This Year in Design Trends

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This Year in Design Trends

Every year, graphic design trends are ripe with opportunities for trend resets and the opportunity to turn the industry on its head. Especially considering how challenging the year 2020 was for many of us, we can expect the design trends of 2021 to offer a sense of fresh air, eagerness to take risks, and excitement to break new ground. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from 2021 in terms of design trends.

Muted Colour Palettes

What do you do when a style is (sometimes literally) oversaturated? Simple. You tone it down. As opposed to the brighter, more vivid backgrounds/canvas’ we have gotten used to, it seems like a lot of brands or pivoting to the more natural and comforting feel of muted colours. As the public reaches for more of that nostalgic and secure feel from their content, we expect more brands to use this sort of style more moving forward. For example, take a look at both LinkedIn, Buffer & Kilter Brewing’s design style and use of muted colours.

Vivid Minimalism Designed for Screens

The shift to more and more minimalistic styles hasn’t been new. But it’s shown no sign of slowing down. From landing pages, social posts, newsletters, logos, and even branded merchandise, more brands are beginning to understand that trendy design also has to be legible and allow easy viewing. A website with a bunch of moving shapes sounds nice on paper, but it doesn’t encourage clients to reach out and work with you if they can’t find the information they’re looking for.

A more minimalist homepage can also provide better load times and smaller page sizes overall, which will benefit your search ranking. Google often rewards pages with faster loads to better search rankings, (a HUGE deal for SEO-focused companies!)

Take Zendesk for example, embracing muted colours, but still providing a lot of empty space for easier reading, a mood they also tend to follow with their Twitter account.

A collection of graphics from Zendesk’s Twitter.
Huge Inc.

Blur & Blend

For brands with more of a rebellious spirit, the blurred or blended effect walks the line between intangible and discernible. This trend allows the foreground to be bold with its typography or have distinct imagery pop against a rougher background. It thrives in the dystopian moods of our current day. Needless to say, this trend is a mood for certain times, but we expect many more brands looking for that certain edge to utilize it more.

Never Better Coffee

Abstract or Complex Geometric Shapes

Another trend that works well with adventurous brands, and also functions smoothly with the Blur & Blend trend mentioned above is the use of more complex geometric shapes. These shapes often feel more rigid than the previous freeform of other stylings while also showcasing consistency. This can be a trend that seems easy to utilize on first blush but takes a lot of experience and design awareness to pull off skillfully.

For the refresh of Spotify Design’s website, a design community connecting creators across the world, they utilized this trend incredibly well. As it is meant to be an informative resource for designers across the world, they wanted the site to feel true to Spotify’s values, while still showing a playful side.

Spotify Design

More Text in Videos

A likely side effect of more businesses having to move to more remote operations and fewer opportunities to shoot video, businesses and marketers will pivot to leaning more on text and motion graphics throughout the year. This trend will encourage more risk-taking and experimentation within production. This trend can also have a shorter production cycle, as it requires fewer members to complete than a standard production shoot.

Slack, for example, has made exceptional use of shared content from users to gain insight into how their platform is being used and how remote work is affecting people around the world.

We’ve seen audiences become more interested in statistics and infographics over the past year, and we think this trend will encourage businesses to share important messages and more transparency.

What other trends have you started to notice in 2021? Let us know in the comments!

Web Design Trends 2021: From Dark Mode to Motion – Envato

7 Graphic Design Trends That Will Dominate 2021 – Vennage

11 Inspiring Graphic Design Trends for 2021 – 99 Designs

15 Brand Design Trends for 2021 That Graphic Designers Need To Know – Just Creative