10 Best Web Design Trends

responsive web design

A well-designed website is much like a carefully curated wardrobe. At the core should be a minimalist, user-friendly design, but you can play around with the finer details year on year to keep things looking fresh and ‘trendy’.

We’re going to talk you through 10 easy-to-adopt trends to catch your website up with your calendar.

The top trends for web design are: loud colour schemes, particle backgrounds, drop shadows and depth, mobile first, dynamic gradients, bold typography, geometric shapes, asymmetric grid layouts, custom illustrations and integrated animations.

1. Colour schemes

It’s easy to associate minimal design with a monochrome or neutral palette, but this needn’t be the case. Clever use of bold colours is very much en vogue.

Pantone named cochineal-derived magenta as its colour of the year for 2023. The American colour giant has a strong history of influencing design, so expect to see these vibrant red tones cropping up all over the place.

Meanwhile, ‘millennial pink’ is showing no signs of slowing down on the web design scene. In fact, vivid fuchsia tones have also joined the pink party.

Pastels and metallics make great neutrals, and black (or nearly black) will never not be cool.

When it comes to colour, the mantra is: ‘go big or go home’.

eight colour swatches ranging from neutral peach tones to earthy colours
Pantone's website suggests some earthy tones that complement magenta.

2. Particle backgrounds

Sounds highly scientific, isn’t in the slightest.

Particle backgrounds let you have a soft animation playing in a block on your site, without the distraction and file size of a video.

They can be really simple, and add that extra bit of ‘something’ to any website. Check if this is something your web designer can incorporate into your site, and ask to see examples of previous work for inspiration.

3. Bold typography

If ever there were a year for experimenting with typeface, it’s this one.

Large images and videos don’t always fare well on mobile, so punchy typefaces are taking centre stage. Set down the Helvetica: serif fonts in bold are the go-to, and statement paragraphs of text in large letter sizes get a big thumbs up.

Apostrophe website

Australian copywriting agency Apostrophe lets its words do the talking

4. Mobile first

It’s official. More people browse the internet on mobile than on desktop.

What does that mean for web design? It means it’s not enough to make your website work on mobile, or even be responsive (when the page realigns to look better on mobile). No matter what type of website you’re creating you need to think mobile first.

Google has changed the way it reads sites to reflect the shift to mobile. Now, it operates ‘mobile first indexing’, which means it recognises (or ‘indexes’) the mobile version of a site before the desktop one. If your mobile site isn’t up to scratch, expect to see a drop in rankings.

Change your mindset from ‘let’s make our desktop website work well on mobile’ to ‘let’s create the best possible mobile experience for our customers’. Yes, you might have to lose some of those full screen images, but that’s okay. The modern user expects burger menus and icons, and they interact well with them.

5. Dynamic gradients

Flat is still the style of choice, so gradients aren’t being used for a 3D effect as per the old Apple icons. Rather, they’re bold backdrops that set off the quiet surrounding text. Why have one colour when you can have two?

6. Drop shadows and depth

Drop shadows are a great way to add depth and character to your website.

Soft-edged drop shadows on text help differentiate it from the background, but should be approached with caution. Too much, and you risk 2009 WordArt style text. Subtlety is key.

Hard-edged drop shadows on text will bring a playful, retro vibe to your site. But for ultimate cool, experiment with a flat design and long drop shadows.

7. Geometric shapes

Dust off your compass: it’s time to get geometric. This year sees the return of a distinctly retro use of shapes, such as lightning bolts and triangles. When used well they can create a warm and nostalgic effect.

8. Grid layouts

Gone are the uniform grids of old – this year it’s all about broken and asymmetric grid layouts. They’re jarring, but that’s what makes them so eye-catching and effective.

Some websites take things a step further, challenging accepted design in a form of site architecture known as ‘brutalism’. And it’s starting to go mainstream:

Balenciaga website

Balenciaga’s stripped-back homepage proves that the simplest web designs can be the most shocking

This level of brutalism might be a step too far for an unestablished business, but don’t be afraid to break the mould. If you want something a bit out of the ordinary, it’s worth looking at examples of the previous work of design agencies to find the more experimental ones.

9. Custom illustrations

Getting a graphic designer to illustrate something for your website is a simple way to add character and uniqueness to your site.

Fixate website

We’re fixated on Fixate‘s amazing custom illustrated homepage

10. Integrated animations

Video is becoming increasingly popular, but has a bad reputation when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO). It can slow sites down, and therefore damage their rankings.

Little pops of animation are a great way to make your site interactive and interesting, without the same risk.

This can take the form of kinetic (moving) text, or images sliding into frame as the user scrolls. Or it can simply be ‘twitches’ in illustrated images – the blinking of an eye, the flapping of a wing, etc.

Where to start looking for web design help

Website builders are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. They let anyone create a website, no matter their previous experience. However, for a truly cutting-edge and future-proof website, your best bet is to leave it to the professionals. What’s more, with prices starting at £200, a professionally designed website really needn’t cost the earth.

You can check out our roundup of the best web design agencies for small businesses, or take a look at our guide to how much a website costs. Or simply fill in this quick form now to get tailored quotes for your business website from up to four design agencies.

Written by:
Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.
Reviewed by:
Robyn Summers-Emler, Grow Online Editor, Profile Picture
Robyn started working on Expert Market in 2021 as a specialist in business websites and digital marketing. As the Grow Online Editor, she ideates, commissions and optimizes content on Expert Market that helps businesses thrive in online spaces and maximize their ecommerce potential. Covering everything from choosing a website builder to scaling a social media marketing strategy - Robyn uses her expertise to help startups, SMBs, and larger businesses realize digital growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.