Web Design Trends For 2009


We Web designers are a fickle lot. We love to experiment with things. We love to observe how people interact with our work. And we love to try out unusual design approaches that might possibly go mainstream and become a classic approach. As a result, new design approaches come up, and as more and more designers notice them and make use of them, new trends emerge.

Over the last months, we’ve analyzed numerous Web designs, observing emerging trends and weighing the merits of numerous design decisions and coding solutions. In this post, we present Web design trends for 2009: recent developments, new design elements and new graphic approaches. We also discuss situations in which these trends can be used and present some beautiful examples. Did you miss any recent development in this overview? Let us know in the comments!

This article covers only 10 of the over 25 trends we’ve identified over the last months. The second part will be published next week. We’ll cover new layouts, new visual approaches and new design elements. Please stay tuned.

Update: the second part of our review741 is now published as well.

Web Design Trends For 2009

Let’s first take a closer look at the main trends we identified, discovered and observed over the last months. In this overview, you’ll find a review of each trend and more beautiful examples that can inspire you in your next project.

  1. Embossing Letterpress

    Web Design Trends 20092

  2. Rich user interfaces

    Web Design Trends 20093

  3. PNG transparency

    Web Design Trends 20094

  4. Big typography

    Web Design Trends 20095

  5. Font replacement (sIFR, etc.)

    Web Design Trends 20096

  6. Modal boxes

    Web Design Trends 20097

  7. Media blocks

    Web Design Trends 20098

  8. The magazine look

    Web Design Trends 20099

  9. Carousels (slideshows)

    Web Design Trends 200910

  10. Introduction blocks

    Web Design Trends 200911

Now let’s go into detail and take a closer look at each of the trends presented above.

1. Letterpress

One of the most unexpected trends we’ve observed over the last months was the emergence of letterpress (actually pressed letters) in Web design. Probably the most important reason for this trend is the simple fact that this technique has been rarely used until now. Letterpress is used in various styles and on various websites and for various topics; in particular, it is often used in product designs and on websites for online services.

Design Trends 200912

Design Trends 200913

Design Trends 200914

Design Trends 200915

Design Trends 200916

Design Trends 200917

Design Trends 200918

Design Trends 200919

Design Trends 200920


2. Rich User Interfaces

Happily, user interfaces in modern websites and Web applications are becoming more beautiful and more usable. Over the last year, the user experience for these applications has dramatically improved, resulting in rich and responsive user interface that have tremendous similarities with classic desktop applications. AJAX and Flash are widely used to offer users the dynamic interaction that they have come to expect from advanced, sophisticated, professional solutions.

In particular, we’ve seen much more white space over the last year, much more padding and much more space for various design elements. We also observed that many modern user interfaces display intuitive visual clues to communicate the status of a user’s interaction with the system. For instance, upon being clicked, event buttons often change their appearance from a “normal” to a “pressed” look (as on Newspond.com21 and Quicksnapper.com22), confirming and providing immediate feedback on the user’s interaction with the system. Aside from this, more and more services are now able to be personalized by the user: for us, it’s a clear sign that adaptive user interfaces are coming in 2009.

Design Trends 200923

Design Trends 200924

Both examples are evidence that designers of Web applications are paying significantly more attention to the way in which functionality is presented and are trying to improve the user experience with more interactive and responsive solutions.

Design Trends 200925

Design Trends 200926

Design Trends 200927

Design Trends 200928

Design Trends 200929

Design Trends 200930

Design Trends 200931


3. PNG transparency

PNG transparency, although unsupported by Internet Explorer 6, seems to have gained popularity on the scene over the last year. Apparently, designers are trying to better integrate background images into the actual content and are aiming for a style that is often seen in printed media, magazines for instance. In most cases, semi-transparent backgrounds stand out in the overall background of a page and are intended to highlight an important design element, such as a headline or announcement. Sometimes PNG transparency is used for the background of modal boxes as well.

Last year, we described a variety of ways in which can get creative with transparency in Web design32, and many designers seemed to experiment with these techniques in their work. Interestingly enough, transparency is often used either in the header or footer of designs, but some designs33 go beyond that.

Design Trends 200934

Design Trends 200935

Design Trends 200936

Design Trends 200937

Design Trends 200938

Design Trends 200939

Design Trends 200940


4. HUGE Typography

We presented some outstanding examples of BIG typography in previous41 posts42. In 2009, big typography should remain popular. In particular, design agencies, portfolios, product websites and online services will use big typography to communicate the most important messages of their websites.

The font size of these design elements often goes beyond 36 pixels, and in many cases quite expensive typefaces are used to reach an audience. Overall, designers are paying closer attention to typographic details such as leading, line height and choice of font. The consequence: websites are more beautiful and more consistent and look solid and trustworthy.

Design Trends 200943

Design Trends 200944

Design Trends 200945

Design Trends 200946

Design Trends 200947

Design Trends 200948

Design Trends 200949


5. Font Replacement

As designers pay more attention to typography, they also pay more attention to the fonts that are used for the copy in the body of websites. Although classics such as Helvetica, Arial, Georgia and Verdana undoubtedly dominate, we observed a slight trend towards font replacement (for instance, with sIFR).

What is interesting is that these fonts are often seamlessly integrated in the design of websites; they are almost never used for their own sake or simply to “upgrade” the typography of a website. Designers are trying to blend beautiful typography and arresting visual design to improve the appearance of websites and improve the user experience.

