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Graphic design trends in 2020: follow or forget?

By Astrid Marschall


Trends these days come and go at an alarmingly fast rate. Brands face great pressure to both fit in and stand out, follow the trends and defy them. The start of a new decade calls for fresh ideas, new outlooks, and creative thinking. The trends of 2020 will not only shape the year, but the entire decade.


To help navigate this confusing environment, we’ve compiled a list of graphic design trends to follow, and some to break, in 2020.

Trend: Filter-Free Photos

Filter-free imagery is set to be a major trend for both advertising and social media in 2020. Consumers are starting to prioritize honesty and relatability and are quickly adopting an anti-stock photo, Photoshop, and filter mentality.


At the end of 2019, Instagram announced a ban on all cosmetic surgery filters. Effects that promote plastic surgery are in the process of being removed from the app in an attempt to improve users’ mental health.


Consumers are quick to discover photoshopping faux-pas like distortion and over-airbrushing in social media posts and brand advertisements. Companies like Aerie and Dove have made the decision to deliver real people and real images in their ad campaigns, with many other brands following suit.


Verdict: Follow

The decision to use filter-free and Photoshop free imagery is an easy one. For the sake of integrity, honesty, and sincerity, the filter-free photo trend is an obvious follow.


Trend: Bold, Type-centric Designs

Bold typography is set to soar in 2020. Type-centric graphics combine two opposites: minimalism and maximalism, to create one cohesive design. These typographical pieces are easy-to-read, confident, creative, and clean.


Type-focused graphics allow for convenient and transparent marketing of your brand. With little to no bitmap imagery used, bold, type-centric designs bring the message to the forefront.


Verdict: Follow

The creativity, readability, and branding potential makes this trend an easy follow.


Trend: Pantone’s Color of the Year: Classic Blue

Pantone announced its colour of 2020 as Classic Blue and describes the colour as “thought-provoking”, “simplistic”, and “re-assuring”. The colour is said to resemble a “sky at dusk”, instil “calm, confidence, and connection” and highlight "our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era“.


Pantone has placed a lot of importance on a pretty mundane colour. The colour may be simplistic, calming, and even classic, but its reasoning feels contrived and insincere. It seems naive for one specific colour to be the beacon of light leading us to a peaceful new decade. Ultimately a product of consumerism, Pantone’s Color of the Year gives brands an excuse to make the same products in new colours for consumers to buy.


Verdict: Forget

Don't get us wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the the tone and hue of Classic Blue. What we choose to pass on is consumer-culture and blindly following a colour trend because Pantone says to.

Trend: Mixed-Media Graphics

An interesting trend, quickly growing in popularity is mixed-media graphics. Graphic artists are combining images and vector artwork in stimulating and unusual ways, creating unique and quirky compositions. Usually highly-contrasting in nature, mixed-media graphics can add a playful twist and personal touch to photography and design.


Mixed-media graphics are their most powerful when the vector illustration interacts with the photo. The combination of contrasting elements creates unexpected relationships that keeps the consumer intrigued.


Verdict: Follow

This trend is definitely worth following due to its potential for creativity and individuality.


P.S. The above trends are merely educated observations and predictions from our creative team. Please keep in mind that creative opinions are subjective and trends are ever-changing.


Resources:

https://store.pantone.com/uk/en/color-of-the-year-2020

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50152053

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