Freshen up your website designs in 2023 with eye-catching imagery and trending color schemes. And, check out Pantone’s Magentaverse!
In 2023, websites and apps will benefit from a bolder and more confident approach to color and imagery, to ensure your digital designs keep users engaged beyond the mere 8 seconds Microsoft found most website users to hover before going elsewhere.
You can encourage users to stay on your website for longer with unusual color choices, cinematic photography or captivating illustration.
The web design trends listed below are simple to put into practice but will make a huge difference to the mood and memorability of your website in 2023:
- Immersive Portraits
- Dark Mode
- Gradient Reboot
- Illustrated Narrative
Read on to discover more about each of these web trends in detail, along with inspiring case examples and tips for putting these creative trends into practice.
From Pantone’s Magentaverse to colorblocking and immersive portraits, here are seven ways you can give your website designs a refresh in 2023. License these images via MJgraphics, designer Metin, Syed Wajahat Rafi, and Victoria Chudinova. Image at bottom-right from the website design for Karina Sirqueira Gallery by Karina Sirqueira.
Described as an “animated red that revels in pure joy,” Pantone’s Color of the Year 2023 is powerful and empowering Viva Magenta. Inspired by the color experts’ research into hues favored on social media platforms, this pink-hued red is marked as a color that is ambiguous, inclusive, and ready to take on the pink baton from Millennial Pink and Valentino-inspired fuchsia.
For website designers looking for an instant color refresh, try Viva Magenta or other pink-tinted reds as a saturated color across backgrounds and menus. Pantone also found that app users were more likely to click on buttons or type in this magenta hue, making it a great choice for websites that use call-to-actions (CTAs).
In this website design for showcasing interpretations of literary classic Dante’s Comedy by Deux Huit Huit, magenta is the perfect choice for bringing vivid drama to the backdrop of historical documents, while black serif type completes the medieval mood.
Website design for Dante by Deux Huit Huit.
License these images via Alim Yakubov and designer Metin.
2. Immersive Portraits
Out of all environmental stimuli, young children are most responsive to human faces and, as we mature, we never lose this instinctual craving for looking at human facial features. As a result, portrait photography has a unique power to capture and hold a viewer’s attention that other forms of imagery struggle to rival.
You can maximize the power of a portrait by looking for imagery and videos that hold eye contact, and opt for full-width, ultra high-resolution imagery for ultimate impact. Your viewers simply won’t be able to look away.
There’s also something cinematic and uniquely distinct about portraits, which invite the user to get to know the subject. It’s a technique used to mesmerizing and disconcerting effect by the designers of Pearl’s Peep Show, a website created as a character tribute inspired by the horror film X.
Portrait photography and video plays up to the personality-centric character of social media, and can turn your website into a platform for promoting an influencer brand or agency that relies on character charisma, as in the case of Italian TikTok sensation Kaby Lame.
Website design for ICON x Khaby Lame by Rocani Studio.
Website design for Wonderwall by Obys Agency.
In your own website designs, opt for naturalistic, authentic portrait photography that feels unfiltered and raw. The closer you can get to your subject, the better, giving your website design an intimate user experience that will keep users engaged for longer.
License these images via The Faces and LUMEZIA.com.
There’s nothing more refreshing, cheerful, and springlike than a colorblock scheme. So, take your cues from the catwalks, and apply a stylish colorblock effect to your own website designs for an instant dose of optimism.
Colorblock contrasts and clashes bright primary tones to create a confident, modernist effect. In a sea of all-white websites, your colorblock creation will certainly stand-out, and it makes the perfect color match for brands that have a playful identity, such as children’s brands, creative companies, or fashion retail.
This bold color technique can be given a retro spin with ’70s-style photography and editorial-inspired typography, as used to elegant effect in the website design for Italian bakery Pasticceria Adami.
Or, for an extra contemporary flavor, drop in some acid neon hues, as in the portfolio website of photographer Danielle Levitt.
