Working on empowering millions of designers to become better professionals. Chief Executive Officer at Uxcel.
Twenty-twenty has shown itself to be anything but ordinary. We got used to working remotely, started learning almost exclusively online, and spoke to Alexa more often than our friends. The design world has also seen some fascinating developments. Let's take a trip down memory lane and explore the most notable design trends in 2020!
#1 Simplified Illustrations
Illustrations aren't new to design. In 2020, graphics have become even more flat and simplified, to the point of looking mimicking children's artwork.
So, why did simplicity become so popular? Basic colors, thin lines, and the lack of detail help users to focus on the message without getting distracted by flashy designs. Plus, simple illustrations better convey the brand's mood and personality and add a powerful, catchy visual identity to your project.
#2 Dark Mode
The advance of the dark mode aesthetics has been ongoing since 2019. For many of us, dark mode looks more elegant and lavish. It also saves battery on devices with OLED or AMOLED displays and reduces eye strain in low-light conditions. Dark themes are perfect for entertainment apps, like games and video streaming, as people usually use them in dimly lit environments.
There are things to consider if you choose to "turn to the dark side." First, make sure your designs are scannable, readable, and have high contrast. Second, avoid pure black and saturated colors as they are deemed harmful for the eyes — go for soft-hued colors instead, as they allow users to switch between dark and light modes easily.
#3 Voice Interactions
Although Google voice search and Siri have been around for almost a decade, voice technologies have only recently started to show their true potential. The main advantage of VUI (Voice User Interface) is that users can use voice commands in situations where touch interfaces are useless — when driving, carrying groceries, or cooking.
#4 3D Depth & Realism
The need for digital products, combined with advancements in software technology, produced something amazing — the new 3D graphics boom.
The realism, movement, and depth of 3D images allow users to virtually feel products, images, and even ideas. Studies also show that using 3D images in e-commerce helps increase conversions while reducing returns.
#5 Typography Craze
Traditionally, typography tends to follow a lot of rules. However, this year, the chains finally came off, and big and heavy fonts dominated the graphic design trends list. You see them everywhere — in logos, posters, web, and even package design.
Animated and 3D-dimensional lettering is also in vogue — and no wonder, as it looks expressive, bold, and emotional without losing legibility.
Remember Apple's skeuomorphism in iOS 1–6 with faux textures, drop shadows, beveled edges, reflections, and visual metaphors? Neumorphism — or "soft" UI — is skeuomorphism's version 2.0. It mimics reality by mixing two concepts — skeuomorphism and flat design.
Neumorphic designs appear to be minimal but still possess a sense of depth due to subtle color differences. Be forewarned, though — if not done correctly, it can become a significant roadblock to product accessibility.
#7 Augmented Reality
It looked like the tactile experience of conventional shopping went down the drain this year with COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, 2020 saw a dramatic development in augmented reality (AR) tools. This technology allows you to stay home and still be able to "try products on" or place them in real-life environments.
Moreover, as most people work and study from their homes now, the world’s leading tech companies are rapidly developing products that mix physical and digital reality. For example, Microsoft Teams introduced Together Mode that places call participants in a shared virtual environment, making them feel like they're in the same office or classroom.
#8 Unique Microinteractions
Unique microinteractions represent one of the most underestimated design trends of 2020. Primarily, microinteractions provide feedback to users' actions — for example, when a button changes color to reflect the change of state.
When designed correctly, these features turn the ordinary into exceptional — and perhaps another step toward creating a genuinely habit-forming product.
#9 Asymmetrical Layouts
Asymmetry seems like a good fit for this year that has been anything but conventional. Plus, it creates a lot of room for creativity and brings movement and vibrancy to designs.
However, asymmetry doesn't necessarily mean chaos or lack of balance. While arranging elements on the grid, keep in mind the main goal — helping users navigate easily and complete a task.
#10 Inclusive Design
Inclusive design goes beyond accessibility and aims to provide a comfortable experience for all users. In 2020, designers embraced inclusivity and began creating products for people of all abilities, cultures, languages, genders, ages — and everything else that makes us unique.