It’s already March 2021 and here are 15 graphic design trends that we’ll be watching this year.
2020 gave us more than a lot of time off from work, it gave us new opportunities to try new hobbies and get creative in many different ways. We learned to play a new instrument, took online cooking classes or maybe even picked up a paintbrush and started painting. As we look back on the crazy year behind us and see all that we have accomplished (even at home), let’s also take the opportunity to look at new ideas coming up in 2021, specifically emerging trends in graphic design. Here are 15 graphic designs trends that we need to look out for as we start anew in 2021.
1. 3D Design
3D design has become all the rage in recent years and it’s no wonder why. This trend is becoming more popular. We love seeing realistic 3-dimensional worlds that feature geometric shapes and illustrations, typography, and optical illusions. As designers start to fine tune 3D design, in 2021 we can expect photorealism and 3D visualization that adds vibrant colors and movement to many different graphic designs.
2. 3D Typography
Thanks to virtual and augmented reality, we are seeing 3D typography create visually appealing text that lifts of the page. 3D typography, if used sparingly because of how hard it can be to read, creates realistic text that keeps readers hooked on every word. This trend, which also uses animation, texture and patterns, will become more popular among many businesses looking to engage people on a new level.
3. Nature Inspired Design
With the ongoing pandemic that took over the world and had us all feeling anxious about going outside, there was one place we all felt the safest, and that was the outdoors. Many of us found ourselves outside taking in the sunshine more than ever before and as a result, we are seeing an increase in more nature inspired digital designs. Whether digital or print, these designs will mimic the outdoors and help remind us of the peacefulness we feel when we are immersed in the outdoors.
4. Optical illusion
Optical illusions have also become more popular recently for the way they play games with our brains. Optical illusions have the capability to retain your attention with unusual graphics and illustrations. Optical illusions are attention grabbers because the more you look at them, the more you have to look at them. What a way to clear the slate for 2021 graphics and introduce this form of movement with patterns and mind-boggling graphics. In 2021, expect to see optical illusions in logo designs and other graphic illustrations.
5. Monochrome and Duotone
2020 inspired us to start bringing in new sleek and modern styles to our designs that don’t feel chaotic and busy. Using duotone and monochrome color schemes have made a comeback and one of the many reasons is because of how effortless the process is. Sticking to the same colors hues and shades or using only 2 complimentary colors takes less time and helps creators to focus more on other ideas and pieces of the content. Using this color palette is also easy on the eyes and has a nice clean look to it.
Gold has been used for many ages to enhance images, illustrations, and products. It is used to attract the reader’s eye and is associated with quality. Gold continues to this day to be one of the most popular colors searched on the internet. Gold is also one of those colors that ranges in many hues and tones. It’s safe to say gold isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
7. Geometric Shapes
Geometric shapes have been used in design for many years, but only in the last year are we starting to see them in more unique ways. Shapes carry many different meanings and when we learn to combine them to make more complex designs, that’s when they can tell stories.
In 2021, designers can use these shapes in several ways. First, as flat individual shapes that are put together to create a more complex design, and second, as moving shapes in 3D to add more flare and creativity. We also highlighted this in our Web Design Trends post.
8. Chaotic Typography
In this time of complete chaos and disorder, we are finding new ways to break the rules and push the limits. That’s where chaotic typography comes in. This way of communicating uses experimentation and emphasizes the importance of playing with color, design and movement. Chaotic typography lacks control and uses 3 dimensional spaces to promote creativity and visual communication like it’s never been done before.
9. Colorless Design
As much as we now seek to make our work pop with vivid colors and abstract designs, we can’t forget about the classic color combination of white and black that takes us back to a simpler and quieter time. Designers are using these two colors to not only make people feel nostalgic but to also create modern designs that are simple in style. Colorless designs are also easy on the eyes and help other elements of design take center stage, like typography, design, and motion.
Who doesn’t love a good emoji? Emojis have taken off ever since their invention in 1999 and their reoccurrence in 2011, when Apple added them to our texting feature on our phone. Emojis do a great job of clarifying the tone and underlying feelings of what is trying to be said. They lighten the mood and give digital conversations more playfulness. In 2017, Apple launched the Animoji, an animated version of our traditional emojis and even gave users the ability to customize their own emojis.
11. Retro & Vintage Design
Vintage designs have made a comeback recently and in 2021, retro designs plan to blur the line between contemporary and vintage using typography and color to bring nostalgia back to our senses. Retro and vintage styles bring back historical influences that span decades to give us a taste of what we’ve been missing.
12. Psychedelic Design
Born in the mid-late 60’s and inspired by the music and art of that decade, psychedelic design was created based on creative experimentations and chaotic imagery. It uses lots of color schemes and abstract art that, at that time, challenged limits that were set by society.
This method of design was created during a big shift in society and as we are facing new changes in our world today, we can see why it’s coming back. In 2021, experimentation will be at the forefront of graphic design as we find more colorful ways to communicate.
13. Muted Color Palettes
While bold and vivid colors have made a home within the design community, muted and neutral tones are also on the rise and it’s due to several different reasons. Muted tones are colors with lower saturation and have a more relaxing and effortless look. They feel familiar and safe and bring a sense of comfort which is a big reason why spas use more muted tones. We are all looking for more calm in our lives, which is why we see these palettes becoming more popular in 2021.
14. Classic Serif Fonts
There are benefits to using abstract fonts that are loud and colorful but there’s just as much to gain from using something classic like the serif font. There are many forms of this font within the serif family and using it will help to create a concise and put-together look within the design.
15. Social Media Slide Decks
Over are the days where you get to post one image and one social media story at a time. We have more to say now which is why social media slide decks are a better way of communicating longer messages. As we continue to speak up and let our creative juices flowing in this new year, we are finding more ways to connect through our social media channels, which so happens to be the only safe way to communicate right now.
Wrapping it all up
As the world keeps moving on and finding ways to improve and adapt, so are efforts to engage readers with exciting graphic design content. As we adapt to this next chapter in our lives, we hope that 2021 will bring on new levels of creativity and a willingness to play and create in an industry that is currently experiencing unprecedented growth.