Have you ever wondered why one logo or package design might capture your attention amongst a sea of other products? Or why you feel inexplicably drawn to purchase an item that you don’t really need, just based on the aesthetics? These feelings can often be attributed to a masterful use of current design trends. When done right, incorporating design trends makes a product feel instantly familiar, and even trustworthy.
Graphic design trends shift and develop each year, often as a reaction to or reflection of what’s going on in the world at large. That’s why it’s important for businesses to revisit their branding every couple of years to determine whether it’s looking out of date, or whether there’s a new design trend that could align well with the existing brand and help make a bigger impact.
Read on to learn more about the most popular graphic design trends of 2021, and what type of businesses should consider incorporating them. Remember, capitalizing on trendy designs is great, but it’s more important to make sure that the design styles fit your brand personality, feel authentic, and appeal to your customer base.
The 3D design trend involves designs that appear three-dimensional and have a lot of depth. 3D-rendered styles allow designers to play with texture and can help objects appear handmade, as if they were sculpted out of clay or crafted from paper or metal.
Why it works: This trend allows brands to appeal to a wide audience by depicting friendly, silly caricatures that appear as figurines, or even toys.
Appropriate for brands that are: Light-hearted, approachable, welcoming
This trend incorporates imagery of leaves, forests, and plant life. Depicting houseplants or jungles, succulents or tropical foliage, these designs evoke the calm, centered feeling that nature brings us. The trend leans into natural color palettes, although it can also be spiced up with bolder colors.
Why it works: The incredible biodiversity in nature has always inspired art and design. Especially after spending months cooped up during the pandemic, natural scenes bring us a sense of freedom and an appreciation for Mother Nature.
Appropriate for brands that are: Health-conscious, eco-friendly, adventurous
So much of our communication now is done via technology. This trend captures the look and feel of the interfaces that we use every day by incorporating elements resembling search bars, messaging apps, and smartphone notifications.
Why it works: We look at our smartphones and devices every single day, so seeing this style of visual communication feels relevant and relatable. It’s a great way for brands to signal that they understand modern audiences.
Appropriate for brands that are: Tech-savvy, youthful, cutting edge
Now more than ever, consumers are aware of the importance of inclusivity and representation in advertising. More and more brands are putting diversity at the forefront of their designs to celebrate the wide spectrum of races, body types, sexual orientations, gender identities, and religious expressions.
Why it works: After decades of only seeing certain skin tones and body types represented in mainstream media, it is refreshing and empowering for diverse audiences to see figures that look like themselves. Incorporating realistic and diverse imagery helps brands send the message that they are welcoming to all and take a stand on social issues.
Appropriate for brands that are: Socially conscious, inclusive, empowering
Hand-drawn illustrations have been overtaking photography in visual branding. Featuring asymmetry, organic lines, and whimsical styling, these illustrations can evoke a childlike or nostalgic feeling.
Why it works: These designs allow brands to create a world of their own imagining. Intentionally imperfect yet polished in its own way, this style offers a great deal of creative freedom while also projecting a relatable, DIY aesthetic.
Appropriate for brands that are: Fun, quirky, irreverent
Taking cues from the ever-popular mid-century modern aesthetic, this style often uses neutral and earth-tone color palettes and blends abstract, organic-feeling shapes with minimalist line drawings or brush strokes.
Why it works: Minimalism has always been popular, but it can come across as stark and unwelcoming — a sense that is offset by the soft flowing lines and organic shapes exhibited in this trend. It evokes femininity and a calm, centered feeling.
Appropriate for brands that are: Uplifting, feminine, wellness-oriented
Inspired by some of the 2021 design trends you’ve seen here? Learn more about how to choose the right styles and make them work for your brand in our free eBook, Design and Your Brand: Selecting a Style that Sends a Message. When you’re ready to update your branding, PostNet designers are here to help. Plus, we’ll work with you to refresh your entire range of print collateral for a cohesive brand experience.
Get started today by stopping into your local PostNet center. We’re your one-stop shop for all design and print needs!