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Five design trends for 2021

February 25, 2021.

Now that 2020 is finally over and that we’ve made it to 2021, we have high expectations for this long-awaited new year. Among these are five UI trends that we hope will take off in 2021.

Greater use of drawings


© Zahidul/Dribbble.

This trend made its appearance a few years ago, has gained steady ground and hopefully will stay the course. More and more sites are updating and revamping their image using drawings. Up until the 60s, drawings were king in advertising and others means of communication. Then, photography took over. Now, we’re reverting back to drawings. I think this is a good thing, since abstract drawings have the power to bring us together: by resembling no-one, they include everyone.

Here are some on-line drawing libraries:

3D and isometric design

Peter Tarka/Dribbble.

© Peter Tarka/Dribbble.

Just like drawings, 3D is not exactly a new trend, but now, it’s definitely here to stay. Especially when it’s getting easier and easier to create 3D images, even for UI designers who are not familiar with it. Spline, for example, is a tool that makes 3D design easily accessible (in beta version at the moment).

3D design lets you turn a concept into an apparently finished product, allowing users to truly envision it. 3D illustrations and other visuals will no doubt become pervasive, especially with the advent of virtual and augmented reality.

Everything can now be 3D-produced without ever using actual objects. This can mean quite the savings, for example for companies unveiling a luxury car or a future real-estate project. Most crucially, 3D design piques users’ interest and makes Web sites and interfaces more attractive.

Colourful design

Deux Huit Huit.

Site de Deux Huit Huit.

Colourfully speaking, so many trends have come and gone. Some of them went for austerity: remember the black-and-white phase? The monochrome one? Now, bold and vibrant colours take the stage. Check out the designs of Carré noir, or the site of design agency Deux Huit Huit, or the thousands of references on Dribbble; so many bright, colourful designs. Do not fear the huge expanses of saturated pigment, the neon effects or the vibrant hues: 2021 is a colourful year.



Site de Revolut.

2021 is also a year of minimalism. Graciously layered text, pleasingly-proportioned margins, legible and clear interfaces: an excellent choice as epitomized by Sketch, The Ordinary and We Ain’t Plastic. These sites are proof that you don’t need a hyper-complex UI to have the “Wow” factor.

Here’s the secret to minimalist design: “A guide to minimalist design - The reign of white space.”


© Aaron Iker.

Microinteraction means paying attention to all the tiny details that delight the user, that create a moment that is engaging and welcoming. As users are increasingly blasé with complex and sophisticated animations, better bank on small, animated details to engage them. For example, animation can be used to show the changed state of a button the user clicks on, to mark the toggling between two pages, or even the progression through different stages in a process. Prepare to see a lot of such animations in 2021.