Design Trends 200950

Design Trends 200951

Design Trends 200952

Design Trends 200953

Design Trends 200954


6. Modal Boxes (Lightboxes)

Modal boxes (dialog windows) are, essentially, the second generation of pop-ups. They serve as a user-friendly alternative to classic JavaScript windows and support users by focusing their attention on the most important area of the website. Modal windows are always triggered by a user action (e.g. signing up or logging in) and appear on top of the main content, like a window in a regular desktop application. Modal windows are often presented in a very subtle way: they are often semi-transparent and have a “Close” button.

Design Trends 200955

Design Trends 200956

Design Trends 200957


7. Media Blocks

With more broadband Internet access, users can now afford to browse more than they did a couple of years ago, and designers can use this opportunity to present content in a more attractive and memorable way. Hence, it’s no wonder that many product websites use media blocks (for videos and screencasts) for this very purpose. The main advantage of such elements is that they can communicate content quickly and effectively and make it easier for users to consume information.

Users just lean back and enjoy the show; they get everything explained to them step by step, without having to click, search for descriptions or learn the navigation. The movies are usually pretty short and get directly to the point; they are mostly formal but can be entertaining, too.

But please make sure that videos are an alternative presentation of (and not the main or only!) content on your website. Not every user has broadband access to the Web, not every user is willing to watch a video (e.g. because he or she may have a radio or music playing in the background), and not every user has Flash and JavaScript installed on his or her machine.

Design Trends 200958

Design Trends 200959


8. The Magazine Look

An interesting development in the design of blogs is the adaptation of various techniques usually found in traditional (print) media. The arrangement of posts on the page, the use of typography, illustrations and even text alignment often resemble traditional techniques from print. Grid-based designs are gaining popularity as well but are used mostly in portfolios, product pages and big blogs; they almost never appear on corporate websites or in online shops.

Design Trends 200960

Design Trends 200961

Design Trends 200962

Design Trends 200963

Design Trends 200964


9. Carousels (Slideshows)

Carousels are essentially slideshow navigations, in which the content rotates vertically or horizontally (hence the name “carousel”). To rotate the navigation, users need to click on one of two toggle elements (usually a left/right or up/down arrow). Depending on the toggle element selected, the content is rotated in the desired direction.

Instead of clicking through various sections of the website for their favorite stories, users can quickly skim through the available stories without vertical scrolling or unnecessary mouse movements. The result: users save time, and the carousel focuses their attention sharply on the content, instead of on interacting with the browser. Such slideshow navigation is often used on entertainment websites and big blogs, but designers also make use of it in their portfolios to showcase their work in a more interactive way.

Design Trends 200965

Design Trends 200966

Design Trends 200967

Design Trends 200968


10. Introduction Blocks

The upper-left area of a website is the most important block on the page, because it grabs the most attention from visitors. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to place the most important message of the website right there and thus make sure that readers get the message as quickly as possible.

In fact, this is exactly what many designers are doing. Whether for a Web application, corporate design, online service or portfolio, designers are pushing their slogans and brief introductions to the top of the page and are using strong, vivid typography to make a good first impression. Some introductions are short, others are quite lengthy; in either case, they usually take a lot of space; the full width of the layout and between 250 and 400 pixels in height are common dimensions for these introduction blocks. Notice, though, that introduction blocks almost never appear in blogs and rarely in online shops.

Design Trends 200969

Design Trends 200970

Design Trends 200971

Design Trends 200972

Design Trends 200973

Stay tuned!

This article covers only 10 of the over 25 trends we’ve identified over the last months. The second part will be published next week. We’ll cover new layouts, new visual approaches and new design elements. Please stay tuned.

Update: the second part of our review741 is now published as well.



  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/21/current-web-design-trends-for-2009/
  2. 2 http://365daysofastronomy.org/
  3. 3 http://www.newspond.com/science/
  4. 4 http://rustinjessen.com/
  5. 5 http://www.francescomugnai.com/
  6. 6 http://www.chigarden.com/
  7. 7 http://listen.grooveshark.com/
  8. 8 http://www.goodbarry.com/
  9. 9 http://cutandtaste.com/
  10. 10 http://www.itv.com/
  11. 11 http://productplanner.com/
  12. 12 http://365daysofastronomy.org/
  13. 13 http://www.alexbuga.com/v8/
  14. 14 http://brightkite.com/
  15. 15 http://www.powerset.com/
  16. 16 http://www.storenvy.com/
  17. 17 http://unblab.com/login
  18. 18 http://www.leemunroe.com/
  19. 19 http://2d2.es/
  20. 20 http://www.respiromedia.com/
  21. 21 http://www.newspond.com
  22. 22 http://www.quicksnapper.com
  23. 23 http://www.quicksnapper.com/
  24. 24 http://dc2009.drupalcon.org/
  25. 25 http://konigi.com/interface/mobileme-calendar-date-selector
  26. 26 http://www.newspond.com/science/
  27. 27 http://www.howcast.com/categories
  28. 28 http://moodstream.gettyimages.com/
  29. 29 http://www.gettyimages.com/
  30. 30 http://listen.grooveshark.com
  31. 31 http://www.kontain.com/#home
  32. 32 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/04/16/getting-creative-with-transparency-in-web-design/
  33. 33 http://24ways.org/
  34. 34 http://rustinjessen.com/
  35. 35 http://dc2009.drupalcon.org/
  36. 36 http://24ways.org/
  37. 37 http://labs.paulicio.us/viewport/#2
  38. 38 http://www.restroom.nl/
  39. 39 http://www.wishingline.com/notebook/
  40. 40 http://carrotcreative.com/
  41. 41 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/10/15/the-showcase-of-big-typography/
  42. 42 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/20/the-showcase-of-big-typography-second-edition/
  43. 43 http://www.francescomugnai.com/
  44. 44 http://madebygiant.com/
  45. 45 http://theautumnfilm.com/red-white-sale/us.html
  46. 46 http://www.signalapps.com/
  47. 47 http://www.blackestate.co.nz/
  48. 48 http://www.onefastbuffalo.com/
  49. 49 http://www.shiftpx.com/
  50. 50 http://blog.iso50.com/
  51. 51 http://365daysofastronomy.org/
  52. 52 http://www.chigarden.com/
  53. 53 http://www.nonesuch.com/journal
  54. 54 http://daily.creattica.com/
  55. 55 http://typedeskref.com/
  56. 56 http://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/overview/
  57. 57 http://listen.grooveshark.com/
  58. 58 http://www.getbackboard.com
  59. 59 http://www.goodbarry.com
  60. 60 http://www.objectifiedfilm.com/
  61. 61 http://www.inspirationbit.com/sources-of-inspiration-to-the-rescue/
  62. 62 http://www.good.is/
  63. 63 http://cutandtaste.com/
  64. 64 http://www.nonesuch.com/journal
  65. 65 http://www.itv.com
  66. 66 http://money.cnn.com
  67. 67 http://music.yahoo.com
  68. 68 http://vickycristina-movie.com/
  69. 69 http://www.shannonmoeller.com/
  70. 70 http://productplanner.com/
  71. 71 http://www.45royale.com/
  72. 72 http://revyver.com/
  73. 73 http://creamscoop.com/
  74. 74 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/21/current-web-design-trends-for-2009/

