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Graphic Design Trends – Learn More

Graphic designers who stay up-to-date on current trends can offer clients the most recent and innovative design choices. Learning new technology and knowing what’s dominating the design market will keep you ahead of the game and encourage engagement. Current graphic design trends are driven by technology, purchasing behavior and preferences. After a lot of time staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking for design trends that offer comfort, nostalgia and forward-looking optimism.

Here are six trends that will present a professional and relevant image in the upcoming year:

Vintage Vibes

People are looking backward to what they considered easier and happier times. Design trends that bring a sense of nostalgia provide comfort and reassurance to ease the current uncertainty and apprehension of what lies ahead. Retro fonts and traditional designs will be in demand since they’re familiar and easy on the eyes. Taking design that we know and using the familiarity of the old to promote new content works. Art deco fonts and designs, modern pop art, geometric shapes and patterns of the 1960s, psychedelic design, grainy images and free-form typography of the 1970s are making a comeback. Even photocopier graphics, bold and neon colors of the 1980s and art of the 1990s are part of the vintage vibe of graphic design.

Positivity and Optimism

While the global pandemic is by no means over, people are starting to feel a sense of optimism. With the rollout of vaccines and the start of a new year, we’re all trying to look forward with a positive attitude. This will manifest itself as bold, colorful and playful design. Cartoon, animation and 3D design will be popular to convey hope and optimism after a dark and cynical year.


Graphic design that conveys authenticity offers an organic look and feel to the overall aesthetic. Imagery that is less polished and feels real is part of this trend. Quickly becoming popular are authentic messages that are socially aware, purposefully unattractive designs that reject perfection and realistic design elements that connect with the public. Highlighting diversity, different cultures, races, sexual orientations and ages uplift the graphic design community and promote positive societal change.


Developing a sustainable relationship with the environment has become an important factor for consumers. Last year, many people spent more time working from home and found peace in the outdoors. The advent of travel lockdowns made a greener world seem possible, and sustainable design is one tangible proof of a shift in mindset. From packaging that decomposes to plastic-free products to energy-efficient companies, people are becoming more mindful about how these changes are good for the environment and society. Mimicking lines, textures and colors found in nature will be a design trend in the upcoming year.


Many graphic designers will use classic symbols and iconography as signs for protection, growth and empowerment. The current trend will use symbols as a signal for universalism to transmit a message with transcending language. Incorporating familiar symbols such as the moon and stars, powerful animals or an all-seeing eye can create a sense of oneness and community.

Looking Forward

Some of these trends are not exactly new, but they are certainly forward-looking. 3D design is advancing due to technological and software advances. Augmented and virtual reality projects keep growing to incorporate realistic effects and mix cartoonish elements to project a sense of storytelling. Emoji-based design creates a reaction and can communicate underlying feelings. Fantasy landscapes and interiors proved popular last year as many people communicated via video chats and modified backgrounds. Altered and escapist reality will spill over into design trends in print and web campaigns.

Essentially, experimental typography and fonts are a way to break from the past. This will be typified by a lack of alignment, a mixing of the order of letters and words and the blending of fonts.

A graphic design professional should anticipate what is coming down the pipeline for the industry. A degree in digital innovation and design communication is a great place to start building your repertoire.

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Digital Technology & Design with a Concentration in Graphic Communications program.


American Institute of Graphic Arts: Resources

Graphic Design Degree Hub: How Does a Graphic Designer Keep Up with Design Trends?

Graphic Design Mama: Graphic Design Trends in 2021 That Will Cause Revolution

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