Product Design Trends You Shouldn’t Miss in 2021


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Six big and amazing product design trends you should be aware of in 2021 - all are here.

Gallery One by Sèrgi Mi for Fireart Studio

We have experienced times that changed us and gave birth to incredible trends. Social moods and the users’ evolving needs are reflected in product design. New needs mean new ways people will interact with digital products such as mobile applications and websites. Trends come and go. Following them or, at least, being aware of them isn’t obligatory but a lot recommended. It helps us keep up with a breath of epoch and create things that are relevant for today’s human. Here I overview the six of the most exciting product design trends for 2021.

Multidirectional Layouts

Multidirectional layouts are designed to give users more freedom in how they browse, view and navigate digital content. They allow you to view the content in various ways and directions, such as diagonally, right and left, up and down, and even forward or backward. Multidirectional layouts make UX/UI designs more intuitive and convenient for users, providing more options for watching and consuming the content. This year, we are seeing brands experiment even more in creating multidirectional product galleries for eCommerce websites.

Kati Forner Layouts Animation by Zhenya Rynzhuk

Design with a Human Touch

In recent years, we have experienced challenging times of COVID-19 and economic recession. Everyone is looking for a little bit of sunshine and positivity in everyday interactions with people and surroundings. Amid such a social mood, designers try to bring more warmth and human touch into mobile and web designs. Hand-drawn illustrations, visual storytelling, lovely animations and handwritten typefaces - all these are manifestations of human touch in digital design. We find it a great intention and way to add more positive vibes to everyone’s life.

Spacciovino 🍷 | Onboarding by Beatrice Castaldo for Fireart Studio

AI-Powered Personalization

Personalization is one of the timeless product design trends. In common sense, product personalization means that the user can choose different colors, layouts and other custom UI elements that suit their mood and lifestyle. It allows the user to connect with a product better by creating its unique look and feel. In the case of advanced personalization, things are different since the user doesn’t have to do much to personalize the product. It happens naturally as the user interacts with a mobile app more and more, and it constantly learns about this person adjusting settings for user needs.

Natural AI emotional UI by Gleb Kuznetsov✈

Creative Animations for Page Transitions

Creative animations are cosmetic elements of a user experience rather than functional. However, they turn UX design into an exciting journey and let users enjoy their interaction with a website or a mobile application even more. The greater user satisfaction also means more time spent on a site, higher conversion rates and better SEO.

As mentioned, animations for page transitions are rather decorative elements, but a creative designer can leverage this tactic to demonstrate various functional aspects, features, or components of the product like it’s shown in the image below.

Web Design for eCommerce by Janos Nyujto

Vaporwave Influence

Vaporwave is being reborn now into something even more visually exciting. It appeared as an electronic music style first in 2010. It is defined partly by its slowed-down, chopped and screwed samples of smooth jazz, elevator, R&B, and lounge music from the 1980s and 1990s. Later, it also acquired a form of a visual style and Internet meme, combining surrealism, futurism and nostalgia under one umbrella. Usually, it looks like a combination of the retro pop culture elements from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. In 2021, vaporwave found its resurrection in web design. Its brightest manifestations are psychedelic typefaces, neons, pastel colors, gradients, and abstract forms. Another significant feature is the use of ancient sculptures in website design.

Adidas Poster by Klarens Malluta

Incorporation of 3D

In 2021, we see the incorporation of 3D elements in web design even more frequently. Of course, 3D illustrations and animations have been around for years. However, this year, three-dimensional graphics have become more advanced and complex. After a massive flat design trend, 3D graphics take back to a stage again by creating an immersive user experience and beautifully activating the power of dimensions in various styles, palettes, and artistic approaches.

Illustration by Vivivian

Product design is a fast-changing stream of trends, user needs and styles. Keeping up with it allows you to stay always updated with the most exciting innovations that can bring more fresh air and creativity into your design and your users’ lives. I hope that this short overview of product design trends will bring some inspiration to you!

Dana Kachan
Dana Kachan is the author, keynote speaker, marketing consultant, and startup advisor. She has been consulting tech startups and established companies in the United States, Singapore, Poland, Israel, and Ukraine. Dana has been a guest marketing speaker at the World Digital Weeks 2021 and European Digital Week 2020. She is also a co-author of the book "Business-Driven Digital Product Design."


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