There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to graphic design trends, and some should be approached with caution. It is necessary, however, for all designers to be aware of the direction in which design is heading (if only so that they may explain to clients why a given trend IS NOT appropriate to their needs). Every year, we take a try at forecasting the hottest trends for the next year. Virtual reality has been predicted to become a widespread phenomenon since 1997, yet we can identify the ideas, themes, and styles that are becoming more popular in the industry.
The way we live and the items we engage with affect graphic design trends in many ways, including shifting preferences and styles as well as societal and technical advancements. As the world continues to change, what are the most anticipated graphic design trends of 2022? In order to come up with this list, we’ve taken a look at what’s currently trending and spoken with designers and branding experts to get their thoughts.
If you want to stay up with the current trends, you’ll need to upgrade your software. Please visit our review of the best software for graphic design. To view more of the design trends we anticipate seeing in 2022, check out our guides to the most interesting web design trends for 2022, the most important UX and UI trends for 2022, and our list of NFT design trends.
graphic design trends in 2022
In order to make their designs more adaptable for smaller digital usage, brands are continuing to simplify and flatten their logos, as designers have long told them: simple is more memorable. Some businesses were ahead of the curve, such as Google, Yahoo, and Spotify, while others like Volvo Cadillac, and ABC flattened their logos in 2021, but not necessarily to the most enthusiastic reception.
By the year 2022, we anticipate that graphic designers will continue to experiment with flat, simpler symbology (although see number 8 later for a caveat to this). In the next year, “I expect that more symbol-based systems will grow stronger and more popular,” says Eric Park, motion designer at the strategy, design, and communications firm COLLINS. “A brand’s own personality, analogies, and allusions may all be conveyed via the use of a powerful symbol. It’s much easier to recall a short, straightforward sign.”
As we’ll see in the following trend, some people have grown tired of simplicity. However, as we’ll see in the basic logos of Spotify and Google, it’s their colors that make them so distinctive. Minimal symbol systems and branding will continue to push the boundaries of color-based experimentation in 2022.
The graphic design style of 2022 entirely rejects minimalism on the other end of the spectrum. Some individuals just cannot accept the tidy, harmonic uniformity that has developed from the rules of app design with its focus on usability, whether it is because of the Covid-19 epidemic or sheer ennui. An anti-design movement known as a new riot of clashing colors, fonts, irregular forms, and disorienting collages is taking its place.
Even if it means developing design that is purposely disorienting, this graphic design trend revisits the euphoria and excitement of the early days of the internet through the perspective of digital natives. When it comes to social conventions and even inclusivity, I believe this is an indication of design changing and keeping up with the times as society changes. Bella+Sophia Creative Studio’s Jennifer Veguilla-Lezan argues that this is “basically smashing limits.” Forget about what conventional design guidelines suggest and go outside of the “design box” we’ve been given since the nature of it screams to do what you want.
In a time of tremendous competition for the digital audience’s attention, it makes sense to use a strategy that seems to defy logic. In order to portray the “diverse, overlapping, and continuously shifting festival lineup,” Slovenian designer Nejc Prah chose a design “that seemed a little overpowering” for Boiler Room’s System Restart event, and it was the right match for the post-lockdown vibe.
Veguilla-Lezan thinks anti-design opens the door for non-designers to question the status quo, but it’s not quite the Wild West. According to her, “classically” educated designers or those who attended a large design school would feel more at home here. “Those folks have the freedom to do anything they want, and they’re not tethered to these societal conventions that are imposed on us without our consent. However, there are also seasoned designers who know the norms and deliberately ignore them for the same reasons.”
Reminiscences of the 1990s
Yes, everything ultimately circles back around, and it doesn’t always take as long. We can’t help but look back to the foggy days of the 1990s (GeoCities, anyone?). A lot of 90s nostalgia has emerged recently, from Netflix’s Fear Street to the revival of Tamagotchi on smartwatches. What’s the point? Even though many of us are now adults, there’s something reassuring about a nostalgic look back to a time when we were children.
The nineties, of course, was a decade long and didn’t have just one style. Memphis design patterns, basic emojis, a primitive online style, brilliant color blocks, grainy textures, and pixelated graphics, aspects that will seem familiar to some of us, but then there’s even what’s been nicknamed Frasurbane – a mashup of the 90s American sitcom Frasier and the word “urbane”. Serif typefaces, subdued colors, and precise placement are finding their way into graphic design as well, creating a sophisticated yet cool maturity.
