Top 10 Graphic Design Trends For 2021

There is only one rule: no more rules. But what should a designer focus on in his work?

“They put a few letters on a white background and ask for wild money!” – until recently, many customers thought so about graphic designers. It seemed that the fashion for minimalism could kill the profession. Graphic design trends 2021 say this is in the past. People want bright and varied emotions, sometimes shock. Real life is increasingly merging with virtual. Perfect, sleek pictures are no longer pleasing, but annoying. What’s the hottest thing in graphic design right now? How has technology changed? And how not to get lost in various trends?

Do you remember in the 2010s the world was striving to become glossy? Ideal families in advertising and social media. Beautiful, photoshopped models that simply cannot have skin flaws. Even fruits, and those were far from reality: smooth, shiny, with beautiful sides, even highlights.

The world was obsessed with striving for perfection. It was in everything.

Even fonts, in pursuit of perfection, began to lose their individuality.

The 2010s were the time of Apple, the cult of minimalism. White or black surfaces of equipment, the same flat and smooth monochromatic boxes with a laconic image of the product. Until the death of Steve Jobs, it was a major trend in graphic design. We reached the peak of minimalism and plunged into the other extreme. Everything turned upside down. Designers began to vandalize and riot. So did society. Perfection isn’t wanted anymore.

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Technologies gave the room for experimentation. Monitors got higher resolution, some products became completely digital, it became possible to do 3D alone, more space for creativity arrived.

Trend #1: Bold colors

For many years in a row, the main reference point has been the recommendations of the Pantone Color Institute. Most often he chooses one color. For example, in 2020 it was classic blue. In 2021, two are named as the main ones at once: Illuminating and Ultimate Gray. In explaining why yellow and gray, Pantone says the combination is “inspiring and hopeful”. Indeed, after last year’s pandemic and lockdown, it’s really craved for!

Trend #2: Monochrome and duotone

Well forgotten old is the new new. Before digital printing was invented, a separate form had to be made for each color, it cost extra money, so designers tried to get more expressiveness from a minimum of funds.

Now a new round of monochrome: technologies are developing, so orange on orange is perfectly visible on the monitor. Previously, it would have been just an incomprehensible spot.

Trend #3: Playing with the grid

A complex mesh with missing elements is used. The layouts have a tense rhythm, the eyes are trying to restore the order.

Trend #4: Characters with character

More recently, the people in the illustrations looked like abstract men. It was a collective image, similar at once to everyone and to no one. Now it is different – we see imperfect people, each of whom has its own characteristics, the character is understandable. Such drawings are well received by the audience. We recognize specific people in pictures: colleagues, friends, acquaintances, relatives.

Trend #5: Matisse-style naive illustrations

Bold fast lines, large spots, bright colors. Energetic drawings, similar to children’s.

Trend #6: Playing with typography

Typography is becoming more vivid and visible. The main thing is to attract attention.

Therefore, fonts are used in contrast. Thin and thick, too big and incredibly small.

Another popular technique is overlaying text on a photo or under a photo. Elements overlap each other. You just want to move it a little. In fact, of course, this is deliberately done in order to tease the viewer, make him/her stop and take a closer look.

Graphic designers play with lettering too. For example, interesting, catchy logos have appeared. It used to be difficult to imagine a smudged and fuzzy font in a logo.

By the way, despite significant differences in web design vs graphic design, the influence of graphic trends on them is still the same.

Trend #7: 3D in illustrations

Until recently, 3D was an expensive technology, but now the process is simpler and less labor-intensive. Quickly enough, you can assemble a picture by yourself or buy a ready-made one in an image bank.



Trend #8: Gradients

Mesh gradients similar to gasoline overflows are in trend. Unexpected digital colors are used as well.

Trend #9: Geometry in illustrations

Illustrations of prefabricated geometric shapes are gaining popularity. There are services where you can assemble such pictures, even if you don’t know how to draw. Something quite primitive and interesting can definitely be done.

Take, for example, the work of professional artists. They collect simple shapes into a spectacular picture, which they tighten up more. It turns out something similar to retro, but in a new reading. Simple yet mesmerizing.

Trend #10: Augmented Reality, VR, Scanning

Augmented reality is actively used. Again, technologies have matured. You no longer need to work like Pixar did before: paste over people with sensors, then render for hours, and only get the result in a week. Everything is easier now.

Follow to learn more about differences and similarities of web and graphic design.


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