graphic design trends

With each passing year, people in different industries are always waiting for the ?next big thing?: news, new trends, and revolutionary tendencies that will reshape and redefine the borders and often the sole existence of a niche.

When it comes to graphic design, 2021 also has quite a few nice twists on classics and introduces new and exciting forecasts.

Even though last year came to a screeching halt for most of the population and most industries, the digital sphere has seen rapid growth and had to face and overcome new challenges to adapt to higher pressure due to the entire #stayathome phenomena.

In such turmoil, let’s see how did actually did the landscape of graphic design changed and what are the most anticipated trends for this year.

˜

3D Design

Well, the concept of 3D design isn’t exactly new, but it’s getting more and more exciting as time progresses. Making astonishing technological advancements thanks to software capabilities, and the rise of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, 3D designs in high-performing UI apps are getting more and more intricate and immersive.

3d design trend 2021
Design by Mako Tsereteli via Dribbble

Experts forecast that the hyper-real, lifelike visuals will be the most popular, blurring the lines between the digital and the physical. They will gain more ground actually, often grabbing center-stage enriched with animation and movement, combining illustrative elements and photographic images.

Design professionals argue that these trends won’t be purely cosmetic and artistic as they will also help positively affect bounce rate and will have a practical edge as well.

 

Nature-Inspired Design

These trends have also been gaining more ground over the past few years, slowly crawling from the sidelines to the center of attention.

Mimicking nature, earthy colors, natural schemes, and flowing lines also blend well with current minimalistic web design trends and muted color palettes making for eye-catching websites in an era, where most people stay indoors most of the time.

And this is exactly the catch. Most people experienced a thirst for nature during the pandemic, commercial designers and website owners smartly took notice and started reflecting the mood through their designs. If you can’t go outdoors, the outdoors will come to you.

nature-inspired graphic design trend 2021
Design by Damian Orellana via Dribbble

Emoji Design

How better to convey your tone of voice than with a wink or smiley face than with an Emoji? When used in the right place and context, they can be the central feature of the convo and in certain situations, they can also encourage interaction. In the case of design, Emojis can create the same kind of reactions and responses and help in communicating underlying meaning and feelings.

Because of this, experts agree that Emoji-centered designs will gain more popularity over the years and more imaginative Emojis will be introduced. Different techniques and styles can be used to create them and they can be incorporated into your designs in new and exciting ways.

˜

Gold Design

Time to get posh and classy! As metallic-effects are becoming more and more popular in the world of design, they blend in perfectly with the current minimalistic-paradigm.

That being said, designers have already been quite successful in experimenting with different metallic looks like brass and silver, but gold is still king. Enabling you to go from matte to shiny, playing with different light and scratch effects, gold gives you tons of options.

It gives your designs a luxurious feel and can be combined with a myriad of different materials enabling you to create highly contrasting end products to wow your audience.

˜

Optical Illusions

Is there a better way to positively affect bounce rate and improve overall engagement than with exciting designs you have to study a little in order to figure them out? Sounds like a million-dollar idea, right?

As design can hold your audience’s attention, optical illusions serve as an approach that can let you pull that off. With this trend, your designs will stand apart and/or captivate your visitors.

When done right, the more you look at these designs, the more you will actually have to keep looking at them. The longer you work it out the more you need to make total sense of it. Good optical illusion designs are quite addictive.

˜

Duotone and Monochrome Design

A smooth, cool look has been in style for a while now. It helps designers hammer out projects with less time and it helps simplify the overall design so that users don’t get overwhelmed with all the elements on a particular website.

monochrome design 2021
Design by Zach Higgins via Dribbble

In such a setting, monochrome and duotone designs seem like a logical step up as they leave a lot of space for creativity and at the same time, shaving precious time off the design process without sacrificing taste and artistic integrity.

On the other hand, the balanced and harmonious nature of these designs offers a calm and relaxed theme for site users who now tend to spend even more time online.

˜

3D Typography Design

Experts predict that last year’s popular typography trends will get a rehaul this year, and get transformed into 3D. The highly ultra-realistic lettering will be even more captivating for visitors and other elements, like pattern, animation, and texture will make it even more engaging.

˜

Geometric Shapes

This trend has also been around for a while now but experts expect it to peak this year. The basic philosophy of using smaller elements as building blocks and creating something larger holds artistic value, and when you give it a 3D twist, it can also up your engagement stats, not to mention, helps you get even more creative.

geometric deisgn trends 2021
Design by Matt Pamer via Dribbble

However, while 3D will be somewhat overarching in the 2021 graphic design narrative, it won’t be the only way to implement geometric shapes. Simple and flat designs will also remain relevant and practical enough.

˜

Colorless Trends

Who says you always need to use color? In such a multicolored world, there’s just something instantly relaxing in a colorless design.

This might sound a bit counter-productive, as most sites use multicolored designs to capture visitor attention, but a more conservative colorless approach can make sense as it will immediately stick out from the jungle of ?look-at-me? websites. In the right setting, it can also convey the message of brand confidence effectively and clearly, it makes a statement.

The good ole’ design of black and white with grayscale fits the bill the most for this kind of approach, however, it’s not the only way to go about it. Using soft sepias and using minimal highlight colors too can also work fine.

colorless deisgn trend 2021
Design by Tanvir Alam Hira via Dribbble

Cartoon Illustrations

Similar to Emojis, cartoon illustration can also help you convey the message better in an exciting and more creative way. They can also soften up the large palette of look-alike websites with similar digital looks and minimalist sleekness.

Illustrations can create a more lifelike experience while enhancing the design itself and keeping to the point. They can also be a great tool for introducing elements like comedy.

This approach enables you to get highly creative, imaginative, and playful while presenting you quite the challenge at the same time. For example, a brand mascot can set the atmosphere for the entire website and can be even used for merchandising, business cards, posters?


Putting it Together

All in all, we could go for a few days straight and talk about the different trends that will probably influence design to a certain degree throughout 2021.

Predictions are always just that: predictions. They are in the laps of the gods and we will never know what the next big wave in design will be until it’s in front of us.

However, it’s safe to say that the world of graphic design is undergoing a minor revolution, not to mention, unprecedented growth as tastes change and technology evolves. In such a world, experts need to keep running with the latest trends to know the ins and outs to either ride the next big trend wave or create our own.

One thing’s for sure: when it comes to graphic designs, brand message, company profile, company tone, along with a myriad of other factors will all play a crucial role in determining the final design approach as it has to be intact with the company image. Oh yes, and you know what they say: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


More on Design Trends for 2021:

Szabolcs Szecsei

Szabolcs Szecsei born on February 4th, 1989, A Hungarian writer, living in Novi Sad, Serbia. With a master’s degree in Communication and Media Studies, Szabolcs has been working in the news and marketing industry for more than six years. Apart from writing, Szabolcs is also a professional touring and recording musician, working for several bands and projects.