As 2019 is approaching, we are all full of anticipation about the website designs we will be seeing next year.
In this article, I will explore the creative trends we were loving this past year. I will also try to make predictions about how these trends evolve or change for 2019.
To illustrate my points, I will be referring to the most trendy websites from the AWWWARDS latest collection. Shout out to this amazing resource! I believe that the websites given below were created to rock the web in 2019!
But before we dive in, let’s talk about three trends that, I think, will remain unchanged in 2019.
- WHAT WILL NOT CHANGE
- WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2019
1. WHAT WILL NOT CHANGE
Now it’s official: there are more people browsing websites from mobile devices than desktop computers. In 2018, we’ve seen the rise of micro-interactions, roll-out menus, and custom icons. This trend will not change, but only gain momentum. In 2019, you will no longer need a website that is just responsive; you will need one that is mobile-first.
1.2 Load time
This is a little bit controversial. In 2018, many experts believed that clean minimalistic websites would take over the internet because of their fast loading speed. But that didn’t happen.
Instead, we see how new technologies are adapting video and photo content to the needs of the mobile-first era. In 2019, designers and developers will continue seeking a compromise between creative Java designs, full-width original content, and decreased load time.
E-commerce websites will still need to convert in 2019, and chatbots have proven to be an effective way to do it. In 2019, the online buying experience will continue striving toward greater personalization and more sophisticated AI technologies. So, in 2019, we will see smarter and more interactive chatbots on top e-commerce websites.
2. WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2019
Now let’s move on to the main web design trends we’re expecting to see in 2019.
2.1 FLAT AND NOT-SO-FLAT
Flat design, as a website esthetics, has been with us since 2017 and is here to stay. Web owners love flat design for better mobile experience and higher SEO rank. Designers and users enjoy smooth layouts, bright beautiful imagery, and lots of whitespace.
Flat web design philosophy postulates that a site with fewer images can be as impressive as its image-heavy and slow loading analog from the 2000s.
Looking at the below examples, who wouldn’t agree?
Here is an example of a beautifully made flat design website. There are few illustrations, but all of them are very captivating. When you travel through the website, you see that every new page features a different illustration. Traditionally for flat design, there’s ample whitespace and easy navigation.
This website demonstrates what flat design can deliver if you add heavy animation and interactivity to it. The pages feature lots of texture and beautiful transitions. Viewers may even get a little overwhelmed by what’s happening on the website. It seems, however, that this is exactly what the designers were after.
The semi-flat approach allows adding depth and motion to your minimalistic designs and having all the benefits of flat with you. In 2019, we will see even more variations of this.
This design features awesome product photo compositions with custom illustrations, Parallax, and nice interactive elements. I also enjoyed the animation that makes the page feel heavy and deep under your scroll. Here we can also see how far semi-flat web design will reach in 2019.
2.2 FLOATING ELEMENTS
In 2019, website designs will defy gravity. This trend is not completely new: we all remember that chaotic layouts were already trending in 2018. Next year, we will see many interactive elements popping up here and there, changing shapes and waiting for a cursor to hover over them.
Open compositions will also be the mainstream of web design in 2019. So, prepare to see designers ditching borders and leaving interactive 3D elements to float on the pages.
Here we see how one interactive 3D object can set the tone for the entire website and add a playful edge to it. When you move to other pages of the website, you will see many more creative design elements. It features cute animation, scroll effects, handmade illustrations, and bold color combinations.
This website invites you to use your keyboard to produce sound effects and see the 3D objects dance in the air. The design is both minimalistic and very engaging. It combines different types of communication with visitors, so you just can’t stop until you’ve seen everything. In 2019, websites that offer such unique experiences will be rocking the web.
Just like colors, shapes can be used to make accents and communicate ideas. Geometry acts as a compromise between harmonious minimalism and broken asymmetric experience. Both will be popular in 2019.
Shapes can add balance to the craziest web designs. Geometry is present in different elements: buttons, frames or illustrations. Every shape brings about specific associations and has its own meaning. When used wisely, shapes can become key elements of a website design.
