Design in 2021

Design trends

DESIGN IN 2021

by Evan-Zane Green

The end of this crazy year is upon us and, so we should start to set our eyes on 2021. As designers we need to stay ahead of the curve and we should know how the vast world of design is going to change in the new year. Many of these trends have been with us for a while, however, they have been increasing in popularity and will only continue to do so. I hope you are excited, because I am!

Design Doesn’t Have to be Flat Anymore

3D skills are no longer just for animators. Designers are beginning to use 3D to bring a new feel to their projects. “This design trend is one that has certainly made the most of more modern technological advances” (Pavlova) to breathe new life into the design world. Using tools like Maya, Cinema 4D, and Blender, designers can make themselves more marketable. Using 3D to “to blur the digital and physical” (Pavlova) with hyper realistic visuals is popular in its own right, but why stop there? Weave “3D designs with photos or flat illustrations” (Pavlova). 3D design has been appearing in every aspect of design. User interface design is a popular one but it is also appearing in illustration and photo composition. By doing so it is proving why it will continue to be a useful tool in 2021.The sky isn’t close to being the limit!

3D Art andy.brandon50

Go Green

With the environment being more and more important in the media today, it is only natural (get it?) that it would show up in design. Elements of nature The use of elements of nature are becoming common in design and will only continue to do so. “So many of us have felt cooped up in 2020 with COVID-19, and have a strong desire to spend time in green spaces” (Dell). As a result, many designers will express that through their work. This trend is starting to “reach beyond environmentally-oriented products” (99designs Team). Designers have been using it to give their creations a natural and inviting feel. It has been used to add new depth to illustrations and photographs. It has influenced the style of brands and apps. Not to mention its role in creating engaging packaging for products. I think designers should look and see what they can do with it in this upcoming year

Natural Design Good Studio

Art by Good Studio

Designing Diversity

I’m sure you will agree but there are few things that people hate more in media than when cultures are misrepresented or nonexistent when they could and should be there. That doesn’t just go for television and your favourite (or least favourite) blockbuster movies. It is important in design as well. “2021 will be the year to show how different people are” (IsaDesignNet). With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been a rise in cultural representation in the design field. This hasn’t stopped at the art, where we have “seen designers make efforts to ditch models in favor of authentic and diverse people in illustration and stock photography” (99designs Team), but it has extended to the recognition of designers from a variety of backgrounds being recognized for their talents. Hopefully this change will continue into 2021 and beyond.

Diversity Autumn Goodman

Art by Autumn Goodman

Up Your Emoji Game

“The use of Emojis creates a reaction and a response” (Pavlova) and are the basis of how we communicate. A designer’s job is to elicit a response from the viewer and that makes emojis the perfect tool. Think about it, how many emojis do you send in a day. We use them to express how we feel in the moment or if they are easier to type than a long line of text that would express the same thing. As a result, in 2021 the design world is going to lean in on using emojis to their fullest potential. From experience design to packaging design, emojis have a role to play in allowing designers to engage with users. The reason they are so effective is because they “lighten the mood and they communicate the underlying feelings” (Pavlova). There is no need to write what can be expressed through imagery.

Happy family holding emoji icons

Art by Rawpixel.com

Cartoons Aren’t for Children

Who ever said that cartoons are only for children? Well, designers beg to differ. I, for one, love a good cartoon. Cartoons can make you feel a whole range of emotions. Not to mention they can influence the art world in ground breaking ways. We all remember ‘Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse’ by Sony Pictures Animation. This cartoon combined techniques like chromatic aberration for depth of field and comic book style typography (just to name a few) in a way that changed the landscape of both animation and design. The trend of using cartoon illustration in design is only ramping up. Cartoon-style illustration “can enhance the design whilst still keeping on point” (Pavlova). It also is attention grabbing in a world where minimalism is king. It is a great way to set yourself apart while also showing off the different skills at your disposal. Who doesn’t love a designer who can also illustrate?

Cute Seasons Greetings card mockup

Art by Rawpixel.com

Everything that Glitters

Everything that glitters should be gold! Using a metallic effect in design has been popular for a long time and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. In general, giving things a metallic touch is a great way to grab attention. There is a permanence and sleekness to metal that makes it intriguing and it has the power to engage an audience. Gold, however, has had a firm grip on humanity for a very long time throughout our very long history. It is “already popular in product design” (Pavlova) but we don’t need to stop there. Gold immediately gives your designs a “luxurious, expensive feel” (Pavlova) and you can combine it with other materials to give your projects that modern touch. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but gold doesn’t discriminate.

