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Neumorphism In Web Design In 2021
Date: 2/12/2021

The ever-evolving web design industry has witnessed the rise and fall of numerous trends. With web designers the world over constantly striving to render increasingly more engaging and communication-oriented websites, the practice itself has come to play a pivotal role in business conversions. One such trend that has taken the industry by storm is that of neumorphism.

Referred to as the new “it” design trend, neumorphism is, in simple terms, a revival of skeuomorphism. Stylistically, it falls somewhere in between flat design and skeuomorphic design. In this article, we take a look at what neumorphism entails and how it is different from its predecessor.

Understanding Neumorphic Design

Neumorphism is essentially the brainchild of Alexander Plyuto whose Dribbble shot went viral. The shot depicted an interface of what modern applications would look like if skeuomorphism were still in use. This gave the trend the momentum it needed and inspired several more web designers to share their take on it.

In essence, neumorphism is a style that relies heavily on the use of shadows. While implementing a minimalistic approach, it is achieved with the help of two shadows, one of which is at negative values while the other is at positive values. This gives the elements a three-dimensional look so that they appear to be extruded from the background. In order for this trick to work, however, it is important to ensure that the background is not entirely black or white but tinted with both light and dark shadows.

How Is It Different?

While neumorphism draws from skeuomorphism, there are certain aspects which set it apart from its forerunner. Skeuomorphism involves designing interface objects in a hyper-realistic manner such that they closely resemble their real-world counterparts. Neumorphism, on the other hand, is all about subtlety. Only the most accessible effects like fill, gradients, double drop shadows, and stroke are used. An average developer can very easily achieve these effects in their natural code forms.

The use of pale and muted colors with low chroma is another key feature. The shapes of elements are easily accessible and are used repeatedly to create an overly repetitive interface. Unlike material elements, which appear to be floating on top of the perceived background through the use of one shadow, neumorphic elements merely protrude from the background and do not float.

All in all, the goal of neumorphism is not to achieve maximum realism or over-represent objects from the real world but to create what would appear to be a clay render of analog elements from back in the day. The flashy aspects of skeuomorphic design are replaced with consistently soft visuals throughout.

Neumorphic Design Resources

Finding the right resources and tools is vital to attaining the best results with any kind of design. Adobe XD and Figma are two of the best options for this use case. Sketch, Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Designer, and Invision Studio are other options that can be explored. In order to pick the right tool, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each of them in the light of Product Design and UI/UX.

In Conclusion

The monochromatic color palette and lack of contrast that characterize most neumorphic designs also render this design philosophy impractical for some applications, especially data-intensive use cases which require instant legibility and clarity. With that said, it can be an attractive way to design certain applications that hinge on broad-strokes user engagement.

Neumorphism, like all its precursors in the world of web design, is but a stepping stone to something bigger and better. Bearing that in mind, this trend certainly has a lot of potential and plenty of opportunities for exploration and experimentation. Developers in 2021 look poised to mix and match elements of this design language with those of other popular design philosophies to create hybrid styles though the level of progress will pertain to the level of economic activity America is able to achieve.