When we feel like nothing can amaze us anymore, artists always find a way to do it. They experiment and constantly come up with something new and unimaginable.
Not much has changed yet, digital design stays as powerful and impactful as it was in 2020. Artists fill Behance and Dribbble with their notable and colorful projects, which inspire creators of all other domains to keep up with the trend. Let’s take a look at the major graphic design trends that gracefully twined from the past to the present.
3D art and modeling: The design you can feel
The three-dimensional design has been gaining popularity for over a decade now. This year is not the exception, so we can continue binging on those fluffy, puffy, and slippery 3D renders.
The fashion industry might also experience some change thanks to Cinema 4D. When everything, including hair, skin, and clothes can be rendered from digital models, you have no limits.
If you’re into 3D and follow at least several motion designers on Instagram, you will definitely see more wooden, liquid, metallic, and concrete models on your timeline in 2021.
The game of textures sits firmly among top graphic design trends for several years already. Remember Major Lazer’s “Light It Up” music video? That ingenious 3D render was created by Method Studios back in 2016.
Now, the same techniques are also used in the static design, especially in web and mobile UI/UX. User interfaces will soon come more alive than ever with the help of 3D design.
Get inspired by Instagram’s “Create Don’t Hate” anti-bullying campaign, official posters of which were designed by Leo Natsume. A very impressive 3D design that shows how high the technology has allowed us to reach when it comes to art skills. We wonder what future decades will bring us in the world of three-dimensional design, but so far it’s mesmerizing.
Abstraction, surrealism, and everything that looks like chaos
Abstraction seems to have never left the tops when it comes to design trends of any year. Abstract art is so versatile that it always had the potential of growing and rooting. However, the abstraction we know from school teachers or museums has evolved into a mush of dozens, if not hundreds digital micro-genres that are sometimes even hard to define and describe.
Surrealism follows the same path. Back in the days, the genre must have felt like a breath of fresh air. While lots of people feel like surrealism already outlived itself along with Dalí and Picasso, the reality shows that it just brilliantly assimilated with techniques from abstract art, dystopian futurism, and literally whatever art genre or subgenre comes to mind.
We are living in the age of technological boom, so going digital was necessary for art to continue circulating and progressing. Therefore, we now have a product that merged the creative imagination and online as a cluster of social media, television, pop culture, and fashion.
Imagine something so captivating, the more you look at it, the more you see. This is what the world wants to look at, experience, and consume this year.
Optical illusions and digitized fine art already made their way from 2020 into 2021 and will continue to branch out. All the glitches and distortions, glitter, white noise, blur, gradient, grain, and pixel. Everything contemporary, psychedelic, surreal, and abstract is hyped-up and anticipated in 2021.
Illustrations come in all imaginable art forms these days. With all the abundance of brushes in various graphic editors, digital illustration remains a well-rooted trend in graphic design.
People just love good stories, and illustrations always narrate us those we can immerse in.
Characters, created with anything you want: pencils, oil, watercolor, and tempera—continue being in trend. Unique and outstanding, these illustrations will definitely strike a chord in ones, who love the character design.
The 3D illustration is at its peak in the last couple of years, because 3D design became more available to many artists. It’s no wonder if we see more cute fictional personalities in 2021.
Emojis are everywhere, and we’re totally fine with that! Why reinventing the wheel when it’s real and working perfectly fine? You just take an emoji and make your own version of it. This is definitely a kind of art that’s recognizable, relatable, and vivid in the era of digitalization and social media. Emojis might be in a form of an illustration, 3D, or more restrained, coming from typography (emoticons).
Geometry and minimalism in different forms
We expect to continue seeing geometric patterns, monochrome, and duotone, including a good-old B&W as their strong influence on all graphic design types already crawled into 2021.
Geometric patterns are minimalistic but very catchy and self-sufficient. Not everyone can skillfully put a couple of colorful shapes together to get an outstanding design. But everyone likes to see perfectly combined shapes, which moves this design trend forward. For instance, the works of abstract painter Piet Mondrian. They’re very recognizable ever since WWII, when Mondrian moved from Paris to New York, and still inspire modern artists for their own interpretations of his style.
Shapes leave space for imagination, which is great. It means the spectator will have to come up with the rest, hence, will create memories about this design.
In 2021, we expect to see more evolved versions of what used to be Cubism, Bauhaus, and Memphis. Graphic designers are cutting off more and more details and are getting minimalistic as never in the last couple of years. It proves the “less is more” approach to be still up-to-date.
Symbolism, retro, and typography
The change has come, even if you don’t yet feel it that much. Expect to see various manifestations of symbolism and retro in 2021. They might not shake the world but they will definitely find their way in contemporary graphic design.
Symbolism is back in a more newfangled version, turning into something completely new and exciting. Designers take their inspiration from astrological sign arts and the works of well-known Klimt, Gauguin, and Malczewski.
Retro is back too, but a bit undercover. This time it’s not gonna be about that Woodstock, Synthwave, and Go-go vibe. It’s rather about rethinking the way we design now and going back to more realistic, muted colors that we used to see on the posters, magazines, and cards in the era of the printed design. Subtle and candid.
Typography gets even more substantive in 2021. It can be messy and loud, or on the contrary—very delicate and even ascetic. Retro, 3D, and geometric fonts are making their way from 2020 to 2021.
In 2021, when we already accepted the new rules of lockdown, isolation, and precaution—graphic design feels like a great way of escapism. It doesn’t even matter what you’re creating these days, as long as it makes people feel something. Both designer and spectator can enjoy the end work of art regardless of the trend, so stay creative, and make awesome designs with Crello.