Glassmorphism - A Rising UI Design Trend In 2021

Nov 3, 2021
5 min read

Are you someone who prefers to stay up to date with the newest online innovative designs? Then you have undoubtedly heard about Glassmorphism. Glassmorphism is an artistic frosted-glass appearance that is used widely across several user interfaces nowadays. It is obtained by the use of a background blur with a slight transparency and is used to highlight specific elements.

While the trend of Neomorphism was all the craze in 2020, the latest eye-catching trend is Glassmorphism. In this blog, we will learn about the latest design approach being used in user interfaces, Glassmorphism, and how to implement it. Let's get started.

What Is The Glassmorphism Effect?

Glassmorphism is a word used to describe user interface design that emphasises light or dark elements on top of vibrant, colourful backgrounds. A background blur is usually applied to the elements, allowing the backdrop to show through, creating the appearance of frosted glass. It is typically used to emphasize and illustrate certain essential features.

The Man Behind Glassmorphism

Michal Malewicz, an extremely talented UI designer is the man responsible for the new popular trend of Glassmorphism. He explains that the Background blur design was first extensively used in 2013 with the release of iOS 7.

While it may have been a rather extreme shift, but with all the debate surrounding the ultra-light fonts and awful icons, it was one of the adjustments that were not widely opposed. People appeared to enjoy it. This is where Malewicz adopted this idea from and re-introduced Glassmorphism in user interfaces.

Glassmorphism has received a lot of attention since it is designed to seem like milky glass surfaces. Whereas Neumorphism imitated an inflated, plastic surface while still appearing to be a single layer, this new style gives more of a two - dimensional look to the UI.

Apple, Microsoft are some of the big brands going heavy on glassmorphism these days.

Main Elements of Glassmorphism in UI

At first glance, we only get to see a frosted glass-like appearance and hence call it ‘Glassmorphism’. However, with closer examination, there are several aspects of this design that contribute to its popularity.

Some of the most distinguishing features of Glassmorphism are:

1) A Transparent Effect
The transparent effect (frosted-glass effect using a Background Blur). The blurring of items creates a feeling of perspective in the arrangement, almost as though the icons or elements were hovering in three - dimensional space.

2) Multi-layered Look
A multi-layered appearance gives the objects a particular depth in the style. It looks clean and is visually pleasing.

3) Vibrant or Contrasting Colours
Glassmorphism involves the use of vibrant or contrasting hues in order to emphasise the hazy transparency of the multiple layers. This attribute of glassmorphism in user interfaces ensures that the backgrounds are not dull or low-contrast. This way, elements don’t just fade away beneath the other items.

4) Thin, White Border around the Elements
The semi-transparent elements have a delicate, thin white border. These white borders may help items stand out from the backdrop by mimicking the crystal edge.

Because of the strategic depth and the ability to look through it, users are allowed to determine the hierarchy and depth of the interface. Users just see which layer is on top of which, as if they were seeing through imaginary glass. Overall, it appears to be rather appealing to the eye of the user.

How To Achieve The Glassmorphism Effect?

Glassmorphism isn’t as hard to achieve as it seems to be. However, there are a few important things to be kept in mind.

Glassmorphism should be used at the best judgment of the UI/UX designer. It is critical not to overdo it. This approach lights up best when only one or two elements are utilised. For everything else, employ standard contrast while adhering to UI design benchmarks.

You can use Sketch or Figma to watch some tutorials on how to achieve the glassmorphism effect. Additionally, here are a few tricks to achieve this effect in user interfaces in simple steps:

Draw Your Desired Shape
Select a rectangle or square shape as per your requirements. You can do this in order to create a card-based layout. You might wish to replicate the measurements of a traditional credit card. To do so, make a rectangle with the size 640x400 plus a 40pt radius of curvature at the corners.

Apply the ‘Gradient Fill’ To It
Now, we need to fill in the blank space. At this point, instead of a solid colour, try to go for something a little more subtle. That looks great against bright, vivid backgrounds. Objects designed in this manner are still somewhat contested, particularly from an accessibility standpoint. While they are becoming increasingly widespread, it is advised to them carefully and with caution.

You can choose to use a gradient if you want. Let's say that both the gradient colours are pure white (#FFFFFF), but their opacity will have to be different. Modify the first one to 40% opacity and now the second one to an opacity of around 10%.

Simulate the ‘Glass’ effect using Background Blur
The blurring effect in glassmorphism is essential to make the user interface resemble the glass. Adjust the blur setting to roughly a value of about 20 to see how the object's texture changes. You may, of course, experiment with your settings as you please.

Quick Tip: Include an image filled with noise to create a classy noise.

After that, reduce the fill's opacity to 20%. Now it’s time to change the blending mode to ‘Overlay’. Voila! You have managed to create a perfect illusion of a classy frosted glass-like appearance.

Give Your Design A Dimension
Add a thin, white (semi-transparent) border to it. When you add a sleek, white border to your card layout, it provides a bit of elegance to the item. When the glass layers overlap, it also helps in building a consistent look with depth.

Use the Drop Shadow Effect
The faint shadow effect contributes to the design layout and the depth factor. All surfaces will now look much simpler to differentiate, thanks to the effect of the shadow.

Fill It With Your Content (Logos, text, etc.)
Finally, it's time to start adding some of your content to the design. Load up the spaces only with relevant logos and information. Next, cover your stuff with white and reduce the opacity to around 50%. This will help you achieve the desired effect of an engraved layer. You could also experiment with layer mixing, such as ‘Overlay’, in order to create captivating variations.

Glassmorphism is the most recent trend in user interface design, and it has gained a lot of traction in a short period of time. So what are you waiting for? Start experimenting! If you face any problems while you’re at it, you can always refer to this blog.

Wrapping Up

Over the years, a lot of UI designs have come and gone. Some have made it to the top and stayed there for quite a while. Right now there is this material design that, with a minimalistic flair, reintroduced gradients and shadows into the design environment. Bottom line, in 2021, glassmorphism is a pretty unique and entertaining effect to experiment within user interfaces.