9 trends that designers need to know in 2021

Rania Mdimagh
December 15, 2020

WHAT an era 2020 has been!!! oufff !! 

 With one lockdown after another, constant bad news and social distancing, 2020 limited experiences and innovations. Thank god that unlike other pandemics that happened in the long history, covid-19 happened in a  world connected by the Internet!

When it comes to the design world, new trends and concepts appear every year as the market saturation always pushes the leader to innovate and the followers to keep trying to catch on to the trend. Despite being wildly exceptional, 2020 didn’t stop some major improvements and innovations in the UI/UX world that are expected to shape 2021. 

Noticeably:  immersive 3D elements, soft shadows, and floating elements! The pandemic led to some serious rapid digital transformations and the establishment of real technological infrastructure in order to fill the gap of human absence and so creating more demands of designers, unlocking team potentials and driving a radical systemic change for the year ahead promises more change and we have a responsibility to reflect on their catalysts and outcomes.

Here is the list of design trends  predicted to mark 2021

1. A design system is your new team player

Digital products have kept the world together during these unprecedented times. But they’ve also revealed deep inconsistency, unexploited opportunities, disinformation, and chaos. Organizations started adopting a design system to approach a modeled progression in their work years ago. Yet what was optional before is becoming a must-have in 2021.  A design system is meant to operate as a team by reducing the attempts of synchronization between different departments and the bother to visually design every state of every screen while you can think more efficiently and operate by Assembling all components Line of UX/UI in a contributions space and so fulfill business strategy, create coherence between designer teams and development for Everybody to work on a brand or product line operates the same by using a design system. Design systems are expected to be the main competitive advantage of 2021.

2. Minimalist, minimalism, minimal…UI

Minimalist UI design is that one trend that you can never call “NEW” as it appears and disappears every few years. When using a digital solution especially websites and mobile apps, users don’t have the patience to spend time understanding the functioning of the app or scrolling irrelevant notifications and pop-up windows or anything that slows down the use of the digital solution. They are looking for a simple, clear, and easy to use interface. Eye-tracking tests are compulsory to determine which parts of the website to focus on. 

2021 UIs are expected to be free of any:

  • Excess information
  • Irrelevant components
  • Seamless navigation 
  •  Intruder non-design-friendly ads 

in order to ensure a purposeful user journey through minimal, simple, and time-saving design features.

3. Less standardized…more of individualist

Standardization became a respected aspect of design in the early life of the design field setting complex rules to follow in order to ensure consistency and flawless designs. Yet it obviously limited uniqueness and designers’ personal talents to show and almost resulted in the delivery of similar approached products, that look and operate in the same high standards. 2020 helped to demolish this phenomenon remarkably and establishing a competitive vision based on approaching every product differently and showing brand prints in every project without paying much attention to standardization. 

2021  is expected to push further the vanishing of standardization! To leave more space for individualist personalized UX that serves every product differently according to its target users. Consumers are looking to engage with brands they can relate to, that feels approachable, relevant, and authentic. To achieve a genuine connection, designers should collaborate with marketers to achieve a  storytelling approach of work by creating stories around a product and captivate the user touching the emotional side and creating a personal connection

4. The DARK mode is here to stay

2020 literally made Dark the new light for everyone’s eyes! 

The dark mode became a must-have feature on every kind of platform whether it is a website, social media, etc….2021 is expected to elevate the dark mode to a survival feature in everything we develop! Bringing a more modern, sleek, sophisticated approach that allows designers to be creative and explore new options to manage design elements.

5. Back to hand-drawn designs

Oh yeah just like you heard it! 2021 is bringing back the human touch in design!

The harsh  Digitalisation and ultra-sophisticated design tools deprived us of natural human drawings, hand-written texts, and an artisanal approach in design. Adding hand-written and hand-drawn elements in design is going to mark 2021 trends to add uniqueness, character, and a personal touch to every developed product.

6. Augmented reality, Virtual reality, and AI DESIGNS

Virtual reality and augmented reality were among the main design trends of 2020 included in education, healthcare, museum and house tours, and more. it will remain so in the coming 2021 and beyond. Some companies are even in the creation of a full-blown “virtual office ecosystem”. We’ll soon see more corporate meetings in VR and AI-powered design tools to bridge designers and developers such as design systems. Many design moguls such as Sketch and Figma are willing to incorporate remote teamwork into their features 

7. Generative design

Another potentially promising UX/UI trend is the generative design. This is the name of programs that can analyze a large array of similar data, find their defining features and characteristics, and then create new ones based on the provided data. algorithm-driven design tools can create layouts and marketing materials, choose visual styles, and generate presentation mockups.

8. Touchless interactions

2020 pandemic made us realize the importance of voice user interfaces in UI/UX. It is speculated that 2021 will bring more focus on touchless device interaction methods including AIR gesture control.  We might come to reduce any language barriers, loss of context retention with incomplete tasks, speech impairments..etc

9. More advanced  3D and immersive experiences

3D designs can never be called new, but 2021 is expected to advance the interest in 3D components and entire 3D scenes in interfaces beyond casual levels. 


No matter how much we try to limit our expectations, a human innovative mind can never stop to surprise us. All we can hope for is that 2021 will bring way better fortune than his previous unpleasing year 2020.

What do you think of those trends? Are you willing to apply them in your designs? 

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