Festive paper cup design mockup

Art by Rawpixel.com

Redefine Still Life

Certain things don’t belong together – like hotdogs and applesauce. However, when it comes to the surrealist still life trend, anything goes. Here, you can put anything together because the “uncommon object combinations” (Piper) are what make it interesting. For these designs the goal is to let your imagination run wild. This trend forces you to see the world differently. You don’t want it to be normal because that will make it mundane. In 2021, when you think about still lifes, also think about how you can push the envelope. These projects will have you staring at it forever trying to figure them out.

Surrealism Pixabay

Art by Pixabay

3D is My Type

We spoke about 3D in design earlier but we are going to take it a little further. Typography can get the 3D treatment as well. In fact, it has been receiving that treatment for a while but it will definitely continue to do so in 2021. You can, quite literally, make your type pop in your designs with “ultra-realistic lettering that feels like you can reach in and touch it” (Pavlova). Typography is an area of design that has a lot of rules but rules are meant to be broken. You don’t need to worry about size and spacing because in 3D space you can be a lot more liberal with these properties, as well as the others that are associated with typography. Here, and in the new year, you are trying to push the boundaries of what a letter can become.

3D Type Nikhil Mitra

Art by Nikhil Mitra

Free to be Colourful

Abstract psychedelia is next and it is a style that came to us from “the music and art scene of the 60s” (99designs Team). This trend says, “You can break the chains of convention. It’s ok to go crazy.” This trend is expected to reappear in 2021 as “excessive color and intensely intricate abstractions” (99designs Team). When you add a bit of symmetry to the mix it makes the design feel more “grounded” (99designs Team) which adds another dimension to this trend. Illustration is used to great effect to engage with your audience, through social media and many other avenues. That means, though, that it can get oversaturated at times. Using a dynamic and engaging style like this one can help you make your work memorable when people see it and make them want to keep coming back. After all, the true beauty of this style is that “no two viewings feel quite the same” (99designs Team).

Abstract colors in black patterned background

Art by Rawpixel

Not Just Social but Socially Aware

This year showed us that there are a lot of flaws that countries need to fix. Social justice, healthcare issues and disaster preparedness are just a few. Design helps us be social but it also makes us aware of social issues. Designers from every place you can think of have answered that call and have “contributed their talents for the betterment of their community” (99designs Team). Rome wasn’t built in a day, however, and social change won’t come in a day either. That is not a cause for worry though because design for social awareness will continue into 2021 and, fingers crossed, for many years after until we see the change we need.

Change Unknown

Art by Unknown

Sources

  • 99designs Team. “11 Inspiring Graphic Design Trends for 2021.” 99designs, 99designs, 12 Nov. 2020, 99designs.com/blog/trends/graphic-design-trends/.
  • Pavlova, Iveta. “Graphic Design Trends in 2021 That Will Cause Revolution.” Graphic Mama, Oct. 2020, graphicmama.com/blog/graphic-design-trends-2021/.
  • Piper, Daniel. “8 Huge Design Trends for 2021 Revealed.” Creative Bloq, Creative Bloq, 29 Oct. 2020, www.creativebloq.com/news/2021-design-trends.
Design trends

DESIGN IN 2021

by Evan-Zane Green

The end of this crazy year is upon us and, so we should start to set our eyes on 2021. As designers we need to stay ahead of the curve and we should know how the vast world of design is going to change in the new year. Many of these trends have been with us for a while, however, they have been increasing in popularity and will only continue to do so. I hope you are excited, because I am!

Design Doesn’t Have to be Flat Anymore

3D skills are no longer just for animators. Designers are beginning to use 3D to bring a new feel to their projects. “This design trend is one that has certainly made the most of more modern technological advances” (Pavlova) to breathe new life into the design world. Using tools like Maya, Cinema 4D, and Blender, designers can make themselves more marketable. Using 3D to “to blur the digital and physical” (Pavlova) with hyper realistic visuals is popular in its own right, but why stop there? Weave “3D designs with photos or flat illustrations” (Pavlova). 3D design has been appearing in every aspect of design. User interface design is a popular one but it is also appearing in illustration and photo composition. By doing so it is proving why it will continue to be a useful tool in 2021.The sky isn’t close to being the limit!

