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Top 10 Web Design Trends To Watch For in 2020

With a new year comes new design standards and web design trends to study, emulate, and admire. Some of the most exciting web designs coming out put an emphasis on enhancing the mobile UI experience and making the web feel more like print. In Sacramento, Web Designers like ourselves find inspiration in an evolving set of new design principles shaping the face of a 'new' web.


We get to put our imprint on what those websites will look like for our clients as well as their customers. As we move closer and closer into a 5G world, and drift away from the confining bandwidth limitations of mobile - it's once again become an exciting time to be a Web Site Designer.



1. Streamlined Minimal / Mobile Navigation on Desktop

The days of the mega menu with 5 tiered columns of never ending top level menu selections and sub selections are over. Mobile users put screen real estate at a premium and above the fold space on mobile is worth it's weight in gold.


Why clutter the UI of the homepage with such an expansive menu when most of the traffic will come from search anyway? Web Designers have taken to designing distinct streamlined menu fly aways that users identify with a more mobile experience, and hide additional menu navigation offscreen.

2. Color Changing Gradients

During the height of flat design (circa 2010) there was an emphasis from designers to stay away from gradients, but they've come back in a big way in 2020. Web Designers are using gradients to create texture and contrast in their design elements. The more monotone gradients that we are used to seeing are a thing of the past though. Contrasting gradients give designers the opportunity to create an atmosphere based on a more emotionally varied sense of color and tone.

3. Breaking Out Of The Grid With Layers That Overlap

Web Designers are using multiple levels of layers to create sophisticated 3D effects and a sense of depth and dimension to the website. This design principle works with nearly any design scheme. You can overlap videos, images, text, interactive elements like forms even. The hard part is making sure it all degrades nicely for mobile and when the user scrolls, but some web designers manage to pull this concept off handsomely in their designs. Craft Kitchen for instance makes great use of overlapping design elements.

4. Audio Is Coming Back To Websites (*groan*)

Everything old is new again. Web Designers are using audio as a major part of the UI experience again. This is one design trend we hoped to see dead & buried for good as it creates a jarring UI experience for users. Audio has come back as a focal point in alot of new websites coming out this year. This is one to use sparingly or better yet just avoid it altogether as no one really appreciates the musical score to your website to come blaring out of their speakers unexpectedly.

5. Everything Is 3D

3D creates depth and realism in design. The use of three dimensional imagery is an extension of that concept. The best 3D designs offer the user something unexpected and use 3D as a way of drawing the visitor out of their world and into the world the designer has created. Web Designers are able to use 3D as a way to showcase products as well.

6. Liquid Animation

Almost every redesigned website by a large brand you'll come across this year will feature some form of animation. It almost feels like 2005 all over again, but this isn't Flash animation. Liquid animation works to create entire immersive scenes as a way to transition video elements, as a hover state to entice clicks, or as a general animation the helps draw users into the design. Toonami uses liquid animation as a hover state to bring extra motion to elements on the screen. The background video “liquifies” as does the block of text.

7. Mixing Illustrations With Realism

This new web design is a mashup of realism combined with illustrated accents to create fresh rule breaking design concepts. This new approach represents a funky / cool approach towards design. Web Designers are creating some surreal web enivornments for users to navigate through that feels almost retro in it's implementation.

8. Artistic Illustrations

In particular line drawing style illustrations with hints of animations are increasingly growing in popularity. This whimsical design approach is gaining traction with web designers, in particular when it's used to create authentic, unforced aesthetically pleasing UI's. Some of this environments look as if they were sketched right out of the screen and entice the user to enter the world the developer has designed for them.

Absurd Design exemplifies this with an almost Shel Silverstein approach towards UI.

9. Breaking The Rules of Typography

It's 2020 so why not be a little rebellious? It's impressive when Web Designers can get this concept to work because the trick to mixing fonts is that the text treatment can be cool but the words still have to be legible. It's based when this is used as an art element rather than a functional one. It's okay when Web Designers break the rules of typography as long as the risks don't effect readability for the user.

10. Dark Mode Websites

In taking a page from Web Developer IDE's and Google Chrome, Web Designers are now conjuring up 'Dark Mode' designs to creak sleek dark aesthetics with bold bright typeface accents. What's so eye pleasing and satisfying is how easily readable headlines are on these types of websites. Web Designers who make good use of this design technique are able to create some pretty strong calls to action using 'Dark Mode' as an offset to the area they want to draw the user to.

Looking for a Web Designer familiar with the hottest new design trends to design your company or brands new website? Contact Norcal Web Designs, we're on the cutting edge of what new web standards are being adapted. We're on the forefront of new technology and new marketing methods. Get a FREE estimate today on your new site!

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