Graphic designs trends are always changing and it’s important to stay on top of these progressions if you’re looking to improve your designs. That’s why this year, I’ve prepared a list of graphic design trends that you should look out for in 2021.
Whether you’re a dedicated graphic designer or not – we should all understand the fundamentals of design. Having strong visuals in your content marketing strategy are essential and incorporating new design trends to your canvas will help take your visuals to thee next level!
Here are 10 graphic design trends you need to know for 2021!
1. Clean, Geometric Designs
Clean, geometric designs are visually interesting and have a sharp, modern look. They’re easy for the eyes to focus on. The lines and perspective utilized in a geometric design can also work together to draw the eyes where you want them to go.
A great example of a geometric design that utilizes perspective is on this landing page by designer Bradley G. Munkowitz. The hard lines of the design and the soft rays of light draw your attention to the minimal copy in the center of the page.
Geometric designs can range from complex to simple, minimalist designs. This type of design can work well with any color scheme. Monochromatic and complementary colors are particularly eye-catching.
BrightMedia utilizes themes of geometry and outer space in its design. As you scroll down the page, each geometric shape is illustrated as you go, making the experience interactive. The clean lines of each design draw themselves as you scroll, and the shapes guide you as to where to look and what portions of the site copy to read next.
In addition to the clean lines of the white graphics, the geometric lines in the background interplay with the starfield and add pops of color to the page.
Bonus: Find the color combo that works for your brand
If you want to find a color combination for your brand that will really pop, check out our blog post on color palette inspiration to find the right combination for your brand!
2. Designs Inspired by Street Art
Street art designs are surging back into popular brand design, and it’s no wonder–not only do they look original, they also ring that bell of authenticity. Street art-inspired design looks different and original, and it stands out in a sea of standard graphic design looks.
If your brand is begging to be noticed, incorporating street art into your visuals is one way to engage and revitalize existing customers while also attracting new prospects.
The website for the entertainment industry company OTM Touring is a vivid, lively collage of street art and street art-inspired designs. In fact, on the landing page, your cursor becomes a spray-paint can and you can actually paint your own design on the page–a fun, interactive way to draw a viewer into brand interaction immediately.
Take a look at my contribution to the artwork:
Once you click into the menu, the design changes to a simplistic white background with a streak of black spray-paint to divide the page.
This site alone shows the stark contrast in street art styles–a design strategy that may be leveraged for both minimalist and busier brand visuals.
3. Unique, Fun Fonts
Incorporating unique, fun fonts into your brand design is a surefire way to shake up your visuals in 2021. You can convey so much about your brand and its evolution through your font, which is a plus if you’re looking to save money on designs. Choosing new fonts in the new year could give your brand visuals the edge you’ve been looking for, without breaking the bank.
There are many great choices when it comes to choosing a unique font. For example, you could infuse some extra personality in your brand through hand-lettered fonts or fonts drawn by hand. Fonts that convey a specific time period or cultural movement that’s on-brand with your business might also be a great way to go.
No matter what you decide, fonts are a great opportunity for branding, whether you’re establishing a new business or just re-positioning one that exists already.
Snappa offers a number of uncommon fonts in our image builder. Take a look at this Motown-inspired font, Monoton. Notice how the monochrome, geometric pattern and the lines and curves of the lettering complement one another.
The Unifrakturmaguntia font is reminiscent of a medieval script and would be great for a brand that wants to convey a message of customer loyalty, longevity, and high quality to its audience.
This font, Emilys Candy, feels like a happy-go-lucky, 1960s beach party film. It conveys a range of positive emotions, especially when combined with bright colors.
4. Minimalist Designs
The clean, minimalist look is a modern, popular brand style. Often, we see images and graphic design pieces that are really only text on solid or minimally-designed backgrounds. Other times, we might see one image in a piece of minimalist design, but it might only appear as a small part of the graphic.
Overcrowded, overcomplicated images are not the way to go here. Instead, you want to allow for a lot of “white space” in your designs and allow the words and images to breathe.
The website for the design firm We Ain’t Plastic is a great example of minimalist design. While there is a central image in the design, it’s offset by the text. Plenty of breathing room is allowed around both the image and the text, and the design feels both classy and expansive.
The website for UK-based brand experts McKennaJones is another fantastic example of minimalist design that utilizes a little more color while still welcoming plenty of open space in the design.
5. Interesting, Quirky Illustrations
Illustrations can allow you to add your own unique style to your brand design. Using illustrations in your design–particularly on a landing page–can help you describe your process or product in a branded way.
Custom illustrations add extra pizazz to your brand and give your prospective clients an intimate look at who you are and how you stand out. IC4Design’s website is a fantastic example of interesting, richly-illustrated artwork that both interacts with the user and gives you a feel for the brand’s voice from the first glance.
Sprout Social also utilizes beautiful, simple illustrations on their landing page to convey the brand’s message and purpose. The clean, inclusive images evoke action, results, and success.
6. Loud, Popping, Bright Colors
The internet is filled with endless amounts of visual content. In fact, over 1.8 billion photos are uploaded to social media a day. It isn’t easy to get your message across if your audience never gets the chance to even see it.
