective ways to add an organic feel to your website. Faded pinks, blues, and greens – in addition to soft browns, beiges, and whites – can also be a great addition to a neutral color palette, which can be used alone or paired with lighter colors to highlight them. A lot of websites today are redirecting to earthy warm color palettes, which is a welcome change compared to the bright cool tones that usually dominate our screens.

Organic design


Illustration has absolutely exploded in graphic design, social media, and web design this year. Many brands, companies, and creators are ‘catching’ the popularity of illustration and digital art, and many of them are now integrating hand-drawn elements into the design of their websites, including healthcare companies AHM and even the luxury fashion brand Gucci.

Continuing from organic design, the illustrations are great for adding a sly, authentic touch to your web design and giving the website a sense of welcome. With an increased focus on diversity and representation in design in 2021, many illustrators now represent unusual people of all shapes and sizes, a style commonly referred to as “weird bodies”.

The illustrations and character design over the years have really set the wrong standards of beauty and importance. Almond eyes, fair skin, and certain body types; we grew up watching cartoons that established these biases. As creators and artists, it is your duty to fix it. You need to consciously think about presentation at every stage and always try to make your work more diverse and comprehensive.


Functionality, Inclusiveness, and Accessibility

The ability to use a website has always been a priority in web design. However – along with fast loading times, page speed, and design – the mobile adaptability, the increased focus on inclusiveness, and accessibility have created a growing need for web design to meet the needs of people with disabilities and make websites accessible and functional for all.

Fortunately, more and more brands and businesses are adopting affordable web design – such as the Blue Recipe e-commerce hub and Cat Person cat food brand – and the existence of a functional, affordable, and user-friendly website that every visitor can easily navigate is now essential to provide an effective online experience.

Optimizing your website to be more functional, accessible, and comprehensive is not only good for customer service but it also increases conversion, improves your SEO, and expands your reach. Some ways to make your website more comprehensive and accessible include:

Validate your concepts for performance during the design stage with AI-generated attention analytics

  • Creating a strong color contrast between text and background;

  • Add a focus indicator, such as a rectangular outline displayed around links when using keyboard navigation;

  • Use stickers and instructions with form fields instead of the text of a reserved place with little context;

  • Use of functional alt tags for images;

  • Containing a copy that is easy to understand, direct, and without jargon.

Raising levels on well-designed, functional, accessible websites is seen today through more contrasting colors, large typography, authentic, portable copy, large buttons, and softly curved user interface elements.

Functionality, Inclusiveness, and Accessibility

Movement and Interactivity

Video has proven to be the most interesting form of online content, so it is no surprise that movement has also become a big trend in web design. Used everywhere, from boutique websites – such as Altermind and Gridspace to SEEK’s career advice page – navigating and animating in web design is an easy way to make an otherwise ordinary website more exciting and appealing.

Similarly, many brands and businesses, such as YouTube Rewind, have begun to add more interactive elements to their websites, including quizzes, games, surveys, and questionnaires. Estee Lauder, for example, has an interactive arcade game called “The ANRcade” on its website, which is a future journey focused on earning points to advertise their Advanced Night Repair product.

In addition to being a fun addition to the online experience, interactivity is a great way to engage visitors while learning more about them. However, it’s crucial to establish a balance and make sure that movements or interactive components don’t take over or distract from your website’s main goal. As technology continues to evolve, it is becoming easier to use and apply movement to designs, which can create wonderful experiences when used appropriately. It is obvious that this works well when switching between content and interaction with elements.

Movement and Interactivity

3D and Geometric Design

Geometric patterns and elements are often used in the world of modern web design – including classic flat shapes such as polygons, diamonds, rectangles, triangles, and occasional rhombuses. However, the trend of geometric web design has evolved to include more modern elements such as 3D shapes, floating objects, and visible grid lines.

The use of 3D shapes and floating objects in geometric design combines surreal movement with realistic objects, creating an enchanting, futuristic effect – a style popularized by suspended, rotating movements often used in technical advertisements to show new products. This is ideal for adding another layer or dimension to your web design to guarantee that it draws visitors – for example, the Artery website, which uses geometric motifs and minimalist, plain grid lines to put up their website.

Unlike the complex nature of 3D and floating objects, the use of simple grid lines, edges, and other structural elements has also become a trendy style in the web design space – such as the Railroad Ladies, Monograph Communications, and The Imagineers websites. Quite simply, there is a noticeable regrowth of more geometric elements and visible network lines in web design.

3D and geometric design website

WordPress AMP Page Builders and Template Kits

In recent years, the popularity of self-service website templates and page creators has grown. Website creators like WordPress’s Elementor and Gutenberg mean that nowadays even the least technologically smart or design-minded person can create a professional website in a short amount of time.

The site builders are fast, code-free, and completely flexible, offering a professional layout and unlimited customization to those without knowledge of design or coding. To create your own WordPress website, check out some template sets for Elementor or try some of the template sets, like Reformo, Kaleo, or FabPhoto.

Wordpress Elementor page builder

10 Principles of Effective Web Design

# 1 Purpose

Good web design obeys the needs of its users. If a visitor requests information, entertainment, or a transaction, each page of the website should provide it in the simplest possible way.

# 2 Communication

People on the Internet demand speed, which is why it is important to communicate clearly, as well as that the data is easy to read and understand. It is recommended that the text be organized with titles and subheadings, use enumerations, and highlight the most important information.

# 3 Typography

The optimal size of your font should be 16px. Use up to three different fonts and be aware that Sans Serif fonts like Arial and Verdana are easier to read online.

# 4 Colors

A well-designed color palette enhances the user experience. Complementary colors create balance, and the use of contrasting colors for text makes reading easier. Also, the empty space and diameters give the effect of a modern and unburdened look.

# 5 Images

As you have heard many times, an Image speaks a thousand words and by choosing a good visualization, you will improve the general impression and brand awareness of your users. You have several options: professional photos, subscribing to some of the “stock” sites… Be sure to use infographics, videos, and drawings, and if the photos you have are of poor quality, you better try to avoid them.

# 6 Navigation

The user of the website must move easily around the page, in a logical hierarchy, with all the help he can get. The “three clicks” rule should be followed: each user should be able to find what they are looking for within exactly this maximum number of clicks.

# 7 Grid Layout

Arrange the content into sections, columns, and squares and this will contribute to a neat and balanced look of the website.

# 8 The “F” Principle

Studies have shown that people scan their screens with the “F” principle. They see the top and left side of the screen the most, while the right side of the screen is rarely in sight. Instead of trying to be special, adapt to the usual behavior of website visitors.

# 9 Load Speed

Do we have to ass anything to this? After how long do you leave the page if the loading takes longer than you expect? Well, believe us, there are those who are more impatient than you. So reduce images, reduce CSS and JS…

# 10 Responsiveness

This is nothing new either. There have never been more devices to access the Internet than today, but that is less than there will be tomorrow. The mobile phone predominates, it is necessary to respect the clients who access with the help of this device, to offer them to quickly and easily find the information they came for.


It is not difficult to create a beautiful and functional website if the designer makes an effort to assess the client’s requirements and understand the needs of the business. On the other hand, the client should listen to the suggestions of more experts.

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