Design preferences change based on user preferences and advancement in technologies. That is how design trends have changed over the centuries in different design fields. In the past couple of decades, Graphical User Interface (GUI) designs also have evolved at a fast pace and showed us different trends like skeuomorphism, flat design, minimalism, and the latest trend of Neumorphism. Since another decade passes let us find out what does 2021 brings when it comes to the best UI and UX design trends, and how will they inspire your next user interface design project

3D elements

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Source : Tran Mau Tri Tam
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Source : Mike | Creative Mints

Since the emergence of Neumorphic designs and enhancements in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies, 3D elements are getting traction again. With storytelling websites, product presentations, websites for children, or e-commerce websites or apps, it will be a good idea to create hyper-realistic 3D visuals to immerse the user into your interface.

3D visuals are eye-catching, hence the chances of users stay longer will lead to increased average session time.

When using 3D elements, make sure that the interface is well optimized with modern frameworks for faster loading and smoothly supports heavy graphic content

Imperfect User interfaces

Unique and imperfect web design with shortcomings

For instilling positive emotions, use incomplete, imperfect, and hand-drawn elements in your design. This will bring uniqueness to your design and will help stand apart from the competition.

At a closer look, it requires a lot of details. As a user interface designer, pay attention to grids, typeface, colour, and spacing while working on such design

Floating elements, soft shadows, layers

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Source : Taras Migulko

Another method to engage users is a dash of soft shadows along with layering. The floating like feel gives a 3D look to the interface. This trend started a few years back and cemented it’s place in 2020 and will stay here in 2021.

The smooth floating effect along with the layered elements will bring better content and visual hierarchy. The depth created through the use of foreground and background also has the added benefit of immersion, transforming the computer screen into something closer to a theater stage.

Abstract visualization and a mix of graphics and images

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Source : Tran Mau Tri Tam
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Source : Tran Mau Tri Tam

Designing with abstract geometric shapes like square and circles, and lines were restrictive and simple till some time ago. In the past few months, we started seeing some amazing expressive designs with abstract shapes. These shapes along with photographs and figure illustrations can evoke emotions. Just experiment with some regular stock or actual photo and see how it comes alive.

This style will suit startups and tech product apps, instead of force-fitting stock images or stock illustrations.

Wild color combinations

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Source : Ghulam Rasool
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Source : Dhefry Andirezha

Designers will continue their experiments on color combinations in 2021 to make designs stand apart from others. By seeing the trends so far, User Interfaces will predominantly use soothing colors to make the skimmability and findability of elements easier. Still, we will see some wild experiments in the coming days as juicy, skintone, analogous, and monochromic colors along with surreal and expressionist colors.

Big and Bold typography

Source : Tubik

Typography in print always inspired the UI designers. The advancement of technology in this area was all about making it closer to the possibilities of print design. The availability of libraries and more web-friendly fonts now give us the opportunity to play with typography in user interface design to make unique emotions through design.

As a continuation of 2020, we will see larger and bolder typefaces occupying interfaces. This will be the year of seeing more slab serif and slab san-serif typefaces on digital interfaces.


Source : Muhammad Usman
Source : Abdul Rafay

Illustration in UI as a trend surfaced four years back as an alternative to stock photos. It gained popularity over time and we saw many variations and styles over a period. Since the emergence of Neumorphism, a new trend emerged as 3D style illustrations. 

Dark mode

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Source : Alex Eletskiy
Source : Prakhar Neel Sharma

The dark mode is one of the most popular web design trends in 2020, which will continue in 2021. All popular operating systems like Android, iOS provide users with alternative themes, hence it is important your interface adapts to it as part of the global OS setting.

Why will this trend stay here?

• You can create an ultra-modern design;

• You can highlight and pop other website elements;

• It saves device battery power in the case of OLED/ AMOLED screens;

• All the Operating systems offer users an opportunity to choose when to turn on the dark mode. It reduces eye strain in low-light conditions.