If you’re not inside the design world, you might not realize how quickly graphic design trends develop. As our world becomes more connected, trends rocket from the fringes to the mainstream quicker than you can say "Graphic Design Trends 2020."
But unless your business relies on being at the forefront of graphic design, you don’t need to know every single trend that is coming and going. Instead, aim to focus on one or two ideas that you can easily incorporate into your existing branding or content output.
An easy place to start using new trends is in your digital marketing. Social media graphics are much easier to create than a website redesign or a rebrand.
Here are five trends that you can easily adapt to work for your company:
Created using Venngage Infographic Maker
Muted color palettes is an easy trend to jump on if you’re not ready for a big change, but you're still looking for a fresh approach to your designs.
Graphic design has tended to lean towards the more bright and colorful end of the spectrum in recent years, with pops of bright (almost neon) colors dominating our screens. But in 2020, companies will take a more muted approach to their colors, favoring softer, less bright palettes.
Muted colors is an easy trend to action your social output. By updating the colors you use on Instagram or Twitter, you can avoid making any big changes to the core of your business, but still be on-trend.
You don’t even necessarily have to create a new color palette; you can take your existing brand colors and add black or white to each color to create a more muted palette to pick from. This way, any new content will still be recognizable as "you," but just a fresher, more on-trend you.
Following the shift away from bright colors to more muted palettes, stock photos will also shift away from heavily constructed and edited to more natural and authentic looking.
If you already have a stock library you use regularly, it might be difficult to put this tip into action, but if there’s wiggle room you should absolutely consider thinking differently about the stock photos you use.
Instead of photos that are obviously posed, try to use stock photos that seem more natural and candid. Picking stock photos that are less heavily edited is a great way to embrace this trend too. Look for photographs that haven’t been edited to make the colors pop, or have had the contrast turned up.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself "Would my absolute coolest friend/favorite influencer post this photo on Instagram?" If the answer is yes, you’ve probably found a winner.
The beauty of a custom illustration is that it will be completely unique to you and help you stand out amongst your competitors. Tech companies, in particular, have been quick to embrace the trend of using illustrations in their content, with places like Twitter and Apple using custom illustrations in their sites and stores respectively.
In 2020, illustrations will move away from the more rigid and geometric designs that we’ve seen in recent years, and towards much more abstract and flowing illustrations. Think soft overlapping wiggly lines, blobs of color, and natural elements like leaves and flowers.
Layer soft lines and drawings over each other to easily create interesting textures and illustrations. You can also incorporate squiggles and wiggles into your text or photo based graphics as a nod to the dreamy illustration trend.
Minimalistic designs are going to be huge next year for the exact same reasons that muted colors, authentic photos, and dreamy illustrations will be. A natural rebuttal to over crowded and busy graphics, minimalism is going to be big — especially in the digital sphere.
Minimalistic landing pages are already taking over the tech world, and we can expect to see more mainstream companies taking stock. Plain white backgrounds with lots of white space in between the graphics and text is a great way to draw a reader’s eye straight to your call to action.
We can expect to see minimalistic landing pages quickly become minimalist blogs, newsletters, and home pages too. The less stuff you have on your page, the quicker the page load time — an increasingly important metric to search engines and consumers alike.
It seems unlikely that minimalism will fully extend to social media, where white space can often seem like dead space, but you can incorporate hints of minimalism into your social content by being mindful of not creating overly complicated or busy graphics.
If it seems like all of these trends have something in common, it’s because they do. All of the top graphic design trends of 2020 lean towards being a lot calmer: More muted colors, softer shapes, and natural designs.
This shift is completely understandable when you think about the most popular design trends of the last few years: bold, bright colors, highly stylized and edited images, and textures and layers being used to create complex graphics.
2020 will be the year of simplicity in everything from fonts to landing pages to graphic elements like gradients and shapes. It can be easy to want to over complicate your designs by adding more graphic elements or boosting the color of any photographs a little bit more, but by keeping simplicity in mind you can create much more modern-looking graphics.
Alice Corner is a Content Marketer at Venngage who likes good design, social media, and visual communication. When she’s not writing about those things, she’s making videos about those things on the Venngage youtube channel.