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2023s-top-graphic-design-trends Here are 2023’s top graphic design trends, as anticipated by industry experts.
During more typical epochs, the pace of change in the design industry is often slower. For instance, the stylization of logos as geometric abstractions that became popular in 2010 continued throughout the decade.
But in broad strokes, what we’re going through now is a far cry from “normal times.” All this disarray and uncertainty is driving drastic changes in many areas of design, and it’s occurring so fast that we may not even realise it’s happening.

In light of this, we’ve convened a panel of respected designers to discuss the state of the industry and its prospects for the next year. In this article, you’ll learn about 10 trends that will probably have an effect on your creative output in the year 2023.

Trend 1: Brands in motion.

We are increasingly exposed to motion design in our everyday lives, whether it be on a digital billboard, a website, or an app. And the majority of experts agree that this is a positive development.

Animated or perish, as Martin Widdowfield, the creative director of Robot Food, puts it. Brands are adapting to the ever-changing digital landscape by exploring new opportunities presented by the proliferation of virtual reality and other cutting-edge technologies. Because of this, we now have more options for improving our narrative techniques and reaching customers via motion and animation.

He notes that this tendency is also permeating traditionally static media like packaging. Martin explains that before the epidemic, “QR codes were all but dead,” but that individuals now had a behavioural knowledge of “scan for information.” It’s intriguing to think about what this implies for AR and how it may change packaging in the future. There will be a surge of new ideas to help brands make the transition from the internet to store shelves, I predict. “Can the ubiquitous unpacking experience be digitised, for instance?”

And why exactly does motion really matter at all? DIA Studio’s partner and chief creative officer, Mitch Paone, elaborates. Obviously, a looping animation has a huge visual advantage over a still picture. The distinction between a salsa dancer and a hip-hop dancer is an outward manifestation of a more fundamental truth: movement generates identity. Although the dancer remains constant, the way they move reveals their character.

All thanks to the invention of the screen, “a brand may now have own-able choreography, or a behaviour that lends incredible individuality,” he continues. The design business will be greatly affected by this change. Art and technology meet in a seamless fusion of form and movement. Traditional design abilities aren’t enough if you want to generate meaningful work; designers also need a deep familiarity with movement, rhythm, and time, as well as expertise with motion software.
When updating MailChimp’s look and feel lately, DIA Studio took this precise course of action. In his own words, “We worked on bringing it to life with motion,” Mitch describes the animating process. In their own words: “The current brand, lead by an expressive library of hand-drawn drawings and a yellow and black palette, was wonderful for print and out-of-home advertising but was not scalable for digital assets like video, digital advertising, social media, etc.”

The Freddie, the MailChimp mascot, serves as inspiration for the revamped design, which has a graphic line, a bright colour palette, and a catchy bouncing animation. Mitch gushes, “The revamped system is both very expressive and incredibly useful.” To ensure easy and uniform rollout across all channels, MailChimp provides its employees with both static brand guidelines and an array of motion-based toolkits.

Trend 2: The new Wild West.

Just five years ago, the trend in design was toward basic, geometric forms. This utopian aesthetic, however, seems more antiquated in light of the global epidemic and economic difficulties. Space Doctors assistant director Julius Colwyn, on the other hand, sees a trend in the other direction.

“The movement is all about a live, invigorated chaos,” he continues. “It’s a backlash against the uniformity and harmony that’s become the visual style for far too many companies. There’s a rising market for offbeat aesthetics like startling collage, stark contrasts, potent neon, and irregular frames.”

This strategy, which takes its cue from the wild west days of the early internet, aims to abandon peace for the sake of friendly conflict. Acid green and terminal typefaces, screen captures and digital artefacts are all staples in this realm, according to Julius. “This vitality is not completely the mindless neon pandemonium of the early internet, since these designs are the result of new abilities in the era of the creative economy. The digital natives of today have built a more ordered form of digital anarchy.”

Trend 3: The elimination of restrictions in design.

Its truthfulness has led to its rapid ascent to cliché status. The worldwide epidemic hasn’t been nice for anybody, but it has opened us possibilities for us to collaborate abroad, either with an international client or in partnership with international talent, as Universal Favourite’s design director Ali Ozden puts it.

He thinks the best thing about the future of the design industry in 2023 is the elimination of barriers across different internet communities. The possibilities of working with “talent that you could only dream of working with” on “the client that you’ve always wanted to work with” are expanding, he says with enthusiasm.

“That’s meant collaboration with designers and artists from New Zealand to Berlin, and commissions from customers all the way from Korea. The most promising aspect of this is the exchange of knowledge and expertise, which might lead to novel solutions with cultural implications as we emerge from the epidemic into a new world.”

Trend 4: Lessening of Individualism.

