With just 2 months to go, 2019 has seen graphic designers bring their creative best to the table. Keeping in mind the fast-moving nature of the industry, it’s time to look at what 2020 will bring us. We’re not just looking at new trends, but rather trends that will shake up the graphic design world in 2020. So we asked a few experts what their take was on the topic:
Disclaimer: Experts can have their own take on the subject and need not necessarily agree on the same idea. That’s what’s exciting about any creative field!
1. What graphic design trends do you foresee gaining momentum in 2020?
Expert #1: Ian Staunton, Head of Design at Pickle, a fully digital provider of homeowners insurance based in Chicago.
Currently seen in some quarters, the spread of the use of unexpected brand colors is something I can see becoming more prominent in 2020. Brands like beyond.life, Monzo, the card used by TransferWise and of course Pickle, are key examples of this.
Monzo and TransferWise are both really impressive examples of financial services using very non-traditional colors for their cards which really helps build a following.
There are a lot of natural/organic shapes in graphics I’m seeing recently and I foresee that being the next big design trend. I also foresee more illustrations coming up in marketing materials and brand imagery, think illustrations of people in bright colors and jewel tones. Being loud and bold is the new trend.
Expert #3: Nick Avola | Visuals By Impulse, the world’s largest design agency for live streamers and esports gamers.
2020 will be the year of Artificial Intelligence (AI). No, this is not some hostile robot takeover. On the contrary – it’s great news for artists, marking a huge leap forward in productivity. Upcoming innovations in machine learning technology will allow artists to automate and optimize certain stages of the creative process. These systems will analyze vast quantities of information, then offer design recommendations and adjustments. This means quicker project deliveries, cheaper costs, increased efficiency, better prototypes, and improved A/B tests with consumers.
For reference, see the image attached below. Netflix has been
experimenting with an ingenious solution to tricky product thumbnails.
2. What new design elements/concepts will emerge in 2020?
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Ian: Amongst the trends I predict to saturate is the use of fluid gradients, especially animated on page scrolling, as on Apple Music.
Some other concepts that I predict we will see more of are the use of bolder sans serif typefaces, subtle animations on web interactions (nuggets of delight) and I say this knowing it puts my reputation (whatever that’s worth!) on the line – tactile textures in digital design. Hopefully not the now-dated skeuomorphism of the early days of the web, but as Google has shown with Material Design and Apple has experimented with the Apple Watch faces, when used with light strokes the results can be impressive.
Kristin: The Spotify gradient look has been trending and I see this look expanding into a gradient with holographic look and colors, like my graphic below:
Also, gradients with blending techniques and natural/organic shapes that resemble nature (mountains, beaches, etc.) have good potential. With font and text, we will see more text being aligned in different directions to make the viewer take a longer look at what they’re reading because they will have to read in many different directions. Here is a great example of this new trend:
The days of traditional brand guidelines are coming to an end. 2020 will see remarkable progress in the field of Design Systems. Industry leaders are realizing that yesterday’s brand guidelines are stiff and limiting, causing incoherence between designer and developer – and not easily scalable (able to be repeated in mass quantity). With design systems, however, teams are creating living, breathing collections of brand rules. A single, evolving reference database – created by designers and developers alike. The systems will contain ready-to-use, reusable components – from typography to grids, colors, animations, patterns, shapes and more.
What does this mean? Well, improved coordination between designers and developers for one – design and code finally integrated into a single system. It means increased project productivity, stronger brand consistency, better prototype efficiency, and real product scalability.
3. What existing design trend will go out of fashion?
Ian: This is more of a hope than a prediction (ideally both) but I really want to see the end of the twee trend and infantilization of language used by brands. Phrases like ‘adulting is hard’ or overly illustrated coffee shop signs are everywhere and in my opinion will age as badly as sideburns and flared pants.
Kristin: The clean, modern, gold and black asymmetrical shapes are going out of trend. We will see less white, black, and pastel pinks. Brands are now wanting bright colors with loud typography.
Nick: It’s high time that Layer Styles on the text were left in the past. We’re confident that 2020 is the year this trend finally dies. In the past, it was common to see artists ‘spice up’ designs by experimenting with layer styles over text. It was an ‘in-your-face’ approach, exaggerating style through text – in the hope that the final product would stand out.
- Luckily, 2019 (and the years prior, to a lesser extent) saw shifts towards a more subdued, minimalist text style. Strip it back and simplify, to produce a more readable design. More and more creators are shifting focus towards the background elements instead. This allows the text to take its place at center stage while introducing creative elements in the backdrop.
- 2020 will see this trend take off, to the benefit of consumers and the design community.
- For reference, it is a difference of this versus this. Notice how dramatic the difference in vibes is?
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