↑ Back to top Tweet itShare on Facebook

Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Nice collection. Thanks :)

  2. 2

    Thanks for gathering this collection of trends… this is my favorite kind of Smashing Magazine post. Gotta stay on the cutting edge! Looking forward to the follow up post next week.

  3. 3

    Yes this is a great collection indeed. Will have to wait for Part 2 patiently.

  4. 4

    Brilliant. Thanks for the list.

    It’s not always easy combining style with great content but I think the trend will be for strong CMS’s like Joomla to combine style with substance. Then you’ll have a truly inspiring website.

  5. 5

    Another trend I’ve noticed is bigger background images…

  6. 6

    Great article – looking forward to Part 2.

  7. 7

    Great Post. I am really into most of these trends. I love ‘em! They immediately capture the eye!

  8. 8

    Going to repeat what everyone else has said, thanks and great article.

  9. 9

    awesome post, thank you!

  10. 10

    Well, letterpress is been used since a few years i.e. Apple’s revamped website (after aqua).
    What we can see is a global trend to add deepness to graphic design, to make the navigation tips closer to physical perception.

    And thanks for the great job you are doing !

  11. 11

    Wow this is a great long post… Has a value of 27 hours of hard work…

  12. 12

    Very amazing collection.

  13. 13

    Another amazing post !~

  14. 14

    Peter T - Webshop

    January 14, 2009 10:32 pm

    Every time I think you guys can’t come up with another great article, you do!

  15. 15

    Awesome list! Great to see so many screenshot snippets of the best trending web designs in one post.

  16. 16

    Very pleasing to read post! Will be eagerly waiting for the second part.

  17. 17

    Very inspirational.
    Are there any tutorials related to Letterpress design?

    Looking forward for Part 2…

  18. 18

    I think that ‘The Magazine Look’ is part of a bigger trend – Now that we’ve gotten pretty good at web design, the design of the web and the design of the offline world are merging. Some other examples:

    – Wooden and paper textured backgrounds
    – Handwritten type faces
    – Images with polaroidesque borders

    This is has been happening for a while, but I think we’ll see more of it.

  19. 19

    Thanx for the trends. I really hope IE6 will disappear this year and we can use full PNG-transparency.

  20. 20

    this is great…, thanks…

  21. 21

    excellent informaton .. love the LARGE font style … really makes your message POP!

  22. 22
  23. 23

    Very informative! Thanks!

  24. 24

    wouw nice, what about an article or tutorial about:

    how image replace works and the technics for it.

  25. 25

    This is a quality article and one I have definitely bookmarked. I plan on combining some of these techniques that you have mentioned above.

    When I started reading the article I skipped the intro and as I was scrolling I was wondering ‘Where is magazine layouts?!’ but thankfully it is listed. I believe it will be a huge trend in 2009 and is something I mentioned on From the Couch earlier this year.

    Anyway GREAT article.

  26. 26

    I’m interested in how innovative PNG transparency will get. The possibilities seem endless!

  27. 27

    You seem to refer to all dialog boxes as modal, however some of the examples of dialog boxes you show are not modal. Modality is the greying out of the background so that the page cannot be interacted with while the dialog is open….

  28. 28

    Great article! Thanks :-)

  29. 29

    Thanks a lot for the article !

  30. 30

    so these are the 72 hour long posts ;o?

  31. 31

    I think the letterpress style is simply copying apple (like so many other web trends…) I have to say it looks good, though.

  32. 32

    You mention 24ways.org @ PNG transparency, but as far as I know there are no (semi) transparent PNG’s used at that website, all transparency is accomplished by CSS! The only images used are those of the writers and the diagonal background image.

