2020 was a rough year—to say the least—and 2021 was not exactly an improvement. On the good side, it has opened a lot of opportunities for graphic design trends to emerge.
Since it’s the start of a fresh new year, it’s not uncommon for people to seek new looks and approaches and desire new and different experiences. These desires will significantly influence the customers’ appetites in the year 2022.
In graphic design, it’s a good idea to update your brand’s aesthetics, as well as earn customers’ attention and achieve better results than the previous months or years.
Graphic design trends fall into three dominant themes or moods: socially-conscious design, dissonance, and optimism.
With that in mind, here are some graphic design trends to consider and what design techniques you will want to avoid.
1. Socially-Conscious Design
Design and culture are inextricably linked. Robert L. Peters, a designer, and author explains where he believes genuine change begins: “Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”
Social unrest and anti-racism movements have captivated the nation’s attention, and every brand and business must pay heed and assess their position.
Throughout the previous year, socially conscious design has gained acceptance, and it’s set to acquire even more traction in 2022. Authentic impression, sustainability, and appreciating variety and imperfection are all significant graphic design trends in socially conscious design.
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2. Authentic IMPRESSION
Nike’s instantly renowned ad with Colin Kaepernick demonstrates the desire for authenticity and inclusive design.
Following worldwide outrage over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020, Nike responded with “For Once, Don’t Do It,” a subversion of the brand’s instantly recognizable motto.
3. Diversity and Imperfection
The movement toward more socially conscious design is in line with broader societal efforts to make all kinds of media more varied, inclusive, and affirming of all of our different identities and flaws. As such it is no surprise that diversity and imperfection-themed designs have been considered one of the graphic design trends.
Because of the pandemic, humans have had an ample amount of time to cultivate awareness about climate change and its effects and other environmental issues. Thus, sustainability has been one of the remarkable graphic design trends.
Physical goods brands are susceptible to possible tensions as consumers think about waste and their environmental imprint more than ever before. So we should expect to see more packaging that emphasizes sustainability through natural iconography, neutral color palettes, and environmentally friendly materials.
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5. Color Trends in Graphic Design
Colors, according to science, might help you relax. That’s correct; colors have a huge psychological, emotional, and even physical influence on us. Red tones, for example, tend to activate your stress response, making you feel more nervous, whilst lighter shades relax you.
Socially conscious designs are intriguing and meaningful, but it is also cognitively taxing. It has become one of the popular graphic design trends that companies and individuals are paying attention to. As individuals spend more time at home dealing with significant and unknown concerns, their color preferences have evolved to colors that have been shown to lower anxiety and foster a sense of ease.
While some graphic design trends or currents try to move society forward or divert us from the various stresses we face, others represent our chaotic, tumultuous current state. People who live in unpredictable situations can relate to designs that embrace ambiguity.
7. Color Blur
In one trend that plays up the notion of dissonance, color and texture are melded by adding grains and/or gradients. Blending or layering the images adds depth and tactility to them.
Color blur gives broodiness to darker, brighter color schemes, conveying a depth of emotion and mood as well as a sense of three-dimensional space. Similarly, using a color blur or gradient with a distorted text can create a more disturbing effect.
8. Optimism and Reassurance
Let’s face the truth, the world is not that forgiving, and often we feel like we’re alone.
A brighter, more familiar, and more comfortable theme might be the one you’re looking for. We can confidently say that you’re not the only one who yearns for a reassuring, optimistic visual experience.
9. Natural and Manufactured Juxtaposition
Due to the global lockdown, we were unable to connect with our environment. The natural and the manufactured, earth and metal, organic and inanimate, are all being juxtaposed in graphic design to accentuate this tension.
A famous brand named “Gucci” launched its Gucci Bloom fragrance incorporating all of these concepts into a gamified virtual experience that allowed guests to explore an animated garden.
Floral and herbal patterns, bright colors, and blue skies are being used in industries like fashion and tourism to represent solidity and technical development while also strengthening links to nature through floral and herbal patterns, bright colors, and blue skies.
According to Marc Schenker, “Retro Futurism is a term that refers to how predictions of design from the future were depicted in an earlier era and how some modern-day aesthetics combine futuristic technology and old-fashioned design.” So, no, we’re not referring to another sub-genre of music known only to the most avant-garde of college students.
Consider NASA’s worm logo and “space-age” designs. These forms emerged around the time of the first moon landing in the forward-thinking decades. This design is both innovative and familiar at the same time. It reaffirms humanity’s faith in the capabilities of technology and interplanetary travel.
On a similar note, you can combine the appeal of 2D with a 3D design. The 3D design trend is still going strong, evolving, and gaining traction. It allows designers to create anything they can imagine because it provides them with limitless possibilities, from very inventive mashups using 2D and paper cutout components to hyper-realistic 3D graphics that blur the boundaries between digital and physical. 2022 will see a fantastic collaboration between 2D and 3D that brings the best of both worlds together.
Graphic Design Trend to Avoid: Faking Authenticity
Avoid the ‘trend’ of veering away from allyship to co-opt complicated and unpleasant topics as if they were merely more trends to copy.
Make sure your design expresses your ideals truthfully and adequately. If you’ve decided to reevaluate your principles, make sure to work on your values first, and don’t hit “send” just yet on some trendy graphic.