These are the best website designs of 2021 so far

Web design is changing at a rapid pace, and while trends come and go, some websites are pushing the boundaries of what we expect from the internet. A new mid-year report looked for the sites that had the biggest impact over the past six months.

Wix’s website building platform, Editor X, picked out 11 sites that it says showed an evolution in web design. It encompasses everything from big brands to small personal projects, offering insight into where things are headed in web design. The list highlights several trends we’ve seen develop this year, from an open design portfolio view to crypto art, virtual festivals, and highly interactive web design (for a helping hand to put in form your own website, check out our list of the 25 best -in-class website templates).

best web design

Virgil Abloh’s website offers an intimate look at his work (Image credit: Virgil Abloh)

Number one on the list is Virgil Abloh’s portfolio of Nike collaborations, which have been designed to look like you’ve hacked into the designer’s own vintage Mac to browse his work and inspirations. Dubbed Public Domain, it’s one of the most intimate portfolio ideas we’ve seen, sharing the designer’s knowledge and approach. It even includes access to its Photoshop and Illustrator files.

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best web design

Plastic in the Air is a highly interactive site (Image credit: Editor X)
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best web design

Redefine the Limits shows the potential for fully immersive web experiences (Image credit: Editor X)

There are several informative sites on the list. An illuminating highlight is information designer Giorgia Lupi’s Plastic Air, a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture that results in a super interactive site on the issue of airborne microplastics. It’s a treat to watch and explore, while revealing the extent of a serious environmental problem. The “don’t see” button replaces microplastics with their everyday sources, such as food containers and drinking straws.

Meanwhile, MediaMonks’ epic Redefine the Limits for Canon lets viewers step into the shoes of a wildlife photographer or an astronaut. It shows the work involved in each role while demonstrating how web design has evolved to deliver a fully immersive experience.

best web design

Lots of fun interactions on the OFF Design Festival site (Image credit: Editor X)

Another very current site is that of the OFFF Design festival in Barcelona, ​​which has been forced to go virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Editor x designer Liat Elkaim Chetrit’s design for the site uses bold typography and a healthy scattering of playful motion effects and other interactions.

Other sites on the list include Mount Inc’s site for the Yamauchi family, Nintendo founders, and Google Earth’s new Timelapse tool. You can see the full list of Editor X favorites here.

For more help with designing your own website, check out our list of 53 web design tools for smarter design.

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