9 Standout Japanese Web Design Trends 2022

Use these 9 standout Japanese web design trends in 2022 to make your next creation turn heads!

BY JESSICA CRAVEN

Staying on top of the latest web design trends is a must for coming up with fresh attention-grabbing ideas. But if you want your designs to make waves, it’s a must to adapt global internet trends for your local audiences. These 9 standout Japanese web design trends are turning heads in 2022. You can adapt them for an audience anywhere in the world!

1. Retro Revolution

The first standout Japanese web design trend is retro revolution. This example of a web design that features anime characters playing ping-pong. The type and illustration look like those found in an early 2000s comic book.

Web design is mostly about looking into the future. However, cutting-edge creatives are also looking back at the past for inspiration. Especially, throwbacks to the bright background colors and robotic typefaces of 90s web design are all the rage. Japanese video games and animation experienced a huge international boom in the 1990s. Likewise, the designs from this decade are iconic. Designers in their 20s, 30s, and beyond are revitalizing the pixelated artwork from their favorite childhood games into fresh new designs. The website for the anime Ping Pong combines anime illustrations and comic book-like fonts in a way that’s both nostalgic and fresh.

2. Creative Scrolling Experiences

The second standout Japanese web design trend is creative scrolling experiences. The example web design illustrating this trend features a graphic of a sunrise over the mountains placed above text written in a creative storytelling episode format. As you scroll down the images and words completely transform and if you were reading a picture book and turned the page.

Next, designers are taking web visitors on interactive animated journeys through scrolling experiences. While the user scrolls, the foreground and multiple backgrounds move at different speeds to transform the web page into a living world. Although the technique is not new, designers are taking it to new heights. Designers in Japan are using the scrolling experiences to create a way of storytelling similar to a graphic novelーbut that the user can control at their own pace. A great example can be found on Beeworks’ website.

3. Characters

The third standout Japanese web design trend is characters. Natsuki Store's webpage features a photographic image of two female models wearing face robes and face masks in front of a playful background of cute illustrated animals also using face care products.

One of the most distinctive elements of Japanese web design is characters. However, the character design is not limited to the manga style. Also, characters are used by a variety of companies to put some playfulness into their ads. For example, skin care product retailer Natsuki Store’s website design is full of cute pastel characters.

4. Circular Cursors

The fourth standout Japanese web design trend is circular cursors. Kwok Yin Mak's web page is designed entirely in black-and-white, with three large Chinese characters placed on a diagonal and a small amount of self-introductory text placed on a vertical. A small circular cursor draws attention in this visually simple and balanced space.

Although internet users have been able to customize the shape of their cursor for a long time, circular cursors have become a recent UI trend. Specifically, web designers are churning out circular cursors that change colors and shapes when hovering. Above all, the effect is to stress the content’s importance. Such a small, minimalist design choice with a powerful effect seems especially at home in Japanese design and pairs nicely with classical fonts designed to look like traditional Japanese writing. You can see how the effect really packs a punch on Tokyo-based designer Kwok Yin Mak’s website.

5. Crafty Hero Areas

Certainly, technology has paved the way for graphics and web design to improve at lightning speed. But viewers see so much polished digital art these days that spontaneous work with a personal flair stands out more than ever. Fortunately, Japanese designers are masters of combining more natural elements with tech tricks. For example, Crazy agency’s website combines elements in a striking and free-spirited way.

6. Calming Earthtones

The sixth standout Japanese web design trend is calming earthtones. The image from the Moheim company's webpage features several mugs in muted pink, black, and gray colors in front of a beige background. There are two white gourds placed in a bowl to the left. The overall effect seems somehow natural and calming.

You might be surprised to find earthtones on this list of 9 standout Japanese web design trends turning heads in 2022. While perhaps less striking than vibrant hues, earthtones are trending in web design this year because viewers find them comforting and relaxing. We have seen many web pages featuring traditional Japanese pigments in their color design because of their natural and calming hues, including Moheim’s website.

7. Neumorphism

Digital Connect's webpage featuring  a white background subtle cresent-shape indentions in the center that are the focus on the design.

Neumorphism is a style that includes many slight, polished 3D effects that result in an appearance that’s both highly realistic and simple. This style usually includes subtle indentions in a white space, almost like paper that’s slightly pushed in. Web designers have taken the many textures of traditional Japanese paper or fabric and digitized them. These gorgeous and smooth textural effects result in a timeless design, as you can see on Digital Connect’s website.

8. Moving Text

The eighth standout Japanese web design trend is moving text. This webpage from M-Hand Recruiting Site features a collage of human facial features in the center and Japanese text that moves in alternating directions behind the image.

Moving text is an unstoppable worldwide trend in 2022 web design that is literally bringing words to life. As a result, Japanese designers continually draw influence from their country’s unique style of graphic novels. Furthermore, this trend provides a perfect opportunity for designers to merge moving text and images to create a living story in web design. See an example of moving text in action at M-Hand’s website.

9. 2D Animations

The ninth standout Japanese web design trend is 2D animation. This example from Chitazen's website features large, colorfully striped illustrated bottles and liquor glasses with tiny animated yellow trucks whizzing by in front of them. The background of the webpage is a starry night sky, so the bottles almost look like skyscrapers lit up in a nighttime city scene.

In 2022, Japanese web designers continue to draw upon their country’s world-famous 2D animations. As opposed to the 3D designs of other countries, Japanese designers take 2D creations to new heights.

For example, Chitazen’s website features colorful, flat 2D animations that grab your attention just as much as any 3D image could. Japanese designers add a layer of complexity to 2D animations by overlapping them in unexpected ways.

We hope that these 9 standout Japanese web design trends turning heads in 2022 have helped you find inspiration. We expect you will see more cutting-edge trends emerge from Japan as the year continues!

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