In 2023, significant changes related to artificial intelligence (AI) integration into leading design software occurred, anticipating a substantial impact on the future of the graphic design industry. However, it's too early to speak of AI's truly epochal influence on graphic design—it's still being experimented with, explored, and mastered.
Meanwhile, researchers outline the "landscape" of graphic design in 2024 as a merging of the past and the future, where nostalgia meets cutting-edge technologies.
Brands increasingly aim to connect with their audience on a deeper level, and design plays a crucial role in this interaction. Retro-futurism will be the most characteristic feature of 2024, blending modern technologies and trends with the aesthetics of the 90s, a focus on eco-friendliness and natural elements, emotional surges, and profound depth. It will be a year of surprises with nostalgia notes and unexpected creativity.
Here are ten new popular trends in graphic design for the upcoming year:
1.Neon and Electric Colors
The color palette will undergo a radical change. If you recall, 2022 saw a trend of delicate, pastel tones, and 2023 featured combinations of bright, saturated colors and patterns.
In 2024, the trend will be a combination of deep dark bases (brown, blue, black) with accents of bright neon and electric colors. It will add vitality and energy to the visuals.
Neon and electric colors are bright, saturated shades reminiscent of the glow of neon lights and electric fires. These colors are often associated with technological progress, a cheerful mood, and innovation.
Textures will have a severe, dark aesthetic, incorporating elements of glitches, sharp edges, and digital fonts balanced with vibrant colors. This approach harmonizes the modern and human aspects, making your brand more accessible in the ever-evolving technological environment.
Here are several typical neon colors and their symbolism:
- Neon Pink symbolizes energy, passion, and attention.
- Neon Yellow represents joy, optimism, and energy, adding a positive mood.
- Neon Green is associated with nature, freshness, and growth.
- Neon Blue indicates calmness, trust, stability, and professionalism.
- Neon Orange symbolizes energy, warmth, and emotions, giving an impression of warmth and friendship.
- Neon Purple or Violet suggests luxury, mystery, creativity, and elegance.
2.Eco-design and Garden Cutouts
Ecological design goes beyond merely choosing environmentally friendly materials; it involves infusing the design with a deep connection to nature. Brands embrace ecological design principles along with natural color schemes and recycled materials.
Biophilia, the love of nature and life, receives a designer's touch. Patterns incorporate natural elements such as leaf veins, sunlight rays, water droplets, or bird silhouettes. Another trend is using recycled textures, mimicking materials like crumpled paper or woven bamboo. These constructions are not only aesthetic but also reinforce the brand's ecological stance.
The charm of this trend lies in its natural aesthetics. Graphic designers increasingly draw inspiration from the organic beauty of nature, creating visual effects that resonate with the calmness and authenticity of the natural world.
“Garden cutouts” is a graphic design trend that utilizes shapes and colors reminiscent of plants, flowers, and leaves to create a serene botanical design. Often, this design lacks strict symmetry, and edges appear somewhat uneven and natural, surpassing conventional boundaries. In a world increasingly dominated by screens and technology, the garden cutouts trend invites us to embrace the calming power of nature and the enchantment of handmade design.
Modern individuals feel a time crunch, preferring simple and convenient solutions delivered shortly, with no clutter, and information conveyed plainly, logically, and swiftly.
In contrast to the previously popular maximalism, minimalism encourages the creation of simple yet impactful designs that communicate brand messages clearly and without unnecessary noise. Simple forms and limited color schemes are employed to produce memorable works that provide a sense of order and tranquility.
A sub-trend within minimalism, also known as retro or vintage minimalism, is also gaining popularity. This hybrid approach combines the best of both worlds (past and present), removing unnecessary elements and retaining only the essential. The result is a clean, refined, and timeless design. Retro influences are not limited to graphic design; we observe their impact on contemporary fashion, interior design, architecture, music, and more. This trend taps into our collective yearning for the safety and relative predictability of past eras.
