2013 has been another landmark year for the Internet. The web is already a huge part of our lives but in the past 12 months or so, it seems like the Internet has grown up. Emerging trends in web design revolve around simplicity, the use of high-quality assets and no wasted space.
While everything behind the scenes is getting smarter and more complicated, web designers have been doubling down on striking simplicity and 2013 has been full of great examples of this. Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the best website designs of 2013.
Dangers of Fracking
This website is interactive and brilliantly animated. It simply addresses the question of what hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is and how it can harm the environment. The site begins with a picture of a rain drop in a cloud, inviting you to scroll down. This same rain drop is the focal point for the rest of the site. As you read, you follow the rain drop down below the earth, where you can see just how fracking works and why the process is so controversial. You definitely have to visit this site in person to get the full effect of it.
Sketchin is a Swiss-based international design company. Its website is sleek and functional and showcases its design offerings. The site’s background is a large GIF animation, which may seem a little distracting, but Sketchin keeps the site look clean and professional but having little else to attract visitors’ focus.
This Australian site uses a similar idea as Sketchin. It has a changing reel of images, but elsewhere it’s simple. Its schemes effectively use color to draw users’ eyes to certain words, texts and images. The site is fun yet professional and is easy to navigate.
Church of the Atom
This site is for a Swedish beer brewing company, and it has a very unique, interactive navigation design. When you enter the site, the first thing you see is an assortment of colored triangles. These triangles pop from the white background and catch your eye, so the site is definitely engaging even though it’s otherwise minimalistic. Each triangle functions as an anchor tag and takes you to the corresponding brew when you click it. The colors of the triangles also correspond to the label of the beer.
Studio Otwarte is a Polish branding company that specializes in communication and graphic design. Its site has a very simple yet elegant design that plays off monochromes. Even if you don’t speak Polish, you get a clear idea of what this site is about just from its images. Not only is the visually engaging — it also looks professional and has great navigation.
Starbucks is a great example of a corporate website done right. The site is sleek and easy to read yet also does a great job with branding — the logo is visible without seeming too overbearing. Starbucks is also very conscious of color scheme even when running promotions. Around Christmas, there are red accents in all of the images to tie them together and keep a sleek appearance. Furthermore, Starbucks recognizes just how many users access surf the Internet via mobile — the site looks just as great on an iPhone as it does on a desktop.
This Australian VOIP carrier has a very literal website that does wonders for branding. The right-hand side of the website is literally a series of colored lines. This is especially brilliant because the lines used are also the same as the logo — the lines in the design are more or less a larger version of Coloured Lines logo. The left-hand side of the page has three headlined words “Truly Vibrant Telephony,” which quickly give you an idea of what the company is all about.
This South African web design company takes its black and white design to a whole new level. When you enter the site, you see an intricate line art graphic of an owl, which includes many other smaller items like pencils, cursors, etc. as part of the design. Overall, the design is ornate, but since there is minimal color it’s refreshing and catches your eye.
Molly and Me Pecans
Molly and Me has a no-fuss website. The site’s background is simply a bowl of sugary roasted pecans with a pair of tongs. This is brilliant advertising because it lets the product speak for itself. Viewers can either scroll down or click “find out more” to purchase the pecans and read about how the business got started.
This site uses a large image as its background, which has become increasingly popular in the past year or so. Besides this image, which is either of an aerial Manhattan cityscape or a city street, depending on who loads it, the site has bold white text coming out of the background. Overall, this is simplistic, yet visually stimulating since the background image has a lot going on. The headline of the page, “Connect with Influencers,” fits in with the cityscape, since the city is at the viewer’s fingertips in the image. The company’s logo is in the upper left-hand corner — it’s clearly present but still a part of the overall design.
A German manufacturer of premium wooden iPhone cases, Eden has a brilliant website. It follows a lot of the trends on today’s web with big, high-quality images used throughout.
The site is both very clean and simple, there’s nothing there that doesn’t need to be. It’s very striking and serves their clients well. After all, if you’re going to be selling iPhone cases close to $100, you’d expect a nice-looking website and Eden’s site doesn’t disappoint.
If you’re shopping for an iPhone case, this is a great site to get comfortable with and it makes use of your full display with no wasted space.
A Day in Big Data
We’re constantly hearing that “big data” is helping marketers, big corporations like Google and Microsoft , and everyone else in between. The problem is, hardly anyone knows what big data really is or exactly how it is managed, outside of the end results we see. To that end, the website “A Day in Big Data” setup by OgilvyOne Worldwide tells the story of what big data is capable of.
Following other trends of 2013, the site uses all the space of your display, combines big, readable text and rich media — in this case, video — to get its point across. It’s a good-looking website but, more importantly, it’s one that proves its point effortlessly.
Numbrs is an iPhone app that brings together all of your bank accounts and makes it super-easy to transfer money and make payments. That may sound mighty boring to some folks, but the website is an absolute wonder to behold.
The site’s main purpose is to, of course, promote the app. Numbrs’ clean and professional website certainly does just that.
By using high-quality animations, the website instantly tells readers why they should use the app and helps paint a picture of easier banking. The site serves its audience well, gets its message across perfectly and looks stunning, too. Forget YouTube videos, this is the best advertisement for an app ever.
While most mainstream websites and companies are still using age-old designs, new companies and services are moving to better-looking designs that are both more efficient and relevant. 2013 has been an excellent year for web design and trends that emerged this past year will only continue to stun as we move into 2014.