Digital design trends for 2021

by: Nikki James

Here is a snippet of what we’re getting excited about in digital design this year, how many have you started to notice?

Retro design and nostalgic references

We have to admit, experiencing any type of nostalgia leaves us with a warm, fuzzy feeling. This is precisely why many designers and marketers are so set on capitalising on it, especially in 2021. Nostalgia allows companies to tap into consumers’ memories of ‘the good ol’ days’ and create positive associations with their brand. So, in today’s crazy world, this means more conversions and great social media buzz. Whether it’s the design concept or execution, expect to see a lot of retro references this year.

Simplification of design

With more and more emails hitting our inbox it’s important that their design harnesses the power of minimalism and white space. Keeping the email design simple and to the point will ensure your message is heard over all the noise. So, strip back those colour palettes, simplify that layout and make your call to action clear.

Move over to the dark side

Already big in 2020, ‘dark mode’ is set to become even more popular in 2021.

Many of us scroll through our phones at night (when we’re meant to be sleeping), so it’s good to know that viewing content on darker screens can help reduce eye strain in low-light conditions. We’ve noticed that many apps and software developers are already including the option for dark mode or designing in darker tones for this very reason.

Add some depth with three-dimensional colours

Gradients are often used to add a little depth to design and in 2021 they’re becoming more life-like than ever. There is an evolution happening – more saturated colour tones and rich contrasts give the illusion of something far more tactile. They will be more imperfect in their blending, and on occasion clash, but still work perfectly.

Immersive design

There has been a huge rise in popularity for using parallax elements in website design. Year on year the creations are getting far more complex. Designers are experimenting with the use of multiple foreground and background layers and the results are beautiful. As consumers we’re being spoilt with more immersive online experiences, turning our humble computer screen into a mind-blowing, all-consuming theatre stage.


Shapes… and lots of them!

We’re starting to see a trend where the use of abstract art arrangements work alongside, and in some cases may even take the place of, standard stock photography. An explosion of energy through shapes and bold colours now adds a playful edge to many designs. They can give the impression of expressive movement injecting organised chaos and vibrance to many compositions. An example of this can be seen with the University of Surrey website we created.

The challenge of keeping up with evolving digital trends is a very real one for many businesses. If you feel like you’re not quite making the most of your digital channels, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Get in touch and let our experienced digital team support you.

Parallax elephant By Minh Pham via Dribbble