As much as the world around us is changing, the world of graphic design is changing too. Graphic designers have to elevate their work and stay relevant. Coming up with the same mundane ideas will not cut it in this fast-moving world in which we live. In the same sense, brands have to rethink how they present their message and products using visuals. Even as many brands are forced to do a lot more with less, the connection between brand identification and proper visual design cannot be understated. Marketing and advertising through the use of graphic design is nothing new, but innovation and creativity can enhance how brands educate and inform their audience. The year 2021 will see some new trends in graphic design, and brands will apply them to their promotional campaigns. Here’s a look at some trends to keep an eye out for.

Upcoming Graphic Design Trends

1. 3D Typography Design

In 2021, 3D design will reinvent itself. With modern technological advances and software capabilities, 3D design will not be the same as before. For example, it appears that the popular typography designs of 2020 will be enhanced and made into 3D typography designs. According to GraphicMama, the continued rise of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in user interfaces, along with faster internet and technology, will enable graphic designers to make 3D more impactful, impressive, and ubiquitous. Geometric and organic designs will take root. Ultra-realistic lettering, for example, will give life to words, literally appearing as though the audience can touch them.

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Artist: Joel Fulgencio @joelft
Related post: What Your Graphic Designers Need to Hit the Mark

2. Minimalism

The adage “less is more” is still relevant, and in 2021, graphic designers will be taking that approach with their work as well. Minimalism is a style that has been around for a while, and it’s seemingly irreplaceable. In 2021, you’ll see designers limit the number of elements used in their designs, deliberately having maximum “white space” (empty space) in their work. The popularity of minimalism is because graphic design today demands it in almost all areas - from websites, to logos, to physical objects. Marketers want their content to be easily viewed and digested, and with an emphasis on more “white space,” minimalism helps to achieve this end. The Dell and Apple websites are great examples of minimalism at its best - simple, clean visuals and plenty of “white space.” With the rise of mobile marketing, minimalism is the way forward.

3. Muted Color Palettes

Graphic design without color consideration is unheard of, but colors can be toned down. In 2021, muted color palettes will become even more popular than they are right now. There’s an overall pullback from bright colors by designers and brands as well. Dimmed colors will be more prominent in 2021. Color matching will be a bigger factor in creating visually striking pieces. Black and white will remain an effective component in design, helping to create a more relaxed, nostalgic, and understated effect. Muted color works for marketing because there’s a trend of creating organic and authentic messaging - the use of muted color palettes speaks to a simpler, nostalgic feeling and increases feelings of trustworthiness.

4. Emoji Design

Emojis are no longer confined to text messaging - they’re now used by graphic designers and brands to communicate and add emotion, even in print advertisements. They can be seen as effective messaging and marketing tools, helping to create a sense of lightheartedness and encourage a positive, more personal response. Putting an audience in that mindset, on social media or in other advertising forms, can help immensely in promoting products and services.

Expect different styles and techniques to be employed with the use of emojis, as brands continue to strive for more human interaction and personalized communication.

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Artist: Yasmin Dangor@yas_mini

Related POST: 11 Graphic Design Terms You Need to Know

5. Flat Icons and Illustrations

Flat, simple icons and illustrations are a growing trend. While nothing new in the design world, flat icons and illustration are resurging with a bang in 2021 as a design trend. The trend will be characterized by simplicity in design and creating a feeling of nostalgia while being a powerful marketing tool. Still, brands use these to convey simple instructions, symbols, or narratives, making the message easy to digest. Flat icons can be mixed and matched as well, allowing designers to easily create infographics, which many brands use in marketing.



The next big thing in graphic design will be a mix of innovation and imagination with nostalgia and simplicity. Technological advances, in part, are helping the graphic design world to experience unprecedented growth and both designers and brands are taking advantage to elevate their respective games. These five graphic design trends of 2021 will inspire and motivate, and allow brands to keep up with the changes that are happening within the consumer world.

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Written by Chris McCready

Chris McCready directs strategy and implementation for Ironmark’s digital marketing clients. Her 15 years of experience within a variety of agencies across the country has provided a wealth of knowledge and expertise within market research, branding, digital strategy, social media, marketing automation and web development. Under her direction, strategic marketing plans for Ironmark clients result in increased brand awareness, visibility, lead generation and revenue.

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