Top graphic design trends to watch in 2020

Aspiring designers and experienced pros alike know how important it is to remain ‘on fleek’ with designs trends. What’s the latest logo trend? Is white space still the holy grail? What font is right for your latest project? So many questions are to be had and lucky for you we have the answers. 

We’ve scoured the land of the ‘interwebs’ to find the latest design trends, including what was hot in 2019 and what to expect as we enter a new century in 2020. 

1. Designers are getting heavy with Typography

Typography is a fundamental part of graphic design, in fact finding new ways to display words can form a design itself.

In 2020 designers are getting heavier with bold fonts and proud serif with an emphasis on Swiss-style readability (clean) with kinetic lettering elements (animation). Gone are the days when minimalist fonts reigned as ‘cool’ and ‘all the rage’. User experience design professionals need copy to grab the attention of consumers in an increasingly “scroll-happy” world. Strong and heavy fonts really drive home a core message that’s more likely to be retained by its audience (or at the very least, not ignored). Their versatility means they can create a contrast with multiple designs, while the introduction of a contemporary bold style perfectly rings in the new decade.

How to apply it in 2020:

Don’t be afraid to use bright colours, unusual spacing or motion to further emphasise the boldness of your type. Kinetic lettering is huge for this year – and will make your message really pop. This lyric video for Jacob Sartorius’ By Your Side is a great example of kinetic lettering, created by graphic and motion designer Paulo Manso:

2. Muted tones and saturated colours are IN

Prepare for a huge shift in colour palettes as we move into 2020. While we’ve grown accustomed to the popularity of 80s-inspired vibrant neons such as using bright blues, electric yellows and toxic greens, designers this year are bucking the trend and seeking more muted colour palettes to make their key message stand out.

Of course, these vivid colours still have a time and a place but more designers are trying to differentiate themselves from the pack, and have found that simply saturating a colour with a bit of black or white departs from the loudness, compliments bold-faced typography and does not take away from animation.

Play with colour in 2020:

Combine heavy lettering with a more pared down version of your favourite brights. Bring down the volume on a neon pink by adding white to create a paler tone, or add black to cobalt to create Pantone’s Colour of the Year: Classic Blue.

3. Designers are dreaming of a world in 3D

There’s change afoot in the design world as with marching further into 2020. While the last decade has been all about sleek, streamlined designs and minimalism, this year looks to the future with a combination of three-dimensional dreamscapes. We’ll start seeing more interactive web features that pop out of the page, along with custom 3D illustrations and compositions that are impossible for others to replicate. 

This brings us back to capturing the attention of digitally overwhelmed consumers, designers will need to ensure their designs demand attention with a texture that gets their attention. Extending design into the third dimension brings its own set of challenges, but it can (literally) bring some much-needed depth to your brand.

Make it your own in 2020:

Create a selection of custom illustrations that best reflect your client or your personal brand, and come up with a few solutions in making them 3D. Can you implement them on social media? Your website? Can they be embossed on your business cards? Use them to say something special to your audience – the world’s your oyster!

4. Creative fluid and flowing shapes to calm the mind

Nobody puts baby in the corner – this year designers are moving away from geometric, angular and rigid shapes trending in 2019 to favour Dali-esque curved lines, flowing shapes and dream-like patterns.

Along with the muted colour palette detailed above, these fantastical, fluid designs play well off each other, creating a softer approach to your audience that is immediately welcoming; instead of the colder, sharper designs of yesteryear, these graphics feel down to earth, creative, and authentic. They also pair perfectly with this year’s heavy fonts that contrast perfectly, bringing the best out of both elements.

Do it yourself in 2020:

Soften old designs or bring new ones to life by making them a bit more fluid. Think curved edges, colour spills and dream-like watercolour designs. These effects not only add an organic feel to designs to make them seem softer and more natural, but they’re also a great way to give flair to an existing design, and transform your brand into something more dramatic.

5. Illustrations are springing to life

Illustrations have been massive in 2019, with hand drawn and intricate designs popping up left, right and centre in place of stock imagery. This trend is likely to continue into the new decade, as more companies incorporate drawn elements into their designs. Except designers are favouring more quirky drawings and doodles this year to facilitate a level of warmth and approachability – making a brand appear more friendly and welcoming.

Adding motion to an illustration takes this technique one step further. In a world full of memes and GIFs, brands are keen to stay ahead of the curve and compete with other web content in a way that is both original and eye catching. Therefore, creating a branded GIF just might be the answer.

Bring it on in 2020:

Bring a splash of colour to a doodle and animate it; a reactive, branded GIF will capture your audience’s attention far better than any stock image ever will. If you do plan to use doodles however, make sure the style brand consistent and professional, while still retaining the hand-drawn feel (particularly if your style is more rustic).

Bringing together a future-focused design plan

Now you know how key design trends have changed as we get settled into a new decade, you can set about adapting your designs and uploading them to the Artwork Bazaar marketplace to feature in TV and film for 2020 and beyond!

Find out how it works or check out our latest blog for useful graphic design resources

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