4 takeaways from the Awwwards 2020 conference

Martin Zuidema

We all know that we are, unfortunately, not able to attend events for a while. Since we had the opportunity to attend Awwwards 2020 conference earlier this year and because it’s, especially during these times, very important to share knowledge, here are the most important takeaways of the Awwwards Conference.

The Awwwards conference

Awwwards is the most visited digital design platform in the world. Every year Awwwards holds conferences in iconic cities across the globe including New York, Amsterdam, Tokyo and San Fransisco. At these events they have an award ceremony that recognizes the talent and effort of the best web designers, developers, innovators and agencies in the world.

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We noticed the following inspirational trends in the digital design world:

  1. Text in web design & playful typography
  2. Color usage
  3. Micro interactions
  4. Avoid similarity

1. Text in web design & playful typography

The stand out trend of the year is most definitely typography heavy design. We are still moving further into editorial design feel where typography is playing a central role in layout design. Recent improvements CSS related to manipulation and animation of text allows us to experiment with characters and paragraphs in a way never seen before in webdesign.

So there are more and more possibilities available for us using outstanding typography through techniques as Variable fonts, CSS shapes, CSS grids and Flexbox.

Some cool examples are https://canals-amsterdam.nl/ and https://canals-amsterdam.nl/https://canals-amsterdam.nl/

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2. Color usage

Color has taken central stage, the visual strength and expressiveness of color has seduced users and even designers themselves, who are turning color into a focal design element, highlighting it above other content elements such as photography and illustrations.

Big masses of color are taking over traditional white backgrounds. Strong contrasts and vibrant complemetary colours stand out, and they are not seeking harmony but visual impact. After a period dominated by soft pastels we are witnessing the emergence of much more risky colours and pairings.

Have a look at https://wadeandleta.com/ and https://zefs.website/ for some examples.

3. Micro interactions

Continuing the trend of trying to create a friendly atmosphere in order to empathise with users adding micro interactions present them selves as an effective strategy, as long as they are not too intrusive. The use of playful interactions has definitely been increasing over the last few years. The majority of micro animations are decorative, with small animations. In other cases such as in mini games, the idea is to entertain and delight the user.

A nice example for micro interactions can be seen at https://violenceisnotmyculture.com/.

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4. Avoid similarity

The rush towards consistency makes us loose those special things that set one product apart from the other. So how to avoid similarity; Adding emotion is the answer. We know that positive emotions are proven to influence memory creation, you want the user to remember you, so use emotive content that engages, we need more positive interactions and impactful stories because emotional connectivity creates experience, and that’s what we are aiming for. The future of design is to give something extra.

Martin Zuidema, Kate‑Lyn Meistré, Anna Petrova


References + imagery: Hot right now, Awwwards 2020, Awwwards Flickr page.