There was a time when every other presentation at a design conference was dedicated to the topic of increasing your freelancing fees or starting your own company as a means of maximising your revenue. However, since March of 2022, priorities have changed.

Robot Food’s creative strategist Natalie Redford puts it this way: “There has been a significant shift away from “hustle culture” and the material things that have validated us in the past toward evaluating success based on how contented you are. The emphasis is on prioritising and caring for oneself.”

She ponders if this would lead to a greater emphasis on combining styles. “How well does the idea of pleasure and self-indulgence marry with a simple, minimalist aesthetic? Does the phrase “more, more, more” go well with a stance against wasteful spending? Perhaps more raw, unpolished beauty will emerge. Perhaps the popularity of looking backwards stems from a yearning for simpler, happier times. Alternatively, ambitions might be streamlined to make extravagance easier to attain.”

It’s too early to tell whether 2021 will be a good year. This is how ThoughtMatter’s creative director, Samantha Barbagiovanni, puts it: “Are we having another “Summer of Love?” Partying? Joyous about the end of the pandemic? This was definitely an instance when the crystal ball was cloudy. In 2023, however, we will take the odd, semi-risky step into what formerly seemed like the ‘old world,’ and we will be rewarded with the sensory, diversified, and emotionally rewarding moments of wonder we’ve been missing in our secure but limiting houses. Each of our senses is primed and ready for stimulus.”

BrandOpus’ director of creativity, Ellen Munro, feels similarly. “Even though we live in a very serious society, more and more products are adopting a fun, carefree aesthetic. There has been a recent uptick in the number of businesses whose primary values are expressed via upbeat and optimistic marketing.”
She joined the movement herself when BrandOpus teamed up with Moto, the biggest highway service area network in the UK, to improve the country’s rest stop culture. She elaborates, saying that the brand’s “Smile” is a “warm and welcoming distinguishing asset that can stretch throughout the brand’s whole ecosystem,” bringing “a good old dose of delight into the everyday.” To make the highway service station provider the first active option for resting and relaxing, “we intended to flip the switch by driving sensation above function, engaging clients on a far more emotional level.”

Trend  5: We’re Going Retro to the ’90s.

What a pivotal decade the 1980s were for popular culture. For decades, we’ve been drowning in sentimentality over them. June Frange, director of design at CPB London, thinks their replacement is ready to take the spotlight now that they’ve mostly finished setting the tone for the design trends that will come after them.

He defines the movement as “’90s MTV nostalgia.” “Meme aesthetics, green screen, and classic idents.” CPB has been channelling this spirit in their new advertising for Ballantine’s whiskey. “He goes on to say that the early internet style has been there for some time, and that TikTok filters and lo-fi DIY video influencers have helped spread it further. Our target demographic is comprised mostly of millennials, therefore we decided to channel their inner millennial by drawing influence from classic MTV idents from the ’90s.”

Trend  6: Extreme Maximalism.

Since we’ve shown that minimalism is losing ground, its polar opposite maximalism ought to be on the upswing. This has been confirmed by Clara Mulligan, head of design at Anomaly London.

After “years of graphic sameness” caused by the “previously limited practical constraints of living in a digital realm,” she argues, “there is a visual revolution unfolding.” “These days, people want everything to be a little more luxurious. We live in a maximalist period when exciting visual experiences and dramatic storytelling are triumphing over modularity and austere, geometric brand structures. The fact that these maximalist universes have historical and strategic foundations is what makes them so fascinating.”

BrandOpus strategy director Molly Rowan-Hamilton provides parallel imagery. In order to achieve a “punchier, more ownable appearance and feel,” she notes that many businesses are using monochromatic, vivid colours. “Colors that have become instantly recognisable with certain businesses may try something new for a little while. To reach a new generation of customers and shed its image as stuffy and antiquated, Tiffany & Co., for instance, ditched the classic “Tiffany Blue” in favour of the more modern “Tiffany Yellow.””

Pipers Crisps, a product of BrandOpus, follows this pattern by using a single, striking colour on shelf to attract attention. She notes that the crisp brand’s personality and flavour inspired the use of bright colours because of its vivacity and energy.

Trend 7: Typography gets more vibrant and playful.

Typography is becoming more colourful and whimsical, the seventh trend.
One of Design Bridge London’s top designers, Chris Algar, predicts that 2023will be a watershed year for type. He foresees that “typographic styles will tap into highly exaggerated characterful letterforms,” increasing the contrast between smooth lines and jagged shapes.

He then elaborates that the aforementioned trend in motion design will have an effect on fonts. “Designers have likely been influenced by the opening titles of shows like Killing Eve and, more recently, Squid Game, which were popular during the lockdown. While their approaches to typography couldn’t be more different, the fascinating motion and accentuated personalities shared by the two make them a perfect pair.”

