Top Graphic Design Trends For 2019

What’s the graphic design trend that never goes out of fashion? Be unique!

But you already knew that, didn’t you? When you decided to become a graphic designer, you knew you were going to rely on your creative forces on a daily basis.

But you also knew that you had to fit your creativity into the current trends that excite the audience. No; we’re not saying you should be doing what competitors do. What you should be doing, however, is keep pace with graphic design trends and upgrade your skills in order to follow them. Moreover, you should become good enough to create trends that others will follow.

It’s what your clients are asking for. When you work for clients, you try to do what they want, right?

So knowing what’s in and what’s out is important.

Are you interested about the ins of 2019? What are the graphic design trends that are going to rule the industry? Let’s check them out!

1. Manual Work

Drawing really showcases your talent in graphic design. Calligraphy and hand-drawn pictures are always attractive, and that won’t change in 2019.

When you combine manual artistic expression with advanced technology, you get fresh and practically timeless design. If you still haven’t invested in a top-rated stylus, it’s time to do that.

Check out Kinetic V6; a website that offers science lessons. The design looks too much retro at first, but it grows on you the more you explore the website.

Graphic Design Trends

2. The Color of the Year

Pantone Color Institute is a huge authority among fashion designers. The Fashion Color Trend Report has an interesting influence over fashion trends all over the world. It doesn’t take much before you see the forecasted color of the year everywhere around.

The Spring/Summer 2019 color palette features fresh, lively coral, turmeric, and peacock hues, as well as calmer yellow-green, moss, and toffee color. The choice is huge, and it’s kind of hard to describe the colors if you don’t understand color language. So check out the report and analyze the hues.

If you introduce some of these trendy colors in your design, you’ll be on point.

Graphic Design Trends

3. Highlighted Text

Some retro inspiration, anyone?

Highlighted typography is making a comeback. It’s great because it draws the viewer’s attention to the text, so you can easily make a point.

When combining images and text, it’s the image that dominates the composition. But if you want to make the words equally as important, just use the good old highlight method.

Check out how Elle does it:

Graphic Design Trends

It’s the simplest solution you could possibly think of, but it’s as effective as ever.

4. Duotones

Duotones are nothing new in the world of graphic design. They were really popular in the 1970s. But you know what? They are coming back and they look better than ever.

This approach is great because it’s minimalistic. You use a single color in two shades as the dominant pattern. You add few minimalistic elements that stand out, and voila – you have a modern design.

The biggest problem with most graphic designers is that they don’t know when to stop. They have skills, so they clutter them in a single design. When you aim towards a duotone approach, you’re forced to fight the cluttering habit.

Here’s how that looks like:

Graphic Design Trends

Can you imagine that design in plenty of colors? It would be cluttered, right? This way, it looks classy and oh-so 2019.

5. Outline Letters

So you choose a nice font or you hand-write the text. Instead of filling in the letters, why don’t you try outline typography? It looks fresh and it doesn’t overwhelm the other elements of the composition.

You may even use this method to highlight a certain feature. Here is how that looks like:

Graphic Design Trends

When you scroll over a certain option, it stands out with outline letters. Cute!

6. Animated Retro Style

Vintage-style illustrations are nostalgic. Even if kids today might not understand our love for them, they certainly look appealing to most target audiences. Add few modern elements in the retro animation and you’ll have a fresh design.

Since we’re talking about animations, it’s important to think about the way they move. Morphing is a trend that blends within this trend.

Check out how Gentleman Scholar used that technique in a campaign for Google Cloud March Madness!

Graphic Design Trends

7. Huge Letters

Typography, as an important aspect of graphic design, has its own trends. Some of these trends are with us for many years, and this is one of them.

Have you noticed that the letters on popular websites are getting bigger and bigger? We’ll keep seeing that trend in 2019.

Here’s how cool huge typography can look like in a portfolio, when used in a smart way:

Graphic Design Trends

Feel free to unleash your creativity when handling typography. It’s okay to make it the dominant element of the design. Combine font weights and density values, as well as directions. But don’t make it messy!

8. Metallic Effects

You thought that gold was outdated? Think again! Gold, bronze, platinum, iron… all metals are making a huge comeback in graphic design.

Metallic effects work in graphic design because they add dimension. When you play with the light, you can easily get a three-dimensional object that gives that high-class effect.

Thanks to the latest printing technology, this element of design won’t lose its appeal when you print it out on brochures, posters or whatever.

