Minimalism has been a growing trend in web design over the past few years and will continue shaping website builders in 2023. The minimalist style focuses on simplicity – using plenty of white space, clean lines and sans-serif fonts to create an uncluttered look. Many website builders now have minimalist templates to choose from that cut out any unnecessary elements.
Some key features of minimalist website designs:
- Plenty of white/negative space
- Simple navigation menus
- Limited, neutral color palettes
- Sans-serif fonts
- Flat graphics instead of 3D effects
- Asymmetry and aligment to break up space
- Good use of contrast
Minimalism creates clean, easy-to-navigate websites that put the focus on content rather than flashy graphics. It helps in responsive design allowing sites to scale down gracefully on mobile. With mobile traffic now accounting for more than half of all website visits, a minimalist approach helps provide a seamless user experience across devices.
Website builders like Squarespace, Wix and Webflow include dedicated minimalist templates. Expect to see minimalism continue driving simple, clutter-free web design trends in 2023.
Bold, creative typography will stand out as a top website design trend this year. With so many sites adopting a minimal look, typography becomes an important element to make a design memorable. Expect to see more attention grabbing fonts, custom display type, hand lettering and typographic illustrations.
Some typography trends website builders will embrace:
- Display fonts that capture attention through their bold style. Thick, thin and elongated fonts that stand out.
- Creative typefaces like sans-serif fonts with Art Deco or geometric styles.
- Custom display type adding a unique brand identity.
- Hand lettering and illustrated typography for visual interest.
- Creative layouts – stacking words, diagonal text, overlays and letterspacing for impact.
- Vivid font colors differentiated from body text.
- Typographic animations and responsive effects.
With flexible design tools in website builders, fonts have become easier to customize for brands wanting a signature style. Typography lets websites communicate better while making the designs more vibrant.
Broken Grid Layouts
Uniform grid layouts have been the standard for website design for a while. But modern web design trends are breaking free from rigid grids with more randomized, eclectic layouts. 2023 will see more websites experimenting with broken grid and asymmetric layouts.
Some characteristics of broken grid layouts:
- No formal columns, varying widths between sections.
- Asymmetric or uneven alignments rather than strict grids.
- Randomly staggered, angled or layered layout elements.
- Images, text and sections placed in overlapping ways.
- Contrasting sizes for sections.
Broken grids allow for more dynamic website layouts. Designers have more freedom to be artistic in how they use negative space, pacing, rhythm and contrast. It also helps make websites less predictable. But broken grids still require good visual organization and alignment to maintain usability.
Website builders are adding broken grid templates to their offerings, like Wix’s Luka template. Advancements in drag-and-drop editors make custom layouts easier. Expect to see broken grids gain popularity for their visual appeal. But not all brands may embrace more chaotic layouts. It comes down to aligning a layout with the brand personality.
Cinemagraphs – photos with partial motion – will emerge as a trendy web design element, providing subtle movement to engage visitors. Popularized on Instagram and Tumblr, they work well on websites too. Website builders are already integrating options to add cinemagraphs.
What makes cinemagraphs effective:
- High quality, professional photographs with specific motion.
- The motion seamlessly loops and captivates viewers.
- Provide dynamic visuals without being distracting.
- Add motion only where relevant, not the entire scene.
- Help convey a mood, story or idea.
- Attract user attention while allowing the site copy to still be readable.
Cinemagraphs lend websites a modern, cutting edge aesthetic when used creatively. Subtle motion can be applied to:
- Products: Showcasing a product feature or interaction.
- Scenery: Moving elements like water, clouds or trees.
- People: Small actions like hair blowing ornodding head.
Photography trends like jumpographs and parallax scrolling help expand web designs beyond static images. Look for website builders to include more dedicated options to add cinemagraphs and motion graphics in 2023.
Illustrations continue to grow in popularity as an alternative to stock photography on websites. Vector illustrations visually communicate ideas, enhance branding and bring creativity to a design. Expect to see more websites embrace custom illustrations with hand-drawn or animted styles.
Some advantages of using illustrations on websites:
- Add personality and originality for brands wanting to stand out.
- Flexible for conveying complex ideas and emotions through art.
- Vector images avoid noise or distortions when resizing.
- Smaller file sizes than high-res photos for quicker loading.
- Can be animated for interactivity.
- Provide better representation of minority groups compared to stock photos.
Website builders make illustrations accessible without coding through integrated options from platforms like Undraw, Humaaans and Icons8. Illustrations work well when aligned with a brand’s style and identity. Playful, vibrant illustrations suit more casual brands. Fintech and corporate sites may opt for more serious styles.
