Today, I have a special treat for you. I’m going to show you the coolest design trend of 2020: Comic Sans.
Just kidding. But I am going to show you the coolest design trends of 2020. Some of these you can apply to your business, and some you may not want to. At the very least, this will give you some new ideas that you can use to improve your art and grow as a graphic designer.
So without further ado, let’s go ahead and roll right into it.
Top 10 Graphic Design Trends of 2020
There are a bunch of graphic design trends that I want to cover with you eventually, but today, I’m going to go over the top 10 design trends in 2020.
You may have noticed some of these design trends already — Mac has incorporated some of them into their recent updates, and innovative companies like Instagram and Facebook are using them as well. Other trends might be new to you, so let’s go ahead and jump right into it!
1. Liquid and Gradients
The first graphic design trend of 2020 that I want to talk about is liquid. You can google “liquid graphic design trend” to see some examples. Like I said, Apple uses the liquid trend in their backgrounds, on their phones and laptops. It’s one of the most popular backgrounds that you’ll see nowadays.
As you can see with this cool liquid trend there are a lot of gradients. So, it’s really liquid plus gradients — kind of a double trend. You’ll see gradients that go from bright blues, to pinks, to teals, to oranges, in a really fluid way.
This trend is very, very popular. You’ll see a lot of different companies using it in their graphic designs this year.
We at Adrian Agency haven’t used them yet, but I’m sure we’ll explore it soon. We have a client called NexGen, and this may be a good opportunity to try this design!
2. Digital Painting
Next is character illustrations and digital painting.
Digital painting has really skyrocketed in the last couple of years, with the creation of the Apple pencil and tablets, as well as the Wacom Cintiques. A lot of artists, graphic designers, and graphic artists are taking their pencils and doing amazing drawings and illustrations with apps like ProCreate and Adobe. These kinds of apps allow you to actually draw and paint as if you were using a real paintbrush.
In my company, we had one of our graphic designers, Bryan, go in and recreate all of our team’s pictures. We have illustrations of everybody on the team, which were digitally painted.
This is a really great graphic design trend. Some of these paintings are very organic-looking, which is really cool. I think we’re going to see more and more of these kinds of designs coming out this year.
Personally, this is one of my favorites, because I am an artist at heart. I started drawing as a little kid, and I’ve always kept up with it. Now I don’t have as much time to draw, but I have the opportunity to let talented people on my team create this amazing artwork for us.
3. 3D Clay Designs
The third trend is 3D clay art. You’ll see companies like Instagram using this often, with designs that have a lot of depth and texture to them. They’re able to create some really cool stuff that actually looks like clay.
There are some great programs, like Cinema 4D, where you can create these puppets, and then you can render those out as an actual graphic design piece and implement them into other things. You can cut out the backgrounds and put some other art in there, too.
I really like this style, even though it’s not one that my company uses. These designs have a lot of depth and texture to them, and they really pop out with that three-dimensional look.
Number 4 on the list is monochrome. The monochrome style has become really popular lately.
I think the monochrome design is neat for more sophisticated businesses: attorneys, finance, things like that. There are a lot of different brands out there that can utilize this monochrome style, to give themselves a unique look without using all those crazy, bright colors.
I personally love this style, but I am also a big fan of color. I think that using it at the right time could be really effective. In fact, monochrome is typically what I do when I start a logo design. If I can do a logo design and start it in black and white, with a monochrome style, when I add color, it makes it look even better.
5. Overlap / Overlay
This next one is a new style that you’ve probably seen before: the overlap, or overlay. This style has been getting more and more popular, with people taking fonts and overlapping them together.
You overlap colors and fonts on top of each other to create a unique look. There are even some posters that people are doing, where colors are overlaid on top of icons – little splashes of colors. If you go to Google and type in “overlap graphic design,” or, “overlay,” you’ll see plenty of examples.
This is a really cool trend, very outside the box; very creative and abstract — if that’s your style, this look is something you may want to take advantage of.
6. Big, Bold Fonts
Moving on, this next trend is another one of my favorites. I enjoy bright, bold colors, and using big bold fonts has become very popular in 2020. There are a lot of styles coming out with different fonts that are rounded or squared, but always bold.
