The Creative Toolkit for Marketers

2020 Graphic Design Trends

Kay La Belle

Design Trends 2020 floral


The design world is constantly evolving. Every year brings in new ideas and technology that inspires designers to try something new (or sometimes, bring new life into something old).

As a seasoned graphic and web designer at VMG Studios, I have seen trends come and go, however, some trends I’ve been much happier to see go than others (the memories of some of the web layouts I created in 2006 still haunt me to this day).


However, a new year brings in fresh, new designs and trends that keep the world around us exciting. Let’s take a look at what the new year holds in store for us.


1. Circular Geometry

Whether used in negative space as containers for artwork, or as a main graphical element, circles create visually pleasing, organic shapes that are more friendly-looking than their pointy cornered trapezoid counterparts. Circles are versatile; they can be used in a dot pattern, as background elements, or as smaller parts of an illustration.


Silhouette of a persons face with circular designs next to and on top of the face


Research shows that 20% of the world’s most admired companies has circular logos. Circular images typically are more welcoming to the human eye than sharp-angled shapes. Also, they’re often connected with symbols of unity and inclusion.


The Olympics logo is a long-lasting example of this as nations across the world come together for the games (this also happens to be timely for 2020 since the Summer Olympic Games are taking place in Tokyo, Japan).


Olympics logo of 5 rings attached to one another


2. Retro Wave

Retro Wave is a modern take on the 1980s aesthetic. You may remember seeing this style on pretty much everything from the mid-’80s to late ’90s, including VHS logos, advertisements, TV shows, T-shirts, game systems, roller rinks, arcades, etc. The colorful sci-fi motif has been revived with cleaner lines, brighter colors, and way more glow effects than ever before.


Retro wave design of a sun behind mountains in the horizon


Retro wave design of a v shape against bright colors


3. Bright Gradients

Bright, dreamy colors seamlessly blend together. These aren’t your typical early 2000’s gradients. A nice, bright gradient can add more depth and interest into UI (user interface) elements, illustrations, backgrounds, and pretty much anything imaginable.


Log-in page for inSpace featuring bright gradient design work such as a building with trees and mountains in the background with a bright moon


You won’t see (and shouldn’t use) muddy blacks or browns in these gradients. Highly saturated colors give them a very rich look that can invoke feelings of comfort and happiness.




4. 3D Designs and Textures

3D rendered graphics are slowly becoming more accessible to designers as new tools and methods are emerging. Designers are itching to flex their skills with this new medium. 3D graphics allow for much more depth, texture, and shadows than normal 2D graphics can provide. The 3D tools also make this aesthetic much easier to achieve than trying to fake a similar look in a 2D medium.


3D designs by artist David McLeod including a Nike shoeCourtesy: David McLeod


3D graphics can make any design look modern and chic. They open up a new world of textures that people can almost feel just by looking at them and they can express new moods in graphics that previously weren’t possible without a huge budget.


5. Nature

Climate change has been a very hot issue lately, and some designers are wanting to bring natural elements back into their designs as a result. More people are also being vocal about wanting fewer processed goods and more environmentally responsible practices. Implementing nature into designs communicates that these things matter, and companies are taking notice.


Floral and nature stamp design


Nature is an element that’s universally relatable. No matter who or where you are, the outdoors are always a constant. Whether it’s plants, animals, landscapes, or weather, nature is making its way back into the design space.


6. Custom Illustrations

Detailed artwork is always impressive, and with flat design being the popular illustration style for the larger part of the decade, designers are starting to move away from the ultra-minimalist, generic illustration look and move towards a more customized style.


Custom illustration of a brown bear with a mustache


Custom illustrations have a ton of flexibility and can be as abstract or simple as the creator wants. They offer a lot more personalization and make products and companies feel less cold and corporate, and more creative and artistic. People are also a lot more likely to notice custom illustrations because they’re more unique than the stock styles that typically flood the market.


Elevate Your Graphic Design Marketing Assets

Design is a huge part of any company’s brand, so it’s important to keep up with the latest trends to make sure your business is staying relevant to your target audience.


Consider adding a pop of retro or bright gradients to some of your business materials. Find inspiration in nature for your next newsletter. Include 3D textures to really make your website stand out.


While trends are fleeting, we expect these trends to make a splash in 2020 and implementing them into your business can help set you apart from your competitors.


Click the image below to download a free eBook on trends we expect to see in animation & motion graphics, audio, design, social media, and video.

2020 Creative Trends eBook


Tags: Graphic design, Design, Design trends

Kay La Belle

Written by Kay La Belle

Kay La Belle (aka Kelly La Belle) is a graphic designer and animator at VMG Studios. She learned web development at a young age and moved into the design world after college. She enjoys reading, baking, and playing video games on her days off.

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