Updated: Feb 19, 2022
It’s that exciting time of year when web design enthusiasts like myself assess what’s moving the industry forward—and what will get left behind.
“This year there’s no stopping the momentum paved by new web design trends.” says Adi Huri, Creative Product Manager for WOW (Wix’s visual innovation team). Huri explains this and more as we sit down to discuss what trends will rewrite the rules in 2022.
We’ll see experimentation with 3D design elements, a growing reliance on animation and the revamping of old aesthetics. But while the impetus is moving fashion forward, website design today is all about the elements that will put an equally bright spotlight on the browsing experience.
Top 10 web design trends of 2022
Every day, an estimated 500k new sites are put online—so, when you create a website in 2022, how will you make sure yours stands out? The web design trends outlined below were handpicked by Huri and myself to demonstrate how you can stretch your creativity this year:
01. Clean designs
We’re cleaning up the maximalism from 2021.
Web design trends this year will push busy concepts like maximalism to the side. Compared to the demand for more in 2021, we’ll start emphasizing minimalistic characteristics and websites with a more delicate visual weight.
But don’t mistake this for all-out minimalism.
“It’s not the same minimalism we’re used to,” says Huri. “2022 will hold onto dynamism in web design, but sleekness is important, and we’re cleaning things up this year.” We anticipate that the web will still see sophisticated effects—just more refined, less crowded and aiming for a smoother browsing experience.
Huri explains further, “We’re familiar with a black and white version of minimalism, but now we’ll see that the less-is-more notion includes color. By taking out noisy layers and putting thought into bold designs, we’re left with websites that hone in on the essence of the content.”
02. Symmetrical layouts
Symmetry is everything.
One thing’s for sure—a good website needs a harmonious composition. According to the principles of design, balance can be achieved in two ways, using symmetric or asymmetric website layouts. While asymmetrical designs ensued from last year’s obsession with organized chaos, this year's website layouts are embracing the theme of simplicity.
Like DaVinci’s Virtuivian Man, web design trends in 2022 will inspire perfectly symmetrical balance. From split pages and grid layouts, to balancing designs with imagery and text.
“Symmetrical website layouts allow you to draw attention to intentional places, which is one reason why this is trending,” Huri adds. "For example, if a webpage is divided into two content blocks—half visual and half text—it’s a clean way to split the focus and tell a complete story.”
In relation to this trend, designers will also turn to delicate elements to divide their website’s content. Huri adds, “We’ll see thin lines dividing sections, menus and screens. This is a way to make order, and has to do with the movement towards clean design in general.”
03. Serif and lightweight typography
Make your words bold, but your type sophisticated.
Offering a juxtaposition to modern vibes, serif fonts are making their way into 2022 web design trends. In the framework of typography, serif typefaces are those that include a tip at the edge of the letter’s shape, such as Times New Roman, Garamond and Georgia.
As we look around, we see more brands taking advantage of the elegance these fonts have to offer. There’s also a tangible aspect to serif typefaces that remind us of print, bringing a classic tone into this year’s design trends list.
In continuation with the minimalist trend, Huri tells me that aside from serifs, we can also see more designers implementing lightweight fonts into their designs: “Texts are appearing big—but sophisticated. In line with the concept of colorful minimalism, the new version of boldness will come from color and typeface choice this year.”
She explains that to play even further with this trend, “Many website designers will cover the entire fold of a website with one word or phrase, using a lightweight font on top of an image or background to balance the aesthetic experience.”
04. Earthy & primary colors (with a touch of neon)
Sustainability is influencing trends and colors.
Nature is in vogue again, and so are primary colors. Bringing a subtle tone to this year’s round of web design trends, earth inspired website color schemes are making an appearance in 2022.
Influenced by a cultural emphasis on sustainability, we’ll see an overarching focus on nature-forward designs. “Society’s pursuit of sustainability and the preservation of our climate have also permeated the web design industry. What we anticipate is a mix of nature inspired hues with basic primary colors to create harmony.” says Huri.
Huri reminds us that, nonetheless, we’re still designing for the 21st century. Stylish neon palettes will work their way into the mix, adding a fun edge without being the leading aesthetic. “We’ll see bright accents, for example, neon icons in a menu or small colorful lines to make the composition pop—still, in 2022 everything will be delicate and measured.”
05. Images of real people
It’s about time we keep our images real.
Beauty ideals change every decade. Motivated by culture, history and society, it's clear that a new standard has reached the web in 2022—and diversity is it.
“Inclusivity is the new normal, both in and outside the web design world, with more brands embracing images that speak to diverse backgrounds, races and ages and emphasize inclusivity” says Huri.
