Graphic design trends tell designers which styles or elements they should incorporate into their design to create maximum impact and reach as many people as possible through their design.
2023 is around the corner, which means the design community has already voted on the upcoming design trends for the year. In this article, we take you through seven such trends and give tips on how and where to incorporate them.
1. Minimal vintage
The minimal vintage is one of the best graphic design trends out there. It pays a modest homage to the old design styles of the 20th century while keeping up with a broader trend towards minimalist styling in print design.
The best strategy to nail this trend is to choose a color scheme and typeface that alludes to a specific decade instead of making designs that appear immediately retro or vintage.
For example, look at KEW3101’s packaging design. The idea behind the design was simple — the brand wanted to cater to audiences that were fond of both music and coffee. So, they integrated elements of music into their packaging design and created packaging elements that would interact with users.
For example, the introduction cards looked like vinyl records. And if the user combined the card with the packaging box, they got a stylish calendar.
Another example of a brand that uses minimal vintage designs is Ivory Soap. The packaging’s traditional colors and retro look showcase their traditional brand values.
Illustrations never go out of style as they convey playfulness and allow you to express your brand in a way that makes it stand out from your competitors. Another upside is that illustrations ensure that other brands can’t copy them and you can use them to include a wide range of audiences as it appeals to almost everyone.
For example, look at William Whistle’s packaging design. It’s among the trending top designs in packaging as the company infuses tradition with a sense of adventure, their packaging has illustrations that reflect their uniqueness.
Men’s grooming brand, Harry’s took branded illustrations one step further with comic strip style packaging design. This new design is a part of the Mystery Item Program which gives their customers one new item from their collection.
Unlike regular comics that showcase all colors, Harry’s has adopted a monochrome color palette to create a distinction based on the type of story the package is narrating.
For instance, their blue packs have stories set underwater or wherever it’s cold. And the brown packs have stories set on the land.
To create the best illustrations for your brand packaging, follow the tips below:
- Consider the brand image and environment in which the packaging will be displayed. Since William Whistle sells its teas online, its design ensures that the packaging looks crisp on any device and grabs customers' attention online.
- Make a mockup of the package to get an idea of what it would look like in real life.
- Study your competition and other brands that use illustrations for inspiration.
3. Photographic Branding
Photographic branding is a collection of professional photos that visually represent your company and complement your visual identity through colors, tones, props, settings, and other elements.
These photos can be of yourself, your staff, your products, your process, your location, or other elements that distinguish your company from the competition.
The most significant benefits of using photographic branding is that it makes your brand more relatable and human, creates a great impression and increases engagement.
For example, Paypal’s photographic branding is one of the most inspiring graphic design projects as it chose human-centric branding to refresh its image and relate to its customers.
Let’s Wine, an eCommerce platform selling wines, is another example of a brand using photographic branding to set themselves apart from their competitors.
The color palette is muted and the setup is minimalistic — it only includes things like quality cheese and bread so the brand can be synonymous with luxury.
To get started with photographic branding, understand the story you want to tell and create a basic outline for the shots you want to take before hiring a brand photographer.
Whether it’s websites, packaging, or social media, your target audience is constantly exposed to a lot of written material. So, it’s no surprise that typography will be one of the most prominent graphic design trends in 2023.
Typography is the process of arranging text in a way that appeals to the reader and improves legibility. It includes fonts, contrast, consistency, whitespace, alignment, and color.
One of the biggest advantages of using typography is that it sets your product’s tone, brings balance to the design, evokes emotions, and ensures an excellent user experience.
For example, this Williams Sonoma pizza crust packaging conveys what the product does and is arranged in the shape of a pizza slice to grab the consumer's attention.
Theory Brewing Co, a beer-manufacturing company, used script type on their 2018 packaging design to highlight the fact that the beer is made in artisanal microbreweries located in the small coastal town of Wells.
To choose the right typeface for your brand and create a great typography-based design, keep these considerations in mind:
- Think about the personality and tone of your brand. If the brand wants to convey a light-hearted tone, you can use script or design fonts that convey playfulness. But if the brand wants to convey a serious tone, you can use Serifs or Sans serifs to make an impact.
