“Visual contrast dominates the digital landscape and designers seek clarity and distinction, both subtle and bold in 2018.” -Jacob Cobb
In 2018 graphic design trends are infusing modern design with older and vintage design. It’s so weird that the ’80s, the era that I came into adulthood, is considered “old.” There are 10 graphic design trends dominating this year.
Depth is being added to flat design, pages are splitting, animation is becoming thoughtful, patterns are splashing backgrounds, there’s modern-retro illustration, isometric is back, 80’s and 90’s color palettes dominate, authentic photography is real, and oh, the shade of gradients!
As you explore these and other trends, stay mindful of your brand. Your creativity unfolds when you discover, incorporate, blend in, and/or mix trends that help communicate your brand. “Brand” is always first and the guiding factor in choosing design, not trends. Remember, you have the power to create trends. So, allow the 10 graphic design trends described below to inspire a refresh, another dimension, or expansion of your brand.
One important trend I hope you will adapt is making your logo responsive. Traditional websites are encountering critical usability issues with the rapid rise of mobile browsing across an endless assortment of devices and screen sizes. Responsive design has become an industry standard. So, why not your logo.
Please, comment below about how you are inspired to incorporate any of these trends. If you are a graphic designer or illustrator, please share your info in the comments.
The modern logo has to work harder than ever before. Today’s logos have to work with a growing plethora of smart devices with varying screen sizes and resolutions. Often logos end up suffering within responsive website design. Many have not been designed with responsive frameworks and variable sizes in mind, and are just resized to fit whatever available space has been provided for them or not. (see responsive logo guide). image: Select examples from “Responsive Logos” via Joe Harris
Split Page Design
As an evolution of the now-stale hero image concept, split design juxtaposes contrasting elements for a striking effect that shows multiplicity. We embrace this fresh change for its great design and usefulness.
Making a strong comeback, Isometric design, Isometric projection is a method for visually representing three-dimensional objects in two dimensions.
Intersecting Elements: Bold Typography & More Serifs
A version of bold typography that intersects with shapes and graphics giving a strong visual that plays with perspective and shows confidence. It’s a strong visual that plays with perspective and shows confidence.
Duotone & Double Exposure
The duotone look, a recent favorite across many design mediums, reached mass exposure via Spotify and their playlist images. Since duotone’s rise to prominence, further iterations that layer the effect with double exposure are being seen.
Retro-Modern Illustrations – Detailed Vintage
This trend combines the sleek lines of modern vectors with throw-back color palettes. Modern illustrations with retro-respect: the best of both worlds.
Creative Background Patterns
There’s a resurgence of patterned backgrounds. Think of it like the grown-up version of the tiled backgrounds you may have used to trick out your very first online profile. These are often whimsical icons or custom illustrations that take the design to a personal level.
A continuing trend that made a strong comeback in 2017 is now diversifying. Designers are having fun experimenting with gradient innovations using bright colors and a variety of textures.
Thoughtful Animations – Cinemagraphs & GIFs
Online animations have come a long way since banner ads circa 1999 that aggressively flashed “Click Me!” Animations can be thoughtful movements built with intention, created to delight and signal interaction. We’re big fans and hope they won’t become overdone.
Extra Depth (with semi-flat design)
Historically, depth has been a valuable tool for helping users determine visual hierarchy, input fields and calls to action on screen. Depth has proven that it can fit within the evolving ethos of flat design by improving usability and simplicity, both of which are core principles of flat design. Going forward you will see shadows become a staple of the “semi-flat” design movement.
80s & 90s Color Palettes & Patterns
Custom Graphics & Illustration
Whether they are whimsical, practical, or purely artistic, the demand for custom graphic art and illustrations will continue to grow in the new year. Custom imagery has always played a major role in print media. When it comes to digital media however (despite being a star player of Flash websites in the 2000’s), custom graphic art and illustration has taken a backseat to cheaper stock imagery alternatives for much of the last decade. |images: Noir Girl Magic™ – eBiz Travel work for hire completed by Rebekah Jenkins of Innovative Design Style
Authentic photography looks and feels real. Whether you’re working with custom photos or selecting stock, look for images that convey emotion, contain action or tell stories.
Jacob Cobb, Founder of Just™ Creative and Mila Jones Cann of 99 Designs are the sources for this article. Mila gives more in-depth analysis of design trends at https://99designs.com.au/blog/trends/graphic-design-trends-2018.