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10 Inspiring Graphic Design Trends for 2021

Updated on January 11, 2021
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Ann Davis is an avid Hubspot-certified Content Marketer in the technology, health and wellness, and home and lifestyle niches.


The graphic design trends in 2020 will shape the design developments in 2021. Most of them will be a continuation of what you saw in 2020 and will significantly impact brand aesthetics. Here are the top 10 inspiring designs you should look out for in 2021.

1. Simple and Classic Fonts

Serif fonts made part of the graphic design trends 2020, and they will roll over to 2021. The beauty of the fonts lies in the nostalgia they evoke, their elegance, and their trustworthiness. The world needs much of these qualities right now.

2. Calm and Tranquil Colors

2021's design mood will be dominated by minimal layouts, neutral colors, and reflective graphics. The inspiration for the trend is the responses to the saturation of information. With many people spending their time indoors, there is an increase in wellness and self-care.

People have also cultivated sanctuary spots within their homes, and serene backdrops will help create calming environments.

3. Optical Illusions

Optical illusions are part of the trends that will bring a magical change to graphic design typography. They’ll be accompanied by immersive patterns and mind-bending graphics as embodiments of escapism.

The designs will incorporate elements from the mid-century style integrated into logos, illustrations, and type design. This design element aims to spark joy in as much as it creates a legible design.

4. Imaginative Landscapes and Interior Design

2020 has been a year of profoundly analyzing backgrounds, primarily because of the numerous video calls. They have become the center of debate, discussion, and envy in some circles.

3D CAD renders and virtual reality have made it possible for designers to immerse themselves in fantastical digital settings. It’s now not uncommon to see eye-popping furniture and décor colors that stretch the limits of reality.

In the physical world, consumers will have a strong desire for graphic designs that mimic virtual reality's fantastical style.

5. Design Activism

Designers will embrace bold and iconic visuals in their quest to stand up against injustice. Most of them will dedicate their creative skills to the good causes they believe in. Expect to see a gravitation towards protest graphics and campaigns that call for environmental, political, and racial justice.

In 2021, graphic design will educate the masses and create awareness on the new issues of this time. Some of the design assets you can expect to see are custom-made typefaces, icon sets, and illustrations.

6. A Stand on Brand Graphic Design

Most brands will take a stand as they realize the power they have to be agents of change. There’s now a new generation of customers that want to see brands own up to their power and be accountable. The brand language will evolve to incorporate strong visuals that depict solidarity and support.

7. Polished Retro

The vintage-inspired design will hardly lose its place in graphic design because of the warmth and comfort it brings to brand identities. In the coming year, there will be a more polished version of vintage graphic design across graphics and typography. Clean lines and contemporary color palettes will be the order of the day.

8. Graphic Design Trends 2020 in Software Use

The graphic design trends in 2020 were all about breaking the rules in the approach to design. To bring out the best in graphic design, designers have embraced dedicated vector-based programs. These include:

  • Affinity Designer
  • Adobe Illustrator CC
  • Inkscape
  • Gravit Designer
  • CorelDRAW Graphics Suite
  • Xara Designer Pro X
  • Canva

9. The Impact of 2D and 3D Depth and Realism

The 3D trend peaked in 2019, and its impact will continue long into the future. With the numerous opportunities of modern technology and software capabilities, 2021 will bring many stunning 3D graphic design compositions. Designers will combine it with the realities of 2-dimensional objects for a boost of creativity.

10.A New Connection among Graphic Designers

Many creative minds might have felt uninspired and burnt out in the year 2020, forcing them to find ways to connect. The Music Badge Collaboration is one collaborative design project that came to life out of a deep desire to connect with like-minded people.

Today, the project has created several inspiring designs that illustrate the new indoor experience during the lockdown. The outcome was that it became a hit and everyone involved was happy to be part of it. More collaborations of this sort will come up with different themes around a song, artists, gig, or a combination of things that inspire illustration.

Final Thoughts

The year 2020 was tumultuous for the design community but it only stirred a desire for a fresh slate. The outlook for 2021 is brighter and sunnier, many designers seeing it as the time to reflect and look forward. The above trends will help designers create a magical and escapist mood to switch off the noise and boost creativity.


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