5 Online Design Trends To Watch

By Radhika Basuthakur
5 Online Design Trends To Watch


Like fashion, the world of web design is continuously evolving. Also like fashion, if your website isn’t keeping up, you could easily become part of the uncool crowd almost overnight.

While mobile is changing our web experience, designers are quickly reinventing the web to keep up. Websites are getting prettier, more minimalistic and simpler to use than ever before. Planning on launching or redesigning your website? These are some of the top online design trends to watch out for in the coming year.

1. Flat Design

Designers often look to Apple for inspiration. The launch of iOS7 revolutionized the design world with simplicity, and flat design was born.

Flat design took over in 2013 and it’s only going to keep growing. What is it? A “flat” website makes functionality the focus of the site and does away with bars and raised buttons. There’s more color, text instead of buttons and no more drop shadows and gradients.

Plenty of websites have already jumped on to this trend and it’s likely many more will continue to embrace the trend. See the example below from Fitbit.

fitbit flat design

2. Interesting Typography

Tired of sans serif fonts making an appearance on every website you visit? Not anymore! Web designers are reinventing websites with new, not-so-cliché fonts.

Typography long stayed in the background while more famous design elements stole the limelight. But it’s time for understated, under-appreciated typography to step into the limelight. Good typography can add a dash of personality to a website and more websites are exploring this trend. 

Check out the website for the Zero app below. The typography steals the show.

zero app typography

3. The Hero Area/Image

The “hero” of a website is the main image or video that you use on your homepage. For a long time, sliders were taking up the hero area on websites. But the trend is shifting: A big hero image with just a little bit of text is the next big thing in web design.

It’s probably the most popular trend at the moment, and I'm pretty sure you have seen lots of sites already taking this on.

The Adidas website below is a great example of making the most of a background hero image with minimal text overlay. Other sites use a combination of a good image and good typography and some others may even use illustrations as their hero.

adidas hero image

4. Keep On Scrolling

A few years ago, one of the most important rules for designing a website was "place all your important information above the fold." This way the user would not miss anything you had to say. Hardly anyone scrolled down to see more. But things have changed. 

More websites are now embracing the scroll, and web users (you and me included) are quite used to it. I’d say this level of comfort is largely due to our smaller devices (mobile and tablets). On those devices, we don’t have a choice but to scroll, so we’re no longer afraid to do the same on computers.

It’s important to note, however, that a long-scrolling site doesn’t mean it's packed with text. In fact, we’re now using white space well and formatting our content so it’s easy on the eyes and quickly scannable.

Sites like Mashable are using the endless scroll quite effectively. The longer you scroll, the more content is revealed to you. You never again have to click on the "Next" button!

More common, however, are the responsively designed vertical scroll websites. They work beautifully, no matter what device you are on. The Strikr site by Carlsberg website offers a seamless vertical scroll experience. That website is so pretty that you may want to keep scrolling just to see more of this beautifully designed site.

carlsberg strikr vertical scroll

There are also websites such as the HTC One site that are making use of horizontal scrolling, which is influenced by touch screen devices where people are swiping more than scrolling.

htc one horizontal scroll
5. Simple Color Schemes

Most sites I see these days seem to be keeping it pretty simple with their color schemes. I have to say I’m loving it. Instead of sites that use every color of the rainbow, we’re now seeing sites that are using fewer colors. Some are sticking to only one or two (black and white not included).

I really like the color palette for Mint.com. So much white space, minty fresh green and a touch of a few other colors give the site a really refreshing, clean look. I also think the orange call-to-action buttons really stand out because the rest of the color palette is so understated.  

Also, according to Kissmetrics' psychology of color, green is the color of wealth (perfect for a site such as Mint) and orange is great for calls to action. Mint is really winning with its choice of colors.

Minimalism in color, in text, and in design elements seems to be the way we are headed. Remember when I said less is more? It couldn’t be truer for design. Simplicity, with a focus on smaller screens, seems to be the mantra for web design in 2014.

What design trends do you think you will see on the web in the coming year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Bilal Ahmad 10 years ago
Radhika although the Mint.com designs looks very eye pleasing but frankly speaking I like the Affilorama design more. Is it a custom design?
Radhika Basuthakur 10 years ago
Hi Bilal! Thanks, we like the Affilorama design too ;) Yes, it is a custom design. We have our own inhouse team of developers and designers who created the Affilorama website.