Graphic design is about more than just brand identity since it delivers benefits that transcend visual appearances. Good graphics empower brands to educate, inform, or persuade audiences through imagery, color, typography, and form. However, the graphic design world is a constantly evolving landscape exemplified by rapidly changing design styles. This means to reap any meaningful benefit, you must continually flex and align your skills with the latest graphic design trends.
In this article, we’ll discuss all the fresh design trends you should keep an eye on. The goal is to help you embrace new design ideas and instill visual consistency across every aspect of your business.
As a small business owner, every responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders. With the number of tasks you need to oversee, it’s easy for certain tasks like graphic design to fall off your radar as of primary concern—unless you started as a graphic designer yourself. If graphic design has become the least of your worries, then your brand image—as well as the survival of your business—is at stake.
This is because gone are the days when graphic design was just “icing on the cake.” Today, graphic design plays a crucial role in communicating who you are, what you do, and your unique appeal. Almost every aspect of your business requires a dash of graphic design to flourish. From logo, website, and brochure to branding, package, and signage, graphic design impacts your business in many ways.
Picture this: your website only has a few seconds to make a good impression. Even worse, it takes a visitor just 50 microseconds to examine and create a perception about the visual appeal of your website. This means, in the absence of compelling visual graphics, your business stands no chance in the cutthroat competition. Not just that: the type of graphics you use reflects your visual identity, and consumers often equate them to your company’s values.
Charts and data visuals
Video & presentations
GIFs & Meme
Source: Venngage, 2018Designed by
Overall, graphic design affects the consumers’ ability to use your product or website. When used effectively, visual graphics improve brand recognition and boost marketing. Above all, good graphics create a professional appearance that enhances trust, goodwill, and loyalty.
As a result, businesses gain higher visibility, and it becomes easy to convince consumers about the quality of services and products. It’s no surprise then that 40% of digital marketers ranked visual graphics as the best performing element of content marketing.
You can read our compilation of graphic design statistics to gain an in-depth understanding of the industry. Meanwhile, let’s start our presentation of the 12 graphic design trends that you should watch out for, starting with the hot 3D design practice.
Trends come and go—that’s the reality of things in the graphic design world. After years of being the benchmark of designs, flats are now paving the way for 3D design. Even though we still see a touch of fabulous flat design here and there, the entry of 3D design is causing ripples in graphic design space. The 3D design is everywhere and has established itself as a persistent graphic design trend for 2019 and beyond.
Today, thanks to technological advancements, designers can create 3D masterpieces that showcase new dimensions and environments. It’s easy to recreate the world with 3D elements that immerse viewers into depths never imagined before.
For example, 3D typography is no longer in the novelty space. The 3D typography is off the ground, and the best part is that it works for every type of typography. From skinny and bold to script and sans serif, it’s now easy to render any font in 3D. Aside from 3D typography, graphic design space has seen a proliferation of 3D compositions with stunning effects and impressions.
What’s more, 3D design has crept into technologies like AR and VR. Interestingly, its era-defining, disruptive power is only expected to have a greater impact. As the world turns to realism, the 3D design is tipped to unlock infinite possibilities for various aspects of graphic design.
Remember the traditional framed design? There is no doubt these designs were great, but the emergence of open compositions has exposed something we didn’t know. Apparently, framed finishes limit the viewer’s imagination to the boundaries of the creation. They encase design elements in rigid orders in a bid to make each part of the picture visible. However, this is not the case with open compositions.
Open compositions render a sense of infinity to the creation, leaving viewers to wonder what else is there. What’s intriguing is that open composition gives viewers an illusional glimpse of a whole world off the picture. These stunning designs nudge the viewer’s curiosity with aspects that feel like they are extending offscreen. This way, viewers feel as though they are watching just a small piece of a bigger, beautiful picture, putting their imagination to work.
The open composition trend is gathering pace, and 2020 seems to be the year it’ll pop. As things stand, there are hints of open composition in web design since its suitable for interactive digital experiences.
While open compositions seem like they are leaving some elements out, isometric illustrations are the direct opposite. Isometric design is creative, visual storytelling that involves creating an elaborate universe on a miniature landscape. What happens is that designers generate 3D objects in 2D to create ostensibly technical yet simplified drawings.
