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These are the best website designs of 2021 so far

best website designs
(Image credit: Editor X)

Web design evolves at a rapid pace, and while trends come and go, some websites push the boundaries of what we expect from the internet. A new mid-year report has sought out those sites that have made the biggest impact in the past six months.

Wix's website creation platform Editor X has picked out 11 sites it believes have shown an evolution in web design. It takes in everything from major brands to smaller, personal projects, offering an insight into where things are heading in web design. The list highlights several trends we've seen growing this year, from an open take on the design portfolio to crypto art, virtual festivals and highly interactive web design (for a helping hand getting your own website in shape, check our list of 25 top-class website templates).

best web design

Virgil Abloh's site offers an intimate look at how he works (Image credit: Virgil Abloh)

Number one on the list is Virgil Abloh’s portfolio of collaborations with Nike, which has been designed to make it feel like you've hacked into the designer's own vintage Mac to browse through his work and inspirations. Dubbed Public Domain, it's one of the most intimate portfolio ideas we've seen, sharing the designer's knowledge and approach. It even includes access to his Photoshop and Illustrator files.

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best web design

Plastic in the Air is a highly interactive site (Image credit: Editor X)
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best web design

Redefine the Limits shows the potential of fully immersive web experiences (Image credit: Editor X)

There are several informative sites on the list. One illuminating highlight is the information designer Giorgia Lupi's Plastic Air, a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture that results in a super interactive site on the issue of airborne microplastics. It's a treat to look at and explore, while revealing the extent of a serious environmental problem. The "don't see" button replaces microplastics with their everyday sources, such as food containers and straws.

Meanwhile, MediaMonks' epic Redefine the Limits for Canon lets viewers step into the shoes of a wildlife photographer or an astronaut. It shows the work involved in each role while demonstrating how far web design has come in offering an all-immersive experience.

best web design

There are plenty of fun interactions on the OFF Design Festival site (Image credit: Editor X)

Another site that's very much of the moment is that from Barcelona's OFFF Design festival, which was forced to go virtual because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Editor x designer Liat Elkaim Chetrit's design for the site uses bold typography and a healthy scattering of playful motion effects and other interactions.

Other sites that make it onto the list include Mount Inc's site for the Yamauchi family, the founders of Nintendo and Google Earth's new Timelapse tool. You can see Editor X's full list of favourites here.

For more help designing your own website, see our list of 53 web design tools for smarter design.

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Joseph is a freelance writer, translator and project manager based in Buenos Aires, where he spends his nights dancing tango.