15 Inspiring Design Trends to Look Out for in 2023
Design trends are always evolving and changing. What’s popular today may not be tomorrow. So, it can be tricky to know which trends to skip and which ones will be around for the long haul. And this gets even more complicated if you’ve recently sunk a lot of money into a site redesign or if you make it a point to keep your site up-to-date with whatever the latest changes in the industry have been. But that’s what we’re here to help you with! We’ve compiled a list of 15 design trends that are on the upswing and will be popular in 2023. This way, you’ll know what’s on the horizon as well as have a good idea as to the longevity of each trend so you can avoid wasting your time and money on those that fizzle out. Let’s get started!
1. 3D Designs
3D designs are nothing new. They’ve been around for many years and have been used in movies, video games, and product design. But as we look ahead to 2023, they are starting to become more popular in web design.
This is likely because browsers and devices are getting better at rendering 3D graphics. And with the rise of virtual reality, it’s only natural that 3D designs would start appearing more on the web and capturing visitor attention.
A good example comes from 99designs, which features a contest winner that used 3D graphics to attract attention:
The ol’ tried and true trend of minimalism just keeps hanging around and honestly, we like it that way. It seems like every year we see a new wave of sites trying to outdo each other with how little they can use.
And while this might seem like it would be boring, the opposite is true. When done well, minimalism can be quite beautiful and impactful. Plus, it’s easy to design for and can load quickly on all devices.
The website for Satu Pelkonen, a brand and design director, offers a good example of minimalism at work:
Brutalism is a bit of an acquired taste but it’s definitely a trend that’s been on the rise in recent years. Often dubbed “neobrutalism” in this context, this style is all about intentional ugliness and can be seen as related to minimalism in a way, though louder and more about disruption.
It’s often used to make a statement or to shock the viewer. But if done well, it can be quite effective. Just be warned, this is not a trend for everyone.
A good example of brutalism in web design is the use of loud colors, basic shapes, and blocky, harsh lines. PW-Magazine provides a mild example of brutalism in web design – it conforms to standard layout rules while still offering a bold and quite jarring look.
Nostalgia is another big trend as of late. This one is all about tapping into people’s memories and emotions by evoking feelings of happiness, comfort, and safety.
What we are nostalgic for at any given moment changes with the era in which we’re living, of course. At the moment, in the design world and the broader culture, we’re nostalgic for the 90s.
Nostalgic designs can be done in many ways but some common techniques include the use of vintage imagery, classic fonts, and vibrant pops of color. Think of the title screen for the 90s TV show, Saved by the Bell and you’ve got the right idea:
5. Bubbly Designs
This trend is, quite literally, all about the bubbles. We’re seeing a lot of web designs that incorporate circular shapes and soft, rounded edges. This gives off a warm and friendly feeling that makes viewers feel good when they see it.
It’s also playful and fun without being too childish. And it can be used in several ways, from small touches like rounded icons to entire layouts made up of circular elements.
This trend is also coming through in bubble typography. This is where the edges of the letters are rounded off to give them a softer look. This bubbly text from designer Sebastian Abboud over on Dribbble illustrates this concept well:
6. Dark Mode
If you’ve got an iPhone, you’re probably already familiar with dark mode. This is a setting that inverts the colors on your screen so that the background is black and the text is white.
This is easier on the eyes, especially in low-light situations, and can help prolong battery life. But it’s also just plain cool to look at.
We’re starting to see dark mode designs popping up more and more. And while there are still some issues to be ironed out (like making sure all the text is still legible), we think this is a trend that’s here to stay across web and app design.
The website for Dylan Brouwer Design offers an interesting example of the dark mode trend. Rather than pressing a button to make the switch, here you simply hover over different site elements, and the design switches from light to dark.
Who doesn’t love a good illustration? And it seems like more and more designers are starting to feel the same way. This year, a lot of sites are incorporating custom illustrations into their designs.
This is a great way to add some personality and flair to your site. And since no two illustrations are alike, it’s also a great way to make your site stand out from the crowd and add your unique brand.
