10 Visual Design Trends You Need To Know To Stay On Top in 2021

graphic design inspiration

2020 was the year that shook up our worlds. Since design itself is a form of human expression, we see ripples of the apocalyptic year spill over to our creative tendencies. While many visual design trends cycle through their natural progressions, there is something special about graphic design trends in 2021. Particularly, brands are looking towards providing a more hopeful, optimistic, and uplifting feel through their designs.

Infographic gurus at Venngage say people are craving a sense of calm in a world full of chaos. Thus, previous trends of bold, in-your-face colors and dissonant palettes are no longer appreciated in 2021.

Instead, there is now an inclination towards muted colors, nature-inspired aesthetics, clear geometrics, and even color-blur/ colorless graphic design trends.

Related: Why Visual Content Is The Future Of Marketing?

The strongest urge that has materialized within us, creatively or not, is the urge to connect ourselves to the outdoors and nature. Therefore, nature-inspired graphic design trends make total sense for 2021. Being shut indoors made us realize the importance of greenery, colors, and fresh air in our lives.

Graphic design trends, inspired by mother nature
Source: Pinterest/Zekagrahic

Nature mimicry is all around us in the form of muted colors schemes and minimalist aesthetics. Design trends, no matter their roots, are taking gradients and flowing lines into their scope.

NATURE theme graphic
Source: Pinterest.

The takeaway: Make the outside world a part of your design to stay on top of design trends this year.

NATURE theme graphic
Source: Pinterest
NATURE theme minimal graphic
Source: Pinterest.

Cartoons combine the nostalgia of design trends from our childhood coupled with the playfulness of today’s technological advances.

retro design
pop art comic graphic

Bring back the superheroes, vintage comics, and pop art vibe.

Sharp lines, inky designs, and grainy textures are all more than easily revamped and reproduced into graphic design trends 2021.

3D graphic design trends are not exactly new to the table. However, technology advancement has created a creativity boom.

cartoon design
Source: Pinterest.

These creative designs are for lack of a better phrase, really out of the box!

They blend art with the everyday to create fresh graphic design elements that pop.

Hanging Bulb

Designers are able to combine photographic images with illustrations by adding animation, movement, and pop-3D images.

Art Satisfying GIF by Eric Xue - Find & Share on GIPHY

4. Muted colors, muted mind

Another present gifted to us from the pandemic is a brand new muted color palette, one that has taken off on social media with the rise of increased political campaigning and grassroots protesting.

trendy graphic
Source: Michael Crampton. Pinterest.
coffee logo inspiration
Source: Natalie Quach for Temple Coffee/ Pinterest.

Firstly, these muted color palettes provide the perfect base for everything from information to serious conversation. Secondly, they also add a sense of calm and neutrality.

Socially conscious trends are possibly ones that we only hope continue to flourish and stay as graphic design trends beyond 2021.

Diverse representation for example has been on an upwards trend, especially since the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement and consciousness.

Authentic representation in design is the way forward, ditching stereotypes of the old world.

powerful poster inspiration
Source: Jaison John MS/ Pinterest.

As a designer portraying diversity is what we can do for a better, more equitable and inclusive future. For instance, by portraying diversity, we inspire & encourage people of all backgrounds on their journeys and that’s such a needed and positive change.- Fe Melo, Top Level designer at 99designs

6. Irreverent characters that tell a story

Firstly, quirky characters as a part of design trends are usually well-remembered. In this case, don’t be afraid to blow the conceptual horn and go all out with hand-drawn designs.

graphic design trends
Source: 99Designs/ Pinterest.
graphic design trends illustration
Source: Jean-Michel Tixier/ Pinterest

Secondly, think of for example a Perry-the-platypus style Platypus in a hat, or a peacock in a suit.

Finally, let your imagination run wild. In fact, your consumers will appreciate whimsicality.

cartoon illustration
Source: 99Designs/Pinterest.

Related: How To Make Visually Appealing Projects With Brand Illustrations

Like all good graphic design trends, the 60s/70s Woodstock style psychedelia was bound to make a comeback. Therefore, in the current nonsensical world, psychedelic design trends merge the possible with the impossible, leaving just enough room in the middle for your imagination.

modern design trends
Source: Music, the arts and ideas (Book).
7 up retro
Source: John Alcorn/ Pinterest.

Step aside, basic abstract. Think bold, colorful, intricate. That is to say, Stuff of dreams.

8. Authentic, honest design

In a world of misinformation, people are looking for simplicity and honesty. Therefore, presenting data in infographics make sit fun!

creative graphs ideas
Source: Pinterest.

Authentic and honest design includes data visualization, especially in the form of infographic. Because quite frankly, numbers are exhausting and art just makes it better.

corona virus stats
Source: Pinterest/ South China Morning Post.

9. Keep it classic with Serif fonts

Serif fonts are among the oldest typeface graphic design trends, dating back to the 15th century.

minimal poster
Source: Pinterest.

Hot off Gutenberg’s printing press, these fonts have also been around forever and instantly offer nostalgia and simplicity.  And finally, a feeling of homeliness.

10. Symbol revival

Firstly, symbols remind us that in design, the little things can leave a deep, sentimental impression behind.

coffin retro illustration
Source: Behance/ Pinterest

Secondly, universal symbols like eyes, suns/stars/planets or ancient goddesses and nature motifs incorporated add a bit of a celestial touch.

Perhaps, we are not alone in this and we shall make it through after all.

animal trendy design
Source: Pinterest.

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