The idea aligns well when used for character creation, landing page, or creating an illustration of a city. What will intrigue you most about isometric design is that they are simple and clean. Besides, these illustrations add more tactility and warmth to the creations than flat designs. Above all, the isometric design is a cut above flat design when it comes to depth of illustration. As a result, they immerse the viewer into realism more than flat designs do.
Realism encompasses adding real-life objects to make design authentic, genuine, and relatable. Flat designs may not be as real as realism designs, but they are incredibly simple. Interestingly, the two designs are on the opposite ends of the spectrum—but as you know, opposites do attract. Today, designers are innovatively combining flat visual elements with real-life objects to stun the viewer’s eye.
The realism + flat design element is a complementing trend that is here to stay. Its unconventional combo of styles, techniques and dimensions has found a place in the heart of modern designers. From package designs to web designs, and even editorial design, the trend has a hand in different aspects of graphic design.
What you should know, however, is that combining real-life objects with flat designs is not a walk in the park. It is an intricate form of art that demands creativity and mastery of the highest caliber. Besides, if thinking outside the box is a tall order for you, then there is no catching up with this trend.
Graphic design meets augmented reality—this combination is simply enthralling. But will the trend last or is it another fad?
There is no doubt AR harbors an outsized potential to change the way well tell stories and interact with our environments. And this potential is piquing the curiosity of brands and graphic designers of all types. For example, creative coder Zach Lieberman has created a unique app known as the Weird Type App (eyeondesign). The app allows users to work with moving typography in space.
While AR has not yet gone mainstream in graphic design, it’s still considered the next big thing in the industry. Graphic designers are all out exploring the potentially creative and beneficial ways to use AR technology. The trend has developed a firm foothold in the business arena, and we anticipate it’ll open a new world of modern graphic designs as early as 2020. In fact, augmented reality may be one of the top graphic design trends in 2020.
Traditionally, minimalism was all about generating a combination of black text and white backgrounds. But were these designs really colorful? I guess no!
Fortunately, the creators of today have completely redefined minimalist designs. Today, the world is loving the new minimalism where artists blend two designs with only the components that make sense. Global giants like Apple have used neutral and muted color palettes to put across their marketing messages.
However, modern designers have refused to confine minimalism to the limits of the color palette. Instead, we see intricate designs blend with a dash of traditional minimalism. Brands like Nike have mastered the art of combining color and creativity while ditching superfluous flair of unnecessary elements to deliver eye-catching visuals. Their designs have carefully treaded the fine lines between complexity and dullness, without breaking the main principles of modern minimalism.
Long typefaces and fonts have been the norm in the graphic design space. In fact, brands like Adidas and Samsung have used these designs to great effect across numerous marketing campaigns. One thing you may have noticed about the traditional Adidas and Samsung designs is that they use bold fonts as secondary design elements.
However, the way bold fonts and typefaces are used in graphic design is changing. This year, we have seen visuals that flaunt bold fonts as the focal point for other design elements. The change has come upon the realization that when bold fonts are used as primary elements in designs, they capture the viewer’s attention quickly.
Because of this, bold fonts and typefaces are becoming more prevalent in social media graphics, posters, and flyers. In some fascinating cases, graphic designers are using only bold fonts without adding supporting images. Besides, some designers are using bold fonts and backgrounds with vivid color backgrounds.
Some graphic design trends don’t emerge out of the blue: they unfold right before our eyes. This is the case with gradients and duotones. Gradients are not entirely new: designers have used them to add depth to design projects.
However, the use of gradients was slowly fading away until recently when they began to take over the world. The combination of futuristic patterns and colors is shaping the path for this trend. In fact, today, designers feel at home using gradients in more ways than just simple one-color logos or backgrounds.
On the other hand, complex duotones have sealed the spot in the echelon of trendy graphic designs. Duotones are gradually taking over the role of whites and blacks in graphic visuals. To the delight of both viewers and designers, duotones have facilitated the creation of visuals that feel colorful and futuristic. While there is a decline in the popularity of duotones, its still early to discount their contribution to the graphic design world.
The consumers and viewers of today are well aware of the old tricks of luring them to brands and products. Apparently, viewers now want transparency and authenticity, and designers are obliged to get real, too. The behavioral shift by viewers has created an eclectic shift in the style of illustration.
