We’re sharing the 16 web design trends for 2023, to inspire you to build modern, responsive, and user-friendly websites and online platforms.
It is true that a trend is much more than what is popular at the moment, which is determined by the behaviour of the majority, of what is mainstream, in a certain period of time, but it is also true that trends are cyclical.
Designers look to the past with nostalgia, create links with styles and trends from past eras, give them a new twist, their personal stamp, and bring them into the present.
Trends can also arise with new technologies like Web3 or using new techniques to build interactive and exciting experiences for your users.
Designers can use trends to find influences and make websites, platforms or applications for their clients that stay current and connect with the currents of the moment.
The year of immersive web design experiences
For 2023, the prominent theme is the shift to more immersive experiences, i.e. the advancement of Web building technology or the increasingly immersive environments such as the metaverse.
16 Web Design Trends for 2023
1- Back to the past and the Y2K aesthetic
In 2023, we expect to see the Y2K aesthetic continue to grow in popularity. Just as in fashion, music, fashion design, and art, the 2000s trend has also made its way to graphic design and the web.
Some designers are adopting retrofuturistic looks, using the aesthetics of Vaporwave, Glitch, and Cybercore. Others just incorporate specific elements of Y2K design, such as using retro typefaces, pixelated fonts and images, or custom cursors.
Design tip: Starting with a design element, modernize it so that your designs go back to a specific era without feeling too thematic.
Use the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to analyze real website designs from the era or track the evolution of a specific website design over the decades.
Visit the Web Design Museum and find screenshots of iconic designs from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
2- Y2K fonts and text-based designs
The fonts used in web design during the Y2K era were simple, often sans serif or monospaced, and sometimes visibly pixelated. Because images loaded slowly in the early 2000s, web design had simple, text-focused layouts with lots of white space.
In short, a classic Y2K-era website might have looked like FanFiction.net from 2001 – lots of white space, small image icons, and lots of Arial or Verdana.
3- Unique Cursors
In the 1990s and early 2000s, it was common to change the cursor to a cat or a smiley face. That is, Y2K was a truly fun time in the history of cursor graphics.
In 2023, expect to see more custom cursors.
Cursors can use an original image as an icon, or they can use animated effects to create an interactive experience.
Pixelation, originally a technological necessity, has become a trend as Y2K resurfaces two decades later.
Recently, designers have been using pixelation in fonts, icons and images to add visual interest.
5- Custom Fonts
As text-based website designs have taken over in recent years, we are anticipating the rise of custom fonts and hand-created lettering as the next evolution of this trend in 2023.
However, there are no specific designs or styles, as each designer will put his or her personal touch on the construction of the different media.
You can approach this trend in a few different ways, such as from font-generating tools like BitFontMaker, FontStruct, and Calligraphr which show you different ways to build, download, and use your original font.
6- Shareable web frameworks
As creators are sharing resources and techniques as a way to build community, increase their reputation, and make the web an overall better place – we’re going to see an explosion of shareable frameworks going into 2023.
At the same time, many web creators genuinely want to build a better web experience for everyone.
7- 3D Illustrations
With the rise of the metaverse, illustrations that mimic the virtual world are coming into vogue – with 3D illustrations and Claymorphism leading the way.
While 3D illustration was a trend in previous years, it was more exclusive to illustration.
Today’s websites are beginning to add dimensionality in a more immersive way, pulling users into cyberspace by adding animations, full-page effects, and multi-layered illustrations.
Similarly, by 2023, we will see a resurgence in the popularity of 3D illustrations in web design. With flat illustration styles dominating trends in recent years, 3D design has become a way for projects and sites to stand out from the crowd.
The metaverse is an idea, an interactive digital space, and a new online world.
As web users have become accustomed to online spaces and virtual reality, the design style of the metaverse will become an increasingly important part of the visual language of web design by 2023.
Instead of a single 3D illustration or element on a web page, we have seen sites taking inspiration from the metaverse build a complete 3D style for their page.
This includes everything from illustrations, backgrounds, text, and even cursors. It also includes animated interactions and effects to help draw the user in and make the site more interactive.