Let’s look at some amazing examples.
Full of texture and color, these shapes on the center glue the viewers’ eyes to the page. Here geometry is used to make accents and allude to the big red cross at the TEDx stage. It is combined with asymmetric grids and nice particle backgrounds.
In this example, interactive shapes are used to create backgrounds and image frames. Combined with bright colors and scattered typography, these elements demonstrate the key trends of 2018-2019. Note how beautifully lines are used to highlight the menu tabs.
Here we see a beautiful animated shape that responds to the cursor movement. As a key element, this interactive shape sets the tone for the whole website. I also love the geometry-inspired icons and the crispness of this design.
2.4 VIDEO BACKGROUNDS
Video backgrounds are somewhat less popular now than they were in 2016 because of the increased importance of the load speed. However, in 2019, we will be seeing the evolution of video integration in web design. This is because video backgrounds are proven to increase website conversions. Viewers will stick around to watch the video if it has captured their attention. You can also tell an entire brand story with one video without using any words at all.
Let’s look at how these websites do that.
This website integrates a video intro, background music, and widescreen photos. The portraits are breathtaking and high-res. Clickable old school photos used as menu tab icons complement the design. With all that said, it is the video that brings together all the design elements and tells a unique story.
The video on the homepage of this website sets the tone and induces an emotional reaction from the audience. You simply can’t stop watching these fabrics being knitted and pieces being sewn together. This is how you do visual product storytelling. The website also features irregular grids and complex layered layouts.
2.5 BROKEN GRIDS
The love for asymmetry has begun in 2018 and will stay with us in 2019. The grids we were all used to help add content to a website in an aligned and consistent way. The layouts made with grids look symmetrical and structured. There’s a way in which such predictability makes it easier to consume information.
However, the new trend of using asymmetric grids and creating a “broken” experience for the viewer is at its peak now. Designers layer content modules, colors, and textures to achieve a depth effect. This dynamism helps to engage viewers and emphasize the most conversion-oriented sections of the website.
By the way, having a broken grid is not identical to having no structure at all. Sloppy websites are still out of trend.
As you scroll down this website, you see asymmetric modules moving at different speed and captions coming up and disappearing from view. When the photo meets the text, the type changes as if lurking from behind the photo.
These effects make the website look both asymmetric and harmonious. The viewer gets the impression that the perceived chaos of this layout is very carefully thought through.
This design combines brutalism, asymmetry, and animated scrolling. As a result, we see a very balanced and minimalistic website with a youthful edge to it.
The old-school font types and pinkish palette balance the design, making it chicer. When you hover on each product photo, you see animation that involves custom-created icons. The website looks like a classic fashion magazine that has been remade for the young and fierce audience.
2.6 EXPRESSIVE TYPES
Bold typefaces have been rocking website design for quite a while now. Also, we see a lot of ruined, messy, 3D-filled or cropped types. Larger than life text and bold fonts set the atmosphere of the website and create accents where you need them.
Geometric types add a cutting-edge feel to the design. Clear and minimalistic, they can offset the complexity of layouts and animation used in the same design.
Handwritten types, in turn, add a cozy and charming feel to the website. They are used in combination with sketch elements, cartoon-like illustrations, or on their own. In 2019, we will see them bold, expressive, and asymmetric.
Here we see an awesome combination of irregular animated layouts, geometric shapes, brutalism, and of course, statement types. The design creates an impressive broken experience. Note how the letters are cropped and scattered across the layouts.
The red color makes the type even more expressive. Also, notice how beautifully the logo combines a geometric shape with cropped letters.
This homepage features big hand-written letters done in an irregular, sloppy manner. When you scroll down, you see animated text rendered in geometric types and bleached background images. The color palette is awesomely muted. The design looks warm and cozy, inviting the visitor to stay longer and have a good time.
2.7 DAMAGED, LAYERED IMAGES
The overall trend of destroying everything - from backgrounds to typography includes breaking and experimenting with photos. What would have been unthinkable a few years ago, like a damaged character photo on the homepage - will be seen on many websites in 2019.