3D Art andy.brandon50

Go Green

With the environment being more and more important in the media today, it is only natural (get it?) that it would show up in design. Elements of nature The use of elements of nature are becoming common in design and will only continue to do so. “So many of us have felt cooped up in 2020 with COVID-19, and have a strong desire to spend time in green spaces” (Dell). As a result, many designers will express that through their work. This trend is starting to “reach beyond environmentally-oriented products” (99designs Team). Designers have been using it to give their creations a natural and inviting feel. It has been used to add new depth to illustrations and photographs. It has influenced the style of brands and apps. Not to mention its role in creating engaging packaging for products. I think designers should look and see what they can do with it in this upcoming year

Natural Design Good Studio

Art by Good Studio

Designing Diversity

I’m sure you will agree but there are few things that people hate more in media than when cultures are misrepresented or nonexistent when they could and should be there. That doesn’t just go for television and your favourite (or least favourite) blockbuster movies. It is important in design as well. “2021 will be the year to show how different people are” (IsaDesignNet). With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been a rise in cultural representation in the design field. This hasn’t stopped at the art, where we have “seen designers make efforts to ditch models in favor of authentic and diverse people in illustration and stock photography” (99designs Team), but it has extended to the recognition of designers from a variety of backgrounds being recognized for their talents. Hopefully this change will continue into 2021 and beyond.

Diversity Autumn Goodman

Art by Autumn Goodman

Up Your Emoji Game

“The use of Emojis creates a reaction and a response” (Pavlova) and are the basis of how we communicate. A designer’s job is to elicit a response from the viewer and that makes emojis the perfect tool. Think about it, how many emojis do you send in a day. We use them to express how we feel in the moment or if they are easier to type than a long line of text that would express the same thing. As a result, in 2021 the design world is going to lean in on using emojis to their fullest potential. From experience design to packaging design, emojis have a role to play in allowing designers to engage with users. The reason they are so effective is because they “lighten the mood and they communicate the underlying feelings” (Pavlova). There is no need to write what can be expressed through imagery.

Happy family holding emoji icons

Art by Rawpixel.com

Cartoons Aren’t for Children

Who ever said that cartoons are only for children? Well, designers beg to differ. I, for one, love a good cartoon. Cartoons can make you feel a whole range of emotions. Not to mention they can influence the art world in ground breaking ways. We all remember ‘Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse’ by Sony Pictures Animation. This cartoon combined techniques like chromatic aberration for depth of field and comic book style typography (just to name a few) in a way that changed the landscape of both animation and design. The trend of using cartoon illustration in design is only ramping up. Cartoon-style illustration “can enhance the design whilst still keeping on point” (Pavlova). It also is attention grabbing in a world where minimalism is king. It is a great way to set yourself apart while also showing off the different skills at your disposal. Who doesn’t love a designer who can also illustrate?

Cute Seasons Greetings card mockup

Art by Rawpixel.com

Everything that Glitters

Everything that glitters should be gold! Using a metallic effect in design has been popular for a long time and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. In general, giving things a metallic touch is a great way to grab attention. There is a permanence and sleekness to metal that makes it intriguing and it has the power to engage an audience. Gold, however, has had a firm grip on humanity for a very long time throughout our very long history. It is “already popular in product design” (Pavlova) but we don’t need to stop there. Gold immediately gives your designs a “luxurious, expensive feel” (Pavlova) and you can combine it with other materials to give your projects that modern touch. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but gold doesn’t discriminate.

Festive paper cup design mockup

Art by Rawpixel.com

Redefine Still Life

Certain things don’t belong together – like hotdogs and applesauce. However, when it comes to the surrealist still life trend, anything goes. Here, you can put anything together because the “uncommon object combinations” (Piper) are what make it interesting. For these designs the goal is to let your imagination run wild. This trend forces you to see the world differently. You don’t want it to be normal because that will make it mundane. In 2021, when you think about still lifes, also think about how you can push the envelope. These projects will have you staring at it forever trying to figure them out.

Surrealism Pixabay

Art by Pixabay

3D is My Type

We spoke about 3D in design earlier but we are going to take it a little further. Typography can get the 3D treatment as well. In fact, it has been receiving that treatment for a while but it will definitely continue to do so in 2021. You can, quite literally, make your type pop in your designs with “ultra-realistic lettering that feels like you can reach in and touch it” (Pavlova). Typography is an area of design that has a lot of rules but rules are meant to be broken. You don’t need to worry about size and spacing because in 3D space you can be a lot more liberal with these properties, as well as the others that are associated with typography. Here, and in the new year, you are trying to push the boundaries of what a letter can become.