Claymorphism creates a dynamic experience in a different way, giving the viewer illustrations that seem tactile and real.
As well, many web users may have a strong emotional attachment to clay effects after growing up with movies like “The Chone Sheep.”
We expect to see clay-inspired designs being popular in 2023, as they combine 3D effects with the cartoonish human figures that have been popular in web design over the past few years.
10- Just for fun interactions
This year, we expect to see more interactions that are fun and serve no particular purpose other than adding to the user experience of a website.
That is, websites similar to fun apps, where we let users play with a site to get them to click on more sections of a larger site.
Loading animations were popular in the early days of the web.
Recently, we have seen large groups of designers start incorporating loading screens into their designs again, meaning this trend will continue into 2023.
This resurrection of the loading screen stems from the growing popularity of interaction, animation, and immersive website designs.
Analogously, web users hate waiting for pages to load and animations make the wait feel less like a chore.
12- Collaborative Working
Work-from-home and hybrid work environments have become the norm since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With this in mind, digital tools that allow remote collaboration, or features that incorporate explicit collaborative support, such as Webflow roles and permissions, are not only popular but have become essential.
We will continue to see the trend of adding built-in collaboration features to digital tools continue to grow.
Adobe has acquired the popular design collaboration tool Figma, which is widely known for its collaboration features such as sharing prototypes and design systems that keep shared assets in one place.
This acquisition signals that workplaces are seeing the value of software that supports digital collaboration in a more meaningful way. We expect to see more and more digital tools launching collaboration features in the near future.
13- Premium Products
For 2023, we expect to see more content creators and companies investing in premium products.
The whole concept of Web3 – which gained huge popularity last year – is the decentralization of the web. Building closed content on a website gives you more control over your community and helps you get paid for creating valuable content.
A premium content gateway or membership feature allows you to make your website more valuable and more engaging than a simple static source of information.
You can add subscriptions to monetize your templates and designs. You can also launch premium content portals to clients, adding value to the work you do for others.
14- Lightweight and Efficient Websites
Both front-end and back-end, websites that are lightweight, fast, and optimized for user experience will become more common by 2023.
Users hate waiting. Not only that, but more and more users are accessing sites on their mobile devices or networks which can be slow.
The trend towards lightweight websites ensures that users get what they need and enjoy accessing your website.
Technologies such as WebP images and techniques such as lazy load video design allow you to add all media without detracting from the user experience.
15- Intentional Notifications
Historically, companies have used mobile notifications as a sales tool. Notifications have the power to prompt consumers to buy.
For example, more apps and websites will incorporate notifications to connect with their users this year. The public wants their interactions with the apps they use to feel more genuine and more useful to them.
Notifications have the power to make websites and applications more useful, more personal, and more integrated into users’ lives.
We hope to see notifications used in more creative ways to interact with users and provide useful information.
Twitter recently added notifications to its application that remind users to include alt text when adding images.
Alternative text is extremely important for accessibility, allowing users who rely on screen readers, such as those who are blind and have low vision, to understand the content of an image. This simple addition has the potential to increase the accessibility of the entire Twitter platform in a significant way.
16- Customizable Visualization Experiences
With the increase in customization on the web, more sites will enable customizable viewing experiences. Web experiences in 2023 are becoming more tailored to the needs and preferences of their users.
Website building platforms now offer designers the tools to allow their users to easily customize the features of their website experience. There is a greater awareness of accessibility – in society and on the web. Features like dark mode and sound can make a website easier to use by people with different needs.
People respond well to sites that accommodate their preferences, interactions and designs that they can customize to their liking.
This trend toward building more customizable viewing experiences is a natural progression from the popularity of sites like games and interactive features that we have seen in previous years.
2023 is the year of user engagement
The web is forever interactive, and designers love to make immersive experiences or creative games, in order to keep users active and entertained.
The big difference this year is that they will integrate and engage users effortlessly and without them having a sense of what is happening.
We now have the technology to empower web users to participate in shaping their own web experience. So designers and devs can build responsive websites, animations, and above all, fun and engaging.
What is clear is that modern websites are increasingly alive. They are places where designers and users find new ways to interact and engage. And this is a wonderful way to experience the web!