TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What’s going on?
- What do people say?
- Pandemic inspired graphic design trends
- Social happenings inspired graphic design trends
- Eco activism and sustainability inspired graphic design trends
- Social media & technology inspired graphic design trends
- How should a brand act in times like these?
What’s going on?
Trends often appear as a reaction to what’s happening around the world. As we all know, 2020 is full of events and all of them have made their impact on design and branding. So, what major events took place?
Pandemic. Covid 19 has put the Earth into chaos and still poses a great threat to humanity. The virus impacted our lives greatly and left a mark in design and branding trends as well. Self-isolation has created the environment for self-organization trends, offering a demand for online planners, task monitoring apps, etc. The anxiety and depression in the real world morphed into bright, fun, and colorful designs.
Social movements. In 2020 people began to express their social ground a lot more vocally. Over the year, we have been witnessing protests raging everywhere – from the BLM movements in the USA to the pro-choice protests in Poland. The tension has brought back the ‘better times’ graphic design trends, as well as allowing brands to express where they stand and what party they support.
Eco-friendliness and sustainability. Earth needs a hand, it’s no wonder. People have made enough damage already: 2020 started with huge fires in Australia destroying ecosystems and endangering multiple species of animals. This got reflected in an active trend for eco-sustainability, forcing web-designers to choose simpler designs that will decrease the energy needed to load the website. Brands rethought their packaging, opting for degradable options over plastic.
Social media activity and tech. Social media continues to grow its influence and marketing possibilities. It’s now bigger than ever, offering gigabytes of information to its users. As an answer to that, we can now see a tendency for more interesting graphic design trends (combinations of 2 styles, interesting shapes, interactivity, eye-catching colors) that stand out on dashboards and get easily remembered.
What do people say?
PANDEMIC INSPIRED GRAPHIC DESIGN TRENDS
Self-organization and planning. Now that a lot of people were transferred to work remotely, the rise of self-planning applications and tools began. In terms of designs, we’re talking daily planner templates that flooded the internet: as a designer, you can create one yourself or download one off of the web. Designed to boost productivity, they help with self-management and keeping up with deadlines.
How the trend affects the audience: sets into a managed and productive mood; helps realize everyone is struggling to stay organized.
Automatization of design processes. 2020 has impacted the working processes so much, that we all ended up loaded with regular tasks that have nothing to do with creative processes. Just like self-organization apps help to get more productive, online tools promise to get some things off of our plates.
How the trend affects the audience: designers can pass on boring tasks onto tools and get more creative with the designs. Some tools allow to create professional visuals and brand identity guidelines within minutes.
Bright and fun colors. Now that we’re reliving the ‘dark ages’, we need to distract ourselves with something. Though it is still trendy to use dark, grim designs, we’re seeing more and more brands turning to colorful, fun, and vibrant palettes.
How the trend affects the audience: distracts from the ‘outer’ world, letting get a tiny bit of positivity into life.
Pandemic in branding. Echoing the worldwide events, brands have started to dress up their logos in masks or adding other elements related to the covid. We bet you have seen this happening.
How the trend affects the audience: brands serve as a constant reminder to stay safe and wear masks. The brands doing this appear attached to the world around them, acknowledging what’s going on, thus being more relatable to people.
SOCIAL HAPPENINGS INSPIRED GRAPHIC DESIGN TRENDS
Mystic design. The world we live in has become increasingly complicated and logical. The last drops of magic are gone, and we see new graphic design trends appearing: sorcery, magic, astrology, and occult topics creeping into the design visuals. Magical logos and sacred geometry fonts; mystic colors and ancient feels.
How the trend affects the audience: sets into a magical mood, providing a place for people to escape reality.
90s comeback. The 90s are given a new life, and it can be seen everywhere – design is no exception. This decade is associated with the ‘better times’, where life was easier, humor funnier, fashion cooler. Millennials have grown into working age, and they brought their 90s nostalgia with them. Today, we’re seeing such graphic design trends as grunge, anti-design, pop culture, and rave translated into 2020 visuals.
How the trend affects the audience: sets into a nostalgic spirit, allowing to relive the careless moments of people’s lives. Evokes a positive response towards the design.
90s comeback in branding. Playing with customer’s nostalgia can be a powerful instrument in the hands of a brand. By incorporating 90s elements into visual identity brands can invoke old memories, and attach positive feelings to the products and services they provide. And what time is better than now?
Childlike designs. Yet another graphic design trends born out of the turmoil that is 2020, is childlike designs. Seemingly weird and badly drawn, they reflect the naive childlike view of life. Looks especially good if you get your typography just right.
How the trend affects the audience: with people lacking positive emotions now, childlike designs bring back the lighheadedness of those ages. By resorting to this trend, designers try to evoke the cheerful feelings associated with childhood.
