Web Design Trends for 2021

It’s a tradition at ActiveCanvas to share with our clients and readers what website design industry “experts” believe will trend for the coming year. Some of these trends stick around and become part of the fabric of online design, while others fade into oblivion. Both the winners and the losers give us useful insight. So here are our top 5 for 2021 with our favorite trend rated #1.

#1 Dark Mode. Dark mode is how Apple changed the way we see our screens. Instead of a white background with dark text, users have the option to switch to light text on a dark background to preserve battery life and reduce blue light exposure. If you want to convey caring, try Dark Mode. 

#2 Minimalism. These sites use basic shapes, clean, usually sans serif text, limited color palettes, and an abundance of empty space to put the focus on content and functionality. The minimalist style trend is not new, but because it’s such a strong factor in boosting SEO and extending audience reach these functional and inclusive sites are still madly popular. If you want to be trusted, use Minimalism.

#3 Illustration. These sites use graphic design and hand-drawn elements to communicate in place of photographic elements. The illustrations aren’t always accurate either — drawings of people in odd shapes and sizes are known as “odd bodies” and hand-drawn shapes have little or no symmetry. If you want to convey diversity, freedom, and individualism; try Illustration. 

#4 Organic Design. Maybe a year of isolation indoors has us begging for the look and feel of the outdoors because a new and growing trend uses nature for inspiration. Organic designs use warm, subtle, earthy colors, natural shapes and textures…a favorite choice for businesses connected to our environment and sustainability. If you want to convey health, wellness or beauty, think Organic.

#5 Anti-Design. These quirky websites defy balance and good taste by using asymmetrical layouts, distortion, odd layering patterns, and really terrible color palettes. About the only positive thing about this new style is that it does make a site stand about. If you want to be talked about, use Anti-Design.

You are invited to join us for the ride as we plunge into 2021 with open minds and a commitment to excellence. For our part, we promise to continue building solid, hand-coded websites using best practices for page speed, user experience, and conversion.

The Power of Color

Color plays a significant role for the human brain. Color generates emotions, creates ideas, expresses messages, and sparks interest. Red says stop and green says to go, and together red and green are seen as Christmas. Bright colors set a happy and positive mood, whereas dark colors project the opposite. Light colors appear closer, whereas dark colors appear to recede. Warm colors like red, orange, and yellow show excitement, optimism, and creativity, whereas cool colors like green, blue and gray symbolize security, calmness, and harmony.

“All colors arouse specific associative ideas…”

Yves Klein, French artist

Colors chosen for a website use the psychology of color to provide strength and relevance to the design. It’s never about choosing colors simply because they look nice and you like them — it’s about choosing colors that will generate the desired response from your marketing materials and help create a connection with customers. 

Here are some surprising pairs that work:

brown and orange

Real Estate
Brown and Orange
Why? Associated with home, hearth, and stability.
Says: At home I’m safe and comfortable.

Financial Services
Green and Blue
Why? Commands authority and inspires trust.
Says: My money is safe here.

Home Services
Black and Burnt Sienna
Why? Down to earth values, authoritative.
Says: I trust these people

Health Products
Brown and Lime Green
Why? Reflective of nature and healing
Says: I feel a calm confidence

Entertainment
Orange and Turquoise
Why? Playful and energetic
Says: I feel good about this service

Want to learn more about the psychology of color? 

Need a logo makeover, but don’t know where to start? Just send us a link to your current logo, whether or not it was designed in 1920 or 2020. We’ll assess whether it’s aesthetically tired or timeliness, how it tests on the myriad of technological devices that showcase your logo online, and analyze the color psychology from an outsider’s point of view. It may need only slight shifts, a simple refresh, or a whole new makeover. Don’t you think your business is worth finding out?! Analyze My Logo

Website Design Trends 2020

Every Christmas season, bloggers in the website design space love to write about “Website Trends for [fill in the year].” ActiveCanvas pays attention, learns new things, and sometimes we adopt a trend—if it’s the right thing for the clients we serve. Because we specialize in custom websites, our design goals are simple: know our client, understand our client’s audiences. Then design to increase their value to their customers and drive operational effectiveness.

That said, here’s a collection of the more interesting trends for 2020 in website design:

Minimalism—sites that are clean and simple with plenty of white space and easy navigation that make for a better user experience. In our opinion, your message and resulting customer engagement has always been the main focus.

Unique color stories—lighter shades with a pop of color that allow users to focus on the main purpose of the website rather than be distracted by design.

Rich content—dynamic content such as sound, video and images, e.g., a countdown timer that offers visitors a limited-time offer. A key attractiveness of websites is the rich multi-sensory experience potential.

Accessible design—use ADA-compliant standards to enable people with disabilities (such as blindness or even color-blindness) to have better access to your message. 

Voice technology—accessible design that enables voice-activated searches, making it easier for visitors with physical disabilities to engage your brand.

Mobile-first to Mobile-Only design—because a lower percentage of people are accessing the web on big screens.

Which trends do you like, or think you could use? Share your comments on our Facebook page.