Web Design Trends 2022: Weaponizing Chaos to Deliver Unforgettable UX

Web Design Trends 2022

With the top graphic design trends 2022 out of the way, it gets easier to notice and predict the upcoming trends for other graphic design fields, including what’s coming for websites next year. This is why today we’re going to unveil the web design trends 2022 coming in full force to invade the web with more vibrancy, trippy aesthetics, and an unforgettable experience where the minimalism trend of 2021 takes a step back.  In addition, we will include real-life examples of working websites for each trend, so you can experience it by yourself.

Trends overview:


1. 3D Illustrations

3D illustrations have become quite the huge UI design trend in 2021 and it’s getting even stronger in 2022. This is especially true for a particular 2D/3D mash style that looks like 2D flat design graphics turned into 3D. We can see this tendency becoming a top trend, especially in apps with fun cartoons becoming realistic and attractive with soft candy colors. Through most of the real-life examples and web design concepts by creators from Dribbble and Behance, we can pinpoint three major subtrends of 3D illustrations.

The first one is 3D cartoon characters. Often disproportionate, they remind of the old corporate illustration style, but their 3D spin makes them much more interesting, friendly, and life-like. These characters bring the impression of claymation characters, especially when animated. The second subtrend is the cutout 3D that imitates a collage of 2D cutouts placed in a 3D environment. This style is especially effective combined with a parallax effect which allows the viewer to enjoy the 3D by hovering around the complex group of illustrations.

And the last one, as you have probably seen a lot lately, is real-life humans turned into 3D cartoon counterparts.

Without further ado, let’s dive into some amazing websites that embrace the 3D illustrations trend and all its subtrends to the fullest.

2. CGI

The next trend is all about creating strong interactive websites that guarantee customer engagement. In fact, CGI graphics work best in web design with animation and their complexity speak of quality and high-end technologies, which is a huge advantage for brands that can afford them. With the endless possibilities and benefits of having CGI graphics, this is becoming a trend for agencies and companies that don’t do CGI as a profession. The higher the quality of the graphics, the higher the quality of the brand and the higher the impression of professionalism, reliability, and trustworthiness.

However, there is some great news and that is CGI is not always that complex. Surely, using Cinema 4D, ZBrush or Maya requires a lot of skill and practice, but we’re not talking about making full cinematics. Creating high-quality CGI graphics for a website to make the brand stand out doesn’t require long and complex CGI scenes and hyperrealism.

In fact, your design could do perfectly fine with short animations and semi-abstract imagery. Let’s see a couple of real-life examples that use the right amount of CGI graphics.

3. 80s Synthwave Aesthetics

This trend won’t surprise anyone as it’s already everywhere in music, movies, tv-shows, and is taking web design by the horns as well. The retro-futuristic neon style from the 1980s is known as Synthwave or Outrun and you can easily recognize it by the dak mode, glowing neon colors, and grids. Its beautiful night city aesthetics bring nostalgic vibes to a beloved decade long gone. Well, at least we can enjoy it in art and design and in these beautiful real-life websites.

4. Parallax

Not long ago, parallax was quite popular and took over the internet, making scrolling intriguing and engaging. Unfortunately, the trend died for a while as it got overused and not in a good way. At its peak, the parallax was an inseparable part of websites but in many cases was poorly executed which resulted in bad website usability, slow page loading, and way too much scrolling.

So, guess who’s back.

After the calm, parallax websites are back on track and becoming a trend once more, however, this time with caution. No more overdoing, no more unnecessary aggravating the design or making the page endless and heavy. The new parallax experience is more subtle and follows the oldest rule in the book: less is more.

5. 2D Cartoon Illustrations

Aside from mixing with 3D, 2D illustrations go their own way as a trend in cartoon style. There are three approaches to this tendency that we noticed in websites when we made our research.

The first one is including simple animations of 2D cartoon characters or items to make an overall simple website way more engaging. It could be the loading screen, the hero section, or small animated cartoon visuals complementing each section. The second way for 2D cartoons to make a website stand out is to make the entire interface cartoon. In this case, specific cartoon characters aren’t necessary, as each button, menu, and element look cartoonish.

