Graphic design trends have a tendency to come and go with the seasons, but a few manage to remain and stand out in a digitally-oriented age. Regardless of whether you’re a dedicated graphic designer or not, it’s always helpful to have an understanding of where the industry is going in the future.
Thinking about trends in the coming months is an excellent way to stay ahead of the curve and consistently produce timely, compelling designs. Ultimately, you want to fill your content calendar and campaigns with strong visuals, so hopefully, these upcoming trends will help you create exactly what you need in the upcoming months.
Here are our 10 graphic design trends to keep an eye out for in 2018!
1. Pattern-Based Design
With 2017 being the year of flat design, we’re expecting to see a shift towards artistic design in 2018. That means keeping an eye out for pattern-based designs in particular. Why? Well, the use of flat design was a nice touch, and certainly helped to simply design from a UX perspective, but it has become saturated, with the majority of designs implementing it. Patterns not only bring some much-needed vibrancy to graphic design, they give designers more scope to unleash their creative side!
2. 80’s Theme Styles
Vintage and retro design has been one of the defining trends in the 2010s in the world of graphic design, and it doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. Inspiration comes from the mind and our surroundings, so it’s not surprising that we’re going to see graphic designers, particularly those born in, or raised in the eighties, turning to that era for ideas.
The consequence? You’ll see a lot more 80’s themed graphic design projects, and by that, we mean Tron-friendly neons and darks, in-your-face designs, and an overarching nostalgic aura.
3. Low-Poly Design
The trend of low-poly design has been surging across vector illustrations recently and it looks set to maintain that momentum into 2018 and carry across into graphic design as a whole. Posters, flyer and other forms of designs can utilize low-poly illustrations and combine them with logos and typography for a beautifully detailed finish. Low-poly designs are a great example of how graphic simplicity can attract a wide audience and appeal to the masses.
4. Creative Typography
The use of illustrative typography is set to shake up the design world as a whole, but particularly within the graphic design realm. When it comes to this trend, imagination is your strongest asset. The creativity behind some of the most iconic typography work from the last few years has been globally renowned.
What’s more, designers can combine their creative typography with other aspects of their designs for an awesome effect. The combination of art and design to create headlines that are eye-pleasing as well as informative, is what we expect to see regularly throughout the coming year, and into the future.
5. Negative Spacing, Positive Design
Naturally, negative space is an “empty” space in a design which forms a certain distinctive shape. It’s an increasingly popular trend, particularly in web design, where the effective use of negative space not only improves the aesthetic design, but it makes it easier for the user to navigate through web content.
In relation to graphic design, we’re expecting to see an increase in the uptake in the use of negative spacing, mainly due to positive emotions that it can have on a piece of work.
You might have come across a few cinemagraphs recently as they’re beginning to appear throughout the design world on a more regular basis. They’re quite common on certain platforms, for example, Instagram, or interactive billboards/screens as part of a wider offline marketing campaign. It’s a unique combination of video and authentic imagery to create one creative piece of graphic design that stands out from the crowd. The moving component adds a sense of realism to what would normally be a static image.
7. Hyper-Brand Distillation
Hyper-br… sorry, what now?
Don’t worry, it sounds fancier than it is, but it’s an important trend to watch out for in 2018. In 2017, graphic design moved towards a simpler, yet richer, approach. In a world where user experience is becoming ever more important (particularly due to upcoming ADA regulation adjustments), it’s no surprise that functionality and practicality are replacing over-the-top design.
Brands are streamlining their assets, and this often starts with their designs and brands. Watch out for more global brands reigning in their graphics in 2018, and placing focus on how they communicate their brand in a clear, scalable fashion.
8. Brave, Bright Colors
2017 was the year of bold choices when it comes to color, with many graphic designers reaching to the other extreme after 2016 being a year of colorless design. It was an inspirational turn, with graphics full of color and glamor supporting the flat designs like YouTube did.
9. Brands Opting for Generative Designs
Generative design is known for its close ties to nature and the evolutionary approach to design. The beauty of generative design often lies in the possibilities. In the time a designer can create one idea, a designer equipped with a computer can generate thousands.
By using analytical data they’re even able to prove which of the thousands of ideas will be most effective. The desire for designers to find the optimal solution is more than enough reason for us to see this design trend soaring in 2018, and the future.
10. Hand-Drawn Elements
In almost complete contrast to the previous trend, we’re going to hedge our bets slightly and say that hand-drawn designs will be increasingly common in the next 12 months. The personal touch that hand-drawing can add to a design is undeniable, and as a consequence, you’ll frequently see them used on graphics where the emphasis is on making an emotional connection with the viewer.
It’s fair to say that over the last few years there has been a gradual shift away from technical options in some niches, and a return to artisan methods, for example, coffee, foods, crafts and more. What’s more, another example is the shift away from polished photography to more real-world snaps. Hand-drawn design fits into this realm of striving for an authentic design, rather than a perfect design.
Have we missed any obvious trends? If so, let us know what you think will be trending in the world of graphic design in 2018!