Website design for Adami by ET Studio.
Website design for Danielle Levitt by Sam Dallyn.
License these images via Victoria Chudinova and Vineyard Perspective.
4. Dark Mode
Moody, inky, and instantly dramatic, dark mode is enjoying a moment in website design, and the trend for black-out websites sees no sign of slowing down into 2023. An extension of the dark mode designs seen in app and software designs, all-black websites are more immersive than their clean, all-white counterparts, making them feel more mysterious and intriguing.
With a pop of neon, they bring a Matrix-esque mood. But, for a broader brand application, we like the simplicity of dark mode backgrounds teamed with color-pop photography, as in the supremely stylish example of the Stillwater website created by Drexler.
Website design for Stillwater by Drexler.
Website design for Stas Bondar, created in-house.
License these images via MJgraphics and Alex Gontar.
Bauhaus set a style precedent in the 1920s that has never been out-matched, and the design traits of this trailblazing modernist school are still lending us serious style inspiration today.
Geometric graphics, grotesk sans serif typography, and primary color palettes will lend architectural impact to your digital layouts, but you can bring Bauhaus into 2023 with animation, neon colorways, or 3D shapes.
This classically stylish way of designing promotes clean type and graphics in a grid-based format, giving website designs elegant structure and an ordered feel. Use for websites that are intellectual, such as data analysis, research, and museums, or for design agency sites and portfolios to show you really know your graphic design history.
Website design for the 2022 ADCC Awards by Locomotive.
Website design for Karina Sirqueira Gallery by Karina Sirqueira.
License these images via PLST_4D and Maxger.
6. Gradient Reboot
Gradients have transformed the color scenery of the internet, and are a reaction to the flat design styles that preceeded them. In 2023, we can expect to see gradients continue to evolve, bringing more dynamism and languid fluidity to website designs.
The advantage of these next-generation gradients is that they are mesmeric and calming, drawing in users for longer, as well as being seriously stylish. Look for liquid, oil-slick styles, animated gradient shapes, or noisy, multi-color gradients for a point of difference.
An animated gradient graphic brings a hypnotic lava lamp effect to landing pages, as in the case for Marble’s otherwise simple dark mode website.
For a vintage, social media-inspired effect, bring in marbled, noisy gradient backgrounds and team with chunky retro type, like in this hip website design for Jpop singer SIRUP (シラップ).
Website design by Numbered for Marble.
Website design by tote for Sirup 5th Anniversary.
License this image via Syed Wajahat Rafi.
License these images via Takoyaki Tech and wacomka.
7. Illustrated Narrative
In the same way that a picture book can captivate kids for hours, there’s something undoubtedly comforting about illustrated stories—for adults too!
Illustration can be a really effective tool for bringing stories to life on websites, and is particularly useful for guiding readers through what would otherwise be a long read. In 2023, we’ll see more news websites in particular adopting an illustrative approach, a technique that’s been used by The New Yorker on their website for a few years now.
Try out an illustrated narrative to accompany or even replace a written piece of journalism or blog post. Small animated touches throughout the course of the user journey can help to maintain interest, as well as illustrated menus or interactive elements.
If it sounds like a huge amount of work to illustrate a whole article, look to the talented hand of Shutterstock contributor GoodStudio for a vast library of versatile, engaging imagery that’s instantly ready for you to use.
Website design by makemepulse for Spotify Astrology Club.
Website design by Decimal for Querdenken Everything.
License these images via GoodStudio and GoodStudio.
Conclusion: Refresh Your Website in 2023 with Imagery and Color
Whether you embrace dark mode or pay a visit to the Magentaverse, opt for immersive illustration or emotive portrait photography—there are so many on-trend ways to refresh your website designs in 2023.
With website design becoming ever more sophisticated, offering user experiences that rival VR and cinema, there’s never been a more exciting time to create digital designs.
License this cover image mockup via Anton Vierietin and Dedraw Studio.