  33. 33

    This is amazing stuff! Looking forward for the second part. It keeps getting better and better. Thank you SM!

  34. 34

    They are really interesting, thank you so much!!!

  35. 35

    ‘letterpress’ – surely this term is inaccurate as it refers to physical type pressed into paper. When what you are referring to is simply emboss and drop shadow styles…

    Otherwise an interesting and thought-provoking article.

  36. 36

    Really excellent article.

    It is always nice to see what is being used out on the web. I have seen a number of the techniques but had not realised they were quite so mainstream just yet. Maybe they are.

    Will have a bit of a mess with what you have shown to see if it can improve any of my work or future designs.

  37. 37

    GROW UP guys!

    These “trends” were around for years and you guys are showcasing them for 2009?
    Come on! :))

  38. 39

    BANG! sparks are flying! love ya!
    Thx singmash manigaze!!!

  39. 40

    Very interesting collection, as well as inspiring.
    Thank you for sharing!

  40. 41


  41. 42

    Web Design Bureau

    January 15, 2009 2:24 am

    Okay, these are trends alright? They are based on say 2008’s last months and after the 2 articles are published, we’ll see scores of websites with these “trends” cropping up all over the web in less than 2 months and all these will look bland to us. Its always like that.

  42. 43

    Great post ! I’m waiting for the next one !
    Lots of interesting ideas that are confirmed by my day to day surf.
    Thanks !

  43. 44

    Veeery nice article. It’s a great for any inspiration. Thanks!

  44. 45

    Viewport from paulicio is awesome !

  45. 46

    thx ! nice work! this is my first reply!

  46. 47

    thanks for this helpful article

  47. 48

    Where do i find some tutorial for letterpress styled text?

  48. 49

    Great post!!

  49. 50

    Oh you guise! :’3

    Web Design Bureau:
    Betcha with CSS3 we’ll see all these things again and again a few years from now. Some trends never die unless we get bombed back to the stoneage.

  50. 51

    Great collection, thank you.

  51. 52

    Very nice collection, thanks!

  52. 53

    Drupal Con’s got Smashed – strong motivation for Drupal themers!

  53. 54

    Inspirational post and some great examples. Thanks for the mention

  54. 55

    Nice article!

  55. 56

    ok, lets keep it straight, letterpress is not possible on the web. I have yet to see anything that even slightly resembles the beauty of letterpress printing anywhere on the web, drop shadows and embossing in Photoshop just doesn’t cut it. Visually interesting…yes, Letterpress…no. If you really want letterpress on your website, do the real thing and scan it in, now that’s innovative!

  56. 57

    Great post. I was thinking of twisting my site a little bit this way.

  57. 58

    I normally don’t spend as much time as I do on one post (Reading, following links, etc.). I literally ended up with about a dozen tabs open. It wasn’t until I started to bookmark the ones I really enjoyed and closed the others did I realize how I got to them in the first place – this post.


  58. 59

    Except for _maybe_ the first two, these are not really new trends for 2009 I think. The title should have been: The most popular trends in web design in the last couple of years. Of course, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen, especially in a field as fast changing as web design.

    Nice article though, but it’s not what the title promised.

  59. 60

    Great post! I’m in the process of designing my personal/portfolio website, and found this to be very inspiring! Keep up the great work, you’re my fav resource!

  60. 61

    i always like hearing about trends.. gives me guidance on what NOT to do too often.

  61. 62

    Good stuff, I enjoyed trawling through it

    Thanks a million

  62. 63

    Very nice collection. I particularly like Modal Boxes. A trend I’ve noticed is that the font
    Helvetica Neue is being used more often. But when I load a site using this font it displays jagged in Firefox.

  63. 64

    Sigh. The misconceptions of the design-uneducated masses…

    There are no such things as web design trends, only good, appropriate design.

    P.S. Most of the “trends” posted have been around since 2006 or more…

  64. 65

    Bad ass article for us web designers. Danke.

  65. 66

    Good stuff, even if it’s a pity some visitors use old browsers (as IE6… More than 14% in december in Europe) ; these old browsers doesn’t support new tricks as PNG transparency, it’s an awful puzzle for webdesigners to adapt websites for all browsers…

    Note that CSS3 specifications permits transparency and fonts remplacement ;-)

  66. 67

    a lot of these aren’t even from 2009. I’ve seen some of these sites on CSSRemix and other “inspirational” CSS galleries a year or longer ago.

  67. 68

    hate the word trend

  68. 69

    magazine style! love it… light and informative….

  69. 70

    Nice collection. I’ve noticed a big increase in typography design this year…even if the main focus isn’t typography.

  70. 71

    My website makes use of the letterpress look for headers. Didn’t realize it was such a popular trend…dang.

  71. 72

    *Ahem* I don’t think the DrupalCon site uses PNG transparency.

    Just throwing that out there.

  72. 73

    heather van de mark

    January 15, 2009 10:52 am

    loved the post, but i wonder if the term trends makes us go out and implement these visual strategies, no questions asked or imagination required. rather than if they were named as inspiration, perhaps then we’d use, manipulate and go beyond them… these will be in my head most definitely, but we should all strive to create new trends not live by them.

  73. 74

    You rock smashing , Thanks

  74. 75


  75. 76

    Great article, looking forward to part 2, and expect the colour trends for 2009.
    But the most important thing is that many of these things are related to user experience. Nice to see that the websites are getting more and more focused on the user, and still looking great.

  76. 77

    I love all the designs on the list.