With the variety of illustration resources available today, expect to see brands take advantage of this graphic design trend to make their websites truly one-of-a-kind.
Gradients have been making a comeback as a popular web design element. They add dimension and color styles not achievable by solid colors. When paired with clever graphic designs, gradients make for attractive websites. Expect gradient usage to grow even more in 2023.
Some ways to use gradients effectively:
- Hero image backgrounds overlaid with vivid gradients.
- Gradients in bold colors or shades of the same hue.
- Using gradients behind typography for emphasis.
- For decorative dividers between sections.
- Animated gradients and morphing colors.
- Duotone gradient map effects on images.
Modern website builders like Webflow and Wix integrate easy ways to add gradients without coding. Templates and UI kits also feature gradient design examples. When applied sparingly, gradients can elevate a website’s look without distracting from the content.
Animated and Interactive Elements
Website animation continues to evolve, with new ways for adding motion without compromising site speed. Subtle animations guide users, reveal information and add flair. Interactive elements keep visitors engaged as they navigate pages. Expect websites to make greater use of:
- Animated graphics on scroll – cascading, fading, sliding or scaling elements as users scroll down pages.
- Illustrations and icons with animated motions to indicate actions like swiping, clicking, scrolling.
- Hovers that reveal hidden info panels, preview images or expand dropdowns.
- Interactive sliders, timers, carousels for engagement.
- Microinteractions like animated buttons, toggles, status indicators.
- Loading animations while waiting for content to display.
- Animated typography like text transitions, scrolling effects.
Advanced website builders allow adding animations without coding through point-and-click interfaces. But animated elements must complement the design and brand style. When done right, they bring vibrancy and user-interaction to websites.
Responsive website design will continue dominate, with mobile optimization more crucial than ever. Google is prioritizing mobile-friendly sites in search results. With users browsing on phones, tablets, laptops and even wearables, ensuring cross-device experiences is mandatory. Website builders make responsive design accessible to everyone.
Elements of responsive design:
- Flexible grids and layouts that adapt across viewport sizes. No fixed widths.
- Responsive media – images, videos and other assets resize as needed.
- Media queries to apply CSS styles conditionally for different devices.
- Mobile-first approach starting design for mobile before enhancing for larger screens.
- Focus on efficient serving of assets – compressed files, optimal image sizing, lazy loading etc.
- Touch optimization – larger buttons, card layouts, bottom navigation.
Many website builders now default to mobile responsiveness. Expect more advanced responsive features like dynamically serving different assets to vary experiences by device. Responsive design will continue dominate as multi-device experiences become the norm.
Subtle Motion Designs
As website animation matures, one emerging trend is subtle motion in designs. This includes slight movements like:
- Elements shifting or floating imperceptibly as users scroll pages.
- Gently pulsating background patterns or shapes.
- Delicate bouncing motions on loading states.
- Fading in and out or breathing visuals.
- Slowly changing gradient colors.
These understated animations add depth without overwhelming the design. When paired with muted color schemes, they evoke an elegant, refined aesthetic. Subtle motion guides users and adds flair. But it requires a thoughtful, intentional approach compared to more overt animations.
Website builders like Webflow include dedicated motion UI kits developers can use out-of-the-box for inspiration. As browsers get more powerful, expect to see subtle motion gain traction in 2023 for adding polish and dynamism to designs. But brands must ensure it aligns with their style.
Geometric shapes provide clean, structured design elements for websites. Circles, squares, triangles, diagonals – these shapes overlayed or interlocked lend visual harmony. Paired with solid colors or gradients, they create bold graphics. Expect to see more websites embrace geometry shapes in 2023.
Some examples of using geometric shapes effectively:
- Background patterns with overlapping shapes and angles.
- Layered shapes to build icons, illustrations and graphics.
- Grid layouts aligned to geometric shapes.
- Overlaying bold shapes on hero images for emphasis.
- Creative separators and dividers using shapes.
- Animations revealing shapes and patterns on scroll.
Geometry shapes convey symmetry and order for brands wanting a modern, tech-y aesthetic. They work well in abstract compositions or paired with photography. Website builders facilitate adding shapes through integrations with libraries like SVG Silhouttes. Used creatively, geometric shapes add visual interest and structure to website designs.
Mobile App Integrations
With mobile growing rapidly, brands want closer integration between websites and mobile apps. Having unified brand experiences strengthens digital presences. Expect website builders to add more dedicated options for app-focused services.
Some areas of integration:
- Cross-linking websites and apps for shared navigation.
