We have seen many design trends come and go in the last decade. But what is grabbing the spotlight when it comes to this year’s UI design trends? The world’s top UI designers are breaking rules, re-inventing styles and playing with extremes. The result is clutter-free, visually relevant user interface design that goes beyond the usual style choices. Let’s explore what UI design trends we should watch out for in 2020.
Everyone has their eye on digital and it’s worth spending some time learning how to create outstanding work. You are a web design professional, working in digital marketing or interested in staying up to date on the latest industry trends? Then get excited about eye-catching illustrations and the implementation of ever-evolving technologies. This year’s web design trends have it all.
No matter what type of business you have, a visually pleasing website is crucial to stand out amongst the crowd. Capturing your audience with an engaging and responsive experience has never looked better.
If this is the first time you’re dipping your toes in web design waters, start out with our smart guide on the essentials. Our web design experts summed up all you need to know about designing UI and UX friendly websites!
The Biggest UI Design Trends For 2020 Are:
- Neumorphism design
- Expanded colour palettes
- Artistic 2D and 3D illustration
- Futuristic glow and luminous colours
- Abstract lines
- Collage and cut-outs
- Micro animations
- Dark themes
- Maxi Typography
1. Neumorphism Design
Neumorphism is a term used to describe interface objects that copy their real-world counterparts. Examples for neumorphism in action are realistic looking buttons or images and graphics. These true-to-life design elements seem almost ‘tangible’.
You might think: “Wait a minute…interface objects that look like their real-world counterparts? That seems very familiar!” And you’re right. Neumorphism is the modern version of what was first known as skeuomorphism.
When digital devices were still a novelty, skeuomorphism made the transition to computer interfaces less confusing. The term derived from the Greek words “skeuos”, meaning “container or tool”, and “morphḗ”, meaning “shape”.
As web technologies evolved, more responsive web designs did away with the hyper-realistic representation of objects. In the following years, web design instead focussed on clean lines and flat areas of colour.
But in 2020, the digitalisation of the world is bringing skeuomorphic design back into the forefront of design thinking. When done right, neumorphic designs look beautiful, soft and almost 3D-like. What a fun way to elevate UI designs!
2. Expanded Colour Palettes
Four to five colour palettes are a thing of the past. In 2020, we are seeing much more diverse colour schemes. This diversity makes room for creativity, but it takes a skilled web designer to arrange them in a harmonious fashion.
Colour is a powerful tool in skilled hands, but as all tools do, has its strengths and weaknesses. Vibrant colours can look distracting on small screens. In a similar way, bright fonts can be unpleasant in the eyes of some users. As they explore this new trend, web designers need to know how different contrast levels affect readability. We highly recommend taking the time to analyse creative examples and play around with different colour combinations, to find out what works for your brand.
3. Artistic 2D and 3D Work
Imaginative illustrations are becoming an inevitable part of great UI design in 2020. Stockphotos don’t cut it anymore. Instead, we see a surge in line art, flat animations and 3D work.
There is a wide range of design elements that convey powerful emotions. A trend that does stand out, is the countermovement to perfect, yet impersonal graphics that dominated the internet for so long.
And it doesn’t need to be complicated. Authentic designs don’t distract from the story your brand is telling, yet leave a long-lasting impression on the user. New designs stand out with their almost whimsical looks. Many creatives are taking this as an opportunity to explore ways of expression that are still a novelty in UI illustration.
Our web designer Victoria took the trend as an inspiration for the design below: The animation of a tennis player swinging a tennis racquet, focusing on form, shadows and lines.
4. Futuristic Glow And Luminous Colours
Boldly glowing colour palettes of blacks, purples, blues and pinks. This otherworldly UI design trend brings back glow-in-the-dark neon elements. In 2020, UI designers are mixing bright, saturated colours and contrasting darker tones to create a luminous feeling. These futuristic colour schemes are becoming even more prominent with the rise of trends such as dark mode and uber simplicity.
Source: Anchor Digital
We currently see courageous colour pairings and futuristic web designs that almost pop out of the screen. A recent workpiece created by our in-house designer Victoria is the perfect example of this UI trend.
Duotone, the halftone reproduction of an image, is at the heart of this trend. As a statement of artistic boldness, designers are using duotone effects to come up with more extreme methods of re-toning their images. Spotify’s promotional campaigns are one of the most prominent examples of this trend in action.
