Graphic design trends that will dominate in 2021

2020 has been a strange year for many, and it’s also caused a radical shift in the way that we work. Distance learning, e-commerce and socialising online all feed into the design trends we’re seeing lately, as brands and businesses continue to adapt to this ‘new normal’.

If you’re looking to stay on the cutting edge ahead of 2021, we’ve pulled together the hottest design trends below. Read on to get inspired for your next creative project!

Designs inspired by nature

Top Drawer trend: At one with nature

Image credit: Top Drawer A/W 2020

If there’s one thing many of us have wanted this year, it’s to be outside. Whether that’s from the lockdown blues, a busy work schedule or a growing fatigue of fast inner-city living. We’re seeing more and more designs with elements of nature creeping in, and this even featured as a top trend in the latest Top Drawer on demand event earlier this year. The “at one with nature” trend celebrates bold organic shapes, leaf patterns and striking florals. All of these natural elements make excellent prints for products such as Wrapping Paper and Art Prints. How will you start to bring the outside world into your designs this winter?

Emoji designs

Design trends

Image Credit: Pinterest

Emojis are everywhere, which isn’t surprising when there are over 3,300 at your fingertips! Having been around since 1999, it’s time to start getting creative with them…

Now, we heard you sigh then, and we know what you’re thinking – emojis can sometimes look a little tacky, especially if they have been overused in the past. But over the last few months there has been a huge rise in new emoji designs. Long gone are the smilies of yesteryear, leaving a plethora of new icons and symbols to play with including a piñata, a magic wand and even and iced coffee! Why not jump on the bandwagon and start using some of these new emojis in your designs?

Muted colour palettes

Graphic Design Trends

Image Credit: Pinterest

A favourite colour palette for 2020, this design trend isn’t going anywhere just yet. Muted colours are essentially bright colours that have had the saturation turned down or was diluted with black or white, creating a softer tone. As a more understated way to use colour, it can work for a range of different prints, especially if you’re going for a gentler or even nostalgic vibe. If you’re designing (or redesigning) Wedding Stationery for next year, a muted colour palette could be just the ticket. It’s also popular among Business Stationery as it has an air of professionalism and quality that gaudy colours sometimes lack. You don’t have to be neon to capture attention!

Geometric shapes

graphic design trends 2021

Image Credit: Pinterest

Despite the seeming simplicity of using geometric shapes in your design, it’s set to be one of the most popular trends for 2021.

There’s a real joy in creating something complex out of simple shapes and that’s exactly what this trend is all about. Taking flat shapes such as squares, circles and triangles and layering them into an abstract composition. The best thing about this trend is just how flexible it can be. Looking for a unique Greeting Card design? Or some dynamic shapes to use with Die or Laser Cut? Perhaps a punchy motif to bring your Business Suite to life? Geometric shapes are the one. Go ahead and experiment (and don’t forget to tag us with #ProudlyPrinted to show us the results).

Metallic embellishments

If you’ve been perusing our blog for more than ten minutes, then you probably already know how much we like to talk to about Foiling. That being said, we couldn’t be happier that designs that sparkle and shine are looking to be a big hit in 2021.

First things first, if you’re looking for luxury, this is how you do it. Adding a gilded aspect to everyday prints is the easy way to take them from the ordinary to the wondrous. Colours such as gold, silver and copper all carry a high-end charm, plus mixing foil with block shades and minimalist patterns gives a modern, distinguished look. From Flyers and Notebook covers to Wedding Invitations and Business Cards – all that glitters is here to stay (hooray!).

Optical illusion designs

optical illusion designs

Image Credit: Pinterest

Want to really attract attention in 2021? Opt for optical illusions!

When you can’t quite piece together the visual elements of a design, it can be hard to look away. Optical illusions are actually quite simple to create, and can make a very captivating composition which keeps the focus on your brand. Combined with special finishes such as White Ink or Spot UV, why not give your next print project a dizzying sense of ‘how on earth did they do that?’. Now that’s memorable!

Ready to get creative with the top design trends for 2021? We’d love to see what you get up to, so don’t forget to tag us on social using #ProudlyPrinted.

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About the author

Our in-house designer Becca has a love of all things creative. When she’s not designing, you can find her in Newcastle checking out independent coffee shops or getting her hands dirty with her house renovation.

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