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4 aesthetic web design trends to follow in 2022

How your website looks plays a huge part in its performance and how your brand is perceived. While being on-trend can help give your brand a modern edge, aesthetics can also communicate a lot about its personality and tone, whether it be more playful, serious, or inspirational.

Before choosing a brand aesthetic, you need to establish your overall branding. This can be quite a lengthy process that involves defining your goals and your ideal audience before researching the kind of content, tone of voice, and aesthetic that reflects those ideals. 

This blog post will focus purely on the visual side of things, but if you want to learn more about defining your brand and website design, check out the following articles:

We compiled the following list of design trends with input from Namecheap’s Head of Design, Rodrigo Melo. When discussing what influenced trends in the coming year, he believes that lockdowns in their various forms have impacted designers, giving them time to explore and redefine their goals and refresh their perspectives. 

From Rodrigo’s perspective, current web design trends reflect a quest for balance between aesthetics and functionality, which exemplifies the Bauhaus principle of form following function. So be sure to read our blog on functional web design trends in conjunction with this blog post!

Now, let’s look at some key aesthetic web design trends for 2022. 

Big, bold typography

Typography is set to stand out in a big way in 2022. More than just being words on the page to support your content, typography may even dominate the page. This can take many forms, such as typography being incorporated into homepage hero images or even replacing imagery for a headline effect. Here are a few examples of this in action: 

screenshot of Herbertus
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screenshot of Vesper
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We may see more instances of typographic layouts and user interfaces (UI). The following images are homepages entirely composed of text:

screenshot of milli design
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This homepage is from landscape designer Piet Oudolf. It mainly features the names of gardens he’s designed around the world, but when you hover your mouse over each name, it reveals an image of the garden in question. 

screenshot of oudolf typographic design
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screenshot of added digital
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By using typography in this way, your website’s text will take center stage, leaving the user in no doubt about your brand’s aims and your website’s purpose. Bonus points for using a mix of interesting fonts!

High-impact visuals

Want your website to stand out from the crowd? Why not try some high-impact visuals? High impact visuals are any visual design element that catches the eye so users can’t look away. That doesn’t have to mean crowding the page or using anything too surreal for your taste. As you’ll see from the examples below, impact-making visuals can be subtle yet still effective. 

Split-screen layouts

This kind of layout typically splits a homepage or landing page into two or more vertical sections. This style can be a great way to add more content to a page while increasing visual interest. 

screenshot of beauty bay
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screenshot of Banff
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Motion and animation

What’s more eye-catching than things that move? Adding animated elements to your page can show your product or offering in action and add a playful touch. We’ve included screenshots below, but you’ll need to click through to the reference websites to see the motion elements in action.

screenshot of Animus
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screenshot of Crazy about Eggs
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Custom illustrations

When it comes to website imagery, stock photos are old hat. These days, more and more brands are using personalized illustrations, and it’s not hard to see why. Custom illustrations are useful for conveying brand personality while showcasing your offering. You can use the same or similar custom illustrations throughout your site and social media so that your audience will instantly recognize and associate these designs with your brand. 

As an example, we can’t not talk about Namecheap’s own custom illustrations utilized throughout the website, from blog posts to landing pages. 

screenshot of Namecheap domain search

If you’ve spent any time on Namecheap, you’ve probably come to recognize characters like Spike the Hedgehog and Yeti engaged in tech-related activities throughout the site. 

Vibrant color palettes

The kinds of colors you use can communicate so much about your brand. Using bright colors in your website’s design is especially effective for more playful and joyful brand personalities. Vibrant colors can also help draw the eye to certain site elements so that the user will notice and remember them. 

screenshot of Bragg apple cider vinegar
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screenshot of Zellee
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Gradients

If vibrant blocks of color aren’t your thing, there are more subtle ways to experiment with color on your site, such as gradients. Gradients can involve the gradual blending of one color to another or blending various shades of one color. You can use gradients as a background color or to highlight other design elements like menus and icons. 

screenshot of antara
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screenshot of Croma
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Minimalism

If the more in-your-face design aesthetics wouldn’t suit your site or branding, don’t sweat it. Minimalism will also be a key trend in the coming months. Minimalism as an aesthetic is all about minimizing clutter, using only the most essential stylistic and functional elements. There’s often an emphasis on negative space and typography (like we discussed above) doing the heavy lifting. With a minimalist approach, you can center your brand message without fuss or distraction. 

Here are a few ways to give your site a more pared-back feel. 

Simple and clean design

Clean design is all about using negative space, drawing the eye to what the user needs to know. Clean design can be a spectrum based on your particular preferences, whether you want to reduce clutter on the page for an unobtrusive experience, like the examples below:

screenshot of Kimm design
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screenshot of Norwest
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Or if you want to pare down information and content as much as you possibly can, resulting in an almost empty web page:

screenshot of the inlay
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Dark-themed UI

Another way to achieve a minimalist aesthetic is by using a dark-themed UI. Dark-themed UI displays light text on a darker background, and its main appeal is that it’s easy on the eye, especially as the day gets darker. This aesthetic has become more prominent in recent years, and you’ve likely seen it everywhere, from apps like Spotify to your Smart TV screen. Many apps also have the option of a “dark mode” which utilizes this design. It also works on websites, as you can see from the examples below:

screenshot of Airpods Pro
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screenshot of lestudiodigital
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screenshot of inspiir
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Time to get designing

Hopefully you come away from this article with some inspiration for elevating your own website’s look. There are myriad ways to tweak your site’s aesthetic to give it a modern edge, whether you want to go bold or prefer something a little more subtle. If you’re not confident about your design skills, check out this blog post on simple but effective tools for web design

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