Curious about the next big thing in graphic design trends? You’re not late, but you’re not early either.
As 2023 is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about new and creative ways to inspire and make the most of the new year.
To help get your creative juices flowing and stay ahead of the trends, we’ve collected the most eye-catching and ✨inspiring✨ graphic design trends for the upcoming year.
Let’s get immersed in the colors of now!
Table of contents
- Trend #1: 2D and 3D design
- Trend #2: unique typography
- Trend #3: ’90s aesthetics
- Trend #4: candy and pastel colors
- Trend #5: minimalism
- Trend #6: maximalism
- Trend #7: infographics (data visualizations)
- Trend #8: psychedelic design
- Trend #9: surrealism
- Trend #10: animated graphics
- Trend #11: color contrasts
- Streamline your graphic creation process with these 5 tips
Trend #1: 2D and 3D design
3D design has a long history (probably longer than you even realize). It was invented waaaay back in the 1960s and popularized in the 1980s.
So, why has it made a comeback in 2023?
Not too long ago, 3D modeling software was only accessible to engineers, scientists, and automation professionals. This was mainly due to the cost of modeling systems back in the day.
Luckily, 3D modeling software has become more accessible and popular in recent years.
And now that designers have easier access to this kind of specialized software, they can enhance their 3D designs by experimenting with different design styles.
This year, we’ve seen a lot of 3D characters in videos, 3D fonts, and 3D illustrations combined with flat design elements to create amazing styles.
Take this design, for instance. We think this immersive design for Samsung’s artificial life project sums up the 3D trend perfectly, blending tridimensional animated shapes with static elements.
Trend #2: unique typography
In 2023, typography will transcend functionality and become an important aesthetic element in graphic design.
From bubble fonts, rounded typefaces, and thick, graphic strokes to animated typography and experimental fonts that combine writing with other graphic elements — 2023 has got it all.
The last few months have been all about reviving retro lettering as well as innovating and experimenting with out-of-the-box ideas – all at the same time.
Don’t take our word for it! Look at these fantastic experiments designer Milos Bojkovic created with the letter X.
As an added bonus, here’s another example that combines both trends we’ve talked about so far: 3D design and unique lettering.
Trend #3: ’90s aesthetics
The retro feel of the ’90s, with its Britpop, rave culture, grunge, and transition into the futuristic Y2K aesthetic, are all coming back into the spotlight. Not only will you see this style reflected in graphic design, but also in fashion and home design.
The most popular ’90s-inspired style in 2023 has to be rave culture. This aesthetic is all about bold colors, daring contrasts, geometric shapes and motifs, colorful icons and illustrations, and very present graphic elements.
Take, for instance, the whole feel of marketing platform Viral Loops’ blog — it screams ’90s aesthetics. The featured graphics are old-school, fresh, and pop with color and bold fonts.
Trend #4: candy and pastel colors
Bubblegum pink, baby blue, magic mint, and baby purple have taken the graphic design world by storm.
Pastel color palettes and color gradients have been all over brands’ social media posts, blogs, and websites. Some businesses have even made pastel colors an integral part of their brand identity — like Sugarbear.
Everything about Sugarbear is pastel. From product packaging design to the web interface, the hair vitamin brand is wrapped in soft pinks and subtle blues.
Have you experimented with this trend yet? See how you can sneak in some pastel before the year is over!
Trend #5: minimalism
Minimalism, the famous art movement that began in the 1960s, is nothing new. It got its start when artists went above and beyond conventional art rules and chose what was “cool” over symbolism and dramatism.
Minimalism revolves around the idea that art should be experienced through the senses rather than contemplated and interpreted through its symbols.
It’s a way to cut through the noise of metaphors and focus on experiencing art firsthand.
In 2023, minimalist designs made a forceful comeback with sleek and sharp fonts, block colors, the use of only essential elements, and lots of negative space to create simple yet memorable graphics.
This cover of System Magazine, featuring avant-garde designer Rick Owens, is an amazing example of minimalist design. Here, less is definitely more. There are no unnecessary artifices, colors, or graphics. This makes the subject of the magazine stand out even more prominently.
