2020 is About Breaking the (Design) Rules

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” 
— Pablo Picasso
We can all agree that this year has been a doozy so far. The rules are changing at every turn, and brands are quickly learning to adapt to a new normal. Below are four dominant graphic design trends in 2020, along with our favorite exceptions to the rules.

1. Authentic brand storytelling with organic and natural colors.
Brands in 2020 are under greater pressure than ever to gain their customers’ trust through openness and transparency. They want to connect with their audience by introducing their “roots” in any way they can. This involves a lot of looking to the past for inspiration (vintage) and looking to nature. Think organic and calming… more approachable typography with fewer capitals (and less yelling). We’re seeing more genuine, natural photography and softer, simpler color palettes – often simplified so much that they are monochromatic. Not only does it convey a harmonious, positive vibe – going monochrome is a very smart way to create products that are highly iconic from a branding perspective, and extremely recognizable on store shelves.

Our favorite exception: vivid gradients.
Vibrant gradients have been a trend for a while, and they aren’t going away any time soon. But instead of being confined to the background of images, we’re seeing gradients used in a lot of unique ways this year, such as a color filter, or added to complex illustrations to create depth and texture.

2. A crack in the reign of flat minimalism.
For so long “flat” was king… the simpler the better. But, perhaps we are finally seeing realism make a comeback. Thanks to advances in technology and software capabilities, we have noticed brands creating some awesome 3D compositions. This is often done by combining layers of typography, images, abstract shapes and vivid gradients to create depth. In a world of flat design, something super realistic and mesmerizing is sure to stand out.

Our favorite exception: minimalist landing pages.
Design elements may be getting more complex, but on the flip side we see more brands taking a minimalist approach to their homepages. It gives websites better load times and compatibility across devices, and this is important because it makes Google happy and helps you to land better spots in search engine rankings.

3. Strong, typography-focused designs.
Have you noticed more text-focused designs? Designers are playing with typography big time. They’re drawing shapes with it, creating unique masks and semi-transparency effects, and decorating it with beautiful flowers, geometric shapes, and more creative elements. Artistic typography is the perfect solution to grab attention. When it comes to thickness, the rule is – the thicker, the better. By pairing heavy fonts with a simple background or lighter font, you can create contrast and a clear hierarchy in your designs.

Our favorite exception: drawing over photos.
Typography isn’t the only area getting more artistic. Another fun trend we’re seeing are designs that combine photography with doodles – it brings us right back to the drawings we used to make in our school notebooks! When used in graphic design, doodling helps you communicate in a more fun, personalized and informal way.

4. A return of geometric shapes, patterns and texture.
Everything new is a well-forgotten old… patterns and textures were on vacation for a while when flat interfaces were taking over the world, but as we know, everything changes! Lately we’re seeing an increase in the use of patterns and textures, but not in the traditional way. Designers are playing with multiple patterns in one composition, or having only sections of a pattern covering the design.

Our favorite exception: liquid designs and flowing line art.
Brands are also embracing more imaginative, abstract and even dreamy illustrations and line art to really stand out in 2020. Liquid forms reflect imagination, flexibility, and movement. And simple, flowing line art can be used to convey a natural, approachable and genuine feeling for your designs.

Which 2020 design trend is your favorite?
If you'd like your brand to catch up to the latest trends, drop us a line at [email protected] or 262-925.4769.