Top 8 Websites of 2021 That Every Web Designer Should Visit

by
Stephanie Corrigan
Top 8 Websites of 2021 That Every Web Designer Should Visit
Every month, we discover stunning new websites with unique art direction and mind-blowing visual effects. In this post, we're sharing eight of the top websites we've seen so far in 2021 that every web designer needs to check out.

8 top websites of 2021

So far we've seen quite a few impressive websites this year. In fact, it seems like every month, web designers and developers are pushing their creative limits and coming up with groundbreaking new ideas. Although it was difficult to narrow down this list, we wanted to share some of the top websites we’ve seen that went live in 2021. In no particular order, here are eight awe-inspiring websites that every web designer should visit.

1. Tangan

Screenshot of the Tangan website

The Tangan website is a beautiful example of the power of minimalist design. A website with only black and white images and typography might sound boring, but this website is anything but. The monochromatic look is part of what makes this website design so stunning.

Tangan goes against the grain of what you'd typically expect from a website in the wellness space. Most wellness or spa brands make use of calming color palettes, for instance pastel shades of blue and green. It makes sense to use soothing colors to promote health and wellness services. But in this case, removing color from the equation and instead emphasizing beautiful typography and photography helps Tangan stand out in its industry with a premium look and feel.

This minimalist website also makes use of subtle scroll and hover effects. The overall effect of this website just goes to show that when it comes to premium design, the devil is in the details.

The Tangan website was created by Thierry Rolin, a French Digital Designer and Art Director.

2. Realtime Robotics

Screenshot of the Realtime Robotics website

Part of what makes design so valuable is its ability to make mundane things seem more interesting. The Realtime Robotics website is an excellent example of this. Robotics manufacturing is not a sexy industry. At least, it's not an industry you would expect to see represented through clean, minimalist, and upscale design. And yet, that's exactly what Realtime Robotics did for their website.

The art direction for this website is stunning in its simplicity. The incorporation of 3D animations isn't unusual to see on the web these days; but what makes it so effective for this website is the way in which the robotic arms are displayed in a virtual setting that resembles a modern art museum.

In addition to beautiful animations, Realtime Robotics also incorporates modern typography and a fun color palette. All in all, the website has an unexpected look that works beautifully in its favor.

3. Lewa House

Screenshot of the Lewa House website

For certain industries, such as travel and hospitality, the most effective type of website is one that's immersive. Lewa House is a travel lodge and wildlife conservancy in Kenya. Their website offers one of the most impressive interactive user experiences we've seen.

The homepage brings you to a full-screen video reel with a simple, to-the-point headline: Find yourself in nature. Clicking the Explore link initiates an interactive, 3D map that resembles a game, like Civilization. From here, you can click around to explore different sights, wildlife, and experiences on the property.

Screenshot of the Lewa House website

Another way the Lewa House website immerses you in their ambiance is through sound. There's a voiceover that guides you through the website, similar to the way a tour guide would take you through an experience on the property. In addition, there are soothing nature sounds, for instance from crickets and other wildlife. Generally, playing sound on a website is considered bad practice in terms of user experience. But in this case, the sound is used effectively as another way of immersing the user in the experience of visiting Lewa House. (If you're turned off by the sound, you can easily mute it.)

The Lewa House website is an absolute joy to experience. The creators did an amazing job of creating an experience that has a tangible feel through beautiful photography and videography, subtle design details, thoughtful audio, and more. When you visit this website, you can feel as if you're already experiencing Lewa House in person.

4. Nanna Lagerman

Screenshot of Nanna Lagerman website

Studio Nanna Lagerman is an award-winning interior design studio based in Stockholm. The studio specializes in designing commercial spaces, high-end residential homes, and story-driven sets. Their new website is a beautiful reflection of their work: minimalist, stylish, and unconventional.

Nanna Lagerman's website resembles a high-end design magazine--the kind you would flip through to browse awe-inspiring modern architecture and interiors. As a design studio, their website places emphasis on large photographs of their work, which are arranged in thoughtful and unexpected layouts.

Aside from photos, the other focal design element on the website is the typography. A single uppercase sans serif typeface is used across the entire website. What's striking about the typography is not the typeface itself, but how it's arranged. As you scroll down the page, the type shifts and moves gradually into place. And if you play around with the size of the browser window, the type layout adjusts seamlessly. This website is an excellent example of responsive typography that all web designers could learn from.

Despite the simplicity of the chosen typeface and color palette, Studio Nanna Lagerman's website is anything but boring. Unsurprisingly, the website was awarded Site of the Day by Awwwards in February. Credit for this top website goes to Zhenya Rynzhuk and Synchronized Studio.

P.S. Did you know you could create stunning websites with mind-blowing animations and interactions in Webflow? Click here to download Ran Segall's free Webflow style guide to work faster in Webflow.

5. Boost

Screenshot of the Boost website

So far, the top websites we've looked at feature a minimalist design aesthetic with neutral colors. Is there still a place for bold, bright, and playful in the modern web design landscape? Absolutely--just take a look at Boost's vibrant website.

