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Can you spot the difference between these website designs?

Web design
Twitter has spotted a rather common web design trend (Image credit: Mitchell Wakefield on Twitter)

White background: check. Large titles: check. Flat, colourful, unusually proportioned cartoon people: check. That's right, we're describing every website homepage you've visited in the last two years. We exaggerate, of course – but as a viral Twitter thread has revealed, it's certainly a very (very) popular web design trend right now.

From Slack to Hinge, countless digital brands have opted for the aesthetic, and now it's been pointed out to us, we simply can't stop seeing it. But it seems users are finally beginning to tire of the design trope. Fancy creating something a little more original? Check out our best website builders.

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The style is an offshoot of flat design that's particularly prevalent on tech service landing pages. And it seems Twitter users have a few theories as to why, with some believing it to be a simple case of designers following the crowd, and others suspecting the style is easy (and cheap) to mimic using stock imagery. One thing's for sure – we've all seen a web page that looks like this. 

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Web design style Alegria

The style is said to originate from Facebook in 2017 (Image credit: Buck)

But many of the replies point to a recent YouTube video (below) by Solar Sands, which explains how the bright, vector-based style came about. According to this, Facebook might be to blame (of course!). 

The art style, named Alegria, was allegedly created for the social media giant's illustration ecosystem by creative agency Buck in 2017. "There’s many imitators," the agency says, no doubt referring to the litany of noodle-limbed characters inhabiting the internet now. "But there’s only one Alegria."

Indeed, there's nothing particularly wrong with Alegria as an aesthetic – it's a pretty attractive design style, and there's a pleasingly inclusive element to the characters. "The figures are abstracted — oversized limbs and non-representational skin colours help them instantly achieve a universal feel," Buck explains on its website.

But the look has certainly become rather ubiquitous, and the internet clearly has little patience for design styles it deems to have outstayed their welcome. Flat design as a whole has come under fire recently, and not even individual shapes are safe  – the poor circle is apparently being overused right now. That said, with examples like Burger King's sizzling new rebrand emerging this very year, flat design hasn't yet fallen completely, well, flat.

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