Graphic Design Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2023
Why you should pay attention to trends
Trends in visual design reflect what's happening in the world around us. Creative minds often draw inspiration from major events, popular themes in other areas of the industry, and global contexts in general.
With the pandemic, wars, and difficult economic situation all across the globe, this year, designers are attempting to look at the future with optimism, fearlessness, and readiness to take on any challenges.
The main focus in 2023 will be on designs that highlight authenticity, creativity, and a personalized touch.
As we've mentioned before, it's essential to be aware of what's happening out there, what's considered cool, and what isn't. Trends don't just emerge out of nowhere – they're formed based on predictions about people's preferences.
So, to know what works best for potential customers, you need to keep your eyes peeled. If you're looking to stand out amongst hundreds of other companies, you need to prove that you're current and up to date with people's expectations and interests.
The quickest way to convey that message is through your visual branding. Your designs need to adapt to emerging concepts and trends. That way, your business will manage to raise brand awareness and be more noticeable.
At the same time, "trendy" fashion existing just for the sake of being trendy is often a dead end for a brand. With trends changing every few months, following every single movement isn't feasible – and even if it was, it could kill your brand. It's important to always remember your company's roots, maintain its identity, and strive to create a design that will stand the test of time, even if it means giving up on some trends (including the ones you like in particular).
To sum up, the goal is to find graphic design trends that capture the essence of your company and reflect your brand's core values. You'll benefit from new designs by elevating your visual identity and attracting new customers.
With that said, let's finally dive in and discover what will be trendy in the world of graphic design in 2023!
Graphic design trends in 2023
Of course, there's no way to predict which trends will raise the most considerable interest in any year. We can only analyze the tendencies in the outside world and other industries and develop our vision for the upcoming year. That's exactly what we did. So, buckle up and take a look at the 15 emerging design trends we're likely to see all around in 2023.
With an increasing number of people concerned with environmental issues and green initiatives, the rising popularity of natural patterns should come as no surprise. Consumers appreciate everything that demonstrates a brand's commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment and adding a green scheme to your designs isn't enough anymore.
To win the hearts of eco-friendly customers, you'll need to integrate animal prints, floral patterns, wood textures, natural colors, and other elements that hint at your care for the environment.
For some inspiration, take a look at this project that focuses on a visual identity for a natural candle brand. Thanks to the combination of earthy shades and botanical elements, the new designs reflect the company's commitment to being eco-friendly.
Expect brands to use a lot of sharp geometric compositions, clean shapes, bubbles, and blobs in primary colors. We're already used to this trend, but we're likely to see even more of it in the coming year.
Consider how we approached the visual identity project for Sigma Computing. Rather than creating arbitrary illustrations, our goal was to design in a fragmented tangram and geometric style that would complement the brand’s main visual element and logo. As a result, we crafted mascots that utilized geometric shapes.
Companies that use familiar geometric elements in their visual identity are perceivably more approachable than brands that opt for abstract shapes instead. This is because triangles, squares, circles, and other primary geometric forms have been familiar to us since early childhood, so we register them as safe choices.
This aesthetic includes everything that has to do with astrology, zodiac signs, tarot, and mysticism. The trend stems from the growing interest in spirituality and symbolism exhibited in Gen-Z and Millenials alike. From a design perspective, celestial aesthetics often consist of lines, stars, delicate elements, and muted colors. Such images and shades can have a calming and peaceful effect on people, so if it fits your company's values, you should pay attention to this trend.
Retro has always been a popular theme in graphic design, and 2023 is no exception. This time, the focus leans on more cartoonish illustrations and the psychedelic 70s and electric 80s.
Vibrant and bold colors add a creative touch to almost any brand identity, even for visuals that create a new look for a city like those in this project dedicated to Las Vegas. Combining a nostalgic vibe with modern elements will allow you to connect with your customers and provide them with familiarity and comfort.
Gradients have been popular for the past 6 months, but we expect them to play an even more significant role in the upcoming year. They combine abstract shapes, pastel colors, and sometimes floral elements this time. Many industries utilize gradients, but they're most prevalent among wellness and beauty brands that target younger customers.
