This piece appears in the October 2021 print and digital editions of GDUSA.
This October 2021 edition of GDUSA features our 21st annual American Web Design Awards showcase of the power of design to enhance online communications and experiences.
Selected from more than 2,300 entries, the outstanding work included here has been created by design firms, ad agencies, inhouse departments and more, and encompasses website, microsites, apps, advertising, social media, video and UX/UI Design. The twin worlds of website and digital media design are in a period of ferment and innovation — think new and refined uses of type, colors, dimensionality, interactivity and video integration. But I have learned to approach trend spotting with humility — “a man’s got to know his limitations” says a gender-(and otherwise) insensitive Clint Eastwood in the 1973 cult movie classic Magnum Force — so I defer to the innumerable experts who can dissect the latest tactics of designers and developers, easily found in posts by searching “web design trends.”
I will, however, dare one big takeaway. In 2021, we are seeing a confluence of: (1) an expansive digital-first mentality arising from the crucible of the pandemic (2) the wider availability of richer and more stable tools and technologies (3) a fuller embrace of UX/UI design principles that yield ever more seamless nagivation and (4) a rediscovery and renewed emphasis on visual design fundamentals that engage more deeply, communicate more clearly and, in the colloquial, are easy on the eyes. This all adds up to a happy convergence of ability and capability. Leading, I believe, to a new era of more humane, satisfying, effective and useful online experiences based on sound design principles. Our winners showcase provides many such examples.