3D Type Nikhil Mitra

Art by Nikhil Mitra

Free to be Colourful

Abstract psychedelia is next and it is a style that came to us from “the music and art scene of the 60s” (99designs Team). This trend says, “You can break the chains of convention. It’s ok to go crazy.” This trend is expected to reappear in 2021 as “excessive color and intensely intricate abstractions” (99designs Team). When you add a bit of symmetry to the mix it makes the design feel more “grounded” (99designs Team) which adds another dimension to this trend. Illustration is used to great effect to engage with your audience, through social media and many other avenues. That means, though, that it can get oversaturated at times. Using a dynamic and engaging style like this one can help you make your work memorable when people see it and make them want to keep coming back. After all, the true beauty of this style is that “no two viewings feel quite the same” (99designs Team).

Abstract colors in black patterned background

Art by Rawpixel

Not Just Social but Socially Aware

This year showed us that there are a lot of flaws that countries need to fix. Social justice, healthcare issues and disaster preparedness are just a few. Design helps us be social but it also makes us aware of social issues. Designers from every place you can think of have answered that call and have “contributed their talents for the betterment of their community” (99designs Team). Rome wasn’t built in a day, however, and social change won’t come in a day either. That is not a cause for worry though because design for social awareness will continue into 2021 and, fingers crossed, for many years after until we see the change we need.

Change Unknown

Art by Unknown

Sources

  • 99designs Team. “11 Inspiring Graphic Design Trends for 2021.” 99designs, 99designs, 12 Nov. 2020, 99designs.com/blog/trends/graphic-design-trends/.
  • Pavlova, Iveta. “Graphic Design Trends in 2021 That Will Cause Revolution.” Graphic Mama, Oct. 2020, graphicmama.com/blog/graphic-design-trends-2021/.
  • Piper, Daniel. “8 Huge Design Trends for 2021 Revealed.” Creative Bloq, Creative Bloq, 29 Oct. 2020, www.creativebloq.com/news/2021-design-trends.
Design trends

DESIGN IN 2021

by Evan-Zane Green

The end of this crazy year is upon us and, so we should start to set our eyes on 2021. As designers we need to stay ahead of the curve and we should know how the vast world of design is going to change in the new year. Many of these trends have been with us for a while, however, they have been increasing in popularity and will only continue to do so. I hope you are excited, because I am!

Design Doesn’t Have to be Flat Anymore

3D skills are no longer just for animators. Designers are beginning to use 3D to bring a new feel to their projects. “This design trend is one that has certainly made the most of more modern technological advances” (Pavlova) to breathe new life into the design world. Using tools like Maya, Cinema 4D, and Blender, designers can make themselves more marketable. Using 3D to “to blur the digital and physical” (Pavlova) with hyper realistic visuals is popular in its own right, but why stop there? Weave “3D designs with photos or flat illustrations” (Pavlova). 3D design has been appearing in every aspect of design. User interface design is a popular one but it is also appearing in illustration and photo composition. By doing so it is proving why it will continue to be a useful tool in 2021.The sky isn’t close to being the limit!

3D Art andy.brandon50

Go Green

With the environment being more and more important in the media today, it is only natural (get it?) that it would show up in design. Elements of nature The use of elements of nature are becoming common in design and will only continue to do so. “So many of us have felt cooped up in 2020 with COVID-19, and have a strong desire to spend time in green spaces” (Dell). As a result, many designers will express that through their work. This trend is starting to “reach beyond environmentally-oriented products” (99designs Team). Designers have been using it to give their creations a natural and inviting feel. It has been used to add new depth to illustrations and photographs. It has influenced the style of brands and apps. Not to mention its role in creating engaging packaging for products. I think designers should look and see what they can do with it in this upcoming year

Natural Design Good Studio

Art by Good Studio

Designing Diversity

I’m sure you will agree but there are few things that people hate more in media than when cultures are misrepresented or nonexistent when they could and should be there. That doesn’t just go for television and your favourite (or least favourite) blockbuster movies. It is important in design as well. “2021 will be the year to show how different people are” (IsaDesignNet). With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been a rise in cultural representation in the design field. This hasn’t stopped at the art, where we have “seen designers make efforts to ditch models in favor of authentic and diverse people in illustration and stock photography” (99designs Team), but it has extended to the recognition of designers from a variety of backgrounds being recognized for their talents. Hopefully this change will continue into 2021 and beyond.

