Guide to UI Design Trends for 2021

More 3D, more color, glassmorphism and great tools! 🤩

In less than a month we will (finally!) Say goodbye to 2020. Since my previous article on trends was quite successful, I took the time and research to write a guide to design trends for 2021.

Let’s see what 2021 brings!

From left to right: Cuberto, Superlist, afshint2y (instagram), Essentials, Minh Pham.

1.3D illustrations yeah, still trending!)

3D images are not going anywhere, especially when it becomes easier and easier for UI designers to create 3D graphics! (try a tool called Spline – currently in beta but awesome and easy to use!)

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3D is also widely used in full screen animation as key visuals – take a look at Superlist or Minh Pham’s awesome 3D tutorial on how to create a 3D background for your website.

Guide to UI Design Trends for 2021
Left to right: mandariuiux (instagram), Victor Cardero, Hype4.com, day___dreamer06 (instagram), Blacklead Studio

2. Glassmorphism

Have you heard of the newest trend called glassmorphism? (right, neomorphism is no longer in vogue). This UI design trend is based on an effect called blur background… Thanks to him, you seem to be looking at the elements “through glass”.

It was introduced in Windows Vista and then iOS7, but it looks like it will stay in its new, updated form for a long time! If you’d like to take a closer look at glassmorphism, try this online Glassmorphism Generator tool and read Mike’s article about it:

Glassmorphism is a new trend in interface design

Guide to UI Design Trends for 2021
From left to right: logancee (instagram), Tran Mau Tri Tam, Dmitry Lauretsky, ekokubki.pl

3. Real Photos

I predict that soon everyone in product design will get tired of illustrations and 3D graphics, so real photos will return.

As I wrote in one of my previous articles, illustrations are not for everyone. And sometimes real people and real objects can have a greater impact on users. Ekokubki site is based on real photos and looks great!

Guide to UI Design Trends for 2021
Left to right: Diana Medviedieva, Green Illumination, Designcode.io, Sleepiest, Digital Design Talks

4. Vivid colors

Everywhere I look, I see colorful splashes on websites and mobile devices.

Take a look at Designcode.io, Sleepiest and Design Talks! I love how the colors create a magical airy atmosphere. And when we use bright colors, it is easier for us to distinguish and remember the product.… Instagram has known this for a long time (and that’s why their iconic update happened).

Guide to UI Design Trends for 2021
From left to right: Tran Mau Tri Tam, Stripe, Tran Mau Tri Tam, Nadya Lazurenko, MyMind.com

5. Blurry, colorful backgrounds

This is similar to the previous trend, but with a bit of glassmorphism … I think the subtlety of this effect makes the interface look very attractive. The blurred background design looks incredibly organic, warm and cozy.

Take a look at Stripe (you’ll also find glassmorphism there) and My Mind (an amazingly simple self-organizing tool).

Guide to UI Design Trends for 2021
Left to right: Alexey Savitskiy, Revolut, Qoals, Sketch, Hype4.com

6. Aesthetic minimalism

This is probably the trend that I like the most. There is nothing more aesthetic than a simple, minimalistic and readable interface.

Sites like Revolut (also using plain 3D), Sketch, and Qoals are great examples of how you don’t need a fancy interface or “wow effects” to make your product look absolutely stunning (unfortunately not many customers understand this) …

Guide to UI Design Trends for 2021
Left to right: Mateusz Madura, Offriginal (instagram), staromlynski.design (instagram), AndikaWP

7. Geometric structure

I see more and more designs with very neat, conservative visual structures. This makes the information look really orderly!

One of the nicest examples of geometric interface structure is the Rituals website. It is a pleasure to use it (and I also love simple but nice animations).

Guide to UI Design Trends for 2021
Left to right: Stan Yakusevich, Vadim Drut, Whirly Birdie, Dovetail + Afterpay, Synchronized Digital Creative Studio

8. Large, complex typography

There are many examples of how large, complex typography plays a major role in product design. Some of them are even completely based on typography – and the result is often very interesting. The choice of type is often quite extravagant.

Take a look at Whirly Birdie, Dovetail + Afterpay (also uses vibrant colors), and Synchronized (also uses brutalism).

Guide to UI Design Trends for 2021
Left to right: Adam Roller, Laetitia Meunier, Ilya Kulikov, Michał Rome

9. Brutalism

I have the most problems with this trend (although, nevertheless, with neomorphism more). It’s called brutalism, and it looks like its name: strong contrasts, often unpleasant typography, and lots of accessibility and readability issues. But I catch the general atmosphere – the main idea behind it is the deconstruction of what we think is beautiful and useful

Surprisingly, I see a lot of sites and apps following this trend! (one of them is the site of the Polish radio station Newonce).

I really tried using it, but I didn’t like the way it looks in interfaces. I would prefer it to stay on posters and in magazines.

10. Simplification of UX / UI processes

This trend is different from others – it is by no means visual.

I can see that more and more people in the industry are realizing that many of the processes behind product design have become extremely complex. And that’s bad – for product designers, for customers, and mostly for the digital products themselves.

There is a great need for change. And I believe that the situation is gradually starting to change. I firmly believe it is time to take a few steps back and take a fresh look at the industry. It’s time to rethink confusing concepts and names, rebuild complex and time-consuming processes, and make it easier for budding designers to learn product design.

Which trend did you like the most / least and why? Write in the comments! 🤗

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