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End of The Year Recap: 2020 Web Design Trends

Much like the rest of the trends that flood social media, web design has had consistencies that stand out across the internet this past year. With 2021 quickly approaching, there may be some that prove more successful or appealing than others by lasting into the new year, but all have had a place in creating the visual landscape of the many ups and downs throughout 2020.

The mixture of the ever-changing industries involving creativity and technology are always inspiring new concepts to reflect and possibly shape current or future trends. In terms of web design specifically, the themes that stand out are minimalism, dark mode, organic/earthy, and functionality/accessibility.

Minimalism. The trend that seems to have taken over almost every aspect of life that could possibly have a trend; fashion, architecture, interior design, branding, product packaging, and so much more. Creating the minimalist look can be simply, but also requires a certain flair and composition of elements in order to not come across as simply, well, boring. For web designers focus on only the essential elements and then usually follow it with a basic neutral color palette. Using basic shapes, simple font, clean lines, and an appropriate amount of empty space, you are sure to achieve some sort of a ‘minimalist’ aesthetic.

Dark Mode. The simplest and possibly most well-known example of dark mode — as well as how desirable it has become — is the addition of ‘dark mode’ to Apple devices as a standard display option. This mode, which was used widely during 2020, seems like something that will not be going away any time soon and possibly even grow as a greater visual staple into other areas that it has not reached yet. For a long time, white and light greys were the way to achieve a chic and modern look, especially throughout technology trends. Dark mode has now replaced that palette as the go-to for a modern look. Black and dark colors now give off the appearance of elegant and ambient vibes and are often paired with minimalism characteristics to achieve this.

Organic & Earthy. Using earth tones has definitely come and gone through many trends such as fashion, but has become a generally appreciated and desired style throughout many other aspects; specifically, across the internet and social media in product design, interior decorating and people. For web design, the organic look includes earth tone color palettes, raw/natural themed images and shapes, and sometimes even the verbiage used. This is most often seen in cosmetic or body products, but also very popular in fashion and lifestyle brands. Technology or business-type brands have gradually moved towards using some of these elements but do not embody this entirely through their web design. Collage is a common style associated with some organic aesthetics, which has made a comeback from its more punk, bold era in the 90s.

Functionality & Accessibility. These aspects can fall under tools for designers more so than styles, but impact the overall web design greatly as it will determine layout and placements throughout the website. Yes, these should be consistent throughout any style in web design, especially seen in the three discussed above. With a greater demand for online usability brings a need to upgrade and enhance inclusivity. For various populations being catered such as people with special needs or disabilities, functionality and accessibility must be a priority when conducting web design.

There are always certain aspects of design that stand the test of time, but trends come and go, and this year had plenty of its own — some that may not be sticking around too long past the new year. When looking at the vast displays of creativity and originality, there are many interpretations of the styles that were focused on in this blog, but the visual landscape is an ever-changing one that will surely surprise us in 2021.


Daniel James Consulting is a Full-Service Business Consulting Firm based in New York that designs solutions tailored specifically to the needs of your business in order to ensure you achieve continued success by designing, developing and implementing plans, metrics and platforms, be it a one-man operation, non-profit, startup or large organization. Our packaged solutions or a la carte selections include Website Design, Marketing & Advertising, Search Engine Positioning, and Graphic Design. Business Management Solutions are also available for companies of all sizes.

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