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User Interface (UI) Design Trends for 2021

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Featured image for User Interface (UI) Design Trends for 2021

It’s necessary to analyze trends in all fields year by year. It’s time to see what user interface trends turned out to be successful in the past year. The most important thing is to find out about UI design trends for this year.

«Why?» – you might ask. Because it’s not enough just to keep up with the news in the field of design. It’s vital to project success. Firstly, design developers won’t be able to offer clients new ideas without knowing trends. Secondly, the clients won’t find out how to develop their brand without knowing trends.

Dark Mode

The first and probably the hottest trend of the past year – a dark theme of the design. Here’s the small list of brands, which have already implemented it:
  1. Instagram in the app interface.
  2. Apple in iOS and MacOS.
  3. Developers of Android-smartphones.
  4. Telegram as one of the alternative options of design.
Dark mode User Interface (UI) Design Trends
Dark mode in various apps. Source of the image
However, this is a partial list. More and more major brands make it possible for users to use services and apps with a dark design. This trend is still hot and it will definitely continue to exist in 2021.

A few core reasons for its popularity:

  1. Allows highlighting and popping other design elements.
  2. Saves device battery power.
  3. Reduces user’s eye strain.
The most important thing is a whole new look of apps and websites. As a rule, most services have a light design theme. Therefore, the abrupt transition to the dark theme will seem totally new.

3D Elements

3D isn’t a newcomer to design as well. Many companies have been using similar elements for several years now. Nevertheless, as a rule, they were uniform. The reason is that 3D elements are usually large, which increases the load time of age or app.

But today frameworks allow to significantly reduce the page load time. Besides, there are approaches, which display the content of the site or app instantly. The only difference is that the main design elements are displayed first and minor elements are displayed after.

The particularity of 3D is that it allows designing the website more presentably. These visual effects attract attention because they blur the lines between virtual space and the real world.

In such a way, users will stay on the site longer than usual. This will have a positive impact on the indexing.

Abstract Data Visualization

Nowadays, you need to find new ways of data visualization. Tables, lists, and other similar formats look out-of-date, and they spoil the looks of the page against the background of modern graphic design.

Consequently, if you continue to use a conservative approach, you risk making the site or app unattractive and tiresome. Abstract data visualization is one of the problem solutions.

Data visualization User Interface (UI) Design Trends

Data visualization by Mogney. Source of the image

This trend is used today by companies, which provide certain hardware or apps. One of the examples is Mogney, an app for QR code payments. They described a working principle of the app in several slides easily and simply.

Firstly, this approach creates a great connection to the user as he spends minimum time on getting to know the product. Secondly, this technique creates a feeling of depth and originality of the user interface.

Saturated Animation

The key problem of animation is its negative influence on the download speed. For this reason, designers have been trying not to oversaturate the apps with animation for a long time. But today there’s a lot of plugins and tools to create the interactive animation, which doesn’t decrease the page load speed.

So you can see how more and more developers use animation on the sites and in apps. Its key benefit for the user interface is drawing the user’s special attention. Besides, any motion effect can tell «the history of the brand» much better than the static image or simple text.

Unique Microinteractions

Despite the fact that it’s one of the best ways to improve the connection with the user, microinteractions are still overlooked by many designers. But these trends will change in the near future.

What are microinteractions?

  • color changes for different conditions of the app;
  • haptic feedback in mobile apps;
  • visualization of website loading;
  • pageflow animation;
  • reaction to button pressing.

This trend is very closely related to UX design. Specifically, the developers should think not only about the app operation correctness but also about the visual perception. It’s noteworthy that no user will be frustrated with the lack of microinteractions. Herewith, he’ll highly appreciate their presence and he’ll definitely show it to his friends or colleagues.

New Fonts

New typography trends pop up almost every year because the user always sees the text. Using several fonts simultaneously has been extremely popular for some time. After that, designers chose only one style. Minimalism has been ruling the design for the past several years so the fonts are maximally simple.

But the minimalistic font style is losing its popularity. The reason is the loss of uniqueness. The font became uniform regardless of site or app because designers chose the maximally simple style. Consequently, designers start making text beautiful.

