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Web Design Trends in 2020

7 min read

In 2020, it doesn’t come as a surprise that minimal design continues to reign supreme and that websites are getting sleeker. But this doesn’t mean there’s no room for trends, change, and innovation. Even if minimalism more or less defines how most websites have been looking like in the past years, trends are continually changing, and we can see some exciting new variations and design elements. Here are some of the top trends in web design in 2020 and why they matter:

Dark mode

Dark mode is so popular and requested that we might as well call it a tech trend, not just a web design trend. Starting with last year, popular apps like Gmail, Slack, WhatsApp, and Twitter released dark mode, and even Apple allowed iPhone users to turn on Dark Mode with the iOS 13 update. So, is this web design’s goth phase? Not at all. There’s a lot of practicality behind the surge in dark mode designs:

  • Dark mode reduces eye strain and is more comfortable for low-vision users
  • Dark mode blocks some of the blue LED light that prevents users from falling asleep after using their phones
  • Dark mode reduces battery consumption on phones and tablets

As the rate of mobile browsing continues to increase, it’s normal for designers to address user preferences and give them the dark mode option, although it does come with the extra responsibility of balancing darkness with bold accents and bright colors to communicate emotion.

You should never jump on the dark mode bandwagon just for the sake of it. And when you do, there are some core considerations to keep in mind:

  • Always avoid the pure black version, it is easier to create shadows on a dark grey as opposed to pure black and it is also easier on the eyes for reducing eye strain after prolonged use.
  • Always use lighter tones instead of shaky tones. It is necessarily important to add a splash of color in dark mode, readability decreases when using color at maximum vibrancy.
  • As per the Google Material Design, The contrast between the background and the text should be at least 15.8:1.
  • Use lighter font weights because light text against a dark background appears bolder than black text on white background.
  • Don’t forget your product’s identity. Sometimes, the same design doesn’t translate in the same way from switching from light to dark mode. For this reason, you might have to use additional elements such as shadows and gradients to communicate the same feeling and maintain consistency with your product branding.


Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all website owners need to ensure that their websites can be used by people with disabilities, so it’s refreshing to see accessibility turn into a core requirement, not just an extra. For many years, designers have been playing with trends such as low contrast and visual-only formats that looked nice but limited accessibility, but now we’re seeing a shift towards ultra-minimalist navigation and websites built with accessibility in mind. At its core, accessibility means not just designing websites with aesthetics and branding in mind, but also making sure that they can be fully explored by people with disabilities.

In 2020, Everyone should be able to surf any website on the internet. The concept of accessibility defines that it doesn’t matter if there is a condition that affects their abilities or what hardware or software is being used. The most encouraging thing about accessibility is that it comes from a context where businesses are becoming increasingly inclusive and responsible. By designing the website with these challenges in mind, you can ensure that it’s welcoming to as many users as possible.

Although accessibility in web design isn’t about anything flashy or groundbreaking, it’s tremendously important for the Internet as a whole.

Here are a few guidelines that designers should follow when creating an accessible web design:

  • Don’t use color and graphics alone to convey important information or instructions
  • Provide intuitive styles for interactive elements, such as buttons and links, to make them easy to process.
  • The contrast ratio between background and text should be at least 4.5:1, or at least 3:1 in the case of larger fonts
  • Images should have alt text attribute
  • Make sure that navigation on all pages within a website has uniform naming, styling, and positioning.
  • Make your content accessible from other places
  • Make your content can be navigated by keyboard and screen reader
  • The website should have a clear and logical hierarchy

The main idea behind such graphics is to draw the user’s attention and make an impact, but, at the same time, they’re also friendlier for users with disabilities. However, keep in mind that adding too many oversized elements can be counterproductive and have the opposite effect: ruin the hierarchical clarity and make navigation more difficult.

