Graphic design is more than just brand identification. It provides advantages that go beyond visual design. Smart design is a chance to “teach” and inform the audience, convincing it of the brand’s usefulness through color transitions, personalized fonts, and illustrations.
The world of graphic software design software is a constantly changing landscape. Here you can come up with tens of thousands of styles, so trends can replace each other year after year. What does it mean for you? You need to constantly improve your skills and align them with the latest trends to get the maximum benefit.
We live in unstable times, which is reflected in many areas of life, including design. Trends reflect the spirit of the era, our values, and aspirations. New styles and currents appear every year. Some of them are short-term, while others remain relevant for a long time. These next trends of graphic design will be popular in 2021.
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Table of Contents
Top 17 Graphic Design Trends for 2021
Due to urbanization and digitalization of the modern world, people are increasingly drawn to the elements that connect them with nature. This is partly due to the ongoing pandemic, which results in increased isolation. In graphic design, there is a tendency to use forms and colors inspired by landscapes, trees, leaves, and animals.
The organics-nature connection in graphic design is, of course, nothing new – it has long been applied in practice, especially in packaging design. However, this trend will see a new apogee in the upcoming years, which surely deserves attention.
Given the growing sympathy for the deteriorating nature and unpredictability of the global phenomenon, it’s expected that brands will adapt more to this design composition that will go far beyond packaging and custom labels.
In the last decade, the vast majority of designers used minimalist design, especially on digital platforms. Be it website design, logo, social network posts, etc. However, with the beginning of the new decade, professional designers are now bringing minimalistic design templates into a new dimension.
Today’s world loves new minimalism when artists combine two designs only with those components that make sense. One can see how modern designers combine sophisticated design with a hint of traditional minimalism. That’s where fine lines between complexity and dullness are carefully developed, without violating the basic principles of modern minimalism.
Clear forms and lines are gradually becoming a thing of the past, and their place is taken by abstract elements. They contrast perfectly with the strict layout and attract the viewer’s attention. This direction is notable for the fact that it uses a visual language of various forms, colors, and lines to create compositions.
Simple and Custom Fonts
One of the main principles of graphic design is the use of legible fonts in projects to ensure clarity in brand messages. After all, if the message you want to convey to your target audience is not clear, how do you expect them to interact with your brand?
Some of the most famous brands like Apple, Google, Debenhams, and Airbnb have already used this design trend and many others now understand its impact.
Creating and using non-standard fonts for your business design can change the rules of the game, especially in terms of creating a unique brand identity that differs from your competitors.
Rendering of 3D technologies in graphic design has long been under development.
However, significant progress has been made over the past couple of years, and it is expected that the popularity of this trend will grow in the upcoming years.
Thanks to the outstanding achievements in modern technologies, as well as advanced software capabilities, the use of 3D graphic design compositions will stay with us for a long time.
3D-typographic will be especially popular in 2021. Three-dimensional letters of various shapes, colors, and sizes, both animated and static, look very impressive. Even now they can be seen on various websites, billboards, and in printed publications.
Unique Color Combinations and Blurring Effects
Bright gradients will remain popular next year just like in 2020. More and more graphic designers are adding blurred color transitions and noises to their works. This combination makes design elements, typography, and images look more vivid and attractive.
Animations and GIFs
The use of moving graphics and animation is one of the key trends in graphic design for 2021, worth paying attention to. Many experienced graphic design experts believe that there will be a significant shift in interest in motion art – motion illusion. A hint of such a shift has already been noticed in some projects, which used a combination of two-dimensional and three-dimensional motion and cinematography.
One of the most common myths about graphic design is that it must be static in nature, in all forms. And it is here that many brands lose to their competitors, who understand the importance of using animated graphics in their business design.
In its turn, the popularity of GIFs in social networks is growing rapidly, and there’s no surprise that brands use this form of animated graphics in their graphic design projects. In fact, because of the growing popularity, GIFs are potentially useful for brands that can use them in their website/email design.
Designers can no longer afford to sit still. It’s time for brands to follow and explore how the popularity of the updated GIF format can work out for them. Otherwise, it’s simply a missed opportunity.
Real-Time Data Visualization
Creating graphic design for your business has a number of purposes, and providing accurate data and information is one of the main tasks.
We have already seen how pie charts and infographics embedded in the UI design are used for websites and mobile apps. Now the same is expected to happen with real-time data monitoring panels, where designers will be able to demonstrate information so that it adapts to changes and is dynamically animated.
Of course, such huge data will require aesthetically pleasing design, that’s why, from the stylistic point of view, designers will choose dark interfaces using abstract polygons.
When developing site design, we often use stock images and photos. If your brand is already several years in the game, then keep it going – your audience is used to this style. But if you start a new project, we’d recommend paying more attention to simple, drawn illustrations. First, you can bring in more variety. Secondly, you will make your audience love the product. After all, most people are sick of stock images. When they appear on sites that have existed for a long time, the consumer gets a sense that it’s a brand. But if stock images are added to new sites – the user thinks designers lack creativity (at least).
Just like custom fonts in graphic design, painted illustrations also help companies in creating a unique corporate identity. In fact, with the advent of the last decade, we entered an era where the audience accepts only authentic content and design materials. In this situation, using ordinary illustrations is like suicide. Fortunately, the principles of modern design offer brands many ways to stand out.