Even though this simple design only includes a portrait of the artist and two typographic elements, the viewer gets all the information they need without being overwhelmed by visuals.
Trend #6: maximalism
As soon as minimalism took off, maximalism appeared as a counter-movement to fight against the simplicity of minimalism.
In this case, more is more.
In maximalism designs, there are no blank spaces. Instead, the viewer’s eyes are constantly discovering new elements as they scan graphics closely.
You could say that maximalism is the aesthetic of excess. And you’d be right!
We believe it makes sense to see a comeback in maximalism design in the context of a post-pandemic world where people have had enough of a simple life in lockdown. It’s a natural response to being stuck indoors and being constrained to a minimalist lifestyle for so long.
Like the ‘90s aesthetic trend, maximalism isn’t confined to graphic design alone. We’ve also seen maximalism in print media, illustration, app design, and web design.
Here’s an example of one of our favorite collages of clashing patterns, abstract doodles, bold design elements, and the artistic extravagance that perfectly defines maximalism.
Faze design studio
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all of the graphic elements in this collage, viewers can take their time to truly appreciate everything going on here. And believe us, there is a lot!
Trend #7: infographics (data visualizations)
The concept of data visualization has been with us since we gained consciousness as a species. While that lofty statement might sound like a stretch, think of it this way: cave paintings are ancient infographics depicting real-life scenes as visual elements.
Fast forward to today, and you’ll find that we still use visual elements to break down complex concepts and data.
It only makes sense that infographics have become massively popular today. As people’s attention spans continue to get shorter, infographics offer up information in a concise and easy-to-understand, visual way.
And infographics have an impact.
For instance, to call attention to the looming climate crisis, journalist David McCandless created the infographic below. Rather than laying out all his research in the typical long-form article, he uses data to present strategies the U.S. should adopt to become a net zero carbon nation by 2050.
Trend #8: psychedelic design
Bringing back ’70s-inspired psychedelic motifs in graphic design was perfectly explained by stock photo platform Depositphotos in their ‘Creative Trends 2022: Merging the future and the past’ annual forecast:
“The desire to escape monotonous reality, captivate audiences, and the accessibility of graphic software will foster experiments with psychedelic art in the digital realm.”
The same study discovered an increase in search queries like:
- Kaleidoscopic – 600% growth
- Vivid colors – 182% growth
- ’70s – 46% growth
Depositphotos’s forecast was not wrong! 2022 has been witnessing a psychedelic design revival.
So, expect to see trippy graphics with hypnotizing vibes and crazy color schemes like the one below throughout the rest of 2022.
Trend #9: surrealism
In 2023, surrealist design takes the cake as the most interesting trend we’ve seen so far.
Defined by a mix of rationalism and science fiction, celebrating the strange and unexpected, this surprising design style continues to rise in popularity.
The preference for surrealism might have something to do with the stillness the whole world experienced during the pandemic.
We believe that celebrating the odd through unnerving images can be a great way to get out of our daily rut.
It’s not just us who observed this trend. Depositphotos identified an increased frequency of search queries like:
- Space traveler – 214% growth
- Extraterrestrial life – 165% growth
- Science – 118% growth
- Experimental – 71% growth
So, you should expect to see more images like the design projects below (and will maybe even create a few of your own):
Trend #10: animated graphics
In 2023, motion graphics will put typography and graphic elements on the move — literally.
From GIFs and animated logo designs to motion designs on websites and in social media posts, dynamic graphics are in.
One of the main reasons animation is so popular today is that it’s easier to produce than other types of video content that require real-life actors, scheduling, and expensive shooting equipment.
Plus, brands try to appeal to younger generations as they become paying customers by using animation styles familiar to them.
Lyft has done exactly that with the animated ad below.
Trend #11: color contrasts
We’ve already established that 2023 is the year of bright colors, bold typography, historical mash-ups, and defying conventional design principles.
We’ll add contrasting colors to that list as high contrasts are representative of all the trends we’ve talked about so far.
