Trend Roundup: 2021 Graphic Design Trends

Erica Katz

What’s the saying, “out with the old, in with the new?” I think most of us are in agreement when we say we’re looking forward to a new year. While some graphic design trends are here to stay, some are new for 2021 due to the world being in a completely different place than it was twelve months ago. Let’s dive in to the top ten graphic design trends for the new year.

1. Sustainability

This trend calls for earth-inspired design—neutral colors, patterns that are immersed in nature, and visuals inspired by the environment. Think brown, pink and mossy green hues that are warm and inviting.

2. DIY Aesthetic

This trend allows us to embrace imperfections and inconsistencies—mixed materials, collages and homemade feel. Think abstract digital textures such as newspaper paper, wood, twine.

3. Nostalgia

Nostalgia marketing has proven to be very effective in 2020 with consumers’ need for comfort and familiarity. Retro design will continue to trend in 2021. These designs or concepts (think songs from the past) evoke thoughts of childhood and simpler times.

4. Hand-Drawn Illustration

This trend is sticking around for the new year. Hand-drawn illustration adds unique and memorable elements to design, whether it is incorporated into editorial layouts or video content.

5. Gold & Jewel Tones

Gold indicates a wealthy and luxurious aesthetic. Whether it’s shiny, embossed, matte or another texture, gold adds a royal and high-end element to your design. Other jewel tones such as amber, sapphire, emerald and ruby are associated with royalty and will be popular in 2021.

6. Abstract Futuristic

This trend combines modern techniques like experimental design, floating objects, surrealism and optical illusions. It’s meant to be chaotic yet mesmerizing. Think tech commercials, space-age feel, electric and vibrant.

7. Organized Chaos

Organized chaos—a contradiction, right? This design trend uses asymmetric layouts with typography and layering, combined with minimalism. Often referred to as the “anti-design,” this trend is an acquired taste.

8. Symbolism

Symbols, icons and emojis are about exploring connection and universality. When something is everywhere, it’s up to you to be different. More creative and imaginative use of emojis will be popular in 2021.

9. Inclusivity

Now more than ever, designers have a duty to represent all races, body types, sexual orientations and socioeconomic aspects of humanity in their work. Because if one thing is true, we’re all united by being human.

10. Serif Fonts

Serif fonts are becoming more popular due to the fact that they represent credibility, confidence and trustworthiness in unstable times. These fonts will continue to be classic yet contemporary, especially if you are creating your own typeface by putting a modern spin on tradition.

Happy Creating

We hope these trends will inspire you in the year to come. With the world and its design changing so fast, we look forward to seeing how creatives adapt in 2021. This year will be nothing if not interesting.


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