Get ready to make some seriously trendy graphic design art after you deep dive into these design trends. Once you become familiar with the best design trends 2021 has to offer, you’ll be feeling inspired and ready to get creative. It’s time to take your graphic design art to the next level. Let’s go!
Since graphic design is everywhere in the world, it only makes sense for the world to influence what trends emerge in graphic design. These real-world reflections in design are what influence design trends. From infographics to packaging design to motion design, the following graphic design trends are all important to understand if you want to turn your designs into a powerful tool.
Visual trends take cues from current events, politics, and economics from all over the world. While it might not be obvious at first, these things and how people respond to them affect the design trends we see from year to year. All in all, graphic design trends, including 2021 design trends, are often tied into emotions. They relate to people in the present whether that’s by reminding them of something in the past or looking towards the future for inspiration. While the basics are the same from year-to-year, they take on unique twists depending on what is going on in the world.
You might be wondering what type of skills you need to master before you can dive into creating trendy graphic designs. Here are four graphic designer skills to look into to get your design ball rolling!
Designing for Emotion
The best graphic designs trigger emotions within their audience. Knowing what emotions you want to activate will help you thoughtfully choose which styles and mediums to use.
While perfection is hard, and maybe even impossible to achieve, it should always be the main goal you are working towards. Constantly working to master your craft will keep you and your designs fresh and impactful.
We know that almost everything, including graphic design, is done digitally these days, but it is still so important to understand the visual principles associated with various forms of design. Whether you are classically trained in graphic design or self-taught, you are going to want to familiarize yourself with a variety of print media to understand possibilities beyond the restraints of digital design that you can later use to guide your ideas and creations.
When it comes to creating a graphic design, we love a good brainstorming session. Start with an idea and then just start throwing more and more at it until something finally sticks. Yes, it can be time-consuming. Yes, you can go through hundreds of variations before landing on something final. But, when it comes down to it, being able to work your way through the ideation phase to reach your final graphic design is the biggest part of bringing your design to life.
In case you weren’t already familiar, Cyberpunk is the 2020 trend where sci-fi meets futuristic dystopia. It already feels like we’re living in the future given all of the technological advances that continue to develop and become ingrained in our lives. This concept inspires design trends that use color schemes that reflect grungy cities lit by bright neon lights. It’s where grunge meets technology.
Bevels and Chisels
Bevels and chisels keep with the futuristic theme. This trend gives a nod towards the classic struggle of skeuomorphism and flat design except that here, both are used in a balance to create 3D out of hard lines. This takes flat elements and arranges them in a way that helps them better mimic real-life objects. When done correctly, the end result will be a flat image that you swear you could touch. It’s even cooler when applied to web design because it makes you think the image is about to pop out of the screen!
While street art could be considered a classic trend, echoing popular designs of the decades from the ‘70s to the early 2000s, it’s clear that it’s gotten an update in 2020. The modern-day comeback has an inherent sense of rebellion to it. It stirs up feelings of revolution, hope, and freedom. Naturally, street art goes against convention, creating a fresh impactful look that gets viewers interested and excited.
Super Thin Geometric Designs
Geometric lines are the backbone of graphic design, but with the super-thin geometric design trend 2020 has seen pop up, geometric lines take on a new starring role. Like most popular graphic design trends this year, this one can also echo a futuristic, technological feel. It incorporates minimalism and gradients to create a trendy look. It’s great for any company from startups to big brands.
If you want to pull off a super-thin geometric design, you’re going to need some technological assistance, which is probably why this style is so big in the tech world. The designs are based on the basic shapes and lines we are comfortable with, but present them in mind-bending forms that hint towards a futuristic style.
Motion and Animation
It is becoming more and more popular for brands and companies to get their points across using animation or moving graphics. In a world where almost everything and everyone is online, people need something more scroll-stopping and attention-grabbing than a still image. Continuous animation sequences build each scene out of the frames from the previous one, creating a GIF-like effect, only lasting longer. It creates a magical way to take users on a journey and helps create a better understanding of what the company or brand is all about.
Gone are the days of sitting around with magazines, scissors, and glue trying to create your next multimedia work of art. Paper cut-out collages are the graphic design trend of the future now that they can be made with digital assistance. With mixed media, various textures and colors are mixed to create a cohesive layered look. For example, designers will take illustrations and photographs and layer them in a way that contrasts with each other. Rather than perfectly blending the two, outlines and angular edges are left to create the classic collage look. The end result is an artistic design that compliments surreal themes very nicely.
Typography will always be here to stay, but now it is seeing a wave of unique hand-lettering styles trend in place of the classic font families we are familiar with. Creating a one-of-a-kind, bold lettering style is an easy way to be sure your graphic designs will stand out amongst the others. People like to see types that closely resemble the styles they would expect from human production. It can be hard to evoke that feeling from common typefaces which is exactly why this trend is taking off.