  77. 78

    Beatifully design.
    thanks for sharing.
    you make me get some idea.

  78. 79

    Random question, but what software made the video on the media boxes section (www.goodbarry.com). Is it straight Flash or is there a program that is outputting to Flash?

  79. 80

    trend is a scary word because it has the connotation of dating (usually poorly), but I can get behind a lot of these directions because many have held up well when applied to print design.

  80. 81

    Awesome post! Thanks again SmashingMag!

  81. 82

    what a great collection guys, thanks a lot! some of it is neat, and others, well, they are becoming a bit of a cliche.

  82. 83

    Well, this was interesting, never heard of sIFR befor, thank you very mcuh for mentioning it!
    I’m excited about the second part.

  83. 84

    Letterpress allowing the background to show through is a great idea. Wish I’d thought of it.

    Great design article, as always.

  84. 85

    2009 is looking like a great year :)

  85. 86

    Nice Collection of trends… Thanks !!

  86. 87

    We have to kill carousel. It’s over!

  87. 88

    I just literally spent 4 hours reading all of it, making new bookmars, taking some notes…
    thank you, awsome post, will keep an eye for the next one :)

  88. 89

    Interesting trends. Thanks.

  89. 90

    Great article. I’d love to see a tutorial on the Letterpress technique or a link to one.

  90. 91

    Best Smashing Post ever. Bangin.

  91. 92

    the PNG transparent thing…is nice…hehe..i can’t wait to try it, thanks

  92. 93

    grt article…highly useful….

  93. 94

    Letterpress trend came from CS4 (icons, loading screen)

  94. 95


    I didn`t know about the sIFR thing … have to test it now :) great stuff!

  95. 96

    Best Compilation!

  96. 97

    Wow, this inspires me like a small green egg!

  97. 98

    very cool, 2009 great year

  98. 99

    Great inspiration. It has opened my eyes to what my blog needs adjusted :).

  99. 100

    The last thing the web need now is more sites with massive fonts (and no content), or those pointless flash carousels… whee, look at it spin!

  100. 101

    Good article, but the pedant in me couldn’t help making the following points:

    I can’t help but join Jenn in pointing out that the first style is not what you’d describe as ‘Letterpress’ in print media. Letterpress refers to printing using metal letters. The style you’ve featured would probably be better described as de-bossing, a printing technique where the type is stamped into the surface you are printing, so the letters form an inverted relief pattern.

    Also, a lot of the examples you give for png transparency are actually created using the CSS opacity feature.

    That’s it, end of pedantry.

  101. 102

    See this article? This article right here? The one we all just read?

    Yeah…this is exactly why Smashing is so great. I used a couple of the simpler features listed above to build a complete site overhaul for a large corporate client. GREAT reaction to it. Thanks again!

  102. 103

    I hope you all remember, that just because they are all trends, doesn’t mean that they are all good….

    I’m going to hate a lot of sites designed this year because some of these trends are wack.

  103. 104

    Sorry folks, but letterpress was being overused in the late 90’s and carried on all through 2000+.

  104. 105

    It’s cool, I like them. Thanks for your article.

  105. 106

    This is a great collection and list of things, as always. Unfortunately, and I’m not sure if I’m alone on this one, I feel like this would’ve been a great list for last year. I guess it just depends on what the threshold or tipping point making a technique a trend, but I feel like many of these trends picked up speed in 2007.

    Either way, this is a good roundup. Thanks for taking the time to collect so many visual examples.

  106. 107

    sorry its by mistaken. ur article is very good

  107. 108

    Good article

  108. 109

    I’ve not heard of Smashing before this. Definitely bookmarked now. Great article, and great response for the most part. Please, designers, keep your comments positive, do not give in to your inner hater :)

  109. 110

    Starred! thanks :)

  110. 111

    I can’t wait to read the second part!

  111. 112

    Nice job.
    I, impressed with the “Letter Press”. Planning to implement in my next web platform.

  112. 113


    Both the letterpress and the re-introduciton of introduction blocks. The first reminds me of the emboss-period, Photoshop 4 era IIRC.
    And re-emerging introduction blocks. Much like the ‘coverpage’, stuff like that just seems to keep coming back with every new jump in the ever growing web-publish-enabled group of people in our society. Makes you wonder if they should maybe be considered a natural step in someone’s evolution towards a full blown publisher. A need to identify oneself in an unknown environment. Much like how when you’re new in a bar it takes a while before new faces are introduced to you, as opposed to you being introduced to new faces.

    png transparency? about time! :)

  113. 114

    Nice compilation. I wonder though if some of the png transparency is really done through css.

  114. 115

    All of this reflects trends that have been around for the past 2-3 years. Really surprised the boundaries weren’t pushed here…. not mention of Mobile Web Trends?

  115. 116

    AWESOME!!…thanks a lot for sharing it with us ^o^

  116. 117
  117. 118

    Who is the author? They are very astute.

    Good article with some great examples of the developments of the web.

    Interested in the follow up article!

  118. 119

    Anthony James Bruno

    January 19, 2009 12:46 pm

    Web Design Trends to avoid in 2009

  119. 120

    Decent article, however, I don’t agree with a few aspects…

    Letterpress is nothing new and has been around for many years. Maybe it’s just making a small comeback like bell-bottoms did. I wouldn’t expect this to gain momentum in ’09.

    Modal dialogs have also been around for some time now. Any Windows developer has been familiar with them with MDI applications for over a decade now. The .NET framework ajax extensions introduced an easily adaptable ajax modal back in ’06/’07. Now frameworks like jQuery have made this easily done as well.

