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Great school website design trends to note for 2021

website design
Courtesy of Hal Gatewood on Unsplash.

As we are hustling through the new year into the spring, school website designers are picking up more assignments for small schools to meet their deadlines to start marketing for recruitment. If you’re in a similar position and you’ve reached a creative rut, or you don’t know which elements of your site should be refreshed and modernized, here are some great school website design trends that are making headway in 2021. 

Return of the serif font 

Some argue that classic is best, and nothing is more classic and traditional than a strong serif font for your school website’s body copy. Old trends eventually circle back around, and once again, it’s a serif font’s time to shine. For a long time, sans serif fonts were popular because of their sleek design against serif fonts. Serif fonts are more formal in nature because of their detailed flourishes, and web designers have tended to stray away from those to prioritize legibility over design. 

Fast forward to 2021, and web designers have begun using unique serif fonts again to stand out against competitors. Serif fonts have the capacity to bring attitude, culture, and tone to your website’s design whilst remaining easy to read. A bold serif font is great for title text to stand out on your school’s website. 

Alternative hero image ideas

Over the last few years, strong images and other multimedia have changed the website homepage game, especially in the hero area. The hero area of your school website’s homepage is the first thing a website visitor sees when they click onto your site; it’s important that your hero image is strong to attract visitors further and keep them engaged. 

There’s lots of room to be creative with the hero area of your website. Some websites play with typography, others add animation or make the hero focal point a strong, high-resolution image. You could also play around with building out multiple images or multimedia elements for your hero area on your homepage – the world is your oyster on this front. 

Interactive scrolling 

Interactive elements built into a website is imperative for increasing engagement on each page. When it comes to navigating a page nowadays, it’s so much more than just scrolling through the content. For a fully functional, modern, and engaging website, you have to include design elements that allow your site visitors to participate in the content. 

There are several different types of scrolling methods, including horizontal and parallax. In horizontal scrolling, the user gets a stronger feel for the website’s content because there are multiple blocks with different information like an image gallery, school news, or other buttons that engage the user. They are aligned horizontally so the user can scroll left to right, and the web designer incorporates strong visual elements to help the user navigate the website. Parallax scrolling is a fairly new trend that is defining web design in 2021. In parallax scrolling, the background elements move at a slower rate than the foreground elements when scrolling, creating a 3D effect for the site visitor. Both are strong interactive scrolling options that visually engage the user. 

Bright color schemes 

Adding bright colors into your school website’s color scheme is a great way to add some freshness to your site’s user interface. In 2021, schools are incorporating darker backgrounds in their homepage that contrast with bolder colors to visually engage the user. Traditional school color schemes are classic, but bolder colors are increasingly becoming more popular in small school’s rebranding efforts. 

Goal-based website designs 

A great school website’s design is unique because the school itself is unique. The design of the school’s site should reflect the strengths of the school, making the website design in line with the school’s goals. If your school values student engagement and family participation, your site design should reflect that. The design should be highly interactive and engaging to indirectly show the school’s philosophy on engagement. 

This trend can be applied within any website, not just sites going through a rebrand or overhauling process. This 2021 trend will be popular with schools because they realize their school websites have a stronger purpose than just relaying information. To participate in this trend, list out your school’s goals and compare them to the current content of your site.

Reinstating realism  

Just like classic, traditional serif fonts have come back around the popularity bend, “realism” in web design contrasts with the recent trend of “flat” design. Realistic design includes imagery, 3D effects, and design elements which are realistic-looking. On the other hand, flat design or Google’s Material Design (introduced in 2014), is simple and unobtrusive and focuses on usability. Flat design is known for “flat” colors and buttons instead of gradients and drop shadows. As trends come and go, now it’s becoming popular again to implement realistic design. Realism adds another layer of depth and creativity to a website’s design because the site gains personality and life-like qualities that users can mentally connect to real aspects of their lives. 

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