As we venture into 2023, web design and product design have seen rapid transformations. The past year, 2022, has gifted us with the modernization of innovative web design trends. And they've undoubtedly changed the game.
But now it's time to look forward.
Now, as we step into the second half of 2023, these shifting currents continue to shape the web design landscape. This year, we're witnessing an amalgamation of nostalgia-invoking elements and forward-thinking design principles.
And the beauty of it all? It's not just about aesthetics. It's also about enhancing user experiences, building accessibility, and fostering inclusivity. All with the power of design.
This year is all about making websites more engaging, accessible, and user-centric than ever before. Each trend we explore offers unique opportunities to connect with diverse audiences and cultivate an enriching digital environment.
So, let’s talk about the top 22 web design trends that have started to redefine our digital journey in 2023.
Top 22 web design trends in 2023
1. 3D Elements and Graphics
3D isn't just for blockbuster films anymore. It's a web design trend that's taking 2023 by storm. As screen technology evolves, so does the way we design for it. Enter the world of 3D.
Whether it's a fully immersive 3D layout or subtle 3D elements, this trend adds depth and dimension to your website. The result? A visually stimulating experience that's hard to forget.
However, remember that 3D graphics can be resource-intensive. So optimize for performance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable user experience.
2. The resurgence of Brutalism
2023 is starting off boldly with the brutalism design trend. It's about stripping web design to its most raw and bare elements. As a reaction to the soft and polished look, brutalism is all about rough edges, bold color schemes, and unique typography.
This isn't your average design trend. It's daring. It's in your face. It's unapologetic. The website of Bloomberg is pioneering the brutalism trend, turning heads and challenging norms.
But beware! This trend is a double-edged sword. When done right, it's captivating. But it can be off-putting if overdone. It's all about striking the perfect balance.
3. Dark Mode Design
Dark mode is making a comeback, and it's bigger than ever in 2023. With platforms like LinkedIn, Shopify, and even Apple hopping on the dark mode train, it's not surprising that websites are following suit.
Today, about 4 out of every 5 people use dark mode on their phones. Dark mode is not just a cool aesthetic choice. It also has tangible benefits. It reduces screen glare, saves battery life, and is easier on the eyes—a boon for those night owls who burn the midnight oil.
As an added bonus, it pops out your design elements, giving your site a sleek and modern look.
4. Loaded Animations
Once a forgotten relic of the web's early days, loading animations return in 2023. Thanks to the growing popularity of interactive, animated, and immersive website designs, loading screens resurface as a creative avenue to engage with viewers and embed brand identity.
Waiting for a page to load is universally hated, but loading animations can transform this into an engaging experience.
Take Antonio Segurado's site, for example. His loading animation presents a warm introduction to visitors, showcasing simplicity while providing a welcoming touch. Then there's Cory Runnells's website, crafting a full-fledged narrative. It pulls you into a cityscape with an animated zoom-out, introduces Cory in a superhero avatar, and narrates his expertise via a comic strip.
Loading animations make waiting less of a chore and more of an experience.
Microinteractions are small, subtle animations or design elements that respond to user actions. They're the unsung heroes of user experience that often go unnoticed when done right but make a huge impact nonetheless.
Microinteractions provide immediate feedback, guide users, and make the web experience more satisfying and intuitive. They can be anything from a subtle button animation to a catchy loading indicator.
In 2023, more websites will incorporate microinteractions to enrich the user experience and promote user engagement. Websites like Stripe and Google have masterfully used microinteractions to enhance their UX.
6. Horizontal Scrolling
Throwing a curveball to traditional vertical scrolling, horizontal scrolling is making waves in 2023. This trend opens up new avenues of creativity, allowing designers to play around with content display and navigation.
Horizontal scrolling can be a powerful design choice when used correctly. It works best with visual-heavy and linear content, like portfolios or photo galleries. The Neverland design agency has presented a full round view of an imaginary artwork that you can see with horizontal scrolling.
However, it's crucial to ensure that horizontal scrolling doesn't disrupt the user experience. Clear cues should be provided so users do not get confused or miss out on important content.
7. Parallax Scrolling Effects
Parallax scrolling continues to captivate web designers in 2023. This technique involves the background moving slower than the foreground, creating a 3D effect as you scroll down the page. This gives your website a sense of depth and makes the user experience more engaging.