Inclusivity. The designs now will not feature the picture-perfect people, defined by centuries of beauty standards. Whether it is photography or illustration, we can see more and more people how they look in real life – imperfectly perfect.
How the trend affects the audience: lets into the circle; seeing their reflection in the designs people perceive them a lot more favorably.
Inclusivity in branding. A survey by Accenture showed that 70% of millennials will choose inclusive and diverse brands over those that are not. Brands have been launching ad campaigns that aim to shatter beauty stereotypes. This means featuring women of every age, ethnicity, shape, size, and gender orientation to empower their customers.
Choosing the side. US 2020 Elections. Events like this won’t go unnoticed by brands. It’s the best opportunity for them to state what’s their social ground, and how responsible they are by advocating to go vote. People connect to brands that have ideas behind them. We love brands we have shared vision, social standing, personal responsibility with.
How the trend affects the audience: brands that have picked a strong social ground ring with people with the same beliefs.
ECO ACTIVISM AND SUSTAINABILITY INSPIRED GRAPHIC DESIGN TRENDS
Minimalistic, simple websites. Background GIFs and videos, complicated elements, and ads drain enormous amounts of energy. Brands that choose to be sustainable and live by the message, opt for more simplistic designs. Now, we can see more and more websites that do not have a lot of the elements, yet still, look cool and well-designed. These graphic design trends help both the planet and a user that won’t be overloaded with information upon opening the website. A win-win isn’t it?
How the trend affects the audience: nowadays people oftentimes choose the brand by the idea behind it. Advocating for sustainability you will connect with the same visionaries; the minimalistic designs will be perceived better and won’t overload the viewers with visual information.
Sustainable packaging. More and more brands become more socially conscious. It’s not only about the message but also about the practices. Brands now move on from using plastic in packaging, it’s already an old story. These days, it is trendy to keep the Earth happy and not polluted. In 2020 we see the rise of recyclable bottles and packaging used to sell products.
How the trend affects the audience: people will be able to buy products the packaging of which they can easily reuse – in gardening for instance; double usage provides for a double reason to buy.
SOCIAL MEDIA & TECH INSPIRED GRAPHIC DESIGN TRENDS
More bright ‘acidic’ colors. Every day an average consumer is exposed to 34 Gigabytes of information. It’s hard to get noticed in such a turmoil of pictures, logos, videos, and ads. This is why we now oftentimes see vivid, bright, eye-wrenching colors in designs.
How the trend affects the audience: eye-catching palettes that have a little nostalgic feel to them. Easily recognizable and memorable.
Minimalistic illustrations. You will recognize this one, we’re sure you’ve seen it a lot on the web this year. Butchered proportions, simple forms, and filled in colors. Such illustrations seem simple, yet they are in fact very interesting to look at.
How the trend affects the audience: makes the user stay on a page longer while looking at the illustration; makes the content more appealing, and ‘modern’ looking.
Typography play. Simply adding text is no longer trendy. Complicated typography designs can be seen a lot more often today, with words making forms of their own.
How the trend affects the audience: have a ‘minimalistic’ feel to them, no illustration included – words being an illustration of their own. Make people read into the design more attentively.
Geometry. Never goes out of fashion. In 2020, geometry forms are used paired with interesting typographic solutions.
How the trend affects the audience: if used right, geometry gives off the ‘under-designed’ feel, while looking modern and highlighting the needed areas of the visual.
Videos + graphics. A combination of a video and graphics added on top of it. Sometimes a ‘collage’ approach is used, fusing bright colors with pastels.
How the trend affects the audience: layering graphics on top of the videos gives off a surreal effect, mesmerizing a user.
Virtual reality. Both the penetration of virtual reality and the needed solution for self-isolation during the pandemic, have created a trend of incorporating 2D designs into their branding. For instance, brands are now playing with the idea of making interactive websites, where you can ‘try on’ clothes onto a virtual model. Talking futuristic, aren’t we?
How the trend affects the audience: going to a website to try on clothes is easier than going to a shop; potentially more people will get in contact with your brand.
How should a brand act in times like these?
- Don’t follow trends blindly.
Trends come and go, the vision of a brand remains. Use trends to your advantage in strategies, and do not change all your designs once a new one appears.
- Do not get carried away.
Choose one or two social trends to follow, for instance, eco-sustainability and zero-waste movements, and stick to them.
- Be meticulous.
Double-check the information before choosing sides. The Internet is full of fake news, find a reputable information source, and only then think about standing some ground.
- Listen to what they have to say.
Explore the demographic of your brand, the audience. See what they say on socials, how they react to what’s happening.
- Stay relevant.
Be true to what your audience needs, and believes in.
- Empathize with the audience.
Make sure the content & design you produce won’t come out as insensitive.
- Stay informed.
Make sure you read the news. No jokes, it’s necessary.
- Be conscious.
Have the means to help? Then do it! Find reputable charities and be kind to people in need.
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