Sketchy Digital used this trend to create a brand identity for a skincare company called Relax Spa. When combined with pastel colors, gradients convey a sense of tranquility and relaxation - perfect for the company's mission.
This aesthetic is intense, raw, and even perceivably rough. Designs that follow this trend give off a rebellious vibe in terms of colors, sharp shapes, and overall layout. The emphasis here is on functionality rather than conventional beauty. This trend owes its popularity to Gen-Z, who are known for their boldness and opposition to societal norms. While this style isn't going to work for every business, if you're looking for something edgy and unconventional, this might be the way to go.
Emphasis on photography
Photos have always been an essential part of marketing and visual branding. However, they can only bring results if they fit the message that you're trying to communicate. Using lifeless stock photos definitely won't work, as the main emphasis these days is on being authentic and unique.
Take a look at the visual identity for advertising agency Target More. Here we focused on creating a visual identity that evokes strong emotions. To do this, we used catchy contrasting photos with people and bright colors to grab attention.
In 2023 we expect to see many photos that don't necessarily focus on the product itself but rather on telling a story that customers can relate to. Brands that want to stand out can explore creative ways to use photography and combine it with other trendy elements.
While this isn't a new concept, modern technology makes adding three-dimensional elements to web design easier than ever. It's easy to see why 3D details are becoming increasingly popular.
They make the final design appear more realistic and noticeable, and they're also better at capturing customers' attention. We expect to see 3D designs in static and animated images in the coming months, including fonts, logos, and other illustrations.
This application will work exceptionally well if you need your customers to visualize an idea they're still becoming familiar with, such as in this project about virtual assistants, a completely new concept to many people.
When choosing a brand to buy from, customers tend to favor authenticity. Incorporating unique hand-drawn illustrations is an excellent way for a business to demonstrate that it's down-to-earth and trustworthy.
In addition, it will be much easier to stand out among competitors whose designs appear too sleek or unoriginal. Additionally, hand-drawn illustrations are just more fun, aren't they? Of course, you need to develop a design that your customers will find appealing and relatable.
When working on illustrations, it's crucial to focus on your demographics and their interests. That's what designers at Sketchy Digital did to create a unique visual identity for Julsy Flowers.
Mixing cartoonish illustrations with real-life photography is an emerging trend that is likely to gain even more popularity in the near future. With virtual and physical reality becoming more intertwined than ever, it's not surprising to see designs that combine elements of both worlds. Here, the more contrast you achieve by merging these elements, the better!
The goal is to achieve a whimsical look that makes your brand appear friendly and quirky to consumers. This trend might not work for more traditional companies, but if your target audience includes kids and teenagers, it's worth exploring.
Trends in typography
Adding a personalized touch to a brand's visual identity can instantly make it more recognizable and memorable. Apart from experimenting with graphic elements and shapes, you can also craft a unique look by creating a custom font. Types with varying lengths, widths, and styles are on the rise, and we fully expect to see this trend gain popularity in 2023.
Whether experimenting with an existing font or creating something new from scratch, a custom type elevates your brand's look and makes it stand out. Besides, this is a great way to channel your core values and vibes through design.
For instance, to create a vibrant and dynamic look, you can turn to handwritten fonts, as seen in this perfume brand's designs.
These are letters that appear distorted or obscured by other elements. On the one hand, this trend may seem counterintuitive because the main point of any text is to be simple and readable, like this type of font by Creatype Studio.
On the other hand, fonts that are harder to decipher require consumers to pay extra close attention to them, making them engage with the text for a more extended period of time. Therefore, if your goal is to create an interactive experience or encourage visitors to spend more time on your website, this trend may be worth a shot.
Serif fonts have small horizontal strokes at the tops and bottoms of the letters, such as in classic iterations like Times New Roman. Over the past couple of years, rounder, more bubbly fonts have begun to replace them, but narrow serifs are coming back into style in 2023.
The comforting familiarity of serif fonts appeals to a wide range of people. They look elegant and timeless and are especially great for brands trying to attract customers who appreciate a classic look.
A bright text easily stands out amongst the traditional black-and-white fonts. In 2023, red will be the choice for those brands that want to attract more attention. Red text is typically associated with something meaningful and urgent, which also rings true in design. Despite being much brighter and flashier than black, red letters still have a vintage vibe to them, which can come in handy for a wide variety of brands.
