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The hottest trends in recruitment web design right now

Want your recruitment website to stand out from the crowd? Enhance a visitor’s experience? Be memorable for all the right reasons? We’ve picked the hottest trends for 2020 that we think will be around for a long time to come.

Hand-drawn design and Illustrations

Now more than ever, after the loneliness of lockdown and the far-reaching effects of Covid-19, we are craving an injection of humanity and fun. Hand-drawn designs give a website that personal touch, a friendliness and connectedness. No-one wants a stock image of a smiling office worker with dazzling white teeth in a smart suit, we want a little bit of imperfection in the form of a hand-drawn illustration. Another hot design trend is to mix photography with illustrations or graphics for a fun, quirky, look that can give your website a sense of uniqueness and really help with branding. Want a more sophisticated look? Rather than cartoons, use magazine-style illustrations or geometric lines. 

3D design

3D elements are already heavily utilised in the film and gaming worlds and they are now being increasingly incorporated into web design. 3D design brings a website to life, it catches the user’s attention and, importantly, keeps it there. 3-dimensional graphics make it easier to tell a company story, they enhance interest and engagement, add a sense of sophistication and invoke brand trust. 

Floating elements

If you want the feel of 3D but in a gentler form, the use of floating elements is a great alternative. Invite visitors into your website by using floating elements, soft shadows and layers to create depth. Build a world in which both clients and candidates can feel welcome without the intensity of full-on 3D effects. This can work with text and images as well as graphics. The result is modern, sophisticated and immersive. 


Never heard of it? You’ll undoubtedly have seen it and used it. Championed by Apple, digital skeuomorphism describes interface objects that look and act like their real-life counterparts. Famous examples include Apple’s rubbish bin for deleting files, its compass for searching the web and its old-school style telephone icon for making calls. The idea is that it makes elements on your website feel familiar to visitors by using recognisable concepts, enriching the user experience. You might use paper texture and notepad design on a contact form or a flip calendar graphic on your calendar section.    

White space and minimalism

Minimalism is a trend that is here for the long haul. Incorporating purposeful and thoughtful swathes of white space allows you to focus visitors’ eyes on important messaging and can act as a navigation tool, leading them to the pages you want them to journey to. Navigation is also turning minimalist – say goodbye to long-list menus and hello to streamlined navigation. With an ever-increasing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices this can only be a good thing. Plus, less space for navigables means more space for content and important messaging. 

Block frames

Linked to the white space/minimalist trend is a move away from full bleed layouts, where an image travels beyond the edge of the page, towards wide white or block colour frames. This allows the page to be separated into blocks, images and text to be framed, drawing attention to important content, and for colours and graphics to pop. A creative way to focus visitors’ eyes on what’s most important on the page.      

Futuristic colour schemes

As a direct contrast to a predominance of white space, an alternative trend is to use luminous colours to give your website an ultra-modern feel. Hot pinks, neon purples and electric blues explode from the page, adding an injection of energy and dynamism. While they are far removed from swathes of white space, futuristic colour schemes can work well with a minimalist design as the contrast can make the colours really jump off the page. This design trend is eye-catching and memorable but be sure to match the colours to your branding.     

Dark mode

This is a huge trend for 2020 and can be a fantastic complement to futuristic colour schemes as the electric colours really stand out against a dark background. White text is also more striking against a dark background than black text on white backgrounds. It is easier on the eyes, making it great for users that might read a lot of content and, style-wise it is modern and slick. From a practical point of view, it also conserves mobile and tablet battery life – again, something to consider given the large numbers using mobile devices to access websites. 

Full-page headers

A header traditionally lives in the space above the fold at the top of the page but full-page headers not only look great, they draw attention to important information. Place your header to the left of your screen, an image to the right and your info and calls to action underneath your header. Why? Research has shown that eyes are drawn to the top left of a screen when viewing a webpage.


Rounded shapes, muted colours, simple typography – Kawaii design evokes safety, dependability, approachability. It is exactly what we need in a pandemic-struck, turbulent world. Kawaii is a big concept in Japanese culture, its most literal translation being ‘cute’, and there are thousands of cute images on the internet but it is designer Tobias Van Schneider who has recently picked up on its emergence as a design style across the web on a wide range of websites. He asserts that it’s a feeling more than a product, an object or a specific design element. It is the evoking of all those calm, comforting feelings through a style of design. Those pastel colours and softly rounded shapes a way of making online tasks more ’fun’ and the business itself more approachable. And it could be just what clients and candidates need right now. 

And what to avoid…

Persistent pop-ups that keep returning however many times you click exit and those that fill the entire page are major bug bears of website visitors so incorporate them at your peril! Other design elements to avoid are: media that automatically plays when the page is loaded, infinite scroll whereby pages continue to load as you scroll down (it can be incredibly disorienting), hidden contact information (you want to make your contact information as visible and accessible as possible!), and sticky headers that remain in position wherever the user navigates to (although this has become standard, it is often viewed as obstructive). 

What’s important to remember is not to incorporate a trend simply because it is a trend. Not all will work for your website, branding and users. “I think, for me, the key to a good website is personalisation,” says Luis Cajao, Wave’s Design & Marketing Manager. “Trends make good starting points but making a website unique is about transposing the best of you, your company, your brand onto it. People should look at your website and know, in an instant, what you’re all about.” Think about how your website will be used, what image you want your recruitment business to portray, and the journey you want users to take – then get creative! 

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