15 Upcoming Web Design Trends & Website Inspiration for 2021

The new year is here, and we’re exploring upcoming web design trends for 2021. Take a moment to think about the websites you’ve seen over the last few months. There are probably a handful that stuck out to you based on their user-friendly interface and appealing layout. The same goes for the websites with a terrible user experience — they stick with you and might even leave you with a negative feeling about the brand.

After gathering modern website examples and performing our own UX research, we started to see patterns. In today's vast and saturated online world, an amazing user experience and creative web design aren't just nice extra things to have, they’re expected and necessary for a website to be successful.

We took the time to highlight the 2021 website design trends making a major impact in the online world. It's important to highlight the skilled design work that caught our eye, and we’ve included a few examples created by our own award-winning web design team. Follow along as we share web design inspiration and offer insights about emerging 2021 website design trends.

1. Embedded Videos for Engaging Homepages in 2021

construction company video.

Using a video on your website homepage is one of the best web design trends for 2021. Blue Compass web designers and developers used embedded videos when creating the new McAninch homepage. These video clips showcase McAninch employees, equipment and projects and give you a sneak peak into what a typical day may look like. When users visit the McAninch website, the videos grab their attention and help them understand the McAninch brand before they continue scrolling down the page. We recommend using videos on your homepage if you’re creating a new website in 2021.

2. Modern Minimalism: Simple Web Design Inspiration

examples of minimal design.

Not only is modern design aesthetically pleasing to look at, but many modern website examples offer a simple and streamlined user experience. This New York-based cleaning company, Oboosho, has a very minimal design that shows off their fun, playful brand.There are no flashy features to distract visitors from achieving their goal of finding more information or booking an appointment, and it’s easy for users to find relevant information on this site.

This website also uses a variation on the hamburger navigation, a common UX web design trend for mobile websites. While we don’t always recommend this navigation style for the desktop version of a web design, it certainly enhances the minimalist effect of this simple website.

3. Dark Mode and Low Light UX Web Design Trends

dark mode web design.

Some companies are beginning to offer dark mode versions of their website, and we believe this website design trend will continue to grow in 2021. Dark mode, night shift and other low light user interface options provide users with a low-contrast site or app that is easier to look at in low light environments. On their website, Brazillian design studio estudio/nk uses a sticky light-to-dark switch that appears on each page of the website, allowing users to toggle between light and dark versions as they scroll through different pages. Our team believes the popularity of dark mode toggle switches on websites could lead to more black and white web designs in 2021.

4. Rotating Animations: An Upcoming Web Design Trend That Provides Added Interest

Rotating animation example.

The best website design inspiration we’ve seen utilizing the rotating animation trend is The Disruption Company’s new website design. They leave users curious for more because every time you refresh the homepage you’ll see a new and innovative branded video. Fun surprises like this leave users with a unique experience on your website every time they visit.

5. Non-Traditional Scrolling Engages Audiences on Modern Websites

Horizontal scrolling example.

We’ve noticed more websites dabbling with different scrolling techniques for a unique user experience. Typical scrolling experience is, of course, vertical. Horizontal scrolling, like this example on the Gelateria Amande website, is a UX design trend that’s disruptive in a good way, catching users’ attention while remaining simple and functional. The Gelateria Amande website combines high-quality product photography, elegant illustrations and animated typography to enhance the user experience. Throughout 2021, we’re excited to see more new website designs utilizing different forms of non-traditional scrolling.

6. Gradient Color Schemes: Colorful Website Inspiration for 2021

Modern gradient example.

When Instagram rebranded in 2016, people definitely noticed the new gradient logo. It was so different from the popular style at the time, but their decision to modernize gradients impacted design as a whole. Gradients have now become more popular among creatives when searching for new website design inspiration. Recognizing the popular trend, ColorSpace has created a website with gradient designs that also functions as a tool for generating gradients and color palettes making it simple to generate your own unique design. We expect to see more and more gradients incorporated in new website designs in the next year, among other 2021 website design trends.

7. Innovative Web Design Examples of UX-Driven Diagonal Lines

ux diagonal design.

In past years, new website designs have featured straight, horizontal lines to separate sections on web pages. After conducting some UX research, our team discovered that using diagonal lines gives a clear and interesting path for the user’s eyes to follow down the page. Polish digital agency BrightMedia uses diagonal lines and scroll-triggered animation to draw users’ eyes down the page and encourage them to keep reading.

This combination of diagonal lines and animation is the perfect example of how various upcoming web design trends can integrate with one another to produce a wonderful, modern website with an interesting user experience.

8. Modern Website Examples Showcasing Scroll-Triggered Animations

Scroll-triggered animation example.