Flat design inspired by Ukiyo-e
Japan, a blend of Japanese design with Scandinavian hygge, is another style that has transferred from interior design to graphic design. Modern minimalism has evolved to include some welcome warmth and natural features while yet maintaining a calming feeling of serenity. It’s great for lifestyle marketing, product packaging, and online design.
Japanese Ukiyo-e painters of the Edo period are being used as a source of inspiration by designers looking to resurrect the flat vector artwork enforced by digital design standards. Ukiyo-e prints, which are made from woodblock prints, are known for their stark outlines, flat colors, and restricted use of perspective. The flat design might benefit from a dose of visual intrigue provided by the style.
I believe designers are attracted by whimsy and a need for beauty after so much gloom, says Veguilla-Lezan. You can become lost in the visual narrative if you let it. Because of its organic style, I believe that this art form is a great counterpoint to the flatness of vector art, which we’ve all learned to expect.”
Ecological thinking that is more advanced
How would you describe the color of the natural world? Green paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams calls it eco-friendly color #68a678A. A lot of corporations have been accused of greenwashing in the process of incorporating green into their logos (we’re looking at you, British Rail). Fortunately, we’ve come a long way in the last several decades. Communication is becoming less lime-colored in the same way that other societal advancements like inclusivity and environmental regulations are becoming the norm.
Aliana Orellano, creative director of Hermana Creatives, states that “inclusion and sustainability are not just gestures but the true driving reasons behind a lot of enterprises.” A stronger involvement in brand messaging is now expected by both customers and businesses.
She predicts that environmental topics will be presented in a more attractive but honest way, with basic iconography, unusual color palettes, and backdrop textures that relate to sustainability in an organic manner. This might lead to a backlash against technology as a possible side effect. When designing social media material, “we have customers who declare they no longer want to see technology in their content,” she reveals. For influencers, “paying attention” means more than just posing for photos with a phone or laptop in front of a backdrop.
3D and 2D mashup
You’ve probably observed that flat design has been a graphic design trend for the last several years and that 3D has also been a thing. The two worlds are gradually colliding unless you’re from the paleolithic era. It’s partly because of programs like Blender, Procreate, and Spline, but Park at COLLINS says there are also economical issues.
“If you want to produce high-quality 3D work, you’ll require a reasonable budget. Worse, it has spread to every corner of the world. We don’t want to see any more eye-popping 3D imagery in the world “he responds. As far as I’m concerned, this next year will witness a rise in the popularity of 2D and 3D fusions. The absence of depth in 2D design may be filled with 3D, and the appeal of 3D can be added to 2D design via the use of 2D integration. It has the potential to be as excellent as — and, in my opinion, more visually pleasing — than 3D alone.
As we noted in our list of the most important UX and UI trends for 2022, even a single 3D item may add interest to a 2D design, and the combination is also being employed in animated logo designs. According to Park, “it helps my staff at COLLINS generate and offer far more fascinating outcomes to our client work when I blend all of these elements together in flexible, quirky, bizarre, crazy, and even ugly ways.
Collaborations that seem unlikely
Companies have learned in the last several years that unexpected partnerships can keep them in the headlines, and the more implausible the partnership, the more newsworthy it becomes. We have X-box x Gucci, IKEA and LEGO, and Diplo’s psychedelic Crocs in 2021, among other things. What will the year 2022 bring? KFC and Apple? Oreos and Crocs? Balenciaga x Pizza Hut Tastewear? Take a spin and picture what the outcome might look like as you spin it.
Product design is where we’ve seen the most of this trend. As a result, graphic designers will likewise find themselves entangled in the chaos. On that topic, here we go…
As far as 2022’s graphic design trends go, the metaverse is the only one to make the cut. Everyone from Adobe to Depositphotos has mentioned it as a trend to keep an eye on. What kinds of things will we be able to perform in this virtual world populated by avatars? That’s still a mystery, but that’s what makes it so exciting. Any design that exists in the actual world, from billboards to T-shirts, may theoretically exist in the metaverse, but there may be more we haven’t considered. After partnering with Bored Ape Yacht Club to create an NFT collection, Adidas announced its foray into the virtual world by inviting designers to participate in a collaborative NFT initiative.
It’s possible that some of the previously discussed tendencies may start to come undone in the metaverse. No matter how much people protest against technology, the truth is that they will continue to use their phones and be linked in new and different ways in the future. In the digital metaverse, firms may want to return to 3D after flattening their logos for usage in digital media. The logo for Meta (still Facebook to everyone else) was meant to operate both in 2D and as a fully 3D logo that can be studied in virtual reality and “dynamically exist in the metaverse” in a virtual reality environment. The metaverse, in whatever form it takes, has the potential to expand the horizons of animators, illustrators, and graphic designers alike.