Not only do web designers damage and glitch images, they also write over them and put all kinds of elements over photos to add complexity. Overlapping elements, duotones, and messiness will still be trending in 2019.
The complex design of this homepage features asymmetrical images sharing the red color palette and overlain with glitched shapes. The designer uses both vibrant red and muted beige colors and bold plain types.
If you scroll down, there will be more geometry, glitch, and expressive handwritten fonts. Overall, the website is mesmerizing.
The big split across the image looks like a broken mirror and makes us see images in double. The rest of the design looks very minimalistic - with lots of whitespace and more traditional typography. As a result, all views are glued to the video as if displayed on a broken monitor.
2.8 CHAOTIC INTERACTIVE TEXTURES
When it comes to backgrounds and textures, the same “brokenness” trend will no doubt apply. In 2019, we will still see a lot of sepia and micro-damaged or bleached backgrounds.
Designers use both worn-out looking textures and futuristic animated patterns. There are basically no rules. Lately, as the website interactivity trend is also gaining momentum, we see more and more interactive animated textures. We will also see a lot of embedded videos that serve as textured backgrounds rather than a traditional storytelling element.
With a nice muted color palette and micropatterns that look like damaged texture, this design looks deep and inspiring. There is also a lot of geometry in the design: edgy rectangles are combined with fluid rounded shapes to create complexity.
There is a minimalistic-looking sidebar menu and a slider down the page. Due to this combination of elements, the website looks both experimental and rooted in tradition.
This website looks tasty and vivid. The designers used chaotic animated patterns as a background texture on the homepage. Before you scroll down the site, you pause to see more of these awesome color drops.
Down the page, there are animated realistic photos. Against the flat-inspired design of the page, they look huge and delicious. The combination of material design, horizontal sliders, and complex animation captures attention and won’t let go.
Interactive designs will be everywhere in 2019. In this website, we see an amazing example of an animated texture that changes color and reveals photos. Supplemented with neutral typography and a minimalistic menu panel, this scale-like texture looks amazing.
When you press on one of the highlighted words in the caption, a new flat and minimalist layout is revealed. Here we see traditional animated shapes against a light background.
2.9 DREAMY COLORS
In 2018, we saw a lot of color in web design, and the trend is here to stay. Vivid colors are used in more traditional flat designs or deeper semi-flat layouts. Rainbow palettes and deep, muted pastels will be equally popular.
Next year, the color combinations will resemble rainbows and gradients that were so popular in 2018. Whenever they can, designers will move away from traditional colors to their brighter or deeper equivalents.
At the same time, we are expecting the rise of beige palettes used in combination with more vivid colors and animated elements.
An amazing example of an interactive flat design that combines many of the trends we will be seeing in 2019. The character image is rendered in bright contrasting colors; there are bright icons and animated scroll.
When you click on a menu tab, a colorful and animated transition takes you to another page. Slowly floating elements create a deep feeling that balances the flat-looking illustrations.
Here we have one more combination of vibrant colors and a passionate character image on the main page. Below, there are several flat design layouts, each with a mono-color vivid background and bold typography. The simplicity of this website makes it look even more awesome.
In 2019, we will be more and more reminded of the dawn of the internet through the brutalism in web design. Those who have grown tired of clean flat layouts will enjoy brutal layouts straight from the nineties.
These websites will feature just too many hover effects, animation, micro-interactions, big types, massive images, and web safe colors. They are not meant to be maximally functional; they choose to overwhelm and impress. Everything will be just a little over the top: colors will clash, words will be difficult to read, and content will be organized chaotically. And of course, there will be a lot of black and white.
Can you hear the sound of internet dial-up? I felt very nostalgic (and old) while looking at this website. The designer combines old-school web safe colors with naive animation and awesome icons.
This design seems brutal and sentimental at the same time. Every element has been carefully crafted to fit the whole picture of an old website with an ironic edge to it.
This is another variation on brutalism with a special twist. We see a lot of glitched elements, as it was trendy throughout 2018. They are backed up with massive typography and rather vicious scroll effects. This design overwhelms and leaves a lasting impression. There’s also a mobile version, make sure you check it out!