Diversity Autumn Goodman

Art by Autumn Goodman

Up Your Emoji Game

“The use of Emojis creates a reaction and a response” (Pavlova) and are the basis of how we communicate. A designer’s job is to elicit a response from the viewer and that makes emojis the perfect tool. Think about it, how many emojis do you send in a day. We use them to express how we feel in the moment or if they are easier to type than a long line of text that would express the same thing. As a result, in 2021 the design world is going to lean in on using emojis to their fullest potential. From experience design to packaging design, emojis have a role to play in allowing designers to engage with users. The reason they are so effective is because they “lighten the mood and they communicate the underlying feelings” (Pavlova). There is no need to write what can be expressed through imagery.

Happy family holding emoji icons

Art by Rawpixel.com

Cartoons Aren’t for Children

Who ever said that cartoons are only for children? Well, designers beg to differ. I, for one, love a good cartoon. Cartoons can make you feel a whole range of emotions. Not to mention they can influence the art world in ground breaking ways. We all remember ‘Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse’ by Sony Pictures Animation. This cartoon combined techniques like chromatic aberration for depth of field and comic book style typography (just to name a few) in a way that changed the landscape of both animation and design. The trend of using cartoon illustration in design is only ramping up. Cartoon-style illustration “can enhance the design whilst still keeping on point” (Pavlova). It also is attention grabbing in a world where minimalism is king. It is a great way to set yourself apart while also showing off the different skills at your disposal. Who doesn’t love a designer who can also illustrate?

Cute Seasons Greetings card mockup

Art by Rawpixel.com

Everything that Glitters

Everything that glitters should be gold! Using a metallic effect in design has been popular for a long time and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. In general, giving things a metallic touch is a great way to grab attention. There is a permanence and sleekness to metal that makes it intriguing and it has the power to engage an audience. Gold, however, has had a firm grip on humanity for a very long time throughout our very long history. It is “already popular in product design” (Pavlova) but we don’t need to stop there. Gold immediately gives your designs a “luxurious, expensive feel” (Pavlova) and you can combine it with other materials to give your projects that modern touch. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but gold doesn’t discriminate.

Festive paper cup design mockup

Art by Rawpixel.com

Redefine Still Life

Certain things don’t belong together – like hotdogs and applesauce. However, when it comes to the surrealist still life trend, anything goes. Here, you can put anything together because the “uncommon object combinations” (Piper) are what make it interesting. For these designs the goal is to let your imagination run wild. This trend forces you to see the world differently. You don’t want it to be normal because that will make it mundane. In 2021, when you think about still lifes, also think about how you can push the envelope. These projects will have you staring at it forever trying to figure them out.

Surrealism Pixabay

Art by Pixabay

3D is My Type

We spoke about 3D in design earlier but we are going to take it a little further. Typography can get the 3D treatment as well. In fact, it has been receiving that treatment for a while but it will definitely continue to do so in 2021. You can, quite literally, make your type pop in your designs with “ultra-realistic lettering that feels like you can reach in and touch it” (Pavlova). Typography is an area of design that has a lot of rules but rules are meant to be broken. You don’t need to worry about size and spacing because in 3D space you can be a lot more liberal with these properties, as well as the others that are associated with typography. Here, and in the new year, you are trying to push the boundaries of what a letter can become.

3D Type Nikhil Mitra

Art by Nikhil Mitra

Free to be Colourful

Abstract psychedelia is next and it is a style that came to us from “the music and art scene of the 60s” (99designs Team). This trend says, “You can break the chains of convention. It’s ok to go crazy.” This trend is expected to reappear in 2021 as “excessive color and intensely intricate abstractions” (99designs Team). When you add a bit of symmetry to the mix it makes the design feel more “grounded” (99designs Team) which adds another dimension to this trend. Illustration is used to great effect to engage with your audience, through social media and many other avenues. That means, though, that it can get oversaturated at times. Using a dynamic and engaging style like this one can help you make your work memorable when people see it and make them want to keep coming back. After all, the true beauty of this style is that “no two viewings feel quite the same” (99designs Team).