One design trend 2020 has seen pop up everywhere is the dystopian aesthetic. It has become popular thanks to a recent wave of dystopian themed books, television shows, and movies, so it was only a matter of time before it started appearing in graphic design trends, too. So, how do you apply a dystopian feel to your designs? It starts with cold color schemes, glitch art, tech-inspired themes, and mechanic looking typography.
In 2020, we saw graphic designers revive not one but all time eras with the hyper-pastiche trend. Pastiche itself is an artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period. From Victorian to Art Deco to Modern, we’re seeing all sorts of time periods and styles pop up in graphic designs. It’s fascinating to see so many classic art styles take form in the modern digital age to become their own separate and unique trend.
Live Data Visualization
When you want to communicate information fast and effectively, the key to doing so will be with eye-catching graphic design. As live data continues to become more and more common, designers will need to become familiar with live data visualization trends in order to be sure their designs stand out while still giving information. Live data visualization trends tend to reflect computers and their style more than anything. The color scheme sticks to digital blues, dark interfaces, abstract polygons, and fonts that would make you think of a throwback ‘90s video.
When the world gets rough, we tend to look back on past times to inspire our current state of mind. 2020 was no different, and nostalgia has been popping up everywhere in graphic design trends. The look gives you “a good ‘ole days” type of feel when you see it applied to graphics for branding and advertising. While each year leans on different points in time to look to for inspiration, it seems to be that 2020 designs mimicked big ‘90s pop culture phenomena like TV-shows, popular toys, and fashion trends.
Each year, Pantone releases its color of the year. You may not have noticed at first, but once you do start referencing the color of the year, you’ll notice that it is everywhere in everything, including graphic design. For example, the Pantone color for 2020 was Classic Blue.
Zines have been around since the ‘70s, and since then, their styles have been popping up in popular graphic design trends. Naturally, they go against the mainstream. When you think of underground trends, chances are you are thinking of zine trends. The look of a design inspired by a zine trend is bold, personal and a little bit punk. It’ll keep developing as time goes on, but it will definitely always be around.
The environment is always on everyone’s mind, and just like we talked about earlier, current events, politics, and pop culture always have a way of showing up in graphic design trends. Connecting with natural elements can help a company effortlessly communicate that they are eco-friendly, and as more and more companies go that route, the environmentally responsible graphic design trend pops up more and more.
The most defining characteristic of the watercolor trend is the soft, ethereal way that colors bleed into each other. For the look to be impactful, you’ll want to keep your color palette to a minimum. Watercolor designs also benefit from having a mix of textures incorporated. This gives the design depth. The best part about the watercolor trend is that it thrives off of the look of purposeful imperfections. The uniqueness of each design gives it a one-of-a-kind look that makes it feel custom for that one purpose or piece.
Now that you have a little more direction on which graphic design trends you want to dabble with, it’s time to get to work! PicsArt is your one-stop-shop for designing a unique, one-of-a-kind digital graphic design. From Cyberpunk to Street Art, you can achieve any popular graphic design trend using PicsArt Editor. Check it out!
1) Open the PicsArt Editor online. From here, you can choose from any of the available products to get your design started. With each product, from Templates to Effects to Image Overlays, there is something for everyone to get their graphic design started.
2) Once you have your new project open, have fun playing with further features. Use Stickers to create a freestyle collage, tap on the Text Tool to create an impactful typography design, or Add a Photo from your library or the hundreds of #FreetoEdit images to create a mixed media effect. Have fun using what’s available to bring your vision to life!
3) When you are happy with your new graphic design, tap Download in the top right corner to save your graphic design to your device, then tap Share right next to it to show off your awesome new graphic design!
The best part about PicsArt is that you can design on the go with the PicsArt mobile app. Here’s how to get creative with your graphic designs on your mobile device:
1) Open the PicsArt app and tap the plus sign at the bottom of your screen. From there, open a blank canvas or choose from one of the tons of available templates.
2) Utilize the editing tools and available stickers, drawing tools, and effects to bring your graphic design idea to life. The possibilities are seriously endless, so have fun experimenting and trying new things.
3) Once you’re happy with the final result, click Next then save it to your device by tapping the downward arrow at the top of your screen. Save your design and then share it to PicsArt to show off your awesome work.
The design world is always evolving, so find what works for you, and keep on adapting your look and style to the times. Whatever it is you are designing for, PicsArt is always there to help you bring your ideas to life!
PicsArt all-in-one Photo and Video Editor, Collage, and Sticker Maker is the world’s largest creative platform with over 150 million monthly active creators and influencers. PicsArt has collaborated with major artists and brands like Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5, Lizzo, Meghan Trainor, One Direction, MONSTA X, Warner Bros. Entertainment, iHeartMedia, Condé Nast, and more. Download the app today to level-up your photos and videos with thousands of quick & easy editing tools, trendy filters, fun stickers, and brilliant backgrounds. Unleash your creativity with PicsArt and upgrade to Gold for awesome premium perks!