2.11 HAND-DRAWN ILLUSTRATIONS
Watercolor illustrations, pastels, and sketches are nothing new in web design. In 2019, we will see even more of them. Unique drawings will be getting even more complex, dynamic and interactive. If, in 2017, it was enough to create an original hand-drawn design for your website, now the illustrations should engage viewers and respond to their actions.
The use of illustrations throughout the website should be consistent. You cannot put a nice drawing here and there and call it a day - all the typography, micro-animation and backgrounds should fit into one experience.
This beautiful black website features an elegant illustration on the homepage. As you scroll down, one element of it comes to the fore and gets surrounded by text.
This website looks both artistic and minimalistic. The CTA elements are highlighted with red and other lines remain light and subtle. The company logo features similar wavy lines and acts as a nice accent in this design.
Here’s an entirely different website that uses hand-drawn illustrations as both design and storytelling elements. By scrolling down you reveal the timeline of American music rendered in awesome interactive illustrations. You can also launch a jazz playlist right on the website to get a comprehensive impression.
As you’ve probably noticed from the examples I gave above, web designs involve creating more complex and dynamic experiences for users. We will see a lot of integrated videos, micro-interactions, animated scroll, etc. New animation technologies like SVG mean that there will not be any loss of quality in your animation when viewed on a mobile screen.
This awesome website by a Ukrainian creative team brings interactivity to the next level. You are immersed in the experience from the very first seconds. To enter the website, you need to empty a bag of trash with a knife. Then, the website invites you to find a place to recycle different types of trash.
The design is very minimalistic; the main accent is on the interactive and functional part. Nothing distracts your attention from the main task - finding the right recycling location.
The experience on this website begins with a simple yet lovely interaction where you choose the section you want to enter. This design also features beautiful animated transitions. They vary from page to page and make the time you spend on the website even more engaging.
There are also dynamic grids, custom icons, and lots of nice photo content to amplify the impression. The website looks slick and technological.
2.13 OLDSCHOOL AND GAME-LIKE
The brutalism trend goes hand in hand with the trend for making designs that resemble old video games. Even non-gamers will feel sentimental when they see Nintendo-like elements on a website. This aesthetic spans across generations and gives a playful edge to any design.
When animated and interactive, game-like elements immerse viewers into a Nintendo experience. In such a way, one can easily increase the time visitors spend on a website.
This website delivers all the main trends of 2018-2019 in one package. It encourages the user to interact and build a creative challenge. Then, the user gets invited to a crisp one-page website with a brutalist and Nintendo-like feel to it.
The design features lots of micro-interactions, bold animated letters, cartoonish icons and pop-ups, and nice handwritten typography here and there. The huge logo on the homepage interacts with you as you hover over it.
Although rather controversial, this design offers you an opportunity to play with a character that resembles a famous politician. This funny website seems to aim at lowering the ideological and political pressure through a video game imitation. But still, this design is very much in line with the trends we will see in 2019.
2.14 3D OBJECTS
Over the last two years, using 3D elements in web design has become a common practice. In 2019, designers will be integrating 3D objects into complex layered layouts and make them interactive.
The line between real objects and their 3D analogs is more blurred than ever. Also, dynamic 3D elements will be moving more and more naturally to create a smooth organic experience. Natural materials and round shapes will be inspiring more and more 3D designers in 2019.
Here we have a beautifully layered homepage design with small 3D objects that act as texture. Under the 3D pattern, there’s a big caption sliding into view and a video background. Such complex experiences are what we will expect from a website in 2019.
The website has a somehow chaotic feel to it. There are images popping up irregularly and text overlaying them in some places, but the overall impression is of a modern web design masterpiece.
In this example, we see the history of basketball told using sleek 3D figures of NBA players. This design features all the important trends of 2019 - vivid colors, large types, interactivity, and video integration.
Well, I guess that’s all. I hope you enjoyed this read and see you in 2019!
Did you like the collection? Please drop me a comment!
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