PRELUDE: Web Design Styles

A Prelude to Modern Web Design Styles

A Comprehensive Analysis & Showcase:



What is a  Modern Web Design style?

How many design styles are there?

How to Classify Design Trends?

It seems that we have got an extensive subject on our hands. The above questions, and a few more, are the topic of our discussion in this introductory article. The detailed descriptions of different web styles that I have identified — as well as related showcases — will be unveiled in the next articles.


Ali Tabatabaee


The advancement of technology in the IT industry — particularly the web — in the last decade has resulted in important changes in web design area. A website which was created in the beginning of the new millennium appears somehow lackluster today, thanks to the new techniques and concepts which have emerged recently. Today, the term web design conveys much more than just a visual aspect. Modern web design includes other features as well; such as usability, navigation logic, dynamism, and putting the content first. To put it short, modern web design is simple, user friendly, functional and efficient.

Essential Elements Of Modern Website Design:

  • Simplicity: Modern websites, regardless of the style applied, are basically intended to be simple and clear. The classic examples are Minimalist web style and Flat Design.

  • Content- & Data-oriented: To effectively address the desired target users, modern websites — especially business sites — have become more informative. They utilize for example graphs and other relevant comparative data instead of subjective information for presentation of the company.

  • Print Inspired: Through taking inspiration from the media design elements, today's websites takes good advantage of the printing industry to give a layout more content-oriented look. This is accomplished by using, among others, multiple column texts, headlines and quotations.

  • Customized Typography: The use of so-called none standard fonts with the help of the tools like Typekit and Google Web Fonts has resulted in amazing typographical effects which either did not exist before or were not browser compatible.

  • New Design Tools: The availability of gorgeous effects has offered new design alternatives, thanks to the emergence of tools like CSS3, HTML5 and other web-kit properties.

  • Subdued colors: Modern web design relies on applying subtle and flat colors instead of saturated and flashy colors.

  • Full-screen Imagery: Using big background images, while keeping the overall layout still simple, is another feature that belongs to modern time.

  • Parallax Effect: Although Parallax technique is not a new one and can be traced back to old school video games, its emergence in web design has happened nearly, to be exact around 2010. This design style is a scrolling technique which creates an illusion of depth and movement.

  • Responsive Design Techniques: Responsive technique is an answer (call it a response) to the development of the new devices such as tablets and smartphones. The new interfaces demand a solution regarding usability and adapting the layout to the viewing environment. Ethan Marcotte coined the term Responsive Web Design (RWD) in 2010. It soon became a popular web style. Today, unlike those early years, utilizing responsive technique is not anymore considered as an extra feature on a website. Nowadays, it is absolutely an integral part of any web deign style. These days, almost every new client wants a mobile version of their website.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): As we know, a well-made website generally will receive numerous visitors. One efficient approach to attract visitors is search engine optimization. It simply means making the web pages better for search engine ranking. Well-optimized websites get progressively traffic over time. Without SEO, searchers won't be able to find your site, and all your hard work will be to no purpose. Among other factors to improve a site ranking are: content quality, and a secure and accessible website.

  • Good Download Speed: Last but not least, is web page speed. It is a very crucial feature of modern web design. It is a well-known fact that users naturally lose patience quickly when they visiting a website that has a slow download speed. The longer a site takes to load, the more probable a visitor will leave before it fully renders. All significant contents and great graphics come to nothing, if a website’s speed hinders its ability to provide the content quickly. Apart from general factors like server speed and website traffic, the most important element is the design structure of a website. Design styles like Minimalism and Flat trend help a website fulfill a lot of the speed requirements, which search engines are starting to require. This is why these web design styles have been very popular and will continue to be trendy for many years to come. Page loading time is highly determinant for success of commercial websites. For example travel sites, like e-commerce sites, tended to be faster.




Nowadays, we have consequently got a few more web styles than what we had some years ago. But how many web styles are out there?
If we apply a criterion based on just the main elements of web design — such as typography, image, color and background — we can count them on the fingers of two hands. However, as we know, there are indeed a lot more design styles out there. Taking into account all the actual variations, combinations and the sub-categories that exist in contemporary web design, I have come up with 30 web style categories. This classification is not consistent with what other online sources have stated. I have reached this conclusion based on my observations attained through studying a lot of sources on the web. Other sources have classified web design trends, at most, into 10 - 15 categories. So, you may find some of the websites listed here in our articles presented somewhere else on the web under a different design category. In order to give a true picture of all existing web design styles, their similarities and differences, I have tried to look at the subject in a broader spectrum. I have sorted the current website designs into more specific style groups. These 30 design patterns cover, to the best of my knowledge, almost all the recognized styles used in today's web design.

For me, it has been a long journey, and I have really enjoyed every bit of it. I have visited thousands of websites to select my preferred web designs for showcases that present each design trend. In this process, I have been highly selective. However, bear in mind that we do not very often find a design layout that can be attributed to only one trend. Most of websites, while having a dominant orientation toward applying a specific pattern, are actually a combination of two or more design styles. Furthermore, as you know, some websites may totally change their design style over a period of time. Hence, materials on this site should be considered as live documents that are open to change. I am going to regularly update the articles and showcases based on my further observations and studies, and hopefully your feedback. Above of all, the main aim is to substitute the dead links. So, please inform us, in the case you find out a dead link. We really appreciate it. Enjoy reading these collections; there are interesting materials and amazing website designs out there in each article.











   ::  Please Note

Each of our articles includes a showcase of the websites that are best representative of the related web design category. As we know, websites are live documents and might be changed over a period of time in different regards. They may change their layout designs, contents, etc., or simply cease to exist (error codes: 404, 403, 401).

We do our best to regularly update our materials regarding these eventual modifications. However, it might happen that we could not keep up with these changes in time. So in case you are the first to notice these inconsistencies, please inform us. We really appreciate your feedback. You can easily contact us via our 'Contact Form' at the bottom of this page.







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