- Don’t skimp on the function. Although it’s important for fonts to convey emotion and the brand image, they should also be legible and tell your consumers what the package or the website does.
- If you’re designing a package or marketing materials for the web, ensure that the fonts you’re using are web-friendly.
Gradients, commonly referred to as color transitions, are the gradual blending of two colors. They can combine or change between colors that are similar (such as different blue hues or a mild orange to a dark red), as well as colors that are entirely unrelated or in opposition (like purple and red or blue and yellow.)
The gradient fashion trend is versatile. It can be the centerpiece of a design or be just a background element. You can also use them to create new color combinations that feel modern and lend a unique feel to your designs.
But if you really want to stand out in 2023 using gradients, you should check out liquid gradients, as they make your designs stand out and can give your brand a futuristic or bold feel to it. For example, check out this packaging for Rock n’ Nola granola bites.
The liquid gradient uses a bold and bright palette to give the brand an artisanal feel and stand out in a highly competitive market.
Fraya, a skincare brand, also uses gradients in their design to indicate that their product formulas have the best of science and nature and will provide maximum benefits to their users.
Image source: Dribbble
If you want to incorporate effective gradients in your design, ensure that you’re not using more than three colors, avoid conflicting colors, and pay attention to the light source.
6. Inclusive design
Inclusive design takes into account the entire spectrum of human diversity, including ability, language, culture, gender, age, etc. It’s important because it helps create an experience that shows your audience that they belong instead of feeling excluded.
It can also boost your brand positioning and make you a market leader, as consumers will notice your efforts to provide equal access and opportunity.
If you’re designing a website, an inclusive user interface will also help boost traffic. Lastly, inclusive designs also boost sales and give you access to a larger and wider customer base as it empowers consumers to use your product.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to inclusivity is that it’s not merely a fad or a trend. It’s something more and more designers are paying attention to with time.
For example, Unilever has created sensory-enhanced bottles with tactile designs that will allow visually impaired people to identify the difference between a conditioner and a shampoo.
Kellogg’s Coco Pops packaging design is also an example of inclusive design as it included a printed code which would read allergen information out loud when scanned, so visually impaired and partially blind people don’t get affected due to allergies.
Here are a few principles of inclusive design that will help you create a design that numerous users can use.
- When approaching your design, actively look for areas of exclusion and use them to inspire fresh concepts and identify chances to come up with original, inclusive solutions. This understanding on how and why people are excluded will help designers develop specific initiatives toward becoming more inclusive.
- Exclusion can also occur only in specific circumstances. This is called situational exclusion and is different from ability-based exclusion. For example, if a user is watching videos without closed captions while traveling on public transport, they might not be able to hear the audio. In such cases, it’s best to add subtitles to make the video more inclusive.
- To ensure that you’re fully catering to the needs of different communities and avoiding personal bias, ensure that you’re involving people from those communities during the creative review process.
7. Motion graphics
Motion graphics refers to techniques that add movement to any static image to make it more interesting and present your ideas in a more efficient manner.
One of the biggest advantages of motion graphics is that it prompts people to share them with others, as people prefer watching videos over reading through lengthy product descriptions.
It also offers higher retention rates than textual content as it keeps the audience entertained for longer on the page, which means you get more clicks and see increased returns.
For example, check out this simple product explainer video of Google Care. Instead of going into details on the benefits of using it, the video explains the product’s benefit in less than 30 seconds.
Another example of a brand using motion graphics is One (Pearson English) which helps employees of an organization learn and communicate better in English to sell globally.
The video takes viewers through why it’s important to learn English and explains their service in an engaging manner.
If you want to create a similar video that’s impactful, follow the tips below:
- Ask yourself why it needs to be a motion graphic. The animation shouldn’t feel forced and serve its purpose well.
- Understand the use case and decide how you want people to feel after watching your video.
- Get everyone on the same page and decide the video’s run time before asking the motion designer to start work on the project.
The digital design trends we’ve listed above should give you a clear picture of the design aspects you should focus on in 2023. For more graphic design resources, check out the Artwork Flow blog.
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