Hindsight is 2020: Graphic Design Trends

2020 graphic design trends

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Graphic Design Trends of 2020

Hindsight is 2020, right? So let\u2019s use the lessons learned of this past year to get an idea where Graphic Design is headed in the future.\u00a0

5. Isometric Designs

Isometric Designs, Icons, Illustrations and even logos have been growing in popularity over the last few years, but they really seemed to hit their stride this year. Likely because they\u2019re more difficult to create than flat 2D designs, so as tools become easier to use and as artists get better at their craft, you\u2019ll see more difficult techniques more often. Isometric is a style of \u20183D looking\u2019 2D illustration or design that almost resembles an \u2018exploded view\u2019 of what you\u2019re looking at, except nothing is broken apart. It\u2019s often used to show more detail or to add depth in rooms, city-scapes, or map drawings. But of course, it\u2019s just a style that can be applied to any subject. What makes Isometric different from other \u20183D\u2019 designs is that it must be built on a 120 degree angle between the x, y and z-axes. Other \u20183D\u2019 designs either don\u2019t follow this rule or work based on Perspective which generally brings everything together in a focal point.

4. 3D Character Designs

Characters have become a lot more common in Graphic Design, no matter the application. They\u2019re sometimes used in conjunction with Isometric designs, sometimes they\u2019re on their own, but often they have a purpose of representing or speaking to your audience in some form. They help to add personality or \u2018character\u2019 (haha) to your designs or marketing. Sometimes they\u2019re cute, sometimes they\u2019re technical, and sometimes they\u2019re very basic but either way \u2018animated\u2019 style 3D characters or Avatars are much more common in Graphic Design through 2020.

3. Psychedelic / Vintage Designs

As I get older, the old adage \u2018history repeats itself\u2019 becomes more and more clear in every aspect. Especially if you look around with that \u2018lense\u2019 on. History repeats itself because humans aren\u2019t really as original as we like to think. We recycle and tweak things slightly so they\u2019re different enough that they appear original, but often design, just like music and art is derived from influence. And influence most often comes from things that already exist. \u2018History repeats itself\u2019 and \u2018nothing is original\u2019 are two phrases I heard decades apart and it took a bit to realize that they can mean the same thing. 

So with that said, Vintage & Psychedelic, (particularly 70\u2019s and 90\u2019s throwbacks, often with modern nuance and muted colours) started to get some real traction this year. I think you\u2019ll always see \u2018Vintage\u2019 inspired designs in any time period. In 30 years, today’s style may make a comeback of its own. I guess we\u2019ll just have to wait and see 😉

2. Motion Design & Animations

If you\u2019ve been keeping up with the series, this one may sound repetitive. But it deserves a place on this list too. I don\u2019t know, call it important. But motion and animations, or video allows designers to pack more thought, emotion and content into a quick clip. This style simply gets more across with the same amount of cognitive attention compared to a still image. Now, that\u2019s not to say still images don\u2019t have their place. They do. But if you\u2019ve noticed your Feed\u2019s seem to be much more \u2018alive\u2019, you\u2019re not going crazy. We\u2019re just waiting for the Harry Potter paper to be released so we see this trend span from screen to print 😉

1. Retro Futurism

This style I summarize by calling Retro Futurism, but it\u2019s really the idea of combining a proven style from the past with the speculation of what the style in the future may be. It\u2019s not the same as Vintage designs because they\u2019re often more focused on the futuristic part. It\u2019s often CyberPunk\u2019y (no, not the game.. well sort of) or maybe call it SteamPunk. Those are really just examples, because it doesn\u2019t matter which eras you choose, it all gives a similar feel. This year in particular I noticed many designers meshing the 90\u2019s style of secondary colours like pink, teal, purple, with futuristic imagery like flying cars, digitally advanced cities or other such things that come to mind when I say \u2018futuristic\u2019. For whatever reason, maybe it\u2019s the new space race we find ourselves in, maybe it\u2019s that we can render things more realistically than ever before, I\u2019m not sure, but it does feel like we\u2019re living in a time that was imagined for centuries and Retro Futurism was one of the most common Graphic Design trends we noticed in 2020 so I don\u2019t think I\u2019m alone in that feeling.

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