Top 5 Graphic Design Trends for 2020

As you’ve got probably noticed, the past few years in design are dominated by bold colors, mind-bending gradients, and futuristic compositions. 

But in 2020, the graphic design world feels a lot more reserved, harmonious, and natural. 

Well, except for the illustrations, those are a lot more abstract this year.

This shift is likely a reaction to the overuse of some of the previous graphic design trends. 

Design styles that were very unique just a few years ago have become just another common tactic used by massive corporations. 

Be sure to check out the 5 Graphic Design Trends for 2020 and beyond below! 

1. Muted Color Palettes 

Over the past few years, we have seen the rise of bold colours in the design, as brands looked to differentiate themselves from competitors. With bright blues, electric yellows, and toxic greens appearing everywhere the yearly graphic design trends. 

But in 2020, we saw designers and brands take a step back from those vivid colours towards more muted colour palettes. 

Muted colours have been slightly desaturated with black, white or a complementary colour. They are basically the opposite of vivid colours. 

2. Colour Gradients 

For the third year during a row, gradients are getting to be a serious trend within the graphic design world.

The staying popularity of gradients was one of the biggest surprises that I ran into while researching this piece. Honestly, after their nostalgic comeback tour, I thought the world would move on to something new.

But annually it looks like designers keep finding new ways to use gradients in their designs. 

The year 2020 is no different. Starting a few years ago, gradients were mainly used as eye-catching backgrounds, like in this example from INC:

3. Abstract & Dreamy Illustrations 

One of the best things about using illustrations is that no other company is going to be able to copy them exactly. Casper was one of the first big companies to embrace this trend, and they have stuck with it ever since: 

The illustrations that Mailchimp adopted last year probably led the rapid rise in popularity of these types of illustrations: 

As first movers, these illustrations were great because your brand would be the only one using them. They also would stand out against a sea of stock photos and low effort graphics. 

However, as more brands started embracing simple illustrations, the uniqueness and effectiveness of the graphics have kinda worn off. 

I think that your illustrations need to get a little more imaginative, abstract, and even dreamy to really stand out in 2020 and beyond.

4. Heavy But Simple Fonts

Over the past few years, I have been seeing minimalist and handwritten fonts lose a lot of their popularity. Especially with large brands. 

This shouldn’t be a huge surprise to people who have been paying attention to the design world lately.

But this year things are getting bolder, with heavily weighted fonts being used a lot more frequently. 

A bit of advice though: Try to only use these heavy fonts when you only have a short bit of text or as a header, like above. Otherwise, it will make your graphic pretty hard on the eyes of the reader.

5. Minimalist Landing Pages

Most of the other trends in this article have been reactions to popular design trends of the past. With muted colors becoming popular after vivid colors dominated, and abstract illustrations replacing the realistic icons.

However, I think that the shift to somewhat minimalist designs and homepages has also been driven by the need for better load times and smaller page sizes.

If you weren’t aware, Google rewards pages that load fast with better spots in the search rankings. This can be a huge deal for a lot of SEO-focused companies! 

Zendesk used a similar layout, embracing muted colours, heavy fonts, and abstract illustrations as well:

With a flat background and modular design, these homepages can easily be used for mobile or desktop users too. Sometimes, when a company uses a large photo, video, or illustration, that shift isn’t as seamless as it should be. 

That’s another positive aspect of these minimalist pages, they are a lot easier to navigate for the user. Instead of distracting elements, the messaging or information stands out instantly.

That’s all folks!

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