    Just having heard of sIFR, I find to be a terrible solution to an age-old design problem. Who seriously wants the extra overhead of marking all site text with sIFR tags and then have javascript run through, and overlay flash on everything. Who came up with this?!?!?

    Off the top of my head it can think of a way more efficient solution:
    How about introducing a new link attribute “font” like so:

    Then the user’s browser can simply download/install the font to it’s temp directory and display the page properly. Now the page isn’t littered with flash and extra markup; only browsers need to be updated to support this.

  120. 121

    Superb collection…

  121. 122

    Great article!

  122. 123

    Interesting and very useful article. I am going to refer this link in my blog

    Swami K

  123. 124

    Arg!! very nice, thanks a lot!!

  124. 125

    Interesting article. Something which has been around for a while is introduction blocks. Some of my clients have been using them, and like you say they only work in certain situations. When running usability tests with participants, some find the intro informative on a site when there are few clues indicating the site’s purpose. In other situations they make the homepage feel cluttered and are often overlooked in favour for navigation links and calls to action.

    Look forward to reading the remaining 15 trends.

  125. 126

    nice collection );

  126. 127

    Merewald Valletta

    January 21, 2009 6:35 pm

    Absolutely awesome. Thanks for sharing this.

  127. 128

    Awesome!!! Its really very helpful to me.

  128. 129

    I have to agree with some of the others– I feel like a lot of these trends aren’t new, just making comebacks. I know CSS3 has a new RGB transparency feature, which may be the reason for this new resurgence. However I remember the popularity of using the CSS alpha(opacity) trick in the early 2000s. The return to the embossed type look actually scares me a bit– it can look awful in the wrong hands.

  129. 130

    I hope embossed type goes away very quickly. It’s too close to photoshop filters. They aren’t… exactly, but there’s some kind of psychological connection there…

  130. 131


  131. 132

    Definitely some great new web design trends for the new year. It’s really amazing to see just how far it has come and what web designers are able to do…it seems like magic!

    Great post that has some really solid examples of the new movement in web design.

    Boston, MA

  132. 133

    Web technologies and endless design possibilities are finally heading in the right direction!
    Excellent article!

    Keep on experimenting and making websites interesting!

  133. 134

    Love the pressed letters and the big fonts. Found the example site to be interesting too. :-) Thanks!

  134. 135

    Thanks for the great article. And thanks for featuring our work.

  135. 136

    Ability to mirror web design from print media design or just natural scenery around us is a great step for users to map to the online world from their offline experiences. Good list.

  136. 137

    Nice work !

  137. 138

    great and useful. thank you

    pity that some great designs are heavy to load. must be my slow aussie connection.

    suggestion: it would be great if users (we) could rate each example (just small + / – maybe) – just to see which layout made biggest impression. that would reveal which trends will stick in our (designers) mind


  138. 139

    Thanks for mentioning our site (cut and taste). I have no idea what “magazine look” means, but the clicks come either way, haha. There is a grid structure to the site, but I’m sure it is under-utilized, compared to other sites that change their layout from page-to-page. Anyway, thanks again for including our site in the mix!

  139. 140

    Great article, Very informative.

    But still i would like to make a suggestion that web design trends and fads come and go as fast as you can say the word “Trends”. So to stay on the top of web design trends it can be difficult and time consuming.

    But there is still one things any web designer can do is to learn the newest trends or fads and put your own spin to them. To stay on top of web design trends you must visit websites, blogs, read books, magazines and articles like this one and also explore new design agencies.Through this one can know as well as find out the latest trends happening in web designing.

    So i would hope that you all do agree to this.


  140. 141

    Great post. Please continue your web design trends in various aspects, its educational.

    I find that the example on this page have more user focus than those: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/07/textures-in-modern-web-design/
    The later seems to be a designer ego show and ignore the fact that people have to read and use the pages.

    So I like those trends much better :)

  141. 142

    Maybe should have mentioned there are many ways to allow PNG’s to display correctly in IE6
    Additional development and can be tedious at best… but, it works!

    Nice post. Thnx

  142. 143

    Are there any tutorials on how to makes the slide shows (Carousels)? Particularly the yahoo one? I’m not a flash guy.

  143. 144

    thinks! very nice.

  144. 145

    really good compilation :D 10/10

    but i think 1 thing they forgot is the good old mootools slider noticed alot of the sites using it amongst the collection.. maybe that was last year :P

  145. 146

    very useful information~~ thanks

  146. 147

    Actually, not only is what you’re showing not “letterpress,” it isn’t even an “emboss” either.
    It’s mimicing a “deboss.”
    “In debossing an image such as a logo, a title, or other design is heat-pressed into the surface of the paper with a die, creating depressions rather than raised impressions as in embossing. The same techniques used for embossing — blind, foil, and ink — can be used with debossing to create visual effects and texture. Debossing can be done on hard and soft covers.”
    Lack of knowledge of fundamentals rears is ugly head again.

  147. 148

    i was thinking, about the new trends for 2009, i was thinking in 3D full interactive sites, without plugins, multiplatform and others, i was trying to connect the java 3D with the cms content (web 2.0) for make the new 3.0 web see more at http://www.jarivia.com.ar/hanxo_swan.html

  148. 149

    Thanks very much for outlining some great examples. I particulary like the pressed letters, PNG transparency and magazine style. I’d like to use these in some of my own designs in the future. But at the same time – I like to try and create my own style rather than follow a trend.