Those big, bold fonts that companies are using nowadays are helping them stand out from the crowd in 2020.
For example, Montserrat is probably one of the most common fonts out there right now. They have everything from super thin to super bold, and what they call “black,” which are extra bold. Montserrat has the widest range of control over how wide and how bold that font is.
So, bold fonts can be great to grab people’s attention. We use bold fonts a lot in what we do; it’s one of our top graphic design styles. I would encourage you, if you want to have something that really pops, stands out, and gets the message across, to take advantage of those big, bold fonts.
7. Line Art
The next trend I’ve noticed becoming more popular in the past 7 or 8 years is line art. On Instagram specifically: I see a lot of artists doing simple line art designs.
It’s a unique style, where you’re taking a detailed illustration and using only lines to create the whole piece. There are a lot of different styles of line art, from thin lines to bold and character illustrated.
Line art is a cool, trending graphic design style that has become popular, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere. I think it’s only going to become more popular, especially with so many people creating it on stock websites. I see line art everywhere on Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and these stock websites where you can buy icons.
8. Soft Light Designs
This trend is one that you’re probably familiar with as a graphic designer. It’s the soft and light UI design.
When you look at these images, you’ll notice that there are no hard edges, no hard lines. Everything is faintly shadowed. It’s a really soft look. Designers are able to do some pretty incredible things with just some very light shadowing.
This light look, the softer approach, has worked very well for brands.There are tons of companies using it right now. It’s probably one of my favorite styles — it’s not something that we do a lot of, because it just doesn’t match up with what we do, but I’ve noticed that with interfaces on apps, it has become very popular.
So, if you’re an app designer, I would encourage you to dive deep into the soft UI, because it’s nice and fluid, clean, and professional looking. It’s a really popular trend, and I only see it growing from here.
9. Variable Fonts
One of the things that’s become really popular as of late is variable fonts.
Now, variable fonts work like this: there’s a website you can go to called v-fonts.com, and what it allows you to do is adjust the weight of the font, from thin or narrow all the way up to super bold.
Each font that you mess with is going to have more options. You can change the width of the font, and the height, and the weight. There are a lot more options with different fonts.
This variable fonts allows you to create a custom font that gives you more control and uniqueness, when you’re doing a logo design, type for a website, or a graphic design piece. A lot of people are using variable fonts now to stack, scatter, and create really abstract designs with fonts.
I’ve noticed a huge craze around fonts lately: hand-drawn fonts and lettering have become really popular. Some people are doing graphic design pieces just with fonts alone.
So if you want to implement some really cool styles, things that are going to be unique compared to everybody else, check out v-fonts.com. It’s a really great tool, and it’s going to allow you to play around with different fonts.
I see this being something that Adobe implements more of into their platform, and something you want to look out for and be aware of, so if a client asks you, “Hey, do you do anything with variable fonts?” you’ll know what they mean.
10. Augmented Reality
The last one — and the most interesting — is AR: augmented reality. AR uses designs that you make and incorporates them into everyday life.
There are some apps, like Snapchat, that have AR features available in them. You may even see it a little bit on Instagram stories.
There are people who are using Adobe Aero, to create characters and little animations and illustrations. If you know how, you can create the characters and then drop them into your programs, then those things can be imported to other programs, like Snapchat and other apps.
Augmented reality is a great design trend, and something that’s going to get more and more popular. It takes a lot longer to produce, because it involves a lot of creativity and work. There’s a bigger learning curve, but if you can get into augmented reality design, I think there’s going to be a huge market for it. (In my opinion).
Stay On Top Of The Latest Trends!
Those are the top 10 graphic design trends of 2020: liquid, digital painting, 3D clay, monochrome, overlay and overlap, heavy fonts, line art, soft light, variable fonts — and last but not least, augmented reality design.
I wanted to share this list with you to make sure you’re staying up to date with the latest trends. If you’re still using Bleeding Cowboy or Trajan font, it’s time to let those things go. Those fonts are dead. You need to put some new things into your toolkit, and that’s what I want to arm you with.
Thank you guys so much for watching. As always, keep looking up.