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4 Retro Website Design Trends That Are Making a Comeback

There are plenty of trends we should leave in the 80s and 90s — shoulder pads, frosted tips, and bad eyebrows, to name a few; but when it comes to design, anything goes. What was once dated can be made into something modern and beautiful. Take these four “retro” web design trends for example.


For many years, I thought of gradients as dated — they reminded me of Microsoft WordArt. Now, I’m using them every chance I get. I’m not sure what changed my mind, but I love blending two bold colors to add a little more depth and visual interest to my designs. A hot trend in 2019, you’ll be seeing gradients everywhere in 2020 as well. 

Vibrant purple to blue gradient trend in 2020 web design.

Bold Color Schemes

Despite being a girl who loves all things neutral when it comes to fashion and home decor, I can’t get enough of bold pops of color in web design lately. Life is too short for the classic grays and blues you see in brands everywhere. If you really want to command attention to your brand, go bold! Choose a funky purple or a bright green. Be different — it’s more fun that way.

Bold color scheme trend for web design in 2020.

Organic (Non-Geometric) Shapes

Typically, web pages are set up in systematic grids made for straight lines and geometric shapes; but designers don’t have to play by the rules. A trend I’ve been seeing everywhere these days is the use of organic, abstract shapes in web design. The smooth lines and flowing shapes create movement on the page and give your website a unique look and feel. 

Minimalist poster with abstract organic shapes composition

Boxy Layouts

I used to be terrified of boxy layouts in my designs. They gave me early 2000s vibes — all boxed-in with tons of wasted space. Everything I did HAD to stretch full-width — until I realized that, when done the right way, a little bit of a border can look really cool. Take the most recent website we launched for example. It turns a really dated concept into an interesting and modern look. 

Boxy web design template trend for web design in 2020.

It’s interesting to reflect on the rules I used to give myself in my design. I never thought I’d be referring to any of these concepts as “trendy”, but here we are. It just goes to show how design can grow and evolve over time. What are your thoughts on these trends? Are you obsessed, or do you wish they’d have stayed behind in the 90s with jelly shoes and slap bracelets? What trends do you think are the next to emerge?

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