- Continuity in designs, color schemes and assets.
- Single signup options to access both website and app user accounts.
- Website banners/menus to download the app. App banners to visit the website.
- Easy migration of website content to mobile apps.
- Integrated push notification options.
No-code app builders like Adalo and AppSheet simplify creating apps for businesses. Expect website and app builders to offer more seamless integration capabilities out-of-the-box without engineering resources. Tighter website-app alignment provides complete digital experiences.
Dark Mode Designs
Dark mode continues trending in apps and operating systems. Websites also increasingly offer dark themes providing an alternative viewing option. Dark mode delivers a number of benefits. It can reduce eye strain for users, decrease power usage on devices and provide better accessibility. More websites will add dedicated dark mode viewing in 2023.
Best practices for implementing website dark mode:
- Give users an easy option to toggle dark/light modes. Don’t change it automatically.
- Ensure readability with sufficient contrast ratios for text. Avoid shades that strain the eyes.
- Invert background and text colors. Don’t just darken everything.
- Swap out images and videos for dark-mode optimized versions if relevant.
- Change colors of key elements – CTAs, icons, logos, illustrations.
- Test extensively and validate dark mode doesn’t break navigation or site functionality.
Leading website builders like Webflow, Wix and Squarespace provide configuration options to display dark mode designs. Users expect more viewing flexibility. Offering a dark theme makes websites more comfortable to use in varied contexts.
Isometric graphics – flat shapes skewed in 3D perspective – have grown popular for website designs wanting dimensionality without intense 3D. The isometric aesthetic is seen in illustrations, shapes, grids, text arrangements and more. Expect to see it feature prominently in 2023 web design trends.
Some characteristics of isometric designs:
- Floating 3D blocks and objects in axonometric angle.
- Depth created through bold outlines and shading.
- Overlapping floating shapes and typography.
- Layout grids aligned to create depth.
- Vibrant illustrations and patterns.
Isometric designs lend websites visual dynamism and modern sophistication. Website builders facilitate isometric compositions through templates, vector tools and UI kits with pre-made assets. When applied creatively, isometric shapes can make websites truly distinctive. But brands must ensure it resonates with their style and audience.
Hand-drawn and sketchy textures provide a human touch often lacking in digital interfaces. They bring warmth and authenticity through imperfection. Expect to see more websites adopt hand-drawn styled elements like:
- Rough brush and ink illustrations.
- Playful sketch fonts or handwritten scripts.
- Outlined drawings in logos, icons and shapes.
- Marker coloring effect in images.
- Stroked decorative dividers.
Hand-drawn elements suit brands wanting a personal, approachable aesthetic over polish and perfection. They evoke creativity and craftsmanship. Website builders like Wix provide sketch art filters. Illustration platforms make hand-drawn assets easy to source. Used thoughtfully, hand-drawn elements inject personality and uniqueness to website designs. But it must harmonize with the brand style.
Symmetry and uniformity are not the only paths to beautiful design. Asymmetrical website layouts lacking formal symmetry can also create visual intrigue and interest. By breaking conventions, asymmetrical layouts convey freedom of expression. Expect more websites to explore asymmetry in 2023.
Ways to utilize asymmetry creatively:
- Sections varying widely in placement, size and shape.
- Text, images and elements not centered or evenly spaced.
- Imbalanced visual weight and white space.
- Mixing centered and left/right aligned elements together.
- Overlapping text, graphics and images.
Asymmetry adds character and movement by countering expectations. But it requires care to not become chaotic. Strong underlying grids and spacial relationships should anchor asymmetrical layouts. Website builders like Webflow provide the control to create rich, unique asymmetries. Used selectively, asymmetry adds excitement versus uniformity fatigue.
Focus on Quality User Experiences
With design trends improving year-over-year, brands must stay focused on how trends impact user experience. Does a trend truly enhance UX or is it just novelty? Consider these factors when adopting trends:
- Readability – Avoid hard-to-read fonts or low contrast colors.
- Scannability – Break up long text with headings, short paragraphs.
- Consistent navigation – Don’t hide menus or links.
- Clear CTAs – Prominent calls-to-action for key pages.
- Mobile optimization – Test responsiveness across devices.
- Performance – Speed up load times through caching, optimization, hosting.
- Accessibility – Ensure designs work with assistive technologies.
- Simplicity – Only add novel elements if they improve UX.
Great design provides real value to users, not just visual appeal. The most effective trends improve how visitors experience and engage with websites. Prioritize UX when evaluating design trends for 2023. Implement them thoughtfully to delight both users and brands.