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What is the best thing about design trends? They move, develop, and change rapidly, bringing a new opportunity for a reset every year. After a so challenging 2023, the trends of 2023 are more about authenticity, people, and transform ing the simple into something special.
Yes, it’s not that easy to keep up with constantly emerging and disappearing trends in graphic and web design niches. But it’s a must for every specialist willing to engage the audience, influence the field, and grow as a professional. Below are the top seven design trends that call the shots in 2023. Let’s take a look and see how they are different from those in recent years.
1) Socially Conscious Design
It seems that 2020 was the year when everyone understood and felt the need for changes. Environmentalism, BLM, healthcare, pandemic issues — the world had (and continues to have) many challenges to overcome. And it stands to reason that designers don’t wait on the sidelines but contribute their talents to support social activism, resonating with urgent movements.
This trend also rests on the customer’s request for socially responsible businesses. People choose to support brands that go beyond selling a product, those communicating values and principles aligned with their audience. They look for the representation of those principles in a brand’s imagery, and that’s where creative design comes into place.
In 2023, brands speak with bold, iconic visuals to represent what they stand up for. More custom-made templates, unique design assets,free brochure templates and hand-lettering sets deliver messages of social responsibility, unity, and advice. You can check out vista create to find various templates. Designers quickly react to the ongoing events and create strong visuals that send a message of solidarity and support, communicating meanings with diverse and inclusive voices.
2) Eco-Friendly Design
Together with authenticity and social responsibility, sustainability comes. More and more brands try to focus on it now, upgrading their manufacturing and packaging policies. And it’s no surprise they want to communicate their sustainability to consumers with the help of design.
Clean, more natural colors, softer text shapes, organic color palettes, and smooth lines are trends dominating both web and graphic designs in 2023. All these elements create a feeling of honesty, eco-friendliness, and authenticity of a brand. They help a designer to communicate a company’s commitment to naturality and simplicity.
The trend to elements of nature in design also rests on people’s request for spending more time outside. In the pandemic 2020, when most of us had to coop up inside because of COVID, the need for green spaces became noticeable more than ever. Designers responded to this request in less than no time.
Now we have the outside world inside 2023’s imagery: leafy patterns, green color palettes, nature elements — all they go beyond environmentally-oriented brands today.
Visuals of blue skies, landscapes, and other natural elements fill designs with hope and opportunity. Soft, pastel hues or bright colors, dreamy mesh gradients, and playful typography serve to livenup the monotony of our days.
3) Custom Design
Alex Muench, Product Designer at Doist, predicted customization and emotions as a trend, saying that “the desire to stand out from the rest will become even stronger, and designers will find new ways to support the user’s current emotions with a rewarding experience.” And while Alex kept product design top of mind, data visualization and graphic illustrations seem to follow this rule in 2023 too.
Custom illustrations are boosting popularity right now. (For example, think of such media giants as The New York Times or The New Yorker using custom-captured images for better engagement.)
Online brands make the most out of custom visuals, too: Not only is it an opportunity to stand out, but it’s also a way to make the complex data easy for users to understand. Custom design serves for better brand awareness, visibility, and more effective communication. Think of infographics, meaningful animations, interactive charts, etc.
4) 3D Design
After the flat layout design’s domination in recent years, specialists move to a more realistic representation of objects on visuals now. In 2020, they called it neumorphism, a la a “new” skeuomorphism, or glassmorphism where graphics mimicked the real object they tried to represent and made it look almost grabbable.
In 2023, this trend goes ahead with development. 3D design is everywhere, and tons of new tools appear to help non-3D specialists create three-dimensional imagery. (Think of Blender or Cinema4D, for example.) Combined with gradients and vibrant colors, 3D illustrations come in all forms today: icons, objects, characters, animations, etc. Get ready to see even more this year.
5) Retro Touch Design
With the digital world grabbing all spheres of our life rapidly, designers try to bring some retro touch to their works, a so-called tribute to the times when things used to be a bit different. Floppy discs, pinup arts, vintage stamps, and retro-style posters are contemporary ways to add some extra depth to modern online experiences.
This trend also finds its expression through little quirky layouts, computer-inspired typography, pixel art, bright colors, and curves. In the 2023’s digital world, where most websites look similar, this design trend could be a nice instrument for brands willing to stand out. When done right, unusual layouts with a sprinkle of retro touch are your chance to bring attention and hook the target audience.
6) Rebellious Design
Inspired by social heroes such as Greta Thunberg or the BLM movement, designers do their best to portray diversity through more rebellious features today. They celebrate inclusivity, ditching models and stock photos in favor of authentic people. They portrait people in darer settings and more powerful poses. The trend is to design images and photos of real people, to show their uniqueness, characters, and flaws.
2023 is the year of highlighting diverse cultures, ages, identities, skin tones, etc. The only thing to avoid now is sameness. For designers, portraying diversity is a contribution to a more inclusive future. They encourage people on their journeys this way.
For even greater effect, the trend is to break the traditional design rules for creating a feeling of brazen defiance. As a branding designer Michal Sloboda says, “What we were first taught not to do, we now do by intention… so we can come across something seemingly bizarre, but also unique or beautiful.”
The rebel can take different forms here: clashing colors, mixing similar fonts, prioritizing design over legibility, etc. The more imperfect yet creative, the better.
7) Optimistic Design
The world goes together through difficult and isolated times now, and designers support this global reset philosophy by the corresponding tone of voice in their works. The trend is to demonstrate optimism and stay positive about the future: muted color palettes and a calm yet playful tone of messages are what we see in design today.
Muted colors are those with low saturation. They feel natural, organic, safe, and even nostalgic. In 2023, designers work with colors and typography that make us feel brighter, hopeful, and dreamier. Brands become more honest, sensitive, and caring; they focus on authenticity and emotional wellness, communicating their message via energetic illustrations, supportive tone of voice, and sometimes even a dose of humor to foster a sense of optimism.
Nina Mehta, Design Manager at MailChimp, confirms:
“We see a return to play and joy across design industries (digital, product, fashion, interior) using warm colors and decorative motion/animations. We’ll continue to see more storytelling, interesting typography, and small joyful animated winks to the viewer.”
Designers address the health crisis through soft and happy visuals, energetic illustrations, and calm color palettes to send a friendly message to those in need of optimism and wellbeing.
The world changes, and so does the niche of design. Graphic and web designers do their best to contribute more authenticity, inclusivity, realism, hope for a better future, and a positive mood with their works. All these statements find expression in design trends we see now:
• Socially responsible design
• Custom illustrations
• Elements of nature
• 3D design boost for a more realistic representation
• Portraying diversity
• Optimistic design
• Retro touch as an element of nostalgia and hope for better things to come back
Designers aren’t afraid of breaking the traditional rules to bring new, actual meanings to the modern world. More than that, they shape it to engage the audience and encourage them to act.