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Glassmorphism the new 2021 trend in web development?

14 Aug 2021

User interfaces (UIs) are a key element in the success and acceptance of applications and websites. User interfaces are concerned with appearance and design languages, and are susceptible to changes in prevailing trends and fashions. Over the years, various evolving styles have influenced the user interface. Skeuomorphism eventually gave way to flat, minimalist designs. Then came neumorphism, whose inspiration came from objects in the physical world. The latest trend that has taken the UI world by storm is Glassmorphism. Glassmorphism is a new 2021 trend in user interfaces that is rapidly gaining popularity. One of the more popular uses of this style appeared in Apple's macOS Big Sur, which came out in 2020.

But what is Glassmorphism?

As the name suggests, it has a transparent, glassy appearance. Users can browse through the layers. These layers can help introduce hierarchy in the structure. The features of this new UI style - as enumerated by Michal Malevich in his blog, are as follows: Transparency - as explained above, this design resembles a virtual glass with a blurred background. A multi-layered approach that looks as if objects are floating in space. The blurred effect is emphasized with vivid colors. Subtle framing on translucent objects.


The beginnings of Glassmorpism

The origins of background blur go back to 2013, when Apple first introduced it with iOS 7. It was a completely new design aesthetic, and the minimalist, flat look was well received. The new layers were semi-transparent, and the user could see objects behind the layer with the blur. If the layer is moved slowly, the icons gradually blur, which gives a very interesting, dynamic look that was not seen before.

Glassmorphism the new trend of 2021

While background blur on iPhones has been phased out, Apple Apple has brought it back to the desktop with macOS Big Sur. As always, the blur effect can be controlled by the user through system settings. The background and glassy look has grown in popularity and has also influenced other companies and their products. The Fluent Design System, developed by Microsoft, also uses Glassmorphism. It is organically built into Fluent and they call it Acrylic. It is part of the look and feel of all modern Windows desktop interfaces. Glassmorphism is taking the UI industry by storm, with both Apple, and Microsoft dopting this design aesthetic in their desktop operating systems. Application and website interfaces have already begun to opt for Glassmorphism, and users are sharing the choice.

This trend is already gaining momentum, with strong growth planned for 2021. As our lives are increasingly intertwined with apps and digital ecosystems, a dynamic design language helps keep users engaged and inspired. New designs appear every few years and are changing the UI industry. For a while it was minimalist, flat designs. Then neumorphism was the leading trend - and now it is slowly becoming Glassmorphism.

What do designers and users make of this?

It's an interesting design system, appreciated by users and designers alike. Because it is an integral part of the macOS, Microsoft Windows and iOS environments, new applications using  Glassmorphism are constantly being designed for the respective app stores. Newer design systems are created from time to time, UI designers need to be at the forefront of these changes to stay relevant. With the wider adoption of Glassmorphism across different operating systems and application ecosystems, UI designers need to learn how to implement this element in their own designs. Dribble, a platform showcasing the work of designers around the world, is already flooded with projects made using this new trend. This is clear evidence not only of its popularity, but also of how many designers from around the world are actually implementing it.

Here are some great examples of Glassmorphism designs from Dribble, which highlight the three main features of this style - transparency (frosted glass), vibrant or pastel colors and bright borders.


Mechanics of creating the Glassmorphism effect

It's actually a game between background blur, shadow and transparencyThe idea is to achieve a balance between the three elements. Since the interface is based on layers, objects closer to the user will attract more light, which increases transparencyIn other words, the "object" or layer on top will be more transparent, and the deeper we go, the lower the transparency. A subtle shadow is added around the contours of the layers to create the impression of additional depth.

The style works best when multiple translucent layers appear on a colored backgroundransparency is not complete, however. Only the fill needs to be transparent, not the entire shape. This would create the desired effect. The background must also be chosen carefully. A colored background works best with Glassmorphism. That's why iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur use vibrant, colorful default wallpapers.

In conclusion, new trends in interface design will emerge over time. But whether these systems are widely adopted will depend on how intuitive and popular they are. It looks like Glassmorphism has been approved by designers and users, and 2021 will bring its development.

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