10 design trends to step up your game in 2022

2022 is already in motion, and new trends are thriving in the designers’ world. Being the third year during a pandemic that brought us home and gave the digital world an enormous boost, there is an overall feeling of getting a little bit of humanity, positivity, and a sense of reality to the digital world. Those are some of the keywords for this year’s design trends… But there are more! Ready to dive into the top 10 trends that will define 2022?

1. Eco-conscious look & feel

Every day, we tend to care more about sustainability. From fashion to food or interior design, the trend is to opt for sustainable resources. In the digital world, a good example can be the increase of websites using green hosting servers, which involve green technologies to reduce the impact on the environment.

However, switching to a green hosting server is not very visual for users, and for some brands, there is a need to bring this ecological mindset to the interface.

So, just like at the supermarket, we've seen an effort to replace plastic packaging with recycled card materials. In digital design, this trend replaces the sharp and shining white interfaces with textured backgrounds and colors that remind users of the cardboard feel. Organic lines, minimal typography, and real-life photography are also some of the characteristics of this style.

De Soi / Afterglow
Tomasz Mazurczak / Vladimir Gruev

2. Black & White Palettes

Black and white are atemporal colors, but their spotlight has increased these past years. For instance, we’ve seen an amount of black & white movies produced just for the aesthetic and feeling provoked in the viewers.

Malcolm & Marie (2021) / C’mon C’mon (2021) / Roma (2018)

So, we expect 2022 to be a year that embraces this palette full of contrast. It’s an excellent opportunity to focus on simplicity and embrace the contrasts between shapes and typography, which usually create a sophisticated feeling.

DashGo / The LA Art Box

The next website shows how micro-interactions and animations are great ways to take these websites to the next level.

Lou Dos Santos' online portfolio

Of course, it’s not every website that can fully turn black & white. We believe this trend is more directed to art websites (galleries, museums) or portfolio websites with an almost editorial composition, where one of the goals is to highlight photography or video.

3. Optimistic design

Living in an era where negative news is all around us, giving a sense of positivity makes the difference. In fashion and interior design, using bright colors and curvy shapes are excellent ways to avoid seriousness and embrace a more fun way of living.

Coach and Moschino Spring & Summer’s 2022 collections
Custom dresser by Sophie collé / Think Chic Interiors / Curvy mirror and round table by Gustaf Westman’s Curvy. Wiggle side chair by Frank Gehry.ƒdesifn

In short, as Carrie Cousins said:

“the common thread with these designs is that they inject a little extra happiness into the world.”

In digital design, the key characteristics of this trend are bright colors, dynamic typefaces, cartoons & animations, and fun language that engage the user. This helps users feel happy and encouraged to use the product, explore the website, or even buy or subscribe to something if that’s the case.

Gumroad / Philippe Neveu’s online portfolio

4. Shapes

Shapes are an atemporal feature that has been trending for some years. They create dynamic compositions and, in digital design, are a great alternative to images.

Besides that, the number of hours people spend looking at screens has increased exponentially, and its long-term effects are still unknown. So, as designers, there are some tricks we can do to relax users’ vision. By creating dynamic shapes and text boxes, we counter the constant linear movement of the eyes through the pages and avoid eventual headaches and muscular pain.

The Figma Store / Spotify Wrapped 2021

5. Glassmorphism

Glassmorphism is also not a new trend, but it keeps on thriving in the digital design world. The advantages of the famous semi-transparent objects with colorful blur backgrounds are obvious: creating a sense of depth with the transparent layers over each other while still keeping a clean interface.

Last year, the number of websites and interfaces with this style increased exponentially. So, we believe 2022 will continue to be the right time for these elements of transparency, frostiness, or glossiness.

Apple MacOS Big Sur / Rudi Hartono

6. Aurora Backgrounds

Aurora backgrounds are often associated with glassmorphism. This trend is kind of the next step to the regular gradients. It is more organic and, for that, more visually attractive. Sometimes it's even animated, with subtle movement that reminds us of the northern lights, giving a feeling of calm and tranquility while using the product.

Apple’s iOS “Hello” screen / Halo UI/UX

7. Split Screen Aesthetics

This trend is back, based on the idea of showing the divisions between different sections of a page through lines or different background colors, creating multiple visible entry points.

In some cases, not all pages on the website have this aesthetic, but just a few specific pages where a more editorial feeling is required.

It is also a versatile aesthetic since it can be used for different website typologies.

Gumroad / Medium
MAAT / Blumenkopf

8. Dynamic & Animated Typography

Typography is more and more an element that we can play with. The old strict typography rules are no longer that relevant, and using typography as a fun, dynamic element has a great visual and interactive potential. In the graphic design field, this trend has been around for years now, but 2022 might be the year when dynamic typography takes over the world of digital design.

Transwhite Studio / David Rindlisbacher / CKL Stage by Ordinary People

Besides animations on typography, using variable typefaces allows interesting micro-interactions while hovering or clicking on text elements.

There are different ways and approaches to this trend. It can result in a stunning and fun effect, but it can also get so wild that it's impossible to read. Even not having rules for typography in 2022, we, as product designers, must make sure that the essential information is readable.

Dillinger Studios / Rron Berisha

9. Animations and Micro-interactions

Micro-interactions are the perfect example of how simple, "micro" things can particularly impact the users' experience.

They can keep users engaged, provide them feedback, explain the functionality of specific pages or buttons, make transitions and loadings more enjoyable... all this while adding dynamism to the pages.

When micro-interactions are well done, we may not notice them, but you know what they say... sometimes a good design is invisible.

Dillinger Studios / Rron Berisha

10. Augmented & Virtual Reality

This trend is not new, but it has been primarily explored in the gaming and e-commerce fields. However, with remote work still being a reality and the release of Meta and Metaverse, new opportunities will arise in the working area, allowing people to be with each other daily in virtual reality.

It's still a vast and generally unknown field, but it will definitely rise this year and reach new audiences, with significant and exciting challenges for us designers.

We have many different but complementary trends focused on improving users' experience in our hands. Sounds like a promising year, doesn't it?

Pixelmatters wishes you a very productive and creative 2022!

André Mota
Product Designer