Top 10 graphic design trends for 2021

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

“They put some letters on a white background and ask for wild money! – until recently, many customers thought of graphic designers. It seemed like the fashion for minimalism could kill the profession. Graphic design trends 2021 say it’s a thing of the past. People want vivid and varied emotions, sometimes shock. Real life is more and more confused with the virtual. Perfect and elegant images are no longer pleasant, but boring. 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 back in the 2010s the world was striving to become bright? Ideal families in advertising and social media. Beautiful photoshoped models who just can’t have skin flaws. Even the fruits, and these were far from reality: smooth, shiny, with beautiful sides, even reflections.

The world was obsessed with the pursuit of perfection. It was in everything.

Even the typefaces, in search of perfection, began to lose their individuality.

The 2010s were the Apple era, the cult of minimalism. White or black surfaces of the equipment, the same flat and smooth monochrome boxes with a laconic image of the product. Until the death of Steve Jobs, it was a major trend in graphic design. We’ve reached the pinnacle of minimalism and plunged into the other extreme. Everything changed. Designers began to vandalize and riot. Society too. Perfection is no longer sought after.

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

Trend # 1: bright colors

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

Trend # 2: Monochrome and two-tone

The old, well forgotten, is the new new. Before the invention of digital printing, a separate form had to be created for each color, it cost extra money, so designers tried to achieve more expressiveness with minimal funds.

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

Trend # 3: Play with the grid

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

Trend # 4: Characters with character

More recently, the characters in the illustrations looked like abstract men. It was a collective image, similar to both everyone and no one. Now it’s different – we see imperfect people, each with their own characteristics, the character is understandable. Such designs are well received by the public. We recognize specific people in photos: colleagues, friends, acquaintances, relatives.

Trend n ° 5: naive illustrations à la Matisse

Bold fast lines, big spots, vivid colors. Energetic drawings, similar to those of children.

Trend # 6: play with typography

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

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

Another popular technique is to overlay text over a photo or under a photo. The elements overlap. You just want to move it around a bit. In fact, of course, this is done on purpose to tease the viewer, forcing them to stop and take a closer look.

Graphic designers also play with lettering. For example, interesting and eye-catching logos appeared. Previously, it was hard to imagine a smudged and blurry font in a logo.

By the way, despite significant differences between web design and 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 easier and less laborious. Quite quickly, you can put together an image on your own or buy a ready-made one from an image bank.

Trend # 8: gradients

Mesh gradients similar to gasoline overflows are all the rage. Unexpected digital colors are also used.

Trend # 9: geometry in illustrations

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

Take, for example, the work of professional artists. They bring together simple shapes in a spectacular image, which they tighten even more. It turns out that something similar to retro, but in a new read. Simple but captivating.

Trend # 10: Augmented Reality, VR, Scanning

Augmented reality is actively used. Once again, the technologies have matured. You don’t have to work the way Pixar did before – stick to people with sensors, then render for hours and get it right in a week. Everything is easier now.

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

Clifton L. Boyd

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