An interesting UX design trend that's become more popular in recent years is scroll animations. This type of web design showcases visual design talent and front-end development skills, and it also increases time on page and engagement. Our experts created Igor’s new website design to encourage users to scroll or click through the page layouts to see Igor’s service lines. As long as the animations don’t take away from your goal or confuse users, this 2021 web design trend can be a highly effective way to make it easier for users to convert. We expect features like this to appear among responsive design and UX trends in 2021.

9. Creative Color Branding as a 2021 Website Design Trend

Color branding inspiration from Camden Town Brewing.

Another 2021 web design trend we are loving is the multiple color branding look. Companies like Camden Town Brewery are moving towards a new website design that is branded based on page or product, and the color changes when the user navigates and interacts with elements on the page. This web design helps the user navigate through the site and builds subconscious associations with products or service pages solely based on color cues. Check out their great site for color branding web design inspiration!

10. Designs With Depth and Dimension

Mortgage hub design inspiration.

Our designers developed this website full of drop shadows and varying colors to add depth and give this mortgage hub site a more complex look. We believe flat designs that appear 3-dimensional are more visually appealing and will sometimes lead users to the next step of the sales process. Some of the most common flat design 2.0 techniques to add more depth to web designs include using drop shadows, gradients or two-tone color schemes like the website design inspiration example above.

11. LARGE Attention-Grabbing Titles: Supersized Web Design Inspiration

Austin Eastciders website with attention-grabbing titles.

In our rushed society, users seem to have less and less time to spend on websites. For this reason, design is adapting and including large, bold titles and shortened messaging to capture audiences fast and decrease the time to convert. The larger heading tags are usually paired with much smaller sub-text copy if more information is needed, which is similar to the minimalism approach. Austin Eastciders demonstrates this alliance of font sizes throughout their homepage design and uses video to showcase different occasions to enjoy their tasty ciders.

12. Attract Attention With Abstract Shapes in Web Designs

Lava lamp-style abstract shapes on elje group website.

Another web design trend we are loving is the use of abstract shapes. We have begun to see brands use more unique shapes that give an extra element of intrigue for users. The elje group does a great job of introducing abstract shapes and graphics that resemble a lava lamp and will keep users interested. Notice this company has integrated a few 2021 web design trends, including modern gradients and diagonals in the intro when you load the page!

13. Storytelling and Interactive Web Design Examples

 web designs that tell a story.

Interactive website elements have become increasingly popular, and this user experience animation trend will only continue to be at the heart of responsive web designs in 2021. Consumers spend more time on websites that utilize responsive and interactive features. Unfortunately, UX design trends like this can be expensive and time-consuming to implement. Our web design team hopes to see more automated development processes emerge, ideally slashing costs for clients who want unique, interactive features on their sites.

Explore a great example of user interactivity our web design team created! On Igor’s Nexos Intelligent Disinfection landing page, users can scroll to see a visual explanation of the Nexos ultraviolet room disinfection solution. This responsive web design is not only visually appealing and informative, but it also keeps users on the website longer and increases brand awareness.

14. Dynamic Landing Pages & Responsive Web Design in 2021

responsive web design and dynamic landing pages. 

Some of the most interesting modern website examples use dynamic, responsive landing pages. Keeping users engaged on a simple, static landing page is difficult, so adding responsive web design elements such as animation and interactive features can keep users engaged on the page longer. Check out the water ripple effect on this website for Los Angeles web design and marketing firm Weberous. The interactive and animated page elements are great examples of using creative ux web design trends to make a boring landing page more dynamic.

15. Detailed Footers Will Set Web Designs Apart in 2021

360gardalife website with a detailed footer.

Over the years, website footers have often been overlooked or left out of the overall web design - until now. A web design trend making a splash are ‘footer boosts.’ What was once just used to provide contact information or a signup form has transitioned into a space to include additional elements of the homepage. 360gardalife has done a fantastic job showcasing this trend. As you can see in the image above, they have incorporated extra elements in the footer space, and it now feels inclusive to the overall web design.

Take Your Web Design to the Next Level

We encourage you to explore for more modern website inspiration! Our Iowa web design and development team created an engaging and functional design that incorporates many of the latest web design trends. On our homepage, you’ll find an embedded video at the top, scroll animation, diagonal design and other examples of 2021 website design trends throughout the site.

If your business is ready to take your web design to new heights, reach out to our team of experts. Blue Compass is an award-winning design and development company with UX research consultants who can take your design and conversions to new heights! Contact Blue Compass today.

video at top of website.

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Mac & Cheese

Mac and Cheese is on the Digital Bark-eting team at Blue Compass. He loves greeting his team members when they arrive for the day, encouraging fun breaks during the workday and taking naps in various places throughout the office. He also enjoys saying hello to clients and other visitors - especially the mail carriers who bring treats! Mac is an important part of our team of digital experts at Blue Compass, where we help brands succeed online through web design, development and digital marketing strategies.

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