This trend involves combining fonts with doodles, illustrations, icons, and abstract shapes. Like many other trends on our list, this one stems from nostalgia, particularly from the 2000s and their youthful and rebellious types here.
Using icons and illustrations can make your texts look chaotic yet mirror the diversity and unpredictability of the world around us. You can use this trend anywhere from merchandise to logo design, as seen in this publishing company's brand identity. Just make sure the font remains readable.
Should you implement trends into your visual identity?
One thing that makes modern consumers different from their predecessors is that they take beautiful visuals for granted. With so many various options on the market, people have become used to brands with bright designs.
For a company to stand out amongst hundreds of competitors, it's essential to strive for something eye-catching and unique, not just beautiful.
Making a trendy design part of a brand's visual identity can easily be the pivotal element that brings in new clients. Besides that, a striking design bridges an emotional connection with a consumer audience and turns them into loyal customers.
Suppose something as simple as adopting a trend can make such a huge difference, especially when many businesses are still struggling to recover from the post-pandemic crisis and other socio-economic challenges. Why not give it a chance?
Advantages and disadvantages of using graphic design trends
Using design trends to bring your visual identity to a new level has various pros and cons that are important to consider. Whether you've already decided what trend you want to follow, or are still on the fence about the whole thing, here are a couple of points you need to keep in mind.
Pros of following trends
Sleek and appealing designs are necessary for bringing in new customers – we've already established that. You may have beautiful visuals even without following the trends, but they're often indicators of consumers' ever-changing tastes.
Remember that you can't remain relevant without adapting to people's preferences. That's when trends come in handy; following them effectively prevents you from becoming outdated.
In addition to that, making trendy designs a part of your visual identity will increase your chances of going viral. Whether it's something on your website, an updated version of your logo, or a new line of merchandise, if you manage the trend correctly, people will want to share your vision with their friends. As a result, you'll achieve two goals at once: engage your existing clients and acquire new ones.
Lastly, even if you don't follow any trends directly, they serve as a great source of inspiration for your designs. You can find an option that will work for your brand just by looking at the ideas and solutions generated by the industry's most creative minds.
So, next time you want to add a new touch to your visuals, take a look at what's trending in the design world. We're sure that it will get your creative juices flowing!
Cons of following trends
Just like every new endeavor, following design trends has its pitfalls. First of all, you need to maintain your brand identity. Sure, the possibility of going viral might be tempting, but if you fail to communicate your corporate values through your designs, you inevitably suffer losses.
Continuously adapt trends to your identity and unique style, but never at the expense of your overall message. This rule is essential for companies that strive to maintain a timeless look or want to target an older audience.
Secondly, implementing new elements into your visuals or creating a completely new design might be costly, especially when you remember that some trends last only a short time (sometimes only for a couple of months). So, be careful about choosing the ones that are worth adopting.
Finally, remember that you're just one of many who keep an eye on graphic design trends. Other companies have the same information you do, and there's always a chance that you will end up with something that dozens of other trend-followers have implemented in their visual strategy.
To avoid that situation, remember why trends exist in the first place. The main reason is that people become bored with the same old designs, so they crave something fresh and innovative.
At the end of the day, that's what you should strive to do as well – dare to stand out and be bold, whether it implies following a new trend or taking a risk and going in the opposite direction.
To sum up
It's always a good idea to stay on top of the latest trends in graphic design. Because they often reflect consumers' current preferences, following them helps raise your brand awareness, creates an emotional connection with people, and ultimately boosts sales. The key here is to ensure that you only implement trends that reflect your company's core values and mission.
At Sketchy Digital, we understand the importance of design trends and know what role they can play in maintaining a strong visual identity. Our team of talented creators will ensure to capture your brand's or product's unique features and find the best way to convey them using the trendiest design elements. We know how hard it can be to trust strangers with your company's image.
That's why we maintain smooth communication with our clients throughout the process and handle all project-related risks and deadlines. Whether you're looking to completely reimagine your visual identity or want to elevate your designs with the help of the latest trends, take the next step by scheduling a consultation with Sketchy Digital on our website.