We have already reached 2023, and that happened so fast.
I can say since the pandemic; I can’t catch up with the fast pace of change in any area of my life. And I know this is the case with you.
What’s Affecting the Trends in Graphic Design?
Do you know what changed faster than anything else?
It is we that have gone through tremendous change since 2019. So, our preferences and tastes…
Then, you cannot expect users or customers to like your product branded and designed in pre-pandemic conditions or before the launch of the iPhone 13.
Then there is a need to check out the latest graphic design trends to be more hip and valuable.
What is creative pragmatism?
It was my short description of the situation, but a shorter definition has become popular among designers to reflect on 2022 trends, and it is creative pragmatism.
Creative pragmatism is a concept that brings the vulgar spirit of creativity and the down-to-earth perspective of pragmatism together.
In other words, it is a combination of joy and beauty with reality and logic.
In this article, I will tell you about what is popular in graphic design nowadays, and here is my list:
- 3D Characters
- Mixed 3D and 2D Elements
- Candy Colors
- Holographic Design
- Psychedelic Shapes and Fonts
- Inclusive Visuals
- Hand-drawn or Custom Illustrations
- Muted Colors from Nature
- Large and Bold Typography
- Twisted Fonts
- Geometric Shapes
- Glass and Crystals
Top 14 Graphic Design Trends in 2023
1. 3D Characters
Virtual reality is about to take over our everyday reality soon.
No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but it seems more than likely to me.
Following that, we are more accustomed to seeing 3D visuals on our screens. We find them more real and feel like they are closer to us. That’s why 3D design has become so popular, especially in character creation.
You can let these little 3D friends accompany the users everywhere, be it on the websites of tech companies or in an app.
Look at them; aren’t they cute?
2. Mixed 3D and 2D Elements
Along with 3D characters, we are more and more used to seeing the combination of 3D and 2D elements in a design.
The contrast between them is generally eye-catching and beautiful. It adds depth to the design at hand. For example, look at Neverland’s hero image:
3. Candy Colors
Don’t sugarcoat but save place for sugary colors in your color palette. It is like taking us to a fairyland far from the unbearable pain of existence, isn’t it? LOL
You might think of following this graphic design trend and using a similar color scheme to give a more positive vibe and appeal to the inner child of the users.
4. Holographic Design
Did you hear about the hologram concerts where a singer’s hologram appears on the stage even if they have passed away?
Well, I heard it and I fell in love with the 21st century once more. Oh, high-tech is great, guys!
Of course, this trend affected graphic design, too. People love that almost transparent visuals full of marbling and neon colors.
5. Psychedelic Shapes and Fonts
The psychedelic design takes over the stage these days. In contrast with futuristic designs and celebration of high-tech, old-school and back-to-60s types of design are pretty popular. Brighter colors and abstract illustrations are the essential parts of this trend.
6. Inclusive Visuals
We are all more sensitive to inclusivity and diversity in 2023, especially after the BlackLivesMatter and MeToo movements. We can see traces of them in today’s social media content as well as apps. It’s a big red flag to include only white men characters in your in-app visuals presenting the community. So, as a designer, you, too, have a part in social inclusion, and the users very much appreciate it.
That’s how trends become trends.
7. Hand-drawn or Custom Illustrations
Hand-drawn illustrations make your design more authentic for sure. Authentic images are like a signature you put in your design which helps the user feel more connected to what they see on the screen.
In other words, it makes your design more human and appeals to emotions than stock images.
Also, please pay attention to how the white space makes the illustrations more visible via the contrast it creates. It is also a popular tendency nowadays in visual content creation.
8. Muted Colors from Nature
The pandemic made us all think more of our health and nature.
Don’t you all have friends who started to prefer more eco-friendly products to be healthier and started to care about their carbon footprint? It definitely affected the color trends.
It is reflected in the design world through more neutral colors and muted color palettes. By this, I mean color schemes adopted from natural sights such as earth, sea, and leaves instead of vivid colors.
9. Large and Bold Typography
Typography makes up a considerable amount of design, and it gets bolder and bigger nowadays. It is a part of the maximalism trend, which is also a part of 2022.