The last approach overlaps with the 3D illustration subtrend of 2D cutouts in a 3D environment. As usual, let’s enjoy some real-life examples of such websites.

6. Real Objects as Elements

Businesses that have authentic and memorable packaging designs are seizing the opportunity to show it off the best way possible: to make it a part of their website’s design.  Instead of simply including a high-quality photo of the product, these websites use the product photos as separated elements that they can animate or emphasize through the parallax effect. This trend centers around the product and makes it a part of the experience.

Below are some amazing examples of websites that embrace the trend and understand the assignment differently, all with very creative and interactive solutions where you can interact with the items.

7. Brutalism

Actually, the next trend is more of a reactionary anti-trend and it’s taking over the internet to destroy the established web design practices, strip them from their lightness and optimism, and make them unapologetically bold, candid and ugly on purpose. 

Originally, the name Brutalism comes from the French phrase “Beton brut”, meaning raw concrete, and characterizes the Brutalism architectural style emerging in Europe and the USSR after WWII. This architectural movement is all about a strong impression and communicating directly to the viewer with an industrial look, simple geometry, and unapologetically oppressive aesthetics. Furthermore, Brutalism is often used to convey post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and totalitarian aesthetics in fiction. 

So what does this mean to web design?

In simple terms, it means stripping the design to its most basic raw appearance, making it more of an anti-trend against all established trends. Brutalist web design uses basic web-safe colors, raw interactions, big and heavy fonts, a lack of hierarchy, and ignoring the basic best practices for web design.  So no rules, little sense, and a lot of 90s websites nostalgia. 

In the following real-life examples, you can enjoy some raw Brutalism in the wild and perhaps find the beauty in its chaotic honest nature. These websites stand out from conventional websites and stay strong.

8. SciFi High Tech

Moving forward, the next trend isn’t limited only to tech companies and developers, as experience showed us it can work even for fashion websites, portfolios, and marketing agencies.  Where corporate design gets boring and overused, high-tech aesthetics surely do the job for the website to stand out with a more futuristic look and sleek interactions. In addition, this trend can overlap with CGI graphics, 3D illustration, and even with some elements of the retro-futuristic synthwave 80s style, more particularly the glowing grids and neon colors. So let’s see a couple of examples of websites embracing the High Tech trend.

Kinetix – Website Intro by Yoann Baunach for Clint Agency.

 Web Design Trends 2022 SciFi HighTech Example 02

JoyHub Website

9. Glitch Effect

Everything is coming together: parallaxes, futurism, brutalism, and retrowave. With this, it’s easy to predict that glitches and psychedelic effects will also get a lot of use in the upcoming year’s web design creations. Fortunately, glitch effects work perfectly with all other web design trends 2022 that we already mentioned and will complete the experience.

10. Psychedelic Color Combinations

Nothing is too much for 2022 and the psychedelic trend for all graphic design fields proves this tendency. Unapologetic vibrant colors, patterns, and animations turn any website experience into a psychedelic trip. Depending on how much you’re willing to distort and melt your elements, you can create an unforgettable experience for the viewers. This is another logical conclusion of the rising trends. In fact, if we combine all the previous 9 web design trends the result would be absolutely psychedelic.

However, just like with everything else, this is not everyone’s cup of tea and should be compliant with specific audiences. So below you will see real-life trippy websites that embrace the psychedelic design trends to different levels, depending on the overall purpose of the website.

Final Words

In conclusion, we see a much more logical connection between the web design trends 2022 where all trends can easily overlap and work together in different combinations. In fact, we see that most of the examples do just that: embracing more than just one trend.  The upcoming year is definitely something to look forward to.

So what are your observations and predictions about graphic design trends in 2022? Do you have a favorite trend? Share with us in the comments.

In the meantime, you may also be interested in some of the related articles:

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Al Boicheva

Al is an illustrator at GraphicMama with out-of-the-box thinking and a passion for anything creative. In her free time, you will see her drooling over tattoo art, Manga, and horror movies.

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