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Our Top Graphic Design Trends for 2021

December 10, 2020

It’s always big news when design trends for the upcoming year are announced. With the new year just around the corner, it’s time to think about - out with the old and in with the new. I am sure we can all agree, we’re happy to do so with 2020. 

Here are our top graphic design trends for 2021. Whether you are looking for new social media graphics or a website design overhaul, we’ve got you covered.

7 Graphic Design Trends for 2021

If you’ve been around the internet for a while, you might see some familiar favorites return and some that never really left - and we’re not mad about it at all! 

1) Muted Color Palettes

Muted colors feel safe and secure, and often nostalgic. Muted colors are easy on the eyes, feel natural, and appear organic. They have a lot of saturation compared to the more vivid colors. You’ll notice that is why many health and wellness companies have been using muted colors for their designs.

If you’re not familiar with muted colors, they’re vivid colors that have had their brighter edges taken off with an infusion of white, black, or other complimentary colors.

2) Geometric Shapes

In 2020, graphic designers were using a lot of flowing and abstract shapes in their designs. This year they’ll be replaced with rigid, hard-edged geometric shapes and patterns. These hard edges create a great contrast against muted colors.

3) Simple Data Visualizations

The goal of data visualizations should be to make complex data easy to read and understand. We live in a time where a lot of data is continuously being circulated. Using simple data visualizations can make communication more effective.

4) Flat Icons and Illustrations

You probably see many brands already using flat icons and illustrations in their social media graphics and website designs. Whereas three-dimensional or photo-realistic icons and images were the trend a few years ago, simple, material-design influenced graphics are becoming the rage.

Flat icons can be a powerful tool for visual communication. With these simple icons, you can communicate your meaning in a lot less space than by using words. Plus, illustrations are way more creative than stock photos and grab readers’ attention. 

5) Classic Serif Fonts

Serif fonts are one of the oldest font styles being used today, dating all the way back to the 15th century. Because of their age, serif fonts are seen as classic, elegant, and trustworthy - evoking feelings of nostalgia. This is why we see many financial institutions using this font in their marketing and on websites.

Classic Serif fonts are not to be confused with sans serif fonts. Think of it like this - serif font has the little embellishments at the top and bottom of the letters. Sans serif is absent of those.

6) Social Media Slide Decks

You may have started noticing more companies are using slide decks on Instagram and LinkedIn lately. 

That is because they are a visual way of communicating a longer message than with just a single image post - and they get results! The algorithms on Instagram and LinkedIn seem to promote slide deck posts more than ones with a single image.

7) Text Heavy Videos

It’s likely many people will still be working remotely well into 2021. That means shooting new video content is going to be difficult. 

Videos that make use of text on-screen to communicate messages are one way of getting around the need for new footage. You won’t need a whole crew to create videos. Instead, brands can create simple text heavy videos in a fraction of the time.

8) Colors for the New Year

Colors can make or break a traditional marketing campaign, social media, web graphics, or website design. Thankfully we have the Pantone Color Institute to keep us up-to-date on color trends and hot color picks for each year. 

For 2021, Pantone announced this year's colors would be Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating. While the grey and yellow colors are very independent of each other, they complement and work very well together. Illuminating is a color of strength and positivity. Ultimate Gray is inspirational and gives hope - an amazing choice for 2021!

Ready to make some changes on your designs in 2021?

With all of these changes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You might be thinking - should I change the colors first? Should we just start with a whole new design? And, it’s easy to feel that way. You don’t have to feel that way, though.  

At Carrboro Creative, our design agency is a team of creatives that live and breathe graphic design. They artfully and skillfully take information and use design best practices to create visual hierarchies, simplify information, and develop graphics to help tell a story. Need a brochure? Book? Album Cover? Website Design? We do it all. Our graphic designers will bring your idea to life digitally and in print.

Get in touch, and get a free quote today!

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