In addition to saving power and reducing eye strain, dark mode on your phone may also be used as a way to add visual appeal. This is especially significant given the rise in screen time over the previous 18 months. Apple, WeTransfer, Spotify, and the Moholy-Nagy Foundation have all employed monochromatic websites, as have firms like Pentagram. Personal websites and social networking platforms alike are adopting dark mode choices, such as Twitter’s “dim” and “lights off” settings.
According to Brandon Levesque, Art Director at Cusp, a group of agencies from Europe and North America, “circling back to a more pared-down visual approach seems like a logical evolution,” he added. Users’ curiosity might be piqued by a hidden easter egg in the form of a dark mode on the site. As more and more devices have the option, we’ll start to see it trickle down to other areas of digital design, such as those that specialize in photography or editorial content.
Corporate Memphis’s Changing Face
Some of the world’s most well-known IT businesses have embraced the now-ubiquitous postmodern Memphis movement-inspired, flat graphic style that has been popular for some years. There is rising criticism that internet corporations utilize the generic figures to look more human-centered and friendlier, even while their inconsistent policies and business methods are a constant source of friction. Despite the style’s appeal, it is ripe for a shake-up.
An Indian e-commerce company’s figures, the fanciful humanoid shapes created by the University of the Arts London, and this current Chipotle commercial with music by Kacey Musgraves are instances of how this trend may expand.
Culp believes that future-forward companies will begin to take risks, updating the Corporate Memphis color palette and leaning into “jewel-toned psychedelia and cosmic art, lesser-known figures from Impressionism and Expressionist art, art nouveau (and the way Art Nouveau is influencing Solarpunk, and just more “pastiche” of various clashing styles and periods all at once,” she says.
Landing pages that use typography
Landing pages will continue to be dominated by the large, prominent, and emotive font. Gawker’s new website, the Chaumont Biennale 2021 type system and Harry Styles’ cosmetics brand Pleasing are just a few examples of how this trend will continue to expand in the future, including a wide range of applications from portfolio and brand websites to microsites and online magazines.
It has become more common for large corporations to invest in their own type systems because they understand the significance of typography in conveying the brand’s tone and personality. This tendency may be seen as a return to modernist posters, Penguin’s renowned book covers, and movie titles like Wes Anderson’s use of typography as a narrative component in his films, according to Scofield.. Graphic designers have been using prominently displayed text for a long time, but now it is being used by a growing number of online brands and businesses, according to her.
Getting ready for the’verse to come
As soon as the metaverse arrives, companies and designers alike will need to prepare for the possibilities and problems that come with it. Many current instances may be found. One of the most prominent examples of this is Nike’s acquisition of RTFKT Studios, the virtual fashion company that develops NFTs and digital shoes, while Adobe purchased Substance, a 3D-texturing program used for game and film creation, and crowds turned into virtual concerts on Fortnight. In the next three years, Bill Gates prophesied, brands, entertainment, and the business world would be unrecognizably transformed.
Taking advantage of the impending era of extended reality, firms will begin assembling teams of interface designers as early as 2022. Interaction design has come a long way since the days when there were no such things as “interaction designers,” according to Adhiraj Singh, an art director and interaction designer based in San Francisco who has worked with Red Bull and Microsoft. Interaction designers are now seen as the builders of digital experiences that people use to work, play, network, amuse, travel, and even fall in love, according to the statement.
More in-depth cooperation
Although remote work has its drawbacks, we’ve found that it can be a powerful tool for productivity and cooperation. It’s just a matter of time until remote cooperation tools become more human-centered as more and more businesses continue to work from home. Frameworks and collaborative web development tools like Editor X will revolutionize hybrid or remote design work in the near future since they consistently innovate on better cooperation.
When there isn’t a pandemic, agencies may still function swiftly and seamlessly since cooperation is the norm. Na’ama Ben-Oliel Ronan, product team lead at Editor X, said that “the process in agencies nowadays is extremely linear. Designing together is either impossible or severely restricted on the majority of websites and production platforms. Because of this, the creative process will become more and more synchronous.”
A sense of fun and reminiscence
New technologies like 3D graphics will bring back the pleasure and tangible qualities of childhood to online design much as real-world things influenced early skeuomorphism. Future trends like Pentagram’s hand-drawn elements and Olivia Rodrigo’s Y2K references, as well as the return of old-school games, will be prominent in 2021.