When used sparingly, it can lead to truly stunning visuals. However, ensure it doesn't compromise your website's performance or accessibility.
Gone are the days when minimalism ruled the web design world. In 2023, Maximalism is taking center stage. It's all about abundance and extravagance—more colors, textures, images, and typefaces.
This trend enables brands to make bold statements and let their personalities shine. But remember, while maximalism encourages 'more', it shouldn't compromise usability. Use this trend with care.
“Digital maximalism is a trend that has evolved and intensified since Covid… all those intense, bottled-up emotions are rushing to the surface in the shape of maximalism and anti-design.”
- Moran Kadussi, Content Strategy Lead and Trends Foresight at Wix
Fashion brands like Gucci have embraced maximalism in their web design, creating a loud and memorable digital presence.
9. Grid Lines
2023 sees a rising trend of using grid lines for web design, as they offer a sense of order and simplicity. Grid lines create an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-digest layout to make websites look modern and futuristic.
The Foundations for a Better Oregon website is a prime example of how effective grid lines can be.
10. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes a splash like no other in the vast sea of tech innovation. Though some fear AI might replace creatives, it opens a universe of new possibilities.
AI tools are becoming game-changers in UX and UI design. One evident manifestation is the chatbot design - a vital tool for 24/7 customer engagement, where visual appeal meets functionality.
AI's influence isn't limited to creating AI-powered elements. It's about harnessing technology to streamline design processes. For instance, AI can swiftly incorporate standard UI components from a design library in prototyping. This dramatically cuts down the time to market.
11. Y2K Inspired Design
The Y2K aesthetic continues to be a popular design trend in 2023, offering a nostalgic vibe. This playful aesthetic is making its way into the web design sphere, with websites incorporating elements of the Y2K style.
Singer and actress Olivia Rodrigo's website provides a perfect example of a Y2K-inspired design.
12. Premium/Gated Content Experiences
2023 sees creators and businesses acknowledging the worth of memberships, premium experiences, and gated content. The wave of Web3, the decentralization of the web, has propagated the idea of more control and monetary benefits through valuable content creation.
Creators are opting for independence, favoring ownership of their content portals. Similarly, businesses eyeing recession resilience are moving towards premium content and gated memberships for an extra income stream from their websites
For instance, WordStream provides various gated content experiences from marketing phrases and words for content writers to Google Ads benchmark reports.
The trend is clear: Own your content, gate it, and drive value from it. The era of memberships and premium experiences is here.
13. Scrapbook Aesthetic
In 2023, we see a resurgence of the scrapbook aesthetic in web design with a modern, interactive twist. This trend involves using images and other elements arranged in a scrapbook-like layout, creating an engaging and nostalgic atmosphere.
The Gucci website showcases this trend beautifully with its interactive, scrapbook-style layout.
14. Gamified Design
Gamified design, adding game-like interactive elements to websites, is one of the top trends of 2023. Websites can incorporate gamification to create unique and memorable user experiences.
Our bug tracking page provides an example of gamified design. The user can play a bug-squashing game before starting out with the product. This creates a fun element to the whole web design.
15. Augmented Reality Experiences
Image sourced from Dribbble
In 2023, the boundary between the physical and digital worlds is blurrier than ever, thanks to Augmented Reality (AR). AR is about integrating digital information with the user's real-world environment, creating an interactive and immersive experience.
Brands use AR to engage with their users creatively and innovatively, from virtual try-ons to interactive product showcases. Dulux, for instance, lets users visualize how the paint would look on their walls and transform their space, before making a purchase.
Although AR technology is still evolving, it holds great potential for enhancing user engagement and conversion rates.
16. Drag interaction
Interactivity has leveled up in 2023, and Drag Interactions lead the way. They deliver an immersive experience where users hold the reins of their journey. This trend takes a leaf out of real-world interactions and translates it into a digital context—allowing users to virtually 'pick up' and 'move' objects on the screen.
This gesture-based interaction amplifies user engagement, especially gaining traction in e-commerce and portfolio sites. A stellar example is the project of a Viennese newspaper Falter, where the audience can travel through different chapters by pulling and dragging the curtain.
What's more? The transition and animations correspond to the drag speed and amplify the sense of control.