Abstract colors in black patterned background

Art by Rawpixel

Not Just Social but Socially Aware

This year showed us that there are a lot of flaws that countries need to fix. Social justice, healthcare issues and disaster preparedness are just a few. Design helps us be social but it also makes us aware of social issues. Designers from every place you can think of have answered that call and have “contributed their talents for the betterment of their community” (99designs Team). Rome wasn’t built in a day, however, and social change won’t come in a day either. That is not a cause for worry though because design for social awareness will continue into 2021 and, fingers crossed, for many years after until we see the change we need.

Change Unknown

Art by Unknown

Sources

  • 99designs Team. “11 Inspiring Graphic Design Trends for 2021.” 99designs, 99designs, 12 Nov. 2020, 99designs.com/blog/trends/graphic-design-trends/.
  • Pavlova, Iveta. “Graphic Design Trends in 2021 That Will Cause Revolution.” Graphic Mama, Oct. 2020, graphicmama.com/blog/graphic-design-trends-2021/.
  • Piper, Daniel. “8 Huge Design Trends for 2021 Revealed.” Creative Bloq, Creative Bloq, 29 Oct. 2020, www.creativebloq.com/news/2021-design-trends.
Design trends

DESIGN IN 2021

by Evan-Zane Green

The end of this crazy year is upon us and, so we should start to set our eyes on 2021. As designers we need to stay ahead of the curve and we should know how the vast world of design is going to change in the new year. Many of these trends have been with us for a while, however, they have been increasing in popularity and will only continue to do so. I hope you are excited, because I am!

Design Doesn’t Have to be Flat Anymore

3D skills are no longer just for animators. Designers are beginning to use 3D to bring a new feel to their projects. “This design trend is one that has certainly made the most of more modern technological advances” (Pavlova) to breathe new life into the design world. Using tools like Maya, Cinema 4D, and Blender, designers can make themselves more marketable. Using 3D to “to blur the digital and physical” (Pavlova) with hyper realistic visuals is popular in its own right, but why stop there? Weave “3D designs with photos or flat illustrations” (Pavlova). 3D design has been appearing in every aspect of design. User interface design is a popular one but it is also appearing in illustration and photo composition. By doing so it is proving why it will continue to be a useful tool in 2021.The sky isn’t close to being the limit!

3D Art andy.brandon50

Go Green

With the environment being more and more important in the media today, it is only natural (get it?) that it would show up in design. Elements of nature The use of elements of nature are becoming common in design and will only continue to do so. “So many of us have felt cooped up in 2020 with COVID-19, and have a strong desire to spend time in green spaces” (Dell). As a result, many designers will express that through their work. This trend is starting to “reach beyond environmentally-oriented products” (99designs Team). Designers have been using it to give their creations a natural and inviting feel. It has been used to add new depth to illustrations and photographs. It has influenced the style of brands and apps. Not to mention its role in creating engaging packaging for products. I think designers should look and see what they can do with it in this upcoming year

Natural Design Good Studio

Art by Good Studio

Designing Diversity

I’m sure you will agree but there are few things that people hate more in media than when cultures are misrepresented or nonexistent when they could and should be there. That doesn’t just go for television and your favourite (or least favourite) blockbuster movies. It is important in design as well. “2021 will be the year to show how different people are” (IsaDesignNet). With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been a rise in cultural representation in the design field. This hasn’t stopped at the art, where we have “seen designers make efforts to ditch models in favor of authentic and diverse people in illustration and stock photography” (99designs Team), but it has extended to the recognition of designers from a variety of backgrounds being recognized for their talents. Hopefully this change will continue into 2021 and beyond.

Diversity Autumn Goodman

Art by Autumn Goodman

Up Your Emoji Game

“The use of Emojis creates a reaction and a response” (Pavlova) and are the basis of how we communicate. A designer’s job is to elicit a response from the viewer and that makes emojis the perfect tool. Think about it, how many emojis do you send in a day. We use them to express how we feel in the moment or if they are easier to type than a long line of text that would express the same thing. As a result, in 2021 the design world is going to lean in on using emojis to their fullest potential. From experience design to packaging design, emojis have a role to play in allowing designers to engage with users. The reason they are so effective is because they “lighten the mood and they communicate the underlying feelings” (Pavlova). There is no need to write what can be expressed through imagery.