  149. 150

    At least with introduction blocks, users now worry less about not knowing what the website is about. But, that’s only for the homepage. :P

  150. 151

    Really worth to know these things. Thank you very much!!!!!

  151. 152

    It’s a great help for us knowing all these stuffs. :)

  152. 153

    Too bad TARGET = “_blank” isn’t a trend. I got really tired of hitting the back button or cmd clicking on your links.

  153. 154

    I’d really like to know how to get the Letterpress effect on typography and implement that into some of my website designs. Any advice?

  154. 155

    Very helpful thank you.

  155. 156

    First of all, thanks for taking the time to post all these wonderful pages…and second, I wanted to know if there’s any tutorial on the letterpress/emboss trend yet, I would love to apply that into something I’m working on… I looked for something similar but couldn’t find anything that gets the beautiful results shown here… Please, Help!!!!

  156. 157

    There are many latest web designing trends that have come today in picture.

    Amateur and professional Web designers alike are getting a new tool to help them easily create sites that are fully interactive.

    -There should be a consistent theme and design running throughout your site ie same header image and/or logo, slogan, navigation, copyright and colors.

    Nathan Hauritz

  157. 158

    It sounds intersting

  158. 159

    That’s amazing. Thanks for that nice and helpful article

  159. 160


    April 3, 2009 8:17 pm

    well done!!!

  160. 161

    Good job! Awesome work…

    I need to know more how to do it…
    I am more interested in the magazine look! Please send me the links.


  161. 162

    Great sharing about trend2009, I really like it too much and also would like to know more about the latest updates about web designing issue.

    Thank you very much.

  162. 163

    Very nice and thanks for sharing cute latest thing about designing and trends.
    I would like to know and read more amazing and interested post at smashingmagazine.com

    All the best!

  163. 164

    Great job, will be usefull

  164. 165

    I absolutely love the magazine look. I think it brings me back to the good ol’ days of print ads. It’s very simple and clean, leaving the page uncluttered but dynamic enough to attract the readers attention.

    Great post!


  165. 166

    super! i love SM

  166. 167

    Just thinking a bit about some of the offerings here. All really nice, crisp looks.

    I want to encourage those of us watching these trends to not simply copy them. Instead, absorb the look, determine how you might interpret that in your own visual language and then “go get some.”

    Staying current with fashions and trends is fun. However, avoid becoming a copy cat. Take what you see and synthesize it into something that suits your style and your client’s needs.

    There’s another thing to take into consideration. Don’t just do something because you think it’s cool. Do it because it truly expresses a point of view or an essential quality.

    Not everyone is an innovator. Yet everyone can synthesize ideas. Ideas, like language, are viral. They mutate quickly and become something more than what they were the last time they were encountered. Ideas easily evolve into something new – and hopefully interesting.

    I can’t emphasize enough how much we as designers need to step back and ask ourselves — “Are we truly representing ourselves and our clients’ best qualities?” Or are we merely plagiarizing the work of others.

    Synthesis over “Me-Tooism,” I believe, will win every time.

    BTW- I think calling the style “letterpress” is a misnomer. The look appears to be more like “die cut” or “deboss.” It is a more representative naming based on the analog versions of the style, as done before in the print world.


  167. 168
  168. 169

    Very nice and thanks for sharing cute latest thing about designing and trends.
    I would like to know and read more amazing and interested post at smashingmagazine.com

  169. 170

    i like these latest design its helpful 4 all the web designer
    thanks 4 its

  170. 171

    I love what bludomain.com offers!


  171. 172

    Great article and the screen shots really showcase these features well!

  172. 173

    this article will surely help me.

    thank you for sharing the knowledge with the world.

  173. 174


    June 18, 2009 2:14 am

    Really helpfull!!!!!!!!

    Very nice examples!!!!!

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Expecting more kind of this from you!!!!!!!!!!!

  174. 175

    Whoa, it’s pretty extensive. Thanks for the detailed and well-illustrated post. I’m still trying to take in everything that you’ve mentioned and am finding myself agreeing with most of it.

    The options are many. Ideas abound in playful abundance. But only a few of these will stand the test of time and manage to shape and mold the future.

    Only time will tell which ones those would be.

  175. 176

    great article! nice work!

  176. 177

    Thanks for the trends and the nice examples….
    is there any possibility of giving some tutorial sites on the above trends.

  177. 178

    OMG, I love you for this post. Thank you. I’m developing a concept for my portfolio and this is just what I needed. Thanks again!

  178. 179

    Thank you, very useful. Even there are different trends, for instance in Norway. We are designing for emotions!

  179. 180

    Mohan singh rathore

    July 26, 2009 5:00 am

    Wow that’s great efforts !!! :-)

  180. 181

    Well done.

  181. 182

    Well done, Too helpful post with nice examples.
    I like this informative post .
    Thanks you very much

  182. 183
  183. 184

    kenyib wintersuns

    August 23, 2009 12:20 pm

    yap yap.. this i’ve looking for..
    nice information..
    i wonder what’ll be next year trends??

  184. 185

    awesome job!!!!!!!!!!!!

  185. 186

    Ok. You f**ing idiots need to stop commenting! Your spamming the hell out of this website! Stupid no-life-Hobos! Go Get a job and get off this site! Fags. Gawd. Anyway. Nice page. I guess. Not really that good though.