A recommended design trend would be to use loud and bright colors. This will help your content stand out from the meme-filled social feeds. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you should go out and write your text with bolded red font using an orange background. Mix colors properly so that they combine to create an eye-catching image. Using tools such as Colorhunt is perfect for choosing color combos that stand out for your visuals.
Spotify is a great example of a major brand that has used bright colors to enhance their designs. More specifically, they use a concept called duotone, which essentially uses two shades in one color to help the image stand out.
What you shouldn’t do is include muted colors. Muted colors are basically colors that incorporate black within them. These colors don’t pop out as much and will lead to darker images.
Bonus: Color transitions
We’ve seen this style emerge with the Instagram redesign and it’s quickly making its way around major brands. It is very possible for us to continue to see the use of color transitions within graphic design. Using gradients and transitional popping colors may just be the secret formula to great visuals in 2021.
7. Authentic Pictures and Customized Graphics
Generic is the one thing you don’t want to be in 2021. The one size fits all approach is long gone and we’re moving into a world where companies know a baby is on the way sometimes before you do… I’m not kidding.
Stock photos are still very prominent. But It’s time to move away from the basic approach of just sharing a basic stock photo. If you’re going to use stock photos, incorporate the photo into a relevant text graphic. The key is to personalize the graphic as much as possible.
Given how easy it is to take professional photos, you should be using authentic pictures to showcase your content. The smartphone that you currently use can actually produce better photos than you think. In addition, user generated content is as authentic as a piece of content can get. What’s more unique and effective than having your customer document their life with your product? Companies such as Daniel Wellington and Pura Vida have created multi-million dollar companies by using authentic images.
As for graphics, there are plenty of ways you can create a customized piece of content without spending countless hours learning Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. Do some research and look through the analytics to figure out the type of content your readers are interested in. Once you’ve figured that out, you can create simple graphics with online graphic design tools like Snappa (shameless plug). Whether they are quotes, statistics, industry news, you should make sure that your graphics are relevant to your brand.
Bonus: Hand Drawn Images and Sketches
We’re starting to see a human side to design with the emergence of hand drawn design and sketches. Drake’s album “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” was an interesting design approach and ever since then we’ve seen quite a few major companies using this hand drawn typography on apparel designs and website designs.
8. Unique Layouts
2021 is all about having designs that stand out and the design layout is no different. Having symmetry on your canvas has always been a standard in the trade, but companies have started to experiment away from this. Graphic designers are starting to create asymmetric designs that use neutral space in a creative way.
Since symmetry has been so standard in design, it’s become generic to the eye and asymmetric designs do a great job of capturing attention because it’s so different from what we normally see.
Another prominent layout design that we have seen and will continue to see in 2021 is splitting content. What this means is that a design is split into sections where information is dispersed across each section. A common split content layout is having the page as an image, while half the page is text.
9. Design Elements and Overall Style
The use of patterns, lines, and circles have been prominent for a few years now and that won’t be changing anytime soon. You should continue to see patterns incorporated into designs, along with geometric shapes.
A design element which has been around for quite sometime now and won’t phase away anytime soon. The use of shapes to create designs will continue to be a major factor in 2021. The geometric designs that will pop out the most will be ones that are combined with other popular design elements and something that is unique.
Low Poly Design
A low poly design will give your piece of work a more 3D feel. Poly design has dominated the design environment over the past year and this trend does not feel like it will end anytime soon. The low poly designs are being combined with bright colors, hand drawn shapes, and duotones, to really stand out while giving a much more modern look to graphics.
Use of Typography
An element of design that has always been important to graphic design is typography. Choosing the right font, font size, font bold, and font spacing is key. In the new year, expect to see BIGGER and BOLDER fonts.
I keep talking and emphasizing the importance of having your designs stand out in 2021 and unfortunately it applies here as well. Keep the font style simple and readable, but make sure it’s big enough for the reader to wonder whether or not you’re screaming at them.
Other Emerging Design Elements
Cropped Elements – A minimalist approach where texts are cropped so that parts of the letters are missing, but the text can still be read.
Semi flat design – Soft shadow on flat design which makes it look like the design is floating.
10. Moving Visuals
When we talk about moving visuals, we’re getting into a more advanced side of graphic and web design. Although these may not apply to you, I wanted to outline some of the trends that are taking place in this technical and cool part of design.
Moving images such as gifs are taking the internet by storm and we are beginning to see more and more GIFs across our news feeds and emails. A GIF is essentially made up of several images that are pieced together to create a short looping visual. Very similar to Vine, but with images instead of video.
An image that has moving components are typically categorized as a cinemagraph. Cinemagraphs are often seen on visual platforms such as Instagram. This is a unique approach to design and combines video and authentic imagery into a single visual.
Graphic design is not an easy task and if you haven’t designed before, it won’t be easy for you to incorporate all of the elements mentioned above.
Start with the basics and begin to implement authentic visuals first, if you haven’t already done so. From there you can begin to experiment with shapes, font combinations, and combining the elements we mentioned above into a single graphic. Remember because I may not have mentioned this before but, make your visuals STAND OUT!
There’s no single graphic design trend that will solve your issues. The best way to achieve a graphic design that works is by testing and by using a variety of different design elements and graphic design trends together. Be different in your designs, but do so with the design trend fundamentals in mind.
Do you have any other graphic design trends that you think will be prominent in 2021? Leave a comment down below and let me know!