Web design trend cycles come in waves. And in 2022, we’re still riding the swell of nostalgia and emerging technologies that gained prominence during the early days of the pandemic, when everyone was searching for something new and familiar at the same time.
Youth culture from the ‘90s and early aughts collided with AI and virtual worlds in the metaverse, creating spaces for visual experimentation in color and form that would never exist outside of the digital realm.
In borrowing visual cues of the early web and merging them with new tech and new experiences, designers spent the year navigating an in-between moment. What evolved from that push and pull of aesthetics was less of a cohesive style and more of an attitude shift; web designers seemed unafraid to be brash and abrasive, yet beckoning and inviting, and all in all just a little more messy. That’s not going away anytime soon. Here are the top web design trends from this past year, and the tech and cultural influences that shaped them.
2022’s biggest web design trends
2. Acid green
4. Nonstop '90s
10. Candy-like color
1. AI-powered branding
Text-to-image generators like DALL-E 2 and Midjourney took the internet by storm this year, and it wasn’t long before we saw brands starting to experiment with the new technology in their own campaigns and web applications.
Heinz used DALL-E 2 to imagine how AI sees ketchup, &Walsh utilized the technology to generate a series of branding icons that promote the use of clean nuclear energy “Isodope,” and designer David Rudnick created a genre-defying identity for Web3 conference FWB Fest.
Web and digital designers wondered if this new tech trend might be coming for their jobs. But so far, the tools simply have become part of the creative process. “Whenever there is a need to explore visual concepts, designers have always looked for new ways to express their ideas,” says Zachary Bautista, creative director and partner of Rethink agency, which worked on the Heinz campaign. “As A.I. becomes more available to designers we think it'll be yet another tool in our creative arsenal, similar to Photoshop or 3D-printing.”
Images 1-3 courtesy &Walsh. 4-7 courtesy Rethink. Images 8-9 courtesy FWB Fest.