Examples of font design User Interface (UI) Design Trends

Examples of font design
So the new trend is full-featured work with the fonts:
  • adding the squiggles;
  • point size changing from word to word;
  • laying the semitransparent font on the non-transparent one;
  • adding the italic type and weight.

In other words, it’s not enough to just choose a conditional Open Sans and move to the next element of the user interface. The developer must find a style, which will be aligned with the general app design.

Adaptation to New Smartphones

A new trend in smartphone design – rounded corners and no frames. It had a significant impact on the general interface of all smartphones. Developers have to adapt apps and sites to these screens as soon as possible. Respectively, one of the trends is a scaled-up image for smartphones.

This move is necessary for the following reasons:

  • creation of the cleaner screen;
  • optimization of navigation that relies on gestures;
  • improvement of visual perception;
  • improvement of quality of images and small page elements.

This trend can’t be compared to already familiar adaptability. Now developers need to fundamentally change the interface for it to look as attractive on screens of a new generation.

Development of UI design for AR

The user interface design will be more related to UX in 2021. So it’s important for developers to take care of high-quality elements display in the augmented reality.

To start with, it’s necessary to process the quality of each element considering colors and sizes. It’s also important to check how the elements of augmented reality will look in various places.

AR is quite primitive today but it’s more and more often used to present new products and ads. Moreover, there are full-scale online painting exhibitions held due to AR.

For this reason, the work on the interface of apps, which implement AR, is one of the developers’ most crucbial tasks in 2021.


Many designers tried to give up gradients in 2020 to bring the flat design back. Nonetheless, the user isn’t ready for it today. Gradients offer so many opportunities when creating the interface so their use is still one of the major trends.

But now comes one important rule. You should use different contrast colors rather than create dull gradients. This move will make page elements stand out significantly more and the page itself will look more attractive.

Unusual Scrolling

One more relatively new trend in user interface design is the change of scrolling concept. One of examples – instead of scrolling down the user will see the change of images at the same background. The team of Apple uses this effect very often to make a detailed presentation of new products on the site.

The creation of creative scrolling is gradually becoming something trivial in user interface design. Notwithstanding the developer should think about how to create a unique and original effect.

Less Code – More Art

Every designer wants freedom of creation most of all. During the development of UI design, it manifests itself in the possibility of making changes to the image as soon as possible according to his ideas. It’s also very important for them to become independent of coders.

That is why UI designers resort to the use of assemblers of apps and sites (Draftbit, UI Bakery, Wix, etc.) with increasing frequency. All these tools and platforms allow creating the user interface without code writing. It’s topical these days as never before when the project owner needs a result as soon as possible.

What Old Trends You Should Avoid

New trends will never replace the old ones entirely because, during the user interface development, it’s important to make a seamless transition from one concept to another. Nonetheless, there are several trends, which designers should forget about today.

Static nature. The modern user got used to the constant image motion on the site and in the app. Even the smallest detail should involve some animation during the interaction.

Traditional stock images. Many users keep saying about it. They got tired of uniform media files, which can be quickly found by the query in the search engine. Obviously, stocks will remain the primary source of images. That being said, designers need to pick more original photos for websites and apps.

Concluding Words

The user interface will be more related to the user experience in 2021. In particular, artificial intelligence and augmented reality are playing an increasing role. Their opportunities are implemented in each app and site.

That is why every trend in UI design is aimed not only at the image improvement but also at the improvement of quality of UX. The users will see brand new apps on both smartphones and laptops. And the developers will have to do a great deal of work on the total change of design.

User Interface (UI) Design Trends for 2021 key takeaways:
  1. Dark Mode
  2. 3D Elements
  3. Abstract Data Visualization
  4. Saturated Animation
  5. Unique Microinteractions
  6. New Fonts
  7. Adaptation to New Smartphones
  8. Development of UI design for AR
  9. Gradients
  10. Unusual Scrolling
  11. Less Code – More Art
  12. What Old Trends You Should Avoid
  13. Concluding Words
Merehead does professional development of UI-design trends in 2021. If you have questions, contact us for a free consultation.

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Yuri Musienko
Author of the post
Merehead is a design agency

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