Take Vana, for instance. This data website features engaging illustrations that immediately draw you in.
8. Natural Elements
This trend is all about bringing the outdoors in. We’re seeing a lot of designs that incorporate natural elements. This gives off a calming feeling and helps to create a more relaxing user experience.
Incorporating natural elements can also be a great way to add some visual interest to a design. Natural textures are also featured heavily here, with wood grain, marble, and stone being particularly popular.
The Hearing Birdsong website features images of trees as well as a grainy, natural texture that suits the site’s theme.
9. Monochrome Color Schemes
Monochrome color schemes are nothing new but they’re having a moment right now. This trend is all about using a single color (or an extremely limited palette of colors) throughout your design.
This can create a really clean and sophisticated look. Plus, it’s easy to implement and can be adapted to pretty much any design style.
10. Geometric Patterns and Shapes
Geometric designs have come back in a big way and will continue to be relevant into 2023. Now, this can be partially blamed on the 90s nostalgia as we previously discussed. Geometric shapes factored heavily in 90s ads, clothing, and branding.
However, geometric shapes and patterns feature heavily in designs that don’t tap into nostalgia as well. These shapes can add some visual interest and can be used in many ways, from small touches to entire backgrounds; from scattered confetti-style designs to blocky, full-screen layouts.
For instance, the website for film and television composer David Schweitzer combines minimalism with geometric designs.
Animation is nothing new but it’s becoming more and more popular. This trend is all about adding small, subtle animations to your site to help bring your design to life.
This can be as simple as a button that pulsates when you hover over it or a background image that slowly scrolls down the page. These small animations can help add some personality to your site and make it feel more alive.
The People Nerds Conference website for 2022 illustrates this concept well:
12. Serif Fonts
Yes, they’re making their comeback! With the rise of minimalism, serifs dropped out of favor, but the latest flavor of minimalist design embraces the serif like a long-lost friend.
Part of the reason for this is that we now have more options when it comes to web fonts. In the past, serifs were often too small or delicate to read on a screen. But with new technology, we’re able to create beautiful, clear serif fonts that look great on any device.
The Food Hall Browary uses a serif font in its primary branding to great effect.
13. Augmented Reality
As we move into 2023, more and more brands are experimenting with augmented reality. This technology has a ton of potential and we think it’s only going to become more popular in the coming years.
One great example of augmented reality in action is IKEA’s Place app. This app allows you to see how IKEA furniture would look in your home before you buy it. This is a great use of the technology and you can expect to see more brands start to experiment with augmented reality in their designs.
This trend is all about making digital designs look like their real-world counterparts. For example, you might see a design that looks like it’s made out of paper or wood.
Skeuomorphism was popular for a while but then fell out of favor when flat design became the norm. However, we’re starting to see it make a comeback in more subtle ways. The “real” is once again all the rage.
The Urban Village Project uses skeuomorphism in its card design. As you scroll down the page, the cards slide off of each other to reveal the next “below” it as though you were sorting through a tangible stack of paper.
15. Organic Typography
Organic typography is a trend that’s all about making your text look like it’s part of the natural world. This can be done in several ways but we’re seeing a lot of designers experiment with making their text look like it’s made out of leaves, branches, or flowers.
Other times, it’s more about capturing an organic shape rather than painting a specific picture with the letterforms. Rounded, free-flowing ligatures and oblong letter shapes are the hallmarks of this trend.
The Remboy Typeface provides a good example of this:
Bonus Trend: A.I. Generated Art
Artificial intelligence is emerging across every industry at the moment and artists are at the forefront. It seems everywhere you look online right now someone is experimenting with various A.I. tools to generate their artwork and share their creations. While there are ethical concerns to iron out, it does appear as though A.I. art is here to stay.
It can be used to create things like portraits, landscapes, and abstract pieces. Website backgrounds are another likely place to feature them.
Put These Design Trends to Good Use in 2023 (And Beyond)
These are just a few of the design trends that we think will be big in 2023. Of course, there are always new trends popping up so it’ll be interesting to see what else emerges in the next year.
In the meantime, enjoy experimenting with these trends!