Boost is an immunity vitamin supplement with three key ingredients: elderberry, vitamin C, and zinc. In the crowded supplement market, creating a standout brand is a challenge, one that Boost evidently felt prepared to take on. Boost's website is unlike any supplement website we've seen.

Boost's website features a striking orange gradient background and oversized, bold typography. The copy is concise and irreverent with plenty of emojis woven in; it's not hard to guess which demographic they're targeting. But what's really impressive about this website is the storytelling aspect. As you scroll down the homepage, the supplement bottle moves into the center of the screen and starts rotating. This is pretty neat as far as visual effects go, but if you pay close attention, you'll notice that when the website copy starts talking about ingredients, the bottle rotates to display the supplement facts label. As you continue scrolling to learn more about the three key ingredients, the background of the website changes to match each ingredient.

Screenshot of the Boost website

The storytelling driven design of Boost's website is clever, unique, and worth taking notes on.

6. Provider Store

Screenshot of the Provider Store website

Unique ecommerce websites are somewhat hard to find. In fact, most ecommerce sites seem to have the same generic layout; the only differences are the branding and products. In a way, this makes sense. A trendy or unusual layout might not make for the best user experience for online shoppers. However, there are some ecommerce websites that manage to "break the mold" while still creating a pleasant shopping experience. Provider Store is one great example of this that we've seen this year.

Provider Store sells slow made Japanese homewares online and at their brick and mortar shop in Sydney, Australia. The brand is committed to sustainability, ethical manufacturing, and natural materials. The influence of Japanese style and culture is present not just in Provider Store's products, but also in their branding and website design.

One of the striking features of this ecommerce website that differentiates it from competitor brands is the minimalist layout. Ample white space gives the various elements on each page plenty of breathing room. It almost forces you to browse their products slowly and intentionally. The product pages in particular contain a somewhat surprising amount of white space. This choice is a beautiful reflection of the brand ethos.

In addition to ample white space, Provider Store's website is also a great example of using a grid in web design. Each element fits perfectly into the grid. But with plenty of breathing room between them, the elements don't look rigid.

This website was created by For Good Design Lab.

P.S. Click here to learn more about ecommerce websites and Webflow ecommerce in particular.

7. No Fishing Net

Screenshot of the No Fishing Net website

Next up on our list of the top websites of 2021 is Sea Shepherd's No-Fishing.net website. The website is a campaign to save the ocean from fishing nets. According to the campaign, fishing nets contribute to the endangerment and extinction of many ocean species, even after the nets are lost or discarded in the sea. The goal of the website is to build awareness around this important issue and inspire action.

The campaign website features a revolving, interactive globe. When you land on the site, you're invited to spin the globe to learn more about Sea Shepherd's different vessels and how they're each doing their part to save the oceans. This visual, interactive experience is much more engaging than your standard, static website. As you explore the globe, you can actually visualize what kind of impact you could make if you donated to the campaign.

For a non-profit, creating a campaign that promotes engagement and action is vital to its success. This website is a beautiful example of how design can be used to make a difference; in other words, it shows that good design is about more than just looks. In this case, the website both looks stunning with its beautiful typography and minimalist aesthetic and also serves a functional purpose in engaging visitors.

8. Goodfight

Screenshot of the Goodfight website

Last but not least, the final website on our list of top websites is another unique ecommerce site. Goodfight is a fashion brand based in Los Angeles with hip-hop and punk rock influences. Their ecommerce website has some unexpected features that give it a modern edge that feels very on brand.

The first unexpected element on this website hits you as soon as you land on the homepage. As the images scroll from right to left they are squeezed into and out of view. All designers know that distorting images in this way is a big no-no when it comes to visual design best practices. And yet, breaking the rules every now and then can actually be a good thing in design, if done intentionally and in the right context. This website is a great example of breaking the rules the right way.

When you navigate to the Shop page, you'll notice another unusual design choice. Whereas most ecommerce stores display their products in an even grid, Goodfight employs a product feed that resembles Pinterest with its mismatched image sizes. When you hover over a product, you'll then see an alternate image, as well as the title and price.

Overall, Goodfight's website aesthetic is simple and clean but not in a traditional way. The typography is small and all one size, and your attention is primarily drawn to the large images. It doesn't take much to feel immersed in the vibe of this unique brand.

How to become a top website designer

Wondering if you have what it takes to become a superstar web designer? If you're feeling inspired to level up your design skills and design better, more impactful websites for your clients, we invite you to check out our course The $10k Website Process. In this 12-hour course, Flux Academy founder Ran Segall teaches a step-by-step process to designing beautiful, strategic websites.

A beautiful website won't help your client achieve their goals if it's not backed by strategy. And on the flip side, a strategic website won't convert as well if it's not beautifully designed. The $10k Website Process teaches both the strategy and art of designing websites so that you can create high-value websites that solve problems for your clients worth $10k or more. Click here to learn more about the course.

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