Design trends in 2021

Yumei Jin
Yumei Jin
Jan 2 · 5 min read

Happy new year! This article will talk about my personal observation and prediction of 5 product and visual design trends in 2021.

Image for post
Image for post

1. Ethical design

Design ethics concerns moral behavior and responsible choices in the practice of design. It guides how designers work with clients, colleagues, and the end users of products, how they conduct the design process, how they determine the features of products, and how they assess the ethical significance or moral worth of the products that result from the activity of designing.

To be more specific, the ethical design is about keeping goodness in mind by respecting people’s time and personal needs. When designing, be kind, and consider what would benefit people the most. Keeping the same level of great user experience, your product should respect data privacy, accessibility, and adaptability. Providing a dark mode switch, a high contrast option, a tryout version that does not require signup, an AUTH sign-in without the need of typing in username and password, are some obvious examples.

2. Storytelling, a must-have in product design

A good example is Webflow’s video tutorials.

An example of Webflow’s video tutorials.

End-user feedbacks (comments on YouTube) show these tutorial’s great potential for increased customer conversion and retention:

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

3. Go virtual, anytime, everywhere

Companies have seen economic benefits of working remotely (particularly for international companies: why still do partially virtual office, while completely virtual office saves rents?), and people have seen time and money-saving benefits of virtual gathering (particularly for families and friends that live far away). In 2021, while we may be able to safely breathe the air outdoor and gathering in a local park, virtual social will still be a significant part of our life.

Image for post
Image for post
Zoom lifted their 40-minutes limits for free plan users to facilitate family and friends gathering in holidays, indicating that virtual gathering is not only for work need, but is becoming a must-have thing in life.

4. Design system

Big companies convey their original design philosophies through their unique design systems. For ambitious startup leaders, 2021 is not too late to keep a place for design systems in their roadmap, as the awareness of building a design system will prevent lots of hassles as your design team grows.

When establishing a design system, carefully consider affordance, accessibility, scalability, and localization.

5. Visual design trends

Neumorphism (Skeuomorphism) design

An example of the ancestor of neumorphism design:

Image for post
Image for post
iBook on iPhone 4

Examples of trending neomorphism design:

Image for post
Image for post
Image credit to OTAKOYI
Image for post
Image for post
Image Credit to Lucas Haas

Muted color

In 2021, muted colors will probably keep serving more products whose key functions are focus and productivity.

Image for post
Image for post
Notion’s landing page.

Cartoon illustration

Image for post
Image for post
Jira’s landing page
Image for post
Image for post
LinkedIn’s landing page
Image for post
Image for post
Duolingo’s landing page

Thanks for reading!

Bootcamp

From idea to product, one pixel at a time.

Yumei Jin

Written by

Yumei Jin

Product/UX designer who loves research, design, and code. www.yumeijin.me

Bootcamp

Bootcamp

The best resources for designers starting in Design, UX, and UI. Bootcamp is a new product publication from the team behind the UX Collective (http://uxdesign.cc). To submit your story: hello@uxdesign.cc

Yumei Jin

Written by

Yumei Jin

Product/UX designer who loves research, design, and code. www.yumeijin.me

Bootcamp

Bootcamp

The best resources for designers starting in Design, UX, and UI. Bootcamp is a new product publication from the team behind the UX Collective (http://uxdesign.cc). To submit your story: hello@uxdesign.cc

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store