Check out this design by Ben Fearnley:

Graphic Design Trends

How cool is it?

9. Realistic Designs

Bold, dreamy designs are still in. Creative animations are great. But do you know what else works? – Realism.

As an artistic expression, the realism movement started in France in the 1850s. This was a way for the artists to stand against romanticism. Instead of fake drama, they decided to start showing reality, which was more dramatic than any painting an idealist could draw.

Hey; that’s a lovely thought: reality is more dramatic than anything you could make up. So why don’t you include it more in your design? Realism is not a new movement, but it’s definitely something that brings a breath of fresh air in the world of graphic design. After all those colors and bold designs (which are also great), it’s good to see something real.

But hey; real doesn’t mean boring.

Check out the Handsaway campaign by Dan Paris:

Graphic Design Trends

That’s how powerful real can look.

10. Magic Realism Works, Too

You can spice up realistic work with some unexpected elements. Magic realism is a popular genre in narrative fiction, with Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salman Rushdie as its main representatives.

But this trend is not limited to literature. When you add magical elements to realistic art, you get unexpectedly captivating design.

You achieving by mixing photography, art, and other visual elements in a single design.

Again, check out how Dan Paris does that:

Graphic Design Trends

11. Liquid Effects

Achieving the liquid element in graphic design is not easy. It’s not just about curvy lines and shades. It’s about achieving flow in a static design. Whether you do it with oil on canvas or with stylus on screen, the effect is a bit hard to achieve.

But it’s well worth it.

The trend of liquid is inspiring to many contemporary designs.

The best thing is that it gives tons of space for experimenting. You can introduce it in typography, drawings, or morphing slides.

Check out Robin Mastromarino’s website. As you scroll throughout the slides, they morph and you get the impression that they leak.

Graphic Design Trends

12. Dreamy Colors

So we talked about realism. We talked about the colors of the year. We talked about huge typography.

But what if none of those trends fits your style? What if you gravitate towards bold design that uses tons of color and shape?

Does that mean you’re outdated?

No. You’re still in.

Take your audience into your dreamy world. Bold graphic design is not going anywhere. You want proof? Check out this design from the Asos website:

Graphic Design Trends

Not bold enough for you? Well check out the projects from Muokkaa Studio on Behance.

Graphic Design Trends

Bold still works. It will keep working in 2019. It just has to be bold enough.

13. Floating Objects

Well gravity might stop us from experiencing floating in real life, but does it have to be present in graphic design?

Absolutely not.

An environment that defies the laws of nature is an attractive concept. Some of the freshest designs at the moment are founded on such an idea.

Beyond Beauty, a project that’s supposed to promote a woman’s inner beauty behind her stylized appearance, is really popular at the moment. It’s about feminism and the power of a vote, so we can understand why it’s so important. But we’re talking about design, and guess what: the heads of Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence, and other beautiful women float.

Graphic Design Trends

14. 3D Design

Are you good enough to use a two-dimensional space for a three-dimensional effect?

3D is not new as a graphic design trend. But it’s still going strong and we keep seeing fresh designs with awesome use of this technique.

So if you’re in the middle of a creative block and you have no idea what to create, maybe it’s time for your 3D masterpiece?

Here’s a good example of how well 3D design works: Still Life for Squarespace. Each of the design showcases a type of Squarespace client.

Graphic Design Trends

15. Pastels

When someone mentions pastels, you think of Lauren Conrad or a similar “girly” personality. Well she loves her pastel pinks and that’s a fact.

But pastel colors are not appealing solely for fashion trendsetters. We’re all drawn towards them, probably because they remind us of childhood. Cotton candy, anyone?

When you introduce pastels into modern graphic design, you’ll be surprised by the results.

Here’s how Phoenix The Creative Studio made pastels work for InSymbiosis:

Graphic Design Trends

The Big Question: Should You Be Following Trends?

Great designers are creative. They follow their instincts and come up with designs that are absolutely unique. When you see something created by a well-known designer, you recognize their stamp of personality. That’s because they managed to develop their personal brand, which may even oppose the trends.

But you know what? Great designers are also flexible enough to meet the needs of clients. And clients want to be in trend. To put it simply, too much individuality can cost you a job.

So will you follow the trends?

It depends.

If you’re creating designs for the pure pleasure of designing, you may as well ignore everything we said above. You may rely on techniques that were trendy in the 1980s and still be cool. But if you work on a client’s project, you’ll have to adapt your style. That’s when the 2019 graphic design trends can come handy.

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