The biggest advantage of painted illustrations is that they are complex and, therefore, do not leave room for duplicating or copying the pictures, typical for your brand. As a result, even when competitors use your illustration, they can only copy a standard image and color scheme. So your handwritten illustrations will always stand out no matter how many times they are reproduced.
Symbols were used even in prehistoric times, long before the appearance of graphic design. Now they are used to reveal an idea and introduce a product. Usually, they are represented by icons, signs, and words, helping to overcome the language barrier.
Minimalism can be used not only in shapes but also in colors. A monochrome color scheme also allows you to create an attractive visual. The black and white background blends perfectly with text as well as graphics, symbols, icons, and images.
Retro Futurism and Vintage Effects
This style causes nostalgia for those times when people dreamt of a fully automated future with flying machines and exploring distant galaxies. The popularity of retro-futuristic design in 2021 will help return an optimistic view of the future.
These days, you can take a look at your city streets and notice how old trends return to fashion. Baggy clothing oversize, muted colors, old street brands – all this is now relevant for any audience. Why not use it in graphic design? Bring your consumers back to the past! Add a burned city photo or an old car to your illustrations. The positive effect is guaranteed both among the older generation and teenagers. Why? Because generation X and Y will immediately remember how good those days were and feel that nostalgia. And Generation Z will be able to touch those “wonderful” things that their parents told them about.
Even simple geometric shapes can add great design value. This trend is observed in this year’s work and will remain relevant in 2021. Geometric shapes are perfect for both 2D and 3D design.
Overlaying can create difficulties in content perception. However, this approach creates additional picture depth, capturing users, and motivating them to analyze the image in more detail.
Again, by using the overlay effect, designers have more creative possibilities:
- make one element semi-transparent to connect images;
- overlay one element with another;
- create linear images on top of illustrations;
- overlay fonts with colors;
- combine photos and drawing.
All these effects may significantly reduce the readability of images, but if used right, overlaying makes content more attractive and efficient – your audience will want to understand the meaning beyond.
Classic Vintage Fonts
More and more elegant fonts in vintage style have been produced recently, e.g., Glamour Absolute, which is suitable for various projects. These fonts add a pleasant antique effect to the design.
Social networks influence not only our everyday life but also graphic design trends. Since emojis are a popular way to visualize our emotions and state of mind, designers apply them when building sites or creating product packaging designs.
Big Data is a new innovation section. Each sphere is saturated with information to the extent when a simple transfer of numbers or images is no longer possible. This is why companies pay attention to data availability.
Data visualizations are part of the animation. However, simple animations may not be meaningful, which results in less attention. But if there are statistical data in the animation, the users will definitely fix their eyes on it.
Data visualization and live elements play a significant role in modern graphic design. If your field of activity is related to data, which should be shown to each user, you should use animation. First, you will save a potential client from page scrolling. Secondly, you will be able to transfer information more elegantly. Third, this effect will become one of the business cards of the company. You will be remembered.
In case you didn’t know that you can create illustrative graphs and mind maps in Google Docs, you can. Drawing is a small graphics editor inside Google Docs that can be used to create illustrative diagrams that explain the maps, add inscriptions, and arrows to images.
There’s actually nothing hard about using Google Docs, plus, Google always offers great guides to all their products. But if you want to export your Google Doc content into your WordPress Site and save your time, you might want to check Wordable, a simple export tool that is designed by writers for writers. It will save you 10x more time on manual labor, including exporting, uploading, formatting, and optimizing each piece of your content. Sometimes, these actions can take up to 60 minutes per single post. Wordable cuts this time to seconds and offers one-click transfers!
For example, if you’re a professional writer or you have a team of busy content creators with impressive productivity, this tool will help you (or them) with dozens of articles. Quite soon, this tool will also be available for other website platforms, great for presenting content. Thus, if you value your time and money, don’t want to waste it on copy-pasting, importing, and reformatting routines, you should definitely try Wordable, a fast and efficient way to export raw HTML, headings, images, and tables from your Google Doc into your WP site. Then you can also make final adjustments, schedule, and, of course, post your content.
They offer three plans, all with unlimited exports: Solo – $19 per month (1 user and 1 WP site), Pro – $49 per month (5 users and 5 WP sites), and Pro Plus – $99 per month (25 users and 25 WP sites).
Every year, more people talk about this “theatrical” element in advertising. Users see the “acting” and simply do not believe everything that is shown to them. This leaves a tremendous imprint on the personality and psychological portrait. As a result, users are looking for a trick even in graphic design.
So, when creating your brand and product, think about transparency and simplicity. Pay more attention to real conditions and natural colors. Use all elements that can be in harmony with nature. After all, nature is the best association of pure and real design.
This is just the beginning. Graphic design is a huge set of visual elements. Today you can use them as you want. The boundaries of “normality” are blurred, and you are free to experiment.
But remember that even in the era of “free” graphic design, you still have to stick to some rules and trends. After all, besides aesthetic satisfaction, you need to get into the head of the user. If they think your design is not “trendy,” your animations and color transitions will not make much sense to them.
Finally, keep in mind that you live in the digital age, where apart from computers, people have smartphones. So, you have to make sure that your graphic design is equally good on any screen.