  186. 187

    Haha!! Good post… at least NOW we know what to expect!
    But yeah, everything on there is true. Use of illustration could have been on there somewhere too though

  187. 188

    This article really dashing 7& much helpful to me……………

  188. 189

    I can’t believe so much has changed within a few years so referring to these articles keeps us fresh!!

    I <3 Whitespace

  189. 190

    LaQuanta Williams

    October 1, 2009 8:15 am


  190. 191

    warm smaller small slowly suggested satellite volunteer developer

  191. 192

    fuel melts direct intensity international emission yahoo conclusions

  192. 193

    fantastic updates on the latest trends. We do see them but don’t realize. This is categorized and put in a very good manner.

    Keep up the good work!

  193. 194

    lol 365 use cloaking!!!!!!!!! Do you believe this people could steal the design?? )))))

  194. 195

    Nice one.
    I have also been seeing more movable tabs lately!!!!

  195. 196

    they are all css alpha chanel and not png transparency. Almost no serious webdesigner woulduse direct png transparecny since it’s a rescource eatteer and even yahoo with the yahoo marking system for websites strongly disagrees with it. us coul create a transparent div wich are directly controlled by web browser so the rendering is much faster. Also the size of png is actually not compact for websites

  196. 197

    Great article, Thanks !

  197. 198

    Really nice……

  198. 199

    great inspirations….

  199. 200

    the very good . i like

  200. 201

    Very helpful – thank you

  201. 202

    It’s so hard to keep on top the trends. As a web designer, I feel like I’m falling behind the latest and greatest. The logo designs are great. Another list I go off of is web2logo.com . I think I see some of these styles emerging there. I’m going to try embossing on my next logo.

  202. 203

    This article is very helpful. Thanks

    Please tell me some goods fonts for big typography. I always fed up of selecting fonts

  203. 204
  204. 205

    my help me.

  205. 206

    A very very superb and helpful collection…thanx alot!

  206. 207

    Hope there will be a “Web Design Trends For 2010″ post soon :)

  207. 208

    it´s just boring!!! and long…

  208. 209

    yeah good.

  209. 210

    The same for 2010 ?

  210. 211

    I think ill learn something out of it….

  211. 212

    Does it have to be so long site?
    What is the goal of this lenght?
    my regards

  212. 213

    I wonder if ‘die-cut’ is a more appropriate term than ‘embossing’? Embossing reminds me of the ancient web trend of shiny text that pops out of the design like a bubble, or so that was what the dead trend was called. Great collection, thanks for sharing. I’m already noticing trends for ’10. :)

  213. 214
  214. 215

    Nice. Can i get it for this year too..

  215. 216

    Excellent Showcase of design trends, very useful inspiration for when we all face the designers block!

  216. 217

    Adorei! Muito legal este post.


  217. 218

    Great article on present Web 2.0 standards. I think these kind of articles shows the present international web standarads that can be useful for web designers.

  218. 219

    Nice trends and very helpfull for me and other designers

  219. 220

    thanks for your information, its work’s and helped me finding some inspiration to design

  220. 221

    Propagating an incorrect term like ‘letterpress’ is either irresponsible or demonstration of the author’s ignorance. If you’re a young designer, please don’t think the example provided is called ‘letterpress’. If you have the misfortune of using the term that way, you’re going to look like an idiot. Don’t damage your credibility like this author. He looks like less of a designer and more like a guy who knows his way around web design.

    Really disappointing.

  221. 222

    This is really great information. I really appreciate Smashing magazine for the Great work. I found couple of website that done similar kind of work earlier. dmarkweb.com has been doing great so far in the field of web design and development.

  222. 223

    Rich user Interface is blowing………….

  223. 224

    Nice post and very well written.

  224. 225

    An excellent post. Thanks for sharing.

  225. 226

    Web design trends for 2010 ??

  226. 227

    nice trends and great organized article!

  227. 228

    Nice article for a web designer to adopt emself towards latest trend in the web world. Lots of Tnx… SM…!

  228. 229


  229. 230

    I think the advertising impact is how best to succeed in the short term. This advertising impact is created with a great idea. And this is evidenced by the creators of avatarpublicity.com, where creativity can be observed with full intensity. That’s incredible.

  230. 231

    i want to make a web site can you help me to know those sites that provide free web site

  231. 232

    Thats good to know!


    camp fire

  232. 233

    Great article! I sent the link to all my graphic designer buddies!

  233. 234

    Best animation institute in Chandigarh

    July 2, 2010 1:46 am

    thanx and good article..send me more details about this…

  234. 235

    super collection. thanksssssssssssssss.

  235. 236

    Thats a really comprehensive post. Thanks for sharing it Vitaly.

  236. 237

    Nice collection. I like that designs have become more visually pleasing but like most things that trend, they are everywhere and elements are overused. Too much of one thing is not good in my humble opinion. Sites start to look the same, in particular, the large typography and sub-header with the ‘featured area slideshow’.

  237. 238

    Great article! Thank you very much.

  238. 239

    Great to get knowledge and highly detailed informations. Really Appreciated.

  239. 240

    for fonts click here http://www.allyourfonts.com/

  240. 241

    I really appreciate your efforts. Collection still looks latest. do you have posted anything for 2011 as well?

    Thanks again,
    Robert Brown
    web application development company

  241. 242

    It’s very good,Thank you very much

  242. 243

    Hey guys: I saw your website online while searching for google – I noticed that while your website looks “hot” ( you are a web design company!) Your online rankings were not strong as they could be.


↑ Back to top