Chris anticipates that the current Nike “Play New” campaign will have a significant impact on the colour and brightness of typographic trends in 2023. It’s “a modern twist with vibrant colours and bold opposing shapes,” while also “celebrating the spirit of the font with magnificent flowing lines.”

Trend 8: design, fashion, and brand boundaries blur.

The boundaries between design, branding, and fashion are blurring. A lot of corporations are realising that they can buy their way into coolness by forming partnerships, much as Apple did when it acquired Beats by Dre.

BrandOpus’s strategy director, Molly Rowan-Hamilton, notes that “many businesses are turning particularly to streetwear” as they seek “new methods to bring their products to life” outside the traditional retail storefront. “Restaurants can make a bomber jacket and sell it for over $500 with the help of Panera’s’soup’ swimwear, Pizza Hut’s ‘tastewear,’ and Carbone’s new fashion company, Our Lady of Rocco.”

A similar line of thinking can be seen in the recent’street meats’ collection by BrandOpus, which was created in collaboration with the American food company Oscar Mayer and has a 13-piece capsule collection based on the iconic outfits of the Hotdoggers. This line of streetwear is a celebration of the brand’s distinctive rhomboid emblem and a manifestation of the company’s guiding principle, “never

Trend 9: Ecologically conscious practises that prioritise beauty.

There is a lot of discussion on the state of the planet these days, in case you hadn’t noticed. Furthermore, the design sector is many times ahead of the curve.

“Consumers can now recognise greenwashing from a mile away,” says Matthew Gilpin, creative director at Free The Birds. “Brands are needing to do more than utilise the colour green to indicate they’re putting the earth first.” Brands are under growing pressure to adopt more sustainable materials in their packaging in light of the government’s introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility plan in April 2023.

And that need to be visually expressed as well.

Designers and package engineers will have a difficult task in meeting customer expectations, brand ethos, and environmental regulations via the use of materials and finishes that are sustainable, recyclable, and have the lowest carbon footprint feasible without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. Producers of metallic foil have made progress in making their goods biodegradable. A soft-touch lamination would cancel out the environmental advantages of utilising water-based inks on virgin paper. Utilizing these techniques wisely is the key. That’s what separates the superficially eco-friendly from the actually sustainable.

However, this must be done carefully and delicately, or customers will see through it. “Design for sustainability-focused companies used to be full of clichés in terms of colours, textures, typography, and graphics,” says Anton Pinyol, co-founder and creative director at Firma. Colors and materials that lean toward green, as well as brushes, plants, and hands that seem to be holding the globe. However, today’s leading businesses are adopting a fresh perspective, one that is brimming with digital jargon and a confident sense of self-expression.

ThoughtMatter’s design director Samantha Barbagiovanni agrees, saying, “Sustainability and reconnecting with nature is undoubtedly here to stay, with maybe a stronger focus on how Mother Nature’s medicine can boost our well-being, alongside her surroundings. A more profound kind of recovery from our Covid wounds is beginning to take place. In response to this trend, companies and organisations operating in this sector will see design as an opportunity for learning and self-reflection.

Trend 10: Uncompromising Realism and Subversive Design.

We were quite spot-on with our prediction from last year that nostalgic elements will play a big role in 2022’s design. Samantha Barbagiovanni, however, is under the impression that 2020 will be a very different year. She foresees that although 2022 was marked by a tone of sober optimism, 2023will be characterised by a sense of unrelenting reality. Although some of the trends predicted for 2022 were already beginning to show some promise, their full potential will be realised this year thanks to our increased level of mental, physical, and social preparedness.

So, what I’m trying to say is “In 2023, we won’t be pining for the past so much as we’ll be desperate to realise the unrealized potential and new avenues of growth we’ve discovered during our extended period of isolation and introspection. An up-and-coming generation of business owners will emerge as people band together for a more focused, well-defined goal, backed by a design process centred on core values.”

Moreover, as we all face an uncertain future, there is one thing we can agree on: we can no longer afford to blindly adhere to the same old practises. Design director at ThoughtMatter Wednesday Krus predicts that subversion will be the defining theme in 2023. According to her forecast, “2023 will shift from disrupting to transforming,” just as Brutalism was a disruptive response to the over-designed, over-analyzed designs of the generation before it.

Okay, but what does it really entail? “A subversive design urges the viewer to do something. It forces you to examine the choices you’ve made as a creator or user. It avoids manipulative or deceptive branding practises as well as gloomy patterns. Designing with the intention of challenging or opposing prevailing opinion is no longer acceptable.”

“This emerging style will use design as a weapon to disrupt power structures that have evolved through time to enrich the few at the expense of the many. The tide has turned toward contrarianism, and as we all know, popular opinion has a way of watering down original thought. Ultimately, subversion is what frees them.”
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