Brand new year, brand new decade! It’s exciting to think about all the design possibilities heading our way! Graphic design in particular is a fast moving industry with influences coming in from all directions but we’ve got a few ideas on what might be significant in the near future. From trends in colour and shape to new developments in photography and digital design – keep reading to find out our predictions for 2020.
1. Phase III Gradients
2. Liquids over Geometry
3. Image and Text Masking
4. Typography Centred Design
5. Genuine Photography
6. Continuous Motion and Cinemographs
7. Live Data Visualisation
9. Line Art
10. Subdued Colours
We’ll start with a trend that has been around a while but has evolved into a new form; gradients. When gradients started growing in popularity, they were reserved for the background. We then saw them sweep right into the foreground as entire shapes and images were created using gradients alone. In 2020, we’re finding a balance.
Gradients might not be the focal point anymore but they’re still very much are part of how designers can create a scene. Instead of filling a shape with a flat colour, gradients can give design elements more depth and make an image more engaging.
On a similar theme, geometry has been another popular design focus but things might be about to change. Obviously, regular shapes are always going to be an inevitable part of design work, but more room is being made for organic shapes to enter the scene too.
We’re seeing fewer right angles and more natural, flowing shapes. Where straight lines helped create feelings of strength and dynamism, liquids suggest more abstract concepts and a sense of imagination. This is especially so when combined with gradients and transparency effects as it instils a dream-like mood in your work.
Interestingly, 100 years ago in the roaring 20s, design saw a move in the opposite direction from free-flowing Art Nouveau to the bold style of Art Deco.
Moving on to something different, we are loving the increase in image and text masks. This technique truly allows designers to add depth to their work because it’s almost like they create a window into another world.
Thick, sans serif fonts are great for text masking as anything too intricate can get lost in the complexity of the background. Sweeping paint strokes or small repeated shapes are a good choice for image masks.
In terms of typographical trends, you could go one of two ways. Some font choices are becoming more and more minimalist, others are becoming more illustrative. One thing that’s certain though, is the growing trend for typography centred designs.
Designers are exploring how much can be done when you are restricted to just type and white space. Bespoke typefaces with irregular forms are becoming more and more common – some even to the point where the need for legibility is superseded by the need to create intrigue.
On the other hand, brutalist, revolutionary-style designs that focus on communicating one urgent message are also regaining popularity. This trend is fitting for the zeitgeist of today, filled with political action.
Across the commercial landscape, people are crying out for authenticity and honest dealings. This is reflected in a move towards photography that feels real. This is particularly important if the image includes people
Your audience want a unique insight into your specific company, not a generic image where all the models have been airbrushed and told to smile like mad. Candid shots of real staff members are preferable - check out some of our lovely team members below. If that’s not possible, go for stock photos that aren’t over edited and with models that haven’t been positioned just so.
In digital design, movement is becoming more and more prevalent. This can come in the way of microinteractions (which we mentioned last year), or gifs. What seems to be especially important this year, however, is for seamless transitions, making the movement never-ending.
Animations can bring a webpage or app to life. They draw the viewer in, take them on a journey, and show off the brand’s personality. Making these animations personal to the brand is very important – generic reaction gifs are falling out of fashion as people become bored of seeing the same content.
People love data – that much is apparent. There are so many apps being developed to track different aspects of your life and Spotify’s unwrapped campaign at the end of each year is becoming a bit of an event in the calendar. It’s a designer’s job to make that data easy to understand and the recent growth in live displays has made that job even more exciting.
Creating a dynamic platform that responds in real-time to new data mirrors the ever-changing nature of the world around us. It becomes something to play with and the more engagement a brand gets, the more likely they are to be remembered.
Back to static work, we’re noticing more and more collages being featured in designs. Collages are a throwback to a more creative time, creating cut-and-stick projects as a child. If your brand personality is quirky and playful, they are a great choice.
We like the fact that photo collages these days don’t try to hide anything. In fact, they’re almost trying to make it so obvious that you believe a real arts and crafts project is sitting before you. It’s about finding the balance between contrast and harmony.
Another stylistic trend that we’re enjoying is the trend for line art. Minimalist designs can really benefit from their clean, simple nature. By their nature, they create a lot of white space around them, meaning you can illustrate your work without making it feel overcrowded.
Line art is even more interesting when animated, tying in with the trend for more movement in digital design. You can literally take viewers on a journey as they follow the line through all its twists and turns, and they will enjoy seeing the overall image develop.
Finally, we’ll end with our main colour prediction of the year. We think design is moving towards slightly subtler palettes than we’ve seen recently. This isn’t to say that designs will become any less colourful – multiple colours will still be seen together. However, the colours in question won’t be as vibrant as before.
This trend tends to make images feel more authentic and real – like with the genuine photography we talked about. They can also feel natural, tapping into society’s trend to think about the world around us more.
We look forward to seeing what you produce this year! Do you agree with our predictions? And have you committed to any of our News Year’s Resolutions for Graphic Designers yet?