Six graphic design trends for 2020

The New Year always signals a time for innovative, fresh thinking and creative new ideas. This year, will be no different as we see new emerging trends set to make a big impact in the graphic design industry, from accessibility in design through to augmented reality and sustainability. Here are our top six predictions for the year ahead:

1. Minimalism

Consumers are increasingly drawn to brands that demonstrate authenticity – brands they believe are genuine and real, stand by their morals and values, and are trustworthy and honest.

In all design, every element of a project should have a purpose and contribute to the overall goal. In pursuit of transparency and simplicity, embellished designs are being replaced by a minimalist design approach. Brands who have successfully used minimalist design to create maximum impact are Apple, Google, Instagram, Airbnb, Target and Windows.

In 2020, design elements such as white space, a simple colour palette (primary colours or pastels) and easy to read type will be more prevalent as minimalism takes hold.

2. Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a trend to watch closely in 2020. AR is taking off across the globe, with big brands such as Apple, Facebook and Amazon making significant commitments to the technology.

AR has the potential to change the way brands connect and engage with consumers.

Graphic designers like Open Framework’s Zach Lieberman have embraced AR, creating an app called Weird Type that allows you to place moving text in space.

Designers are still exploring creative ways to engage consumers with AR and it will be interesting to see what 2020 brings.

3. Accessibility in design

Well-designed products or services should accommodate all users, including those with a physical or learning disability or people from a range of social and cultural backgrounds. Good design should allow users to clearly understand, perceive, navigate, interact or contribute to a product or service.

Simple design changes can make a significant difference to different user groups –

  • Changing the colour contrast can improve visibility for people with colour blindness
  • Adding ALT text to HTML code