17. Structured Typography
Structured Typography emerged as a powerful design trend in 2023, gaining traction among businesses aiming to make bold and impactful homepage statements.
Amid the post-pandemic world where consumers seek stability, structured typography serves as a beacon of strength and assurance. It is characterized by capitalized letters and robust shapes.
A prime illustration of this trend is seen on the Awwwards homepage. The use of structured fonts is impressive, drawing in the visitors' attention to the crucial elements effortlessly. By dictating where the viewer's eyes should land, this design tactic ensures that your key messages don't get lost in the noise.
Structured Typography is more than just a visual play; it's a strategic tool that guides user attention to reinforce your brand's authority and gravitas.
18. Unique cursors
2023 sees a fun throwback to the 90s and early 2000s - the return of unique cursors. This time, however, they're back without the hassle of cursor packs and potential malware.
This is where custom cursors add an engaging twist to the user experience. They can be original icons or dynamic effects that enrich interactivity on your site.
Take the example of Thinkingbox. It features an orange cursor with a shadow effect which cleverly turns into the symbol of an eye as it moves or rests on the videos.
19. Custom typefaces
In the recent wave of text-centric web designs, custom typefaces and handmade lettering emerge as a creative spin-off in 2023.
Designers increasingly craft unique typefaces or lettering for their projects, lending a signature touch and setting them apart. As an evolution of the existing trend, it brings an entirely new layer of originality to the table.
The beauty of this trend lies in its customization - no design rules, no standard styles. It reflects a designer's personal touch, drawing influences from anywhere - be it poster designs, graphic novels, or real-life inspirations.
Tré Seals’ website provides a compelling example. His striking visual impact stems from his original typefaces. The website resembles bold and eye-catching posters and showcases the power of custom typefaces.
The metaverse is an interactive digital universe which is marking its impression in web design in 2023. It's more than just a trending topic - it's becoming an integral part of the visual vocabulary in web design.
Every component of the metaverse, from illustrations to cursors, contributes to a unified digital world. It's not just about embedding a 3D element into a webpage anymore. The metaverse-inspired designs are about creating an immersive 3D style for the entire site.
They go beyond aesthetics, incorporating interactive features and animations. It's about making the site more engaging, and alive.
Take Betterverse by Studio Morfar for instance. This blockchain platform uses animated effects and pixelated trees to bring unity to the site content, background, and illustrations. This is how the metaverse infuses life into web design.
21. Customizable Viewing Experience
The shift towards personalization on the web is remarkable. More sites are offering customized viewing experiences, a trend set to flourish in 2023. The thrust is on designing experiences that cater to user preferences and needs.
Website building platforms now empower designers with tools to enable users to customize site features. It is reflective of the growing awareness of accessibility. Features like sound and dark mode enhance user-friendliness for various needs.
People resonate with sites that cater to their tastes and offer interactions and designs they can modify. This trend of customizable viewing experiences evolves from the popularity of interactive features and sites-as-games.
For instance, Sephora allows users to tailor their web experience by setting their beauty preferences and other such details that could affect their decision-making.
Motion plays a crucial role in web design trends, with cinemagraphs taking center stage in 2023. Cinemagraphs are high-quality GIFs or videos running in a smooth, ceaseless loop. They infuse life and visual interest into otherwise still pages.
Previously, full-screen loops were prevalent, but this year, expect to witness smaller animations sprinkled throughout complex layouts. These additions effectively attract the reader's eye and foster scrolling. Gallereplay, an online video content provider, exemplifies this application.
Simply put, cinemagraphs can guide a visitor's eye across a page, even within the most intricate layouts. This motion trend will bring a new dimension of interactivity and dynamism to web design.
So there you have it, folks! As we move ahead, it's clear that the web design world will be anything but dull.
We've seen a broad spectrum of styles, from the nostalgic Y2K-inspired design and Scrapbook aesthetics to the orderly Grid Lines and playful Gamified designs.
You don't need to use all of these trends on your website. Pick what fits your brand the best. Once you're done with the web design, it's important to get feedback from your team or your clients. In that case, you can use visual feedback and collaboration tool like ruttl, which allows you to leave comments and edit live websites, apps, PDFs, and more. Sign up today!
Innovation is the name of the game. And with these web design trends, you will surely be on the right track!