User Interface (UI) design just like any other field is affected by trends. Every year a particular design style is in fashion and you will be able to see large number of websites based on that style on the internet. For e.g. flat design is in trend from quite some time now. Then the next year that same style goes out of trend and a different style emerges.
As new year has just started so it is a perfect time to look at all the UI design trends of 2021 that the designers world over will be using in their UI designs this year.
Now do keep in mind that the following are UI design trends not UX.
UI and UX are two different fields. They do have certain overlaps but they are certainly not the same.
Ok, so now that we have clarified that, let’s move on and see UI design styles (in no particular order) that will be popular in 2021. We will also see UI design examples along with the specific trend.
I also wrote an article earlier about myths in freelancing. Do check it out.
Table of contents
- Large typography
- Colorful websites
- Real pictures
- Dark mode
This trend comes from an even earlier trend called Neumorphism. The term Neumorphism was defined by the renowned UI designer Michal Malewicz. He was reviewing UI design trends of 2019 when he incidentally coined the term and it quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. However he had also predicted that the trend would not be that popular as it had some user accessibility issues. Seems he was right and neumorphism didnt get that popular but it was used by few big companies.
for e.g. CRED app. I am sure you might have heard of CRED app, a popular credit card app. If you haven’t then just go to the playstore and download it. And then go through its various screens. The UI of that app in its current version at the time of writing this article is based on Neumorphism. Here’s a screenshot of one of the screens of cred app:
Ok, so what is glassmorphism then?
Glassmorphism effect has been in use since long time. Do you remember transparent Windows vista screens or Appli ios 7? They all use glassmorphism effects.
The major difference between Neumorphism and Glassmorphism is that the latter is more UX friendly as the object is elevated or floating in space and so more distinguishable from the background. In Neumorphism the object is attached to the background and so not clearly differentiated.
Both these effects need a colorful background as low contrast backgrounds do not work well with these effects as there is no contrast.
The Glassmorphism is rising in popularity in 2021 and will continue its ascendancy throughout this year. However as Michal points out that both these trends work well only when they are used sparingly. You shouldn’t create entire website using these effects. Never use these effects on buttons as buttons or CTAs should always be of high contrast. Card blocks can be created however using glassmorphism freely.
As a genuine lover of typography I am really excited to see this trend making a comeback this year. Professional and clean type can really elevate any design to next level. Big, bold type generally conveys the meaning really well and is easily identifiable. It is visible instantly and commands attention from the user.
Yeah, graphical illustrations have been in style from few years now and will continue to be so in this year too. The usage of the graphical illustrations creates a sense of uniqueness for a website which is hard to replicate. That is esp. true if the illustration used is a custom one. It instantly lends a personality to any brand and makes it stand out from the sea of template based websites.
One of the essential ingredients of yesteryears of web design, color is looking to make a comeback. I for one am really tired of seeing flat UI websites based on white and its various shades. Its time we put some personality back into the web. Our work should not be standardized so much that we all look the same. Color can really create that vibe in our work. Different colors can be used for different UIs to lend a personal feel to it.
Color is an important element of design. Mastering color theory will give you a distinct advantage in your designs. So, If you want to learn more about color theory then please refer to this amazing article.
One of my favorite UI styles, this will see increasing adoption across the web. Although this trend has been gaining popularity from some time now, but its real power it yet to be understood by clients. Often clients see splashy websites and ask the same for every project. I love colorful websites as I stated in earlier point that color is essential to give a personal feel to a UI but there is nothing more pleasing than simplicity. Simple, clean aesthetics will never go out of fashion. There is a certain level of royalty in simple UIs that is difficult to achieve with other design styles. It puts the focus solely on content and in the end that is what matters the most to a user.
Now, this trend is really different from the others on this list. It features strong visual contrasts, inconsistent typography, bold colors with no symmetry. But it has its place and the main idea behind this trend is to try something diametrically opposite to the norm.
Using stock pictures is an old dying trend now. Instead real life pictures will be used more and more now. Real life pictures connect with users immediately who have been exposed so much to stock photography that it now seems fake to them. Using real-life pictures also goes against the trend of using too much illustrations on a website. Illustrations will be in trend but their over usage will begin the trend of real life pictures being used more.
This is also one of users favorite UI trend. Many users rightly point that it is easier on the eyes. Moreover, dark UIs look elegant and cleaner by giving a royal and luxurious look.
So, these were some of the hottest UI design trends of 2021. This is obviously not an exhaustive list as there are a lot more design styles which can’t be covered in a single article. But the above UI design styles will be in trend in 2021. So, which one of these is your favorite? Do let me know in the comments section.
P.S: In a future article I will cover UI design software which you can use to create stunning UI designs. Software like Sketch, Figma, Photoshop etc. all will be covered. Stay tuned 🙂
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