Wondering how to keep your website relevant amidst the challenges of the modern world?
Well, these days, it’s not good enough to have a great product, team, or service. You have to look good as well. You’d be surprised at just how much of an impact excellent graphic design will make.
New trends like parallax animation and mobile-first design will send a message to visitors to your website that you care about creating a modern, pleasant experience for their tastes. And great design can help show off your website’s unique personality! So let’s get started.
Parallax is one of the most innovative graphic design trends of the last few years. It’s a recreation of the phenomenon of different layers of depth moving at different speeds through the visual space.
Let’s start with a real-life example to get a feel for the parallax experience. Imagine you’re driving near a mountain range. The mountains closest to you will zip by relatively quickly—you’ll see new sections of rock as you keep driving along your path. But the mountains in the back will appear to move more slowly.
This gives the viewer an understanding of depth. And it’s not just mountain ranges! You can experience this phenomenon with the items on your desk as you move your head from one side to the other.
In graphic design, parallax animation is the use of different speeds of motion to invoke a sense of depth in the same way. For example, parallax scrolling might keep one part of the page stationary (or slow-moving) while you scroll at a normal speed through other elements on the page.
A lot of the appeal of parallax animation is its novelty. It’s still a relatively new concept, so if you include it in your website, it will give users an interesting and unexpected experience.
SVGs, or scalable vector graphics, are a way of putting images on your website without worrying about the quality suffering when you change the size. SVGs are just pieces of code, so they maintain perfect visual quality no matter how big you stretch them.
But there’s also something even more exciting SVGs can give you: endless animation opportunities. Because SVGs are built of code, you can add instructions in that code to make your images wobble, twist, spin, and move around the page. You can also animate these pieces in response to something the user does—like click a button.
You’ve probably heard of mobile-friendly design before. But as more and more people access websites from their phones or tablets, “mobile-friendly” is making way for something new: mobile-first.
Mobile-first design means you’re not just making a desktop website look good on mobile—you’re prioritizing the mobile experience.
This is especially important if you’re trying to combine your website with a social media presence. If this is the case, a large chunk of your site visitors might be coming directly from a social media app, meaning they’ll likely be on their phones.
You’ll want to make sure your images show up well, that your text is big enough to read comfortably on a phone screen, and that your formatting doesn’t get cut off by the small window size. If you’re designing mobile-first, you won’t have to worry about trying to squeeze a desktop website into these requirements. You’ll design the website for a great mobile experience and then translate it into a desktop site later.
Here’s a way to be retro and on the cutting edge at the same time. Pair your shapes with a simple gradient, and then add some delicious texture on top.
Lots of times, this texture is subtle. It can be the difference between a surface looking smooth versus rough. But when it comes to the on-screen visual experience, this small addition can make a world of difference.
The “retro” aspect of textured gradients comes from their similarity to imperfect printing processes. Back when designers had to use printers and copiers with imperfections, a design could come out looking somewhat rough.
It can also remind the viewer of real-life textures. A textured shape on a website might look like it was made of construction paper or fabric. At the same time, there are ways to keep it looking modern and interesting.
You can bring this nostalgic textured aesthetic into 2021 by placing it with gradients and clean edges.
A major shift that’s happened in graphics for websites in the past several years is a move away from realistic icons and toward “flat” looks. If you look at old images of apps and logos, you might see a lot of shading, shadows, and highlights. These elements gave those designs a curved appearance as if they were popping out of the screen.
But the cool factor wore off after a while. Designers started to move toward simple blocks of color instead of trying to emulate reality. They embraced the abstractness of virtual space.
You’ll continue to see flat aesthetics going strong in 2021. So if you aren’t already on this trend, now might be the time to get started.
A Fresh Look at 3D
If you really want to be on the cutting edge, you can venture into the return to 3D icons. These are a departure from the flat design trend, but they’re also quite different from the curved, “realistic” designs of the past.
Now that flat designs have allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in virtual possibilities, the new trend is to use 3D effects on abstract shapes. For example, there might be a floating sphere or curvy tube in the background of a webpage. The shadows and highlights give it a sense of weight, but the shape itself is not meant to stand in for anything.
Try These For Yourself!
The best way to see the true impact of beautiful design is to try it for your own projects. Simple additions like parallax animation can transform your website into something with an entirely different feel.
So get designing! And for more tips on the latest trends to look out for, check out the rest of this site.