Top 10 Graphic Design Trends of 2020

Printed flyer and business cards neatly displayed by a laptop and plant

Not only is it a new year, but a new decade at that. 2019 brought us a lot of bold and vivid colors, 3D fonts, and retro-inspired designs, and while 2020 may not bring about enormous changes in the design world, you can expect to see some shifts that will further develop as the decade progresses. Stay on top of your design game with these 10 graphic design trends of 2020.

Yellow lemon on a yellow monochrome backdrop

 Monochrome

The monochrome design trend is popping up more and more in the design world these days. This trend relies on using varying tones of a single color. Having one dominating color gives your audience a visual break and is a refreshing new take on the minimalistic design that works so well. The best thing about monochrome is that you’re not stuck with black and white. You can choose any color you want and since monochrome designs are timeless, you won’t have to worry about going out of style. Monochrome design is often used to direct the audience’s focus to the content and messaging rather than the colors of the design.

Blue color gradiant that fades into a purple

 Color Gradients

A blast from the past, this 90’s trend of color gradient is back in style! A color gradient, also known as color transition, is a gradual blending from one color to another color. This can be implemented in a variety of ways and does not have to be limited to just two colors. Color gradients can be used as a color filter or added to simple graphics to create some depth and texture. Whether you want to add a subtle touch of color or be the focal point of a design, color gradients are a versatile graphic design trend of 2020.

Bold black lettering spelling "Ramones" on a gray background

 Bold Fonts

Typography has always been a crucial design element. It is the most straightforward way to get your point across, after all. In 2020, you’ll see less of the decorative and handwritten style fonts and more of the modern bold fonts. Bold fonts can be used to create contrast in designs by pairing them with a lighter font or a simple background. Bold fonts are eye catching and can be used to help your message pop on whatever background you put it on, even from far away. Consider pairing bold fonts with lighter, thinner fonts to emphasize specific parts of your design.

3D design of a living room. Couch with pillows facing a tv mounted on a wall

 3D Design

Gone is the era of flat design. These days, more and more companies are incorporating 3D design into their branding and marketing materials. What’s great about 3D design is that it has no restrictions. Designers can recreate the world around them in their work to bring their audience a whole new viewing experience. From 3D typography to AR and VR experiences on web pages, a 3D change to a design element can transform your work. 3D typography is especially popular these days, with the words looking as though they are about to jump off your screen.

Red metallic foil crinkled

 Metallic

“All that glitters is gold.” Metallic elements are making a comeback in 2020, although did this one ever truly go away? The key to this trend is to apply it to a minimalist design, as the focus is on the metallic, which is used to capture attention. If done right, this trend can transform your design. Incorporating a golden or iridescent element to your design can give it a sense of luxury and exclusivity.

A 3D design of a corner of a room with a desk and couch created in isometric compositions.

 Isometric Compositions

Isometric design is a method of drawing a three-dimensional object in two dimensions. You often see isometric compositions used for infographics and presentation design. Isometric elements have shape, simplicity and depth, all in one. Incorporating this into a flat design makes each element more visually appealing and easier for the audience to comprehend.

Muted color palettes of blue, beige, and peach lines all meeting in the center

 Muted Color Palettes

Straying from the vivid and bold colors of the past seems to be a trend this year. A muted color is a color that has either black or white added to it. Muted color palettes are often used as a background in a design to make text or content easier for your audience to digest. Muted colors have a uniquely modern feel to them which will help your design stand out among the many designs following the vivid color trends of the past.  

Flowing shapes and lines intersecting design

Flowing Shapes and Lines

It’s not uncommon for a trend to shift from one extreme to another. Graphic design used to be filled with rigid geometric shapes and patterns such as squares and triangles. These days, you’ll see more flowing shapes and lines, such as circles and squiggles. Adding flowing shapes or lines to your design can give it an authentic and down to earth feel while also giving your design more depth. Though they will rarely be used as the focal point of a design, flowing shapes and lines make great background patterns for your digital graphics, and they say the more random the shapes look, the better!

Popart mixed media art of a woman wearing sunglasses.

 Mixed Media

Another blast from the past, mixed media is a great way to diversify how a message is visually communicated. You can combine various types of graphics such as 3D graphics or photographs with static typography to create compelling graphic designs. This technique is most often used with product photography, where product illustrations and animations replace flatlays and aspirational photography.

Orange cut in half. One side is filled with candy. On a tri-color muted color backdrop: yellow, pink, and blue.

Asymmetrical Layout

If you notice a design feels “unfinished,” odds are this was done intentionally. A lack of symmetry in a design is a great way to capture your audience’s attention to convey a message more boldly. This differs from past design trends based on a fixed grid system and encourages designers to create designs that feel more human and imperfect.

2020 seems to be the year that the past and future collide when it comes to design trends. From 2D to 3D, vivid to muted and creative to bold, these trends will certainly be fun to experiment with, but they are just that—trends. Trends come and go from year to year and you should certainly consider playing around with and incorporating some of these graphic design trends into your upcoming designs, but don’t let them limit your creativity.

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