They say hindsight is 20/20. But as far as digital and graphic design trends are concerned, 2020 is a year that is looking towards the future.
A new decade kicks off with emerging and evolving design elements that carry striking visions for what’s to come. Coastal Creative’s sixth annual predictions for emerging design trends forecast that 2020 is bound to be a year of delightfully surreal depictions of products and technology, data made beautiful, and daring color and media combos that are energizing and aspirational.
Here are the 2020 design trends that will have you wondering whether you’re wearing virtual reality goggles:
Share the Graphic Design Trends of 2020
Breaking Down the Digital & Graphic Design Trends of 2020
2020 Design Trends
1. VR Panorama
Virtual reality is meant to simulate the sensations of the physical world. But as the distinction between “real” and “digital” grows blurrier with each passing year, even the VR aesthetic is no longer exclusive to virtual mediums like head-mounted displays. Now, elements of virtual reality have worked their way into web design. Curving, panoramic backdrops add a sense of peripheral vision and physical depth. This 2020 graphic design trend is immersive, encourages the user to explore further, and introduces a level of gamification to graphics and displays.
2. Surreal Product Photos
Forget flat-lays and realistic action shots. Featuring consumer goods before majestic dreamscapes or interacting with humanoid figures is at once aspirational and unpretentious. A rejection of marketing that pretends to be organic and authentic, surreal product photos celebrate taste and imagination over practicality. We love this 2020 design trend for its embrace of impossibly bright colors and the sense of childlike fantasy that it awakens.
3. Zero Gravity
What do you get when graphic designers take a flat-design backdrop, add 3D objects, and subtract gravity? A futuristic effect that is chaotic yet clean. Despite the clutter of overlapping subjects, the weightless atmosphere of this trend keeps the graphic light and minimalist. Marrying the visual depth of isometric objects with the vast emptiness of open composition, this emerging 2020 design trend conveys a sense of aimless motion and focused curation.
4. Realistic Textures
After several recent years of ethereal gradients, flat design, and impossibly smooth isometric illustrations dominating the digital landscape, textures are finally making a comeback. With grains, weaves, dips, and contours that you make you want to reach out and touch them, this is a trend with tremendous potential for experiential design. We love this up-and-coming trend for the tactile effects that it brings to any design, whether two- or three-dimensional.
5. Abstract Data Visualization
Data has now surpassed oil as the most valuable commodity in the world, and companies everywhere are eager to show that they know how to profitably handle this resource. Designs that illustrate the process of extracting meaningful insights from raw data are a striking reflection of life in the data economy. But it’s not just businesses in finance and marketing that are capitalizing on this trend: as algorithms are coming to shape our tastes in music and culture, big data is proving to be an aesthetic for creative industries as well.
6. Yellow Backgrounds & Accents
What better way to begin a new decade than with the optimism and energetic warmth of yellow hues? The brightest color on the visible spectrum, yellow makes a statement wherever it appears, whether as an accent color or a backdrop. Designs that feature bright yellows in their typography and layouts manage to be classic without being too conservative and bold without being too wild. Yellow is unisex, apolitical, appetizing, and cheerful. And with associations of youthful vigor and confidence, it’s no wonder that millennial politicians are heavily featuring yellow in their campaign branding. We predict that 2020 will see an uptick of bright yellow color schemes in logo design and brand identity campaigns in many industries.
7. Multimedia Portraits
As our sense of self becomes increasingly inextricable from digital platforms and social media, merging portrait photography with bold digital design seems only natural. Mixing mediums – like duotones, photography, vector overlays, and gifs – conveys the subject’s character as multi-layered, as having digital, physical, and inner dimensions. Multimedia portraits are a clever way to convey that the subject has a plurality of selves and to highlight those that are most important for the piece at hand.
8. Earth & Sky 2.0
Drawing from topographical maps, nautical cartography, and astronomy, this design trend evokes a sense of wonder, adventure, and conquest. But even with Mother Nature herself as inspiration, these designs are anything but down-to-earth. There is a distinct current of fantasy and technology running through these abstract depictions of the sky and earth, suggesting that the ultimate unexplored terrain is a digital one.