16 Essential Modern Web Design Elements for Apps and Websites

9 min read
Updated: Feb 21, 2022

What are the key elements of modern web design? How do experts create modern websites and modern web apps? The short answer is by focusing on the needs of the content consumers, incorporating selective but right design elements and ensuring support for all devices ranging from small screen smart watches to big screen TVs!

We have come to a new era of web design and development, which is more standard, innovative and crisp. Looking at any modern website or web app, one can easily identify set of design elements that are so common to spot on every other website.

We tend to move towards standard practices as design complexity increases and that is the hallmark of web design in modern era. Design Standardization!!

Since last one year or so, everyone is going overboard to get apps and website redesigned to adapt modern look and feel. The transformation is happening at such a massive scale that the whole web seems to be morphing into something more modern and standardized than ever before.

Responsive web design is the DNA of modern web applications. It may not seem very obvious on the surface but the need to design for multiple devices and platforms is the mother of many modern design patterns like card based design, single page website design, use of big full width images, full sized product videos and off canvas navigation – to name a few.

Let us look at the most common design elements that are redefining the web right now. All design elements, of course, are not applicable for all websites and one needs to evaluate what fits best based on the needs of the project.

Elements of Modern Web Design

Ghost Buttons

A very basic design element called Ghost button can be seen all over the web, I rarely noticed Ghost buttons back in 2013. But at the moment, any modern website seems incomplete without the use of Ghost buttons that strongly influence call to action.

Check out great compilation of websites using Ghost buttons at – Ghost Button Examples.

Unique Typography

Gone are the days when standard looking fonts with different weight, size and color were used everywhere. Creative and uniquely styled typography is the game today. Web as a whole has become beautiful and so are the fonts used.

Typography has taken the centre stage in web design planning and is not a neglected aspect of design any more.

Check out great compilation of websites using beautiful Typography at – Typography Inspiration.


Use of Ribbons is not a new phenomenon but extensive and creative use of Ribbons is what we see all around the web now. Ribbons are mostly used for highlighting important text on the webpage and to grab quick attention of the viewer.

A Ribbon on the top right corner or the bottom right corner used to display deal of the day is a great use case.

You can find how Ribbons are getting used creatively in modern websites at – Creative use of Ribbons.

Background Patterns

Use of texture and subtle patterns in the background was mostly out of picture for last 5 years or so but is back in action, again. Background pattern is becoming the key ingredient of many modern websites that boast visually appealing design.

You can check out great examples of background patterns at – Creative examples of textures and patterns.

Bold Colors

It is really hard to spot those dull greys and navy blues now on any new website. Web has become bold, shiny and vibrant. The release of windows 8 with bold colors further influenced use of bold colors and presented a beautiful side of colorful elements.

On a related note, Google released material design guidelines and the color palette from material design is fast becoming the standard color palette of the web. Although it covers range of colors but emphasis is on using vibrant and bold colors as primary color of the theme.

Full Screen Videos

Full screen videos cut the story short. Instead of writing descriptive essays on product aesthetics, a short full screen video does the trick and adds to the user experience and beauty of the webpage.

The use of full screen videos with some key beautiful text overlaid on it has become a rage for last one year or so and has given many websites a cool new modern look and feel.

You can check out great examples of websites using full screen videos in the background at – Fullscreen video background examples.

Vintage Look

This is something which doesn’t fit all websites, of course. But giving your website a Vintage looks is definitely the raging game in modern websites.

If you are among the designers who really want to give absolute unique look to your website, going vintage theme is a great option.


Cards are used to present quick summary and work well across devices of varied screen sizes. Cards were made popular by Pinterest first. Cards based design can be the default design pattern of you website or just a selected section of the website.

Card make content presentation simple, clean and organized all the way making it easier to create responsive websites that fit devices of all sizes.

Big Images

Use of big high resolution and beautiful images in foreground as well as in the background is one of the key elements design these days. The trend is to present key and crispy content using beautiful typography on top of full width background images.

Photography and graphics design is eventually playing much bigger role in web design than ever before and definitely a deserving one.

You can find great examples of websites using big images at- Big photography in web design.


Single page websites and web apps are raging at the moment and scrolling is the enabling element behind. Scrolling is preferred over clicking for the single reason that it is much easier to hold the device in one and and scroll through the interace just by using your thumb all the while sticking to the context.

Scrolling often is combined with other design elements like parallax that adds all the spice to overall user experience.

You can find great examples of websites using scrolling at – Scrolling in Web Design – Examples.

Retina Ready

Now Apple ecosystem itself is huge, isn’t it? Devices from Apple come with Retina display, Retina HD display and Retina 5K display options. It is all about how much pixels are consumed per inch of the device screen.

One needs to make websites Retina ready to utilize the highest quality of graphics supported by these devices. Major part of it involves serving right images for each display type & size as well as utilizing CSS for selective use of fonts and graphics.

Making your websites Retina ready is definitely among the essential elements of web design in current times.

You can read more about Retina ready design at  – Retina ready web design.


Use of Scalable Vector Graphic or SVG is on the rise for the simple reason that these graphics scale in size without losing the quality.

Shrinking and scaling graphics without compromising with the quality is one of the important aspects of responsive web design and that is where SVG come to the rescue.

SVG is seamlessly supporting icons and fonts usage.  You can read more on SVG graphics at – Scalable Vector graphic


We graduated to Infographics couple of years back with the growth of Pinterest. Almost every pin on Pinterest is an infographic.

Web designers these days have gone one step further by creating interactive infographics i.e. webgraphics.  Webgraphics are aesthetically appealing and keep users engaged and enhance overall visual appeal of the webpage.

Hand Drawn Illustrations

Use of hand drawn illustrations is on the rise and you can easily spot hand drawn illustrations on many websites of modern times. The advantage of using hand draw illustration is that it gives a very personalized experience to the viewers. Users feel like connected with the webpage.

You can check out some great examples of websites using hand drawn illustrations at – Websites featuring cool hand drawn illustrations.

Minimalistic Design

Minimal design is the user centric design which completely emphasises on what user wants rather than feeding users with what you want them to see.

Minimalistic design concept focuses on keeping limited information on the viewer screen at any given point of time. The story should unfold as user interacts with the webpage but the screen must always look clean and not stuffed.

In modern era, users want crux of the story in a crispy manner. Use of white space, selective use of design elements, better typography, use of videos instead of writing lengthy stories, use of Webgraphics and animations etc. are all part of minimal design approach.

You can find great examples of minimal design at – Modern minimal web design.

Flat Icons

One may not adopt a complete flat design approach for the website but use of Flat Icons is now default. With Google material design, creation and use of flat icons is governed by set of guidelines which is making web more standardized.

Check out cool flat icons examples at – flat icons examples.


Web design is ever evolving subject but there are times when a complete makeover happens. We are seeing a complete makeover of the web right now with everyone from a small startup to a big corporate house rushing to redefine the looks of websites and web-apps.

Big corporate houses like Google focusing on design standardization  with release of material design which is visual design language. A set of design principles that are governing every modern website and web app. The web is getting re-shaped completely after a decade or so and the new and modern look is here to stay for a while.

It is absolutely worth to spend time learning the modern web design practices and upgrading websites and web apps with modern look and feel. I am planning back here for noeticforce.com, hope you too for your next web project!!




@noetic here, the founder of noeticforce.com. I love coding, quantum physics, and working on my brain to manipulate time.

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