Want to know what's trending in the world of web design? Here's the top web design trends for 2023, plus tips for building a sleek, eye-catching website.
The world of web design is constantly evolving. With new tools, technology, and trends popping up every year, how we create and consume online content is ever-changing.
With significant advancements in AI and VR/AR entering the mainstream, the web design trends of the coming year will rely on technology to do the heavy lifting, affording web designers the time and creative freedom to focus on crafting unforgettable online experiences. User immersion and interaction will become top priorities, with web design shifting to empower users to engage, interact, and shape their user experience.
Ready to discover where web design is heading over the next 12 months? Spanning interactive websites and anticipatory design to neo-brutalism and AI, here are the top 10 web design trends for 2023.
1. Neo Brutalism
In 2023, web designers breathe fresh life into a decades-old aesthetic with the Neo Brutalism trend.
“This year, we will continue to see businesses break the grid with more brutalist, anti-design layouts for more interesting and authentic design approaches,” explains Mel Findlay, Digital Designer at Envato.
Derived from the Brutalist architecture movement – which emphasized the raw materials of design – Neo Brutalism in web design sees the return of interfaces popular at the turn of the millennium – only with an ultra-modern twist.
“Neo Brutalism seems to be the style that will soon take over many niches,” says Vitalii Dubeiko, UI/UX Designer at Plerdy. “Everything in fashion, style, and design is cyclical. The generation that used Windows 98 is missing the days when interfaces included sharp corners and hard shadows. Of course, it’s not exactly what we had at that time. Today’s Neo-Brutalism features significantly brighter colors, no gradients, daring modern futuristic typography, and harsh contrasts.”
Sites like Figma and Gumroad have populated their pages with instantly recognizable Neo Brutalist elements – from old-school taskbars and map navigation to folder icons. As well as integrating a Y2K look and feel, Neo Brutalism in web design can feature bright colors, zero gradients, sticker-like illustrations, quirky animations, and daring typography. In other words, it’s a visual juxtaposition of modern design with the Y2K design of the 2000s – with the edginess of anti-design.
“Minimalistic but bright design with many gradients, acid sticker animations, haptics that create the effect of physical objects on the screen, and original map navigation will remain in our hearts for a long time,” says Elena Bardasheva, Lead User Interface Designer at Embacy.
Get involved with the minimalist and modern web design trend with this Modernist Toolkit from Envato Elements. It features over 100 futuristic retro wave shapes, seamless patterns, and pastel backgrounds – an eye-catching tribute to the Y2K aesthetic. Meanwhile, Hairsta‘s collection of 16 web design templates brings the retro browser bang up to date.
2. Motion Design
Web designers are taking an increasingly dynamic approach to creating more immersive and exciting online experiences using motion design. Motion design showcases powerful visuals, engages audiences, aids navigation, and improves usability, using elements such as animated cursors, kinetic typography, and movement effects.
“On the whole, we’re seeing motion design lead the way to create an immersive and more interesting experience,” says Morgan Kropa from LadyBugz. “This includes animation, image effects, reveals, text scrolling, and more complex movements such as page sections folding up as you navigate. While traditional, static designs are accessible and timeless (they will always have a place), motion effects are a great way to add creative interest and level up your web design approach.”
“Motion elements such as animated cursors are still very unexpected when you come to a new website, making for a fun, entertaining user experience and unique design,” says Marek Strba, UX Designer at UXtweak. “Kinetic typography is another big motion trend for this year. However, moving text is difficult to implement stylishly and effectively while conveying the message to the user. But done right, it can be stunning. While creativity is not always easy to combine with usability, hopefully, we will see more motion design in 2023.”
With animation projected to become an integral part of web design, now’s the time to explore how moving text can convey a message – like with this set of rotating and revolving monochrome typography video templates you can customize to fit your needs. From coming up with an idea to smashing targets, these business animations add a playful and energetic element to the corporate world.
“Animation will be a significant priority for many web designers in 2023 as they understand its usefulness in creating more engaging and powerful visuals on their websites,” says Janine. “Animation improves the user experience by making it easier to navigate websites, quickly provide information and visuals, and improve usability overall.”
3. AR & VR
AR and VR are increasingly important web design trends – especially as the metaverse builds momentum. By embracing these rapidly evolving technologies, web designers have a unique opportunity to capture people’s attention.
“Companies in various industries are already adopting virtual reality into their designs, as this technology allows for more control over how customers interact with their websites and products,” says Janine. “By providing an immersive experience, virtual reality offers businesses an effective way to engage customers on their websites, resulting in increased customer retention, satisfaction, and sales.”
AR and VR can create highly entertaining and immersive experiences to change consumers’ interactions. For example, Google’s recent collaboration with LCD Soundsystem, Dance Tonight, saw viewers virtually move from room to room while experiencing a series of dance performances created entirely by fans.
“We are excited for the rise of VR in the e-commerce space,” Marek Strba, UX Designer at UXtweak. “I’m intrigued to see how different brands will execute this design trend to upgrade the user experience.”
With some of the most innovative uses of AR and VR in the eCommerce space, this AR/VR app template places products in a virtual world, making it easy for customers to explore items before buying. While this collection of 11 pages and 13 stunning templates makes it even easier to build a professional website.