Today, graphic designers are coming up with ideas, tastes, and styles from a diverse spectrum of sources. In fact, more design projects now feature stains of colors, freestyle doodles, organic textures, and incredible brushstrokes. This change in ideation has professionally unearthed the imperfect or raw side of art. Designers are slowly breaking out of the cocoon of rigid, grid-based elements, to a new world of asymmetrical approaches.
As mentioned earlier, the inflexible, grid-based designs are losing prominence in the modern world. Websites like Canva and Squarespace have offered a reliable platform for designers to express ideas using grid-based templates. However, things have taken a different turn and designers now want to create products dominated by touches of authenticity.
The craving for products that feel alive and bespoke has turned the odds in favor of asymmetrical layouts. The reason many designers have fallen in love with the asymmetrical layout is that they lend products more kinetic movement. When used on design compositions, asymmetric layouts illicit reactions from viewers. They grab the viewers’ attention and invoke inherent interest as they examine the design illustration or page.
In line with the increased demand for authenticity, brands are ditching the common typefaces for custom ones. In fact, reputable brands like Apple, Google, Debenhams, and Airbnb have given this trend the impetus it needs to carry on beyond 2019. These brands are forking out lump sums to get custom typefaces created for their brands.
The need to stand out in the highly competitive business world is pushing businesses to unthinkable heights. As a result, brands big and small have plans to create custom typefaces that ooze authenticity. The trend is still at its infancy phase but it’s poised for exponential growth until all brands have custom fonts and typefaces. At the current rate, we don’t expect this trend to reach its peak any soon.
In the modern era, edited stock photos are overtaken by events, and brands are well aware of this. People are no longer interested in the photos that look too professional and polished. There is a new crowd-pleaser—genuine and authentic photo.
Not long ago, the new stock photos were considered a risky bet by many. But today, these photos carry the day and their prominence is tipped only to increase. In fact, viewers have developed an innate liking for photos that look like a semi-pro took them. At the same sense, brands are dropping the ultra generic photos for authentic photos that tell visual stories with plenty of realism.
Some brands are prone to using generic illustrations. This habit is so yesterday and will only work against your brand. Time and again it’s mentioned that we are in a new era of design where authenticity is the slogan. Fortunately, the tenets of modern design offer numerous ways for brands to stand out.
One of the best ways to generate unique visual assets is by using hand-drawn illustrations. MailChimp is a good example of a brand that has mastered the use of hand-drawn visuals.
The best thing about hand-drawn illustrations is that they are complicated. This means that no other brand can create an exact copy of your illustration masterpiece. As a result, even when competitors use your illustration, they can only copy the stock image and color scheme. This way, your handwritten illustrations will forever stand out regardless of the number of times it is replicated.
This hand-drawn illustration trend is here to stay, and things are tipped to get complicated over the years. We predict that come 2020, the use of simple sketch will cease and designers will go for more intricate hand-draw illustrations and visuals. You better be prepared!
The light and dark color scheme trend is popular amongst tech companies, and it has caught the attention of other industry partakers. Brands and designers are embracing the light and dark color illustrations across different websites, apps, and graphic design elements.
Some of the notable brands that are riding the wave include Apple and Facebook. Not long ago, these tech giants adopted a dual-color scheme to make their apps useful in all situations. With reputable brands like Facebook and Apple in the fore, we can be certain that other companies will follow suit.
As you can see, the dynamics of graphic design are constantly changing. The visual hierarchy, as well as the design layout techniques, are evolving to meet the needs of the modern consumer and viewers. Even more, the logic of displaying visual elements is unfolding as designers strive to optimize the user experience.
The trends we’ve highlighted in this post have the biggest impact on graphic and design world. However, some of these trends will fade away and new trends will take their place. On the other hand, others will persist and continue to redefine the path for graphic design. The landscape will surely change, but it’s difficult to tell the direction it will take.
If you are a graphic designer, you must be a lifelong learner so that you can keep the pace of the meandering course taken by the design world. You need to add or change your specialization to remain relevant and adaptable.
Above all, if you are just getting started, a platform like Adobe can be too expensive. You should consider getting one of the alternatives to Adobe Photoshop CC.
On the other hand, if you intend to hire a professional graphic designer, you must keep your ears to the ground. More importantly, you should consider getting the best project management software for virtual teams, especially if you hire remote graphic designers.
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