Pankaj Shah

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Design trends for small business in 2021



The world of branding and web design is ever-changing. New trends are constantly coming up, and if you're running a small business, keeping an eye on those trends is especially important.

Design trends for small business in 2021

Otherwise, you might fall behind the competition.

Not only that, but with last year's events, user behaviour changed drastically on the internet, as the world wide web started to become a bigger part of our day-to-day lives.

With that said, this year is bound to see some noticeable changes when it comes to design. 

So, what does 2021 have in store for us? Well, let's take a look.

1. Mobile-First Design

It seems like mobile phones have become the go-to devices for surfing the web. It's understandable why; people check their phones 150 times each day.

Furthermore, Google takes mobile-friendliness into account when ranking websites in the search engine results. 

Consequently, businesses and web designers alike have started to shift their focus towards smaller screens by adopting the mobile-first approach. 

But what is mobile-first design? Well, as the name suggests, this is a design philosophy that aims to create a better user experience by starting the design process with mobile devices in mind.

This allows designers to easily create the best UX possible, as they would start with the essential features and add more functionality as they make their way up to desktops. 

If they were to do it the other way around, designers would probably have a harder time figuring out what features they should cut and what features they should keep on mobile platforms. 

2. Minimalism

Minimalism and mobile-first design go hand in hand. After all, smartphone users will most likely have difficulties understanding what's going on with your website if it's cluttered with all sorts of buttons, images, graphics, etc. 

With that said, keep things simple. Cut out unnecessary distractions, make good use of white space, and focus on driving the users' attention to where it's needed, like your call-to-action buttons, for example. 

Minimalism also goes beyond web design. It's present in social media posts, logos, newsletters, and even real life on merchandise and billboards. 

In other words, minimalism should be an integral part of your company's visual branding. So, you'll need to get it right. That's why talking with a website design and development company is generally a good idea.

3. ​Geometric Shapes

Continuing with the idea of simplicity, companies have started to move away from incorporating abstract, flowing shapes within their websites' design, as they are typically difficult to replicate. 

As a result, simple geometric shapes have started to gain popularity. They are easier to create, and they complement the minimalist theme while helping to establish consistency across a brand's visual content. 

4. ​Dark Mode

Dark Mode has been getting increasingly popular last year and it looks like it doesn't show any signs of stopping any time soon. Social networks, apps, and operating systems have now integrated dark mode as a UI option.

It's sleek, modern, and lets designers play around with new design options that would otherwise not have worked with a white background. Not only that, but users seem to like it as well. 

That's because it's less harsh on the eyes and it can go easy on battery life as well. 

5. ​Muted Colors

Speaking of darker backgrounds, they seem to have made their way outside of being just a UI option.

Businesses have ditched flashy, eye-catching colours in favour of more muted tones. You can see this trend being present both on websites, but also in advertisements or logos. 

6. ​Asymmetry 

Symmetrical grids have been a part of web design for years now, and web designers are starting to move away from this theme.

To stand out from the crowd, businesses are now switching to asymmetric layouts, as this type of design is typically more distinctive and memorable. 

Not only that but, asymmetry also goes hand in hand with minimalism. That's because you no longer need to stick to a specific format. You can move around the elements as you like, giving you the ability to create white space. 

7. ​Overlapping Designs

Another great way of creating white space is by overlapping certain elements of your website, like images, for example. Other than giving your web page more breathing room, overlapping designs add more depth to the image. 

Furthermore, due to their proximity, creating an association between the elements is much easier. In other words, if done correctly, overlapping designs can improve user engagement, making your content more effective. 

8. ​Text Videos

Due to last year's events, producing video content has become a challenge, and it will most likely continue to remain so this year. However, because video marketing is one of the best ways to promote your brand online, scrapping video production altogether is not an option. 

With that said, companies have shifted towards text videos, as they don't require an in-house team to create them. Plus, text videos are cheaper.

9. ​Data Visualisation 

Sharing data is a common tactic used by marketers for drawing new customers in. However, to make it effective, you'll need to add context to it. That's where data visualisation comes in. 

You see, people will most likely not have the time nor the patience to sit through and try to understand your data graphics. With that said, your data has to be displayed in a visually appealing manner while also being easy to comprehend.

10. ​Flat Design 

Flat design was all the rage almost a decade ago when Apple popularised it with the launch of iOS7 back in 2013. 

Flat design is a design language that aims to improve user experience by making the interface simple and easy to digest. The way it does this is by integrating two-dimensional icons and bright colours.

Although it has been a while since Flat design took the digital world by storm, with minimalism being its centrepiece, it seems like this design language will be making a comeback this year. 

Web designers have already started to incorporate some elements of Flat design in websites, mostly when it comes to icons and illustrations.

11. ​Social Slide Decks

Slide decks seem to take social media by storm this year.   

It’s easy to see why: They are more engaging, they allow companies to display long messages in a more visual and easy-to-digest way, and if done right, they can spread brand awareness and get users to convert.  

With that said, keep in mind that your social slide decks need to be short and sharp. Display one idea per slide, have strong storytelling and CTA.   

Furthermore, remember that you need to be persuasive, memorable and lead visitors to complete a positive action.

12. ​Authenticity

Because in 2020 users have shifted most of their shopping activities online, many companies got their marketing campaigns into overdrive.  

The result was getting users bombarded with aggressive advertisements left, right, and centre.   

Furthermore, due to companies rushing to launch their marketing campaigns as fast as possible, many of these ads were inauthentic, almost superficial.  

Consequently, users didn’t respond well to these ads, rendering them mostly ineffective.  

With that said, in terms of brand design, authenticity will become a defining factor this year.   

So, be sure to make your brand stand out by integrating user-generated content in your marketing visuals.   

You can also host live AMA sessions or share behind-the-scenes content with your followers, as that will humanise your brand, earning peoples’ trust as a result. 

13. ​Static Content 

Designers are moving away from incorporating complex design elements like auto-playing carousels or sliders on websites.   

Although they are generally attractive, their flaw is that they don’t allow users to fully focus on a specific piece of content that is displayed there.   

This can be troublesome especially if you’re using auto-playing carousels to display products or important information about your business, as it will reduce the chances of getting users to click through.

14. ​Motion Logos 

It’s pretty safe to say that the longer users look at your content, the more likely they will be to engage with your brand. So, your content needs to be memorable and charming.   

The same thing goes with your logo. After all, it’s one of the things that sets your brand apart from the others. That said, you’ll need to make it stand out. And that’s where motion logos come in.   

These are getting increasingly popular because they are great at grabbing and holding the users’ attention. Also, they’re not that expensive to create.

15. ​Simple Fonts

Simple serif fonts also seem to make a comeback this year. They are easy on the eyes while maintaining an attractive and elegant look at the same time.   

Furthermore, they also bring a sense of nostalgia and seriousness, which is one of the few reasons why these fonts are becoming popular again.

Final Words

All in all, 2021 is going to be a busy year when it comes to web design. A lot of new changes are coming up and, in order to stay ahead of the competition, adapting to these changes is essential. 

Article by Pankaj Shah: DCP Web Design London

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