So, contrast would be a repeating motif in all the 2023 graphic design trends rather than a trend itself. But because it’s so prevalent, we’ve decided to emphasize it as a separate trend. 🙂
Since it’s better to see the colors instead of talking about them, have a look at the image below to understand what we’re saying — unconventional contrast is hot!
Feeling inspired from all that scrolling through epic designs? Don’t open Photoshop just yet. We’ve got some design tips to help you make your creation process frictionless.
5 tips for a streamlined graphic creation process
We know you’d be eager to jump on the graphic design trends wagon. But before you do, you might benefit from some tips transcribed from an ancient graphic design prophecy.
1. Define your graphic creation needs
Whether you’re a freelancer or part of a design team, you can’t start a new project without establishing its requirements first.
Have a meeting with the project’s stakeholders or talk to your team leader and ask for:
- Details of the expected deliverables (format, size, typography, etc.)
- Brand guidelines
- The purpose behind the project
And other relevant information.
You can even make creative briefs part of your design workflow so you never forget to clarify every little detail right from the start.
Ensuring you have all the data you need to successfully meet stakeholders’ expectations from the get-go will help you eliminate feedback loops and ensure shorter review cycles.
As we all know, fewer interactions and revision requests mean more time to chill in between projects.
2. Use uncomplicated software
Aside from your Adobe stack and other design tools, there are platforms you can use to share deliverables with clients, collect feedback, and so on.
When choosing software, make time to sign up for free trials and product demos. You don’t want to get stuck with tools that are so difficult to learn that they hinder your productivity.
Instead, make it your goal to find easy-to-use platforms that have a close-to-zero learning curve — like MarkUp.io.
With MarkUp.io, you don’t need to attend a formal onboarding program to learn how to use the platform.
Don’t get us wrong — help is available if needed.
But most users tend to figure everything out by themselves. To use the platform, you just drag and drop designs into it, then share the links with reviewers. The reviewers click and comment on specific elements and that’s about it.
No fancy functionality — just purposeful simplicity that helps you get to project sign-off faster.
The bottom line is that you should always look for intuitive platforms that can make your job easier.
3. Establish clear communication
When taking on new clients, you might find your workflow is constantly disrupted by messages and emails asking you for progress updates or piling up tasks on top of the initial project scope.
That’s simply not a feasible way to manage client communications!
You need to establish firm boundaries and schedule regular catchup meetings (if those fit into your work process). Make your needs clear and ensure you’re not getting stressed out daily over Slack or Skype.
Our suggestion is to try and find a healthy balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication.
Doing so will give you the quiet time you need to create.
4. Set realistic deadlines
We all know deadlines help us get things done. They keep us under a healthy level of pressure to make sure we’re delivering the work when it’s expected from us.
However, when we have the opportunity to set deadlines ourselves, we tend to be quite optimistic and reevaluate our capacity.
This underestimation of how much time goes into a task is called the planning fallacy and it’s responsible for many failed projects and delayed project deliveries.
To avoid this time-management trap, we suggest you always overestimate when setting due dates for your tasks.
This way, when you’re delivering a project early, your clients will have a pleasant surprise. At the same time, if you’re experiencing some unplanned events that disrupt your work, you have some wiggle room so you don’t miss any deadlines.
5. Be specific about budget
Budget is just as important as setting clear due dates.
Once you have a clear understanding of what’s expected of you, discuss the cost of your work with the client.
To ensure you’re not underselling yourself, calculate the hours it will take you to complete the project while taking into account the difficulty of the tasks and any time limits imposed by the client.
Budgets are especially important when working on bigger projects as part of a team. In this case, you need to make sure you take into account all the resources that go into the completion of the project and avoid underestimating anything at all costs.
Just like missed deadlines, budget overruns are a pretty common reason for project failure.
The prophecy got a little bleak for a moment there! 😵💫 But we’re not worried about you. We know you’re going to do great!
The 11 top graphic design trends we went through alongside our five tips should get you excited about your upcoming design projects.
If you still feel stuck in a non-creative mindset, we have some blog posts that will help clear your mind.
Head over to our blog for useful content on how to simplify your design processes! And if you want to try out MarkUp.io the next time you need feedback on your designs, start your free 14-day trial here.