We’re excited for this one—it brings a sense of normalcy to the web. The new set of standards resonates with everyone, and websites in 2022 should include images representing individuals from all walks of life: the LGBTQ+ community, individuals with disabilities, elderly, diverse skin tones, body types, and more.
“We can see this has become an important part of the industry in the past few years,” claims Huri. “But it's officially written in the rules. We see many fashion houses and leading brands bringing real humans—not models and professionals—into their shows and advertisements.”
By using images of real people that are similar to customers, or their friends and families, brands become relatable. Especially when it comes to eCommerce, this web design trend is a smart branding decision since more people can envision themselves using your products.
06. 3D motion elements
Every website deserves its own 3D object.
Despite its already blossoming popularity in the past year, Huri says “this trend hasn’t even reached its peak yet.” Running the gamut from text components and abstract visuals to transparent videos—3D elements will be used as a design element of their own to create an effect that’s truly unusual.
It’s a trend that’s evolved. The hype around maximalist ideas in 2021 resulted in web designs using many styles of motion elements and transparent videos. But in 2022, motion will be synonymous with 3D visuals, and it will be applied with more precision.
“We’re using these elements to give an edge to minimalism,” she says in relation to other web design trends on our list. “Combining transparent videos of 3D elements with the clean characteristics of a minimalistic website will have a surprising effect, when done right.”
07. Surrealistic visual combinations
Visuals are taking us to out-of-this-world places.
Many websites will produce something completely out of the ordinary in 2022, going for the surprising effect of surrealistic visual combinations. Picture online stores in space, strange virtual settings and other Dali-esque imaginations.
These “out-of-this-world” compositions have major potential to capture visitors’ attention and let them get lost in your design. We’ve seen this recently with big fashion houses who are developing this trend into editorials. A good example is Balenciaga's SS '22 campaign below—the impressive creativity makes their collection stand out even more.
When thinking about how it will be applied to web design, Huri notes that this trend “Doesn’t have to be made using video. These surrealistic experiences can be created by using vibrant images on your site and combining them with interactions to create an unexpected impression.”
But this web design trend won't be for everyone, Huri adds:
“This is really the edge of the edge, and it won’t fit just anyone. Brands that are really high end or edgy will benefit from surrealistic design, but it is very delicate and needs to be treated carefully.”
08. Glass morphism
Bringing a misty layer to this year's web design trends.
Glass morphism refers to a “frosted glass” effect added to website imagery. It is somewhat transparent, creating a unique result that’s a spinoff of neumorphism. We love this web design trend for its versatility: while it's effective at adding a subtle surprise to a website’s aesthetic—it can blend into the design without being too distracting.
What does Huri have to say about this trend? “It’s the ability to manipulate what's seen and unseen in web design that makes this effect so appealing. The glass morphism trend allows you to emphasize what you want to highlight, and blur other elements by keeping them more vague.”
She adds, “Using this effect this can add a sophisticated dimension to a website design, and for the adventurous web designers out there, you can level it up by using it with color.”
09. Mesh gradients
You heard it here first: A better version of gradient is on the way.
Prominent throughout print and digital design alike—such as posters, logo design and website backgrounds—gradients are a trend with no end in the horizon. By blending multiple colors and distortions into one composition, this versatile effect continues to give brands on the web an edgy look.
Gradient designs have roots in the ‘90s aesthetic—but as Huri points out, Wix will bring a brand new one to the table just in time for 2022: Mesh.
“Mesh was once possible only with custom coding, but after seeing it throughout print, posters and fashion, it hit us—we want to make Mesh accessible to anyone using Wix in an innovative way. Creating this visual effect is only possible with custom code and offered by leading offline design softwares, but we’ll be the first to bring it to a website building platform.”
So, what is Mesh? “Imagine your grid is a net, and every point of that net has a specific color,” says Huri. “The magic of Mesh is that it can blend these points together.” As opposed to their freeform counterparts, Mesh gradients are applied in a more calculated way.
10. Surprising interactions
Interactive websites for the win.
From “scrollytelling” to animated effects that react to visitors’ actions on your site—there’s no better way to establish a sleek tone than using website interactions. In 2022, we’ll see many website designers using movement as a tool for drawing attention, but what’s truly trendy is the use of animation to achieve a minimalistic and unexpected web design.
For example, Huri explains that “Information can be hidden behind a certain visual element until a visitor hovers over and reveals it.” This game of “hide and seek” can help maintain a website’s clean layout, hold on to information, and facilitate a surprising effect.
Huri points out that this is the main purpose for interactions this year, shifting from the “more is more” approach taken in 2021. “Pages will continue to be more minimalistic, yet dynamic and smooth. Even when it comes to the spread of animation, the movements will be clean and aimed at consuming information easily.”
Founder, Starting Gate Marketing
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