Hand-drawn illustrations

In a sea of dark, minimal, neon, digital design, brands can lose their relatability and appear less human to non-techy users, and ultimately that can weaken the brand-client relationship. Hand-drawn illustrations balance this out, adding a personalized, human element into the mix. The association between modern graphics and hand-drawn illustrations is memorable because it breaks the rules, and it appeals to younger users, who love unlikely juxtapositions.

Although the idea of adding illustrations in web design might sound a bit outdated, art never really gets old. Besides, you’re not combining drawings with the last decade’s design trends. You’re combining it with minimal and material design, which gives it a fresh and creative look.

So, if you can put it on paper, you can put it on your website too. Play around with doodles, sketches, and lopsided graphics to express your creativity and make your website stand out.

More focus on 3D

VR is yet to become the gamechanger everyone expects it to be, but, in the meantime, web designers are experimenting with the closest best thing: immersive 3D illustrations and animations. They look fantastic, they add a little “oomph” to the user experience, they draw the attention, and they can even boost online traffic. Don’t have the budget for 3D elements? You can achieve a similar effect by creatively using shadows, optical illusions, and floating elements in 2D.

The main idea behind 3D in web design is to create a sense of exploration and wonder. Naturally, certain niches such as travel or hospitality are a perfect match for 3D graphics, but you can also use it to showcase real estate or any other product in 360 for that matter.

When implemented creatively, the 3D design is a great workaround for the notoriously low attention span of the modern Internet user. Why? Because while a regular photo is easier to scroll by, 3D graphics capture and maintain the user’s attention for longer. For maximum results, make 3D design a multi-sensorial experience by combining music with visuals. Unlike the music that comes out of random tabs, in this case, music and visuals are closely linked and make sense together. For example, you can program the music to stop playing once the user zooms in to look closer at a product.

Photography + digital graphics overlap

Along the same lines as the unlikely combination between hand-drawn illustrations and graphic design elements, we have the match between photography and digital graphics. This combination reminds us of collages, and, apart from being visually memorable, it’s also a great way of explaining complex concepts (this one of the reasons why we’ve seen this trend pop on tech and finance websites). Although the two media can seem clashing, a talented designer can use digital graphics to further emphasize the message of the photograph and make it reach a certain look and feel. Overlapping digital graphics on photos can be anything from playful to sophisticated and futuristic.

When it comes to the use of photography in web design, there are two schools of thought: that your photos should be fit for purpose (taken especially for your business and products), and that you can do just fine with stock photography. In general, experts recommend taking your own photos because it’s quite rare to find something that matches your products 100%. In most cases, you’ll have to cut corners somewhere, and the user will sense that.

Based on the idea that people buy from people, including photos of human faces on your website will make your brand more appealing and approachable. But, at the same time, you should also keep in mind that people are also very sensitive to fake, forced, or awkward imagery. So, that $0.99 stock photo depicting generic office workers smiling at a Venn diagram might not hit the mark.

Even if it requires more resources – and hiring a professional photographer – taking your own photos for your website is worth it because you can model the photos around your company’s visual identity. This way, they will come across as more genuine, and users will be more likely to connect with you.

Bold and glowing color schemes

Bold color schemes with neon accents aren’t exactly new; we’ve been seeing them on websites ever since minimalist design appeared. But what 2020 brings to the table is using these bold colors to create glowing, space-inspired, futuristic designs. In particular, purple, turquoise, and magenta, combined with the clever use of dark mode, create pops of colors that draw the user’s attention. This trend is especially popular on the websites of “disruptive” businesses that use innovations like Blockchain or AI chatbot to change old patterns.

About The Author:

Shahid Shahmiri is a digital marketer by profession. He helps online businesses to grow with smart marketing tactics to achieve better sales and leads. He is passionately focused and driven to grow businesses online and has the ability to manage the marketing and lead generation process with proven tactics and experiments. Shahid is accountable for analyzing marketing, SEO, growth and dealing with all promotional and media channels.


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