It’s the end of a decade and when it comes to graphic design, old is new, new is old, and sometimes, ancient is the future. Time is immaterial with good design and from the looks of it, the coming year is going to be both a throwback as well as a peek into what tomorrow holds. Whether it’s simplifying illustrations or using data in design beautifully, there are a lot of possibilities to explore. Here’s a look at the best design trends 2020 will witness.
Bright, neon, cyberpunk
The urban Japanese aesthetic that gained popularity in the ‘80s is making a huge comeback. The practice involves using darker tones in contrast with bright, hot, neon colors to create a futuristic look. Be prepared for this vibrant and luminous design language that uses blues, purples, and pink to depict the surreal. The cyberpunk look is future-forward, inviting, and will immediately grab your attention.
Right from the streets
Street art has always been iconic and told a tale of the times. Graffiti, block letters, and grunge designs have been popular since the ‘70s and today it’s making more than just a comeback. With brands adopting an increasingly raw and loud design language, street art is now at the cusp of entering (and creating its own niche within) the design world. The edginess and unconventional design aesthetic also stand out from the sea of symmetric and curated minimalism that’s gained popularity through the years.
Monochrome mood boards
Gone are the multi-colored print ads and branded social media posts that ‘pop’. Deeper attention to design language has led to brands defining their palette very boldly and distinctly. The colors themselves are now an indicator of the brand and we see many brands shift to a monochrome look, showing us that the possibilities of limiting your palette are endless.
Data is beautiful
Once relegated to just PowerPoint presentations, data has never been sexy. Or wasn’t, until recently when good design finally managed to merge form and function — showcasing information in a much more thoughtful and appealing manner. Bringing attention to data, which is often simply glanced over, has opened up possibilities for brands in terms of audience engagement, brand voice, and market positioning. In the coming year, look forward to more beautiful data, told meaningfully through diligent design.
Sleek and precise geometry
Thin and pixel perfect lines, sharp angles — they signify man-made or technological objects. It’s a design language that has long since defined the tech industry and in 2020, we’ll see its evolution. No longer restricted to defined shapes, designers are now experimenting with a more wavy and ethereal aesthetic. This combination of different line-art styles results in a transient and evocative design language, which will definitely be something to watch out for in the coming year!
What’s your font?
The rise of minimalism as the core design by brands all around inadvertently caused a lack of personality in their tone. There was no distinctiveness to the design and everything was more of the same. This saw typography evolve into a more personalized artform, where designers didn’t just choose a typeface but designed it from the ground up. From customized typeface-based designs to merging illustrations with text, adding personality to text is a major shift in design and it opens the door to more personalized messaging from brands.
Design that moves (you)
Gone are the days of static and lifeless design. New possibilities in technology and a transformation in how audiences consume information have led to brands experimenting and coming up with new ways to communicate. The biggest change in this regard has come in the form of animated design. Creating an interactive animated clip is no longer an alien concept to brands and the development of technology has made it a very real possibility. More than just creating a new dimension for designers to experiment with, an animated ad also makes it easy for brands to tell their story, foster connections with the audience, and stand out from the rest.
A throwback to the greatest
Vintage design is making its way back, with more designers looking back through the decades to find the best of design. Hyper pastiche is the latest among design trends that artists seem to find huge inspiration from. Whether it’s Art Deco, Victorian, or Medieval, they are all merging with the modern aesthetic and creating an entirely new and unexplored design language. The contrast between modern, digital art and traditional forms creates an old-world grandeur while still catching the eye of the audience — and it’s going to be interesting to watch how this plays out.
Do you see a pattern here?
Patterns and textures have been around for years but how effective they have been in design is debatable. When flat design reigned supreme, patterns were all but forgotten. But a new and rising trend is combining, slicing, and compounding patterns with each other, leading to a shift in how they are used in design. No longer bound to traditional ways, designers now use patterns and textures in multiple ways to never-before-seen designs!
With a plethora of possibilities opening up, the coming year will mark a shift in what qualifies as great design. While the many trends listed above all provide a solid starting point, the best part of the design is that there still remain a lot of uncharted territories, waiting to take shape on your artboards. We look forward to seeing the best design trends 2020 has in store for us. Here’s to new beginnings!