Bold fonts grab the attention and build a hierarchy among design elements.
Most of the design directors of the brands in web and app products utilize it generously.
As I said before, in opposition to the futuristic designs, there is also a turn back to the 90s, 80s, and 70s.
You might choose this style to give a comforting vibe against the fast-paced changes in the world and technology.
However, knowing what you want to achieve with this design is also important. For example, the old-school looks might not work for a tech company. So, ensure you identify your user personas and know what they expect from your design.
Gumroad uses bold colors and bold outlines to create a nostalgic atmosphere on its landing page.
Punk is not dead, guys.
This trend reflects going against the flow of pop culture and popular trends such as minimalist design, flat design, and bright colors dominant in graphic design preferences.
Its main characteristics are asymmetric shapes, aggressive typography, and a dark color palette.
As for the popularity of luminous green and this anti- movement Julius Colwyn highlights how millennials invented it as a solution to what’s going on in the world and technology:
People don’t just suddenly love luminous green; design reveals how specific audiences view the world and its place within it. Digital natives want to forge a new space that’s jagged, raw, and real. This energy is not wholeheartedly the rampant neon anarchy of the internet 1.0, either; it’s a refined version of digital chaos forged of the new skills catalyzed by the creator economy.(source)
12. Twisted Fonts
Crooked letters, weird versions of serif fonts, handwritten fonts, and more…
This experimental typography trend applies typographic deviations from the normal, just like anti-design. For example, one of the popular tv series of 2022 uses it pretty well. Yeah, I’m talking about Squid Games.
They are great attention grabbers to make users/viewers read what you want to say.
13. Geometric Shapes
Designs, including geometric shapes, are simple and minimal; that’s why people love it for branding and social media post designs. Although simple and clean, they make the design look alive when combined with appropriate colors. Tech giants, including Zendesk, prefer this style, too.
You can prefer it if you are not into abstract shapes mostly used in psychedelic or holographic design trends.
14. Glass and Crystals
I can say Rihanna’s diamonds are still shining bright since 2012, at least in graphic design.
The design industry seems pretty obsessed with shiny and glimmering visual content. Instead of flat icons, designers tend to make them glam, and I believe it will continue its reign in the following years, too.
It’s never old because this is almost a primitive attraction towards well-cut gems and diamonds.
One final note: Create a Design Beyond Time and Space
Although it is wonderful keeping up with the trends and make your design resonate with the geist of the world, it does not always mean creating copycat design projects or sticking so much with the conventions.
Because if you do so, your design will be outdated and maybe cheesy at some point soon.
So, it’s a matter of balance between creativity and convention. Try to find that point of juncture, and your design will be an eternal piece.
For example, think of the branding designs of very well-established companies like Apple, Spotify, or Mastercard. Although they underwent several minor changes over time, they are unique and lasting.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the biggest design trend for 2023?
3D illustrations are the biggest design trend for 2023. Whether you use it for character design or adding depth to your hero image, they prove to be liked by many users and creative directors.
Are gradients outdated in 2023?
Gradients are not outdated and still popular in 2023. They make better in terms of adding dynamism to your design than flat colors. You can turn even your static images into energetic pieces by applying gradient colors to them. The trends I’ve mentioned earlier in this article, such as holographic design, psychedelic design, and utilization of glass-like design assets, highly benefit from gradient color palettes. For example, check out one of the tech industry giants, Grammarly’s landing page, which is full of gradient colors used, especially in the background. Also, if Instagram doesn’t go for a change in its logo, gradients will probably remain popular.
What is the lucky color of the year 2022?
The lucky color of the year is Pantone #17-3938 ‘Very Peri’, a color from the blue family with a violet undertone. Pantone chooses the color of the year since 2000 and acts as a trendsetter from retail to digital space. Veri peri was released in 2022 by Pantone and is described as “a symbol of the global zeitgeist of the moment and the transition we are going through” (source). Also, notice that it coincides with the popularity of muted colors and colors of nature as opposed to bright colors.