I see websites now looking like the Flash websites we used to develop in the [the late 1990s/early 2000s], comments Hege Aaby, founder and creative director of Sennep. “They’re a lot of fun, a lot of experimentation, and a lot of nostalgia. After Flash’s demise, technology has finally caught up, allowing web designers to construct more immersive and imaginative websites. The ticker tape, sideways scrolling, and the usage of vintage fonts and colors are all making a comeback. “It’s never old to make fun of antiquated technologies.”
Typography that tells a storey
When it comes to typography on the web, more and more designers are realizing the importance of hyperlocal design—especially when it comes to expressing a certain location’s identity. It is becoming more and more common to see fonts based on their own cultural tales, in a range of languages that take into account the intricacies of their native scripts. The number of organizations dedicated to preserving their region’s visual heritage, such as the Syrian Design Archive and Archief Cairo, is increasing.
What we know about non-Latin scripts isn’t very much. Devanagari graffiti, for example, or a Telugu logo, are examples of what. In the past, local type foundries have existed, but the arrival of contemporary type design tools and social media has allowed individuals to experiment with their cultures and languages,” said Manav Dhiman, the designer, and creator of ManVsType. As Dhiman points out, ligatures like the rupee sign in his Bombay font are crucial from a practical aspect as well: “Someone who doesn’t feel the irritation of not being able to type it effortlessly on a daily basis would not have even thought about making it easier,” he writes.
Designers are using the potential of interactive platforms and applying machine learning and AI to tackle unusual learning challenges outside classroom training as the trend toward online education continues to gain steam. Notes may be taken using Otter, an artificial intelligence (AI) transcribing tool. Machine vision-powered website Fingerspelling helps deaf parents learn American Sign Language (ASL) via a camera and hand-tracking. Hello, Monday produced Fingerspelling for the American Society for the Deaf Children. Hello, Monday app 2020’s Wongle utilizes Google Cloud Vision to teach the alphabet to youngsters. Experiential and interactive learning is a key trend in education in 2022 because of the wide range of options available to students.
Anders Jessen, Hello Monday’s founding partner, remarked, “There is something exciting about believing that someone taught the computer to see,’ and now the computer is utilizing that knowledge to teach us back.” Although developing the algorithm and detection takes a lot of time, the time saved when it is put to use in learning is far greater.
Fashion experiences in the digital world.
As a fashion business, leading with cutting-edge techniques is essential, and for luxury companies, engaging AR and VR experiences is a sensible tactic to attract early adopters. Innovators in the retail and e-commerce sectors are already using this trend to create new customer experiences that set them apart from the competition. An immersive virtual environment for Nike’s ACG 2021 collection was developed via a collaboration with Roblox and the internet gaming platform. 3D product renderings have been added to Under Armour’s digital catalogs. The SS 2021 collections of Balenciaga, Burberry, and Gucci all saw the introduction of interactive online games, with the latter two taking inspiration from the Greek goddess Olympia.
Technology for interactive and sensory encounters will lead to greater synergy between style and digital design. Rian Verhagen, the Managing Partner of Superhero Cheesecake, a creative studio in Amsterdam with clients like Gucci and Viktor&Rolf, said that COVID-19 has accelerated the need for fashion brands to communicate through digital touchpoints, especially luxury brands that have traditionally relied on their physical presence to connect with their audience and build brand loyalty.” Increasingly realistic and haptic product displays will be a key function for AR and VR in 2022.” “I anticipate seeing more and more firms converting their digital platforms to become online flagships.”
Assets that are inclusive
It’s just a matter of time until designers and companies begin to pay more attention to the implicit prejudices that may be found in digital content, pictures, and visual language when it comes to marginalized groups like those in the LGBTQ+ community. Companies like LEGO, Citibank, and Microsoft, which are implementing inclusive policies in their external communications and product design, will need a broader selection of resources, such as stock photos. Leena Nair, the new CEO of Chanel, is an example of a leader from an underrepresented group who is needed in the business.
Dr. Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insight at Getty Pictures, stated, “We know that images have a significant role to play in how people—particularly children—view themselves and the world around them.” In the digital era, “anything that is sent out into the digital realm has to be rethought through the lens of accessibility and inclusiveness.”
Next year, in 2022, set a new standard for yourself
The editors at Editor X are here to assist, whether you’re ready to get creative with the latest design trends or just want some inspiration. Editor X is the first-ever platform for web designers and agencies to work together on the building of websites in a totally collaborative manner. The Showroom features some of Editor X’s best work, and the Shaping Design blog is a great place to stay up to date on the newest developments in the design world.
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