5. Abstract Lines
Linework has been around for a while. But the use of lines to create motion illustrations and elements paired with bright colours is now more popular than ever. These illustrations create an almost wonky feeling, drawing the eyes across the design. Abstract lines direct the user to certain areas with intention. They create a smooth transition when scrolling down a page and serve as natural breaks in the page’s content. Abstract lines make for a spectacular base of many designs. It is little surprise that we’ll see these patterns become a popular choice across the web in 2020.
Source: Xavier Esclusa Trias
6. Collages and Cut-Outs – Mixing Photography and Graphics
A bold mix of illustrations, geometrical shapes, and photos creates unconventional designs that
are pushing boundaries. In 2020, we see overlapping images and graphics flowing together to create personalised solutions. These collages spice up even the blandest imagery and make designs more sophisticated.
The mix of illustrations and photos allows creatives to let their imagination go wild. Making designs match the brand identity is an obvious challenge that arises with such flexibility. But talented web designers take it as a chance to create visuals that display their creativity and support the current branding.
Source: Anchor Digital
7. Micro Animations Are Everywhere
When it comes to UI design, you might think that there is nothing you haven’t seen yet. And sure, almost every website now seems to include some form of animation. Often considered the eye-pleasing icing on the cake, UI animation does a lot more than just look pretty. It supports the storytelling and makes designs feel more personalised in comparison to a flat, unanimated canvas.
Liquid-style animations with water-like movements are currently setting design accents. Smooth, fluid, and perfectly timed for the most realistic feel, they create unexpected user experiences.
Animation can take you a long way: It’s interesting, more engaging and yes, adding to the overall user experience. UI animation works for entire scenes, as a hover state or as a general animation that draws the user’s attention to the design.
8. Dark Themes – Dark Mode
One of the most noteworthy UI design trends of 2020 is dark mode designs that are easy on the eyes yet aesthetically pleasing. Dark modes were originally used as an alternative to the bright computer and smartphone screens that strain the eyesight.
Whilst modern dark themes still serve their original purpose, they also offer a distinct, futuristic aesthetic that goes beyond mere functionality. Dark backgrounds stand out, make accent colours pop and go hand in hand with other trends such as glowing colour schemes, minimalist tendencies and abstract lines.
Apple started the trend with its Mojave update that automatically defaults to a dark theme. Google and Facebook have since adapted dark theme modes. Gmail, only recently started rolling out the option in September 2019.
Here is a list of software that supports dark mode:
|Operating systems||Browsers||Chat services||Productivity tools|
9. Over Simplicity
Minimalism is an elegant UI design trend that has accompanied us through the years, but it seems to reach peak simplicity in 2020. Continuing to evolve, it currently focuses on simple photography, white spaces, and uber-minimalistic navigations.
UI designers are now removing all unnecessary details, using more video, less text. Huge images and videos are tacking up entire screens, drawing the user’s attention to the focus of the composition.
As screens are getting smaller and smaller (think smartwatches and wearable tech), the trend of increased simplicity will become more relevant. Minimalist designs take away the difficulty in usability and allow the user to immerse themselves in the experience.
10. Maxi Typography
This year, we see UI designers breaking one rule after the other. Typography is now becoming more of an art element. It almost seems that as long as the user can read the text, creativity doesn’t know boundaries. Text is getting bigger and bigger every year, often taking up entire pages. The bold and huge text makes for a create focal point but needs to be used wisely to avoid overcrowding or looking aggressive.
Maxi typography can be a very efficient design tool for landing pages and even menus and will go a long way when it comes to making a good first impression. The following examples are displaying the correct use of oversized, bold typography.
UI Design Trends in 2020 – Wrapping it up
And that’s it! These are the UI design trends you should keep an eye out for in 2020. Bear in mind, not every trend will be the right choice for your brand. While a beautifully designed website is great, trends do change and users want more and better experiences.
At Anchor, we’re still excited about this multitude of styles and the emphasis on user-friendly designs. As long as user experience and functionality have priority, web designers should keep pushing boundaries.
If this leaves you thinking that your website might be due for a revamp, we’re happy to help you create an on-brand design.
Let our designers create something unique for you. Get in touch with us!