4.Risograph Grain Effect
Grainy and noisy textures set new trends in graphic design in 2024, providing works with a realistic and vintage look. They are used with effects like halftone dots and overlays. Grainy textures simulate the granules of analog mediums, evoking nostalgia and softening sharpness. Noisy textures mimic random changes in brightness or color, adding depth and complexity to the design.
However, one should approach them with caution because excessive application can easily become overwhelming.
The use of textures and realistic effects adds a sense of reality and tangibility to visual elements. As the world becomes increasingly digital, there's a renewed appreciation for the tactile and sensory. Techniques like foiling, embossing, and the use of special materials such as cotton, wood, kraft, triplex, and more give brands the sought-after character, making their prints stand out.
Many experts converge in predictions that 2024 will be extraordinary due to textured techniques like animal fur, liquified glass, and squishy branding.
These techniques add depth, texture, and a touch of craftsmanship to the design, creating a unique and unforgettable experience for the audience. It's a way to stand out in the world of screens, crafting designs that are not only seen but also felt and remembered.
From hand-drawn logos, fonts, and icons to pencil or brush caricatures, new characters, and comics. In a world filled with machine creations, computers, and AI, everything unique and handmade is highly valued. These handmade elements bring warmth and uniqueness to the design, making it truly special.
Designers will increasingly experiment with unique typography styles, such as hand-painted lettering, special fonts, and kinetic typography. Mixing different fonts and playing with scale will also be popular techniques to create visually appealing designs that capture attention and effectively convey messages.
While we've seen sans-serif fonts as a trend in the world of graphic design, we are now transitioning to classic serif fonts. Notably, major brands are increasingly moving away from traditional sans-serif fonts in search of more character, which serif fonts provide.
The reason for the resurgence of this trend is simple: fashion is cyclical. What adds to their recent popularity is the impact of minimalism on the graphic design industry as a whole. These fonts are perfect for adding a sweet retro effect, as they were popular in the 80s and 90s. So, confidently drawing inspiration from retro design is encouraged.
8.Return of Pixels
With the popularization of the metaverse, virtual and augmented reality, 8-bit graphics have confidently returned to our lives. From pixelated camouflages by Pharrell Williams for Louis Vuitton Menswear SS24 to new games with NES and SEGA atmospheres.
These tiny square design blocks are gaining new life and purpose, offering a unique blend of nostalgia and modernity. The use of pixels in design is no longer confined to retro video games, as it has become a creative choice for web design, animation, illustration, and branding.
Rather than sticking to small-sized pixels as we are accustomed to, artificially enlarged pixels look stunning. Use bright colors to enhance pixel graphics further or offset them with negative space and organic forms. Combining retro-pixel elements with contemporary high-quality graphics leads us to a design trend that offers limitless possibilities for creative experiments.
This trend takes inspiration from social media, where stickers have become a means of personal expression and communication. In design, sticker-like elements add a sense of individuality and vibrancy to visual compositions.
Whether it's a digital burst of confetti, emojis, or a hand-drawn star, these stickers make content more friendly and appealing, adding a sense of community by reminding us to share our visual stories.
Color gradients have been a popular design trend for several years, but in 2024, we can expect a more dynamic and experimental use of gradients. Designers will push boundaries by combining unexpected color combinations and creating smooth transitions between shades—gradients will now appear more abstract, vibrant, and artistic.
The use of bright colors, experimentation with non-traditional color pairings, a sense of surrealism, and unfamiliarity will make the design noticeable and unique. Dynamic gradients will add depth and scale to the design, creating visually captivating impressions.
Predicting trends is challenging— to compile these ten trends, we explored and studied dozens of publications, creative community chats, and reports from design service companies and learned the opinions of individual design experts released over the past months on various platforms.
Looking ahead to 2024, we anticipate a more elegant, refined, somewhat nostalgic mood in graphic design. Environmentally conscious and natural on one hand and vibrant, bold, technological, and ultra-modern on the other.
Let's try and beautifully combine the seemingly uncombinable!