Happy family holding emoji icons

Art by Rawpixel.com

Cartoons Aren’t for Children

Who ever said that cartoons are only for children? Well, designers beg to differ. I, for one, love a good cartoon. Cartoons can make you feel a whole range of emotions. Not to mention they can influence the art world in ground breaking ways. We all remember ‘Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse’ by Sony Pictures Animation. This cartoon combined techniques like chromatic aberration for depth of field and comic book style typography (just to name a few) in a way that changed the landscape of both animation and design. The trend of using cartoon illustration in design is only ramping up. Cartoon-style illustration “can enhance the design whilst still keeping on point” (Pavlova). It also is attention grabbing in a world where minimalism is king. It is a great way to set yourself apart while also showing off the different skills at your disposal. Who doesn’t love a designer who can also illustrate?

Cute Seasons Greetings card mockup

Art by Rawpixel.com

Everything that Glitters

Everything that glitters should be gold! Using a metallic effect in design has been popular for a long time and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. In general, giving things a metallic touch is a great way to grab attention. There is a permanence and sleekness to metal that makes it intriguing and it has the power to engage an audience. Gold, however, has had a firm grip on humanity for a very long time throughout our very long history. It is “already popular in product design” (Pavlova) but we don’t need to stop there. Gold immediately gives your designs a “luxurious, expensive feel” (Pavlova) and you can combine it with other materials to give your projects that modern touch. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but gold doesn’t discriminate.

Festive paper cup design mockup

Art by Rawpixel.com

Redefine Still Life

Certain things don’t belong together – like hotdogs and applesauce. However, when it comes to the surrealist still life trend, anything goes. Here, you can put anything together because the “uncommon object combinations” (Piper) are what make it interesting. For these designs the goal is to let your imagination run wild. This trend forces you to see the world differently. You don’t want it to be normal because that will make it mundane. In 2021, when you think about still lifes, also think about how you can push the envelope. These projects will have you staring at it forever trying to figure them out.

Surrealism Pixabay

Art by Pixabay

3D is My Type

We spoke about 3D in design earlier but we are going to take it a little further. Typography can get the 3D treatment as well. In fact, it has been receiving that treatment for a while but it will definitely continue to do so in 2021. You can, quite literally, make your type pop in your designs with “ultra-realistic lettering that feels like you can reach in and touch it” (Pavlova). Typography is an area of design that has a lot of rules but rules are meant to be broken. You don’t need to worry about size and spacing because in 3D space you can be a lot more liberal with these properties, as well as the others that are associated with typography. Here, and in the new year, you are trying to push the boundaries of what a letter can become.

3D Type Nikhil Mitra

Art by Nikhil Mitra

Free to be Colourful

Abstract psychedelia is next and it is a style that came to us from “the music and art scene of the 60s” (99designs Team). This trend says, “You can break the chains of convention. It’s ok to go crazy.” This trend is expected to reappear in 2021 as “excessive color and intensely intricate abstractions” (99designs Team). When you add a bit of symmetry to the mix it makes the design feel more “grounded” (99designs Team) which adds another dimension to this trend. Illustration is used to great effect to engage with your audience, through social media and many other avenues. That means, though, that it can get oversaturated at times. Using a dynamic and engaging style like this one can help you make your work memorable when people see it and make them want to keep coming back. After all, the true beauty of this style is that “no two viewings feel quite the same” (99designs Team).

Abstract colors in black patterned background

Art by Rawpixel

Not Just Social but Socially Aware

This year showed us that there are a lot of flaws that countries need to fix. Social justice, healthcare issues and disaster preparedness are just a few. Design helps us be social but it also makes us aware of social issues. Designers from every place you can think of have answered that call and have “contributed their talents for the betterment of their community” (99designs Team). Rome wasn’t built in a day, however, and social change won’t come in a day either. That is not a cause for worry though because design for social awareness will continue into 2021 and, fingers crossed, for many years after until we see the change we need.

Change Unknown

Art by Unknown

Sources

  • 99designs Team. “11 Inspiring Graphic Design Trends for 2021.” 99designs, 99designs, 12 Nov. 2020, 99designs.com/blog/trends/graphic-design-trends/.
  • Pavlova, Iveta. “Graphic Design Trends in 2021 That Will Cause Revolution.” Graphic Mama, Oct. 2020, graphicmama.com/blog/graphic-design-trends-2021/.
  • Piper, Daniel. “8 Huge Design Trends for 2021 Revealed.” Creative Bloq, Creative Bloq, 29 Oct. 2020, www.creativebloq.com/news/2021-design-trends.