4. Interactive Websites
Closely related to the highly immersive nature of VR and AR, interactive websites are growing in popularity with clear benefits for brands and businesses.
“Interactive websites strongly emphasize user interaction and engagement, allowing users to become more involved in the website experience than ever before,” says Janine. “Through interactive elements such as interactive sliders, maps, filters, drag-and-drop features, scrolling animations, and interactive forms, interactive websites provide an immersive experience for users by creating an engaging environment. This helps boost user retention and can encourage conversions. In addition to improved customer engagement, interactive websites are also great for SEO because users will spend more time on your site.”
It’s easy to embrace this trend with no-code tools or website themes, and as the year unfolds, we expect to see more sites introduce interactive elements. You can go as little or as large as you like – for example, The Cool Club‘s website features plenty of micro-interactions while maintaining a minimal look and feel.
“Plenty of big brands – such as Apple and Samsung – have very interactive designs with scroll effects and animations,” says Arham Tayyab, Digital designer at Paperform. “As you scroll down their websites, you see many animated elements and scroll-sensitive interactions. It gives users a more engaging experience and guides them towards your desired point.”
Encourage site visitors to buy by using this WordPress Pop-up Maker Plugin. From sharing a discount code to encouraging newsletter sign-ups, it’s easy to grab attention when you design a custom pop-up. Also available from Envato Elements, this WordPress Image Slider Plugin is an interactive way to share your message and ensure your content is unskippable.
5. App Inspired Design
We’re all used to interacting with apps – and this trend sees websites shifting to a more app-like experience. You can achieve app-inspired design by integrating more interactive elements, micro animations, and fun design flourishes. Just look at YouTube as an example of a website that looks and behaves like an app.
“People are so used to mobile apps, and for that reason, the web design trends are shifting to this app-like experience,” says Dilem Akisik, Senior Product Designer at Jotform. “Designers can integrate the interactions, animations, and dynamic experiences from apps into their web designs to create more unique experiences.”
This trend also encapsulates neumorphism, a style commonly used in UX and app design that seeks to find a perfect balance between realism and modern minimalism.
“Neumorphism is all about being clean and soft on the eyes,” explains Janine. “This design style allows users to move away from traditional choices such as bold colors and drop shadows and explore alternative solutions that provide a more visually appealing and modern look and feel.”
We predict that in 2023, more and more eCommerce sites will shift to apps to provide increasingly tailored and personalized experiences. Get ahead of the curve with this Shopping Mobile App that includes over 100 iOS app screens designed to take the customer from sign-up and search to check out in a way that’s both seamless and stylish. While MobioKit makes it easy to create and ensure consistency and continuity across a mobile website, mobile web app, and mobile native app.
6. No-Code Tools
The rise of accessible and affordable web design tools is lending a helping hand to digital creators around the globe. Whether embarking on a professional or personal project, website builders and no-code tools allow designers to spend less time on back-end development and more time focusing on the overall design and user experience. It’s all part of the broader trend of using AI and automation to speed up processes and give everybody – no matter how tech-savvy they are – the opportunity to build something brilliant.
“As businesses become increasingly automated, no-code tools are becoming more important daily,” says Dilem. “From the tech-savvy to the non-technicals, everyone is looking to find practical ways to improve their businesses and daily lives. No-code tools are making the web development process more efficient than ever.”
WordPress leads the way when it comes to website builders. From its drag-and-drop functionality and intuitive block editor, a heap of plugins makes it easier to add some of the trending features we’ve already identified, like animation and interactive effects. Similarly, Milkshake is an app that makes building mobile websites on your phone possible in minutes. Select your cards – or web pages – and start promoting your business, showcasing your work, or whatever else you want to achieve. Additionally, incorporating carefully chosen domain names can further enhance a website’s branding, memorability, and relevance, and help your website become a success.
Make building a website easier with a template kit for the Elementor Page Builder plugin for WordPress. Use the responsive layout to create and customize 15 carefully crafted web pages such as About, Services, Pricing, and Projects.
7. Experimental Web Design
This year, we’ll continue to see alternative and anti-design approaches to page layouts, such as creative navigation, unusual typography, and pop-up menus.
“I think websites will be more experimental with custom navigations,” says Arham. “As our devices move away from a standard computer screen, websites will stray from the typical all-caps navigation across the top of the screen with sans-serif typography. We’ll see more pop-up menus, horizontal scroll navigations, and side menus.”
This ‘navigation innovation’ comes as web designers strive to deliver more dynamic and interactive options for people to find their way around a website. For example, the Shop app collates products from a range of brands, showcasing them via a horizontal scroll which replaces the traditional search bar with a moving carousel.
“Whether it’s overhauling traditional menus and navigation bars for a mobile-first approach or striking a creative balance between the main nav and footer, the past year has pushed the boundaries of what a typical site navigation looks like,” says Morgan. “I think a push toward simpler yet creative navigation will continue to evolve.”
In addition to these shifts in navigation, experimental web layouts, visible grids, and creative typography are also having a moment.
“Visible grids are one of our absolute favorite forms of experimental web design,” says Marek. “Combined with stunning typography and visuals, visible grids make it very easy to navigate a website and allow designers to fit a lot of useful information on a page without looking cluttered. This year we’ve seen it combined with retro typography, brutalism, and abstract shapes.”
Attract attention, keep users entertained, and add a sense of anarchy to your work with these alternative fonts. Comprising 189 glyphs (including italic, serif, script, and vintage), these clashing, contrasting, and complementary components can be found via Envato Elements.
8. Accessibility & Authenticity
This trend places ease of use and inclusivity front and center. Accessibility is changing the way we think about site design. There’s been a real push to demonstrate inclusivity visually and ensure every visitor has the best on-site experience.
“I don’t think website accessibility is a passing trend, but more of a shift in the digital design landscape”, says Ryan Kohler, a UX/UI designer from LadyBugz. “Good web design is about creating an experience for site visitors that is easy to use, navigate, and, most importantly, accessible to everyone. As website accessibility becomes more common and mainstream, web designers will continue pushing the envelope of what’s possible while maintaining attractive design.”
Built By Silo is a masterclass in making a website both stylish and accessible. The pages are easily tappable, allowing users to jump from navigational links to projects to contact information. But despite this visual flair, the content is relatively simple, meaning everyone can interact with it.
“We have also seen a rise in authentic product placement – real-life people using real-life products – and this has become key for eCommerce websites,” says Mel Findlay, Envato Digital Designer. Cosmetics brand Il Maikage curates ‘trending looks’ from customers’ social feeds, and for Nike, inclusivity is all about diversity. The brand is committed to communicating through the models it works with and the real-life sportspeople it showcases.
Keep things simple and accessible with a stripped-back font like JUST Sans by Jacob Cass. This modern, minimal typeface is easy-to-read and optimized for on-screen legibility, making it ideal for logos, headlines, and paragraph text. Meanwhile, these abstract portraits celebrate diversity while bringing a hand-drawn feel to your web pages.
Even if you’re just starting your web design journey, it’s still possible to build a sensational website with the help of increasingly sophisticated AI tools. AI-powered platforms are revolutionizing the creative industry, from generating artwork to producing head-turning images. This technology can also simplify and speed up web design and development.
AI platforms promise to save web designers time and money by creating and customizing website themes based on prompts. This can take a fair chunk of the work of building a website, with the AI platform adapting color palettes, fonts, text, and image blocks, to user specifications. Some players already making waves in this space include Wix ADI and 10Web, but, as with any AI tooling, there are always considerations, checks and balances required. With cost and time-saving benefits, quality concerns and design limitations also come, so rather than replacing the web designer, this new technology should be used to assist in web development.
“AI allows web designers to build dynamic and user-friendly websites,” says Janine Heinrichs, founder of Janine Designs Daily. “AI algorithms generate basic website frameworks which are adapted or redesigned to fit the specific criteria of businesses. With AI, you can build a brand-new website in minutes using a few prompts. While already rising in popularity, Artificial Intelligence in web design will become an even more ubiquitous trend throughout 2023 as people become increasingly aware of its remarkable capabilities. Already implemented into many existing website builders, AI will save businesses time and money.”
AI can also help web designers to diversify their visual inspiration. “Stock images and digital artworks can easily be diversified with AI tools, leading to more creative and unusual web designs,” says Dilem Akisik, Senior Product Designer At Jotform. “Even though there are plenty of resources for stock images, such as Envato Elements, it can sometimes be hard to find a photo that exactly encapsulates what you have in mind for your designs – which is where AI will inevitably come in handy.”
10. Anticipatory Design
A surefire way to enhance the user experience is to anticipate your audience’s needs when designing a website. Personalization and customization come into play here, as well as adding engaging and entertaining elements.
“Anticipatory design enhances the user experience in both web design and product design,” says Dilem. “People make dozens of daily decisions – what to wear, what to eat, which road to take, and so on. When we search for something, be it a song on Spotify, a product on Amazon, or a movie on Netflix, we want to see options that suit us immediately. Based on our previous choices, these services provide suitable suggestions to minimize decision fatigue.”
Netflix’s recommendation system shows how well it understands and values its viewers. The streaming service knows what you watch, remembers your preferences, and presents a curated selection of shows and films on the homepage that’s just for you.
Meanwhile, Google Maps makes getting from A to B easy by offering drivers multiple routes to reach their destination – so they can select if they want a fuel-efficient route – and showing snippets of information along the way.
“We’re in the era of speed, and users don’t have the tolerance for waiting – even a few seconds can be worth millions,” Dilem continues. “Therefore, it’s important to provide an engaging waiting experience. Designers can do this with creative animations or interesting information related to the service, but it’s also important to let the user know what’s causing them to wait. Instead of a general loading page, explain the issue and show any progress in its resolution.”
That does it for the web design trends you’ll see in 2023! For more creative trends, check out our Graphic Design Trends and Branding Trends for 2023. Or, to start creating, head over to Envato Elements – a subscription-based library full of digital creative assets for web design. From graphics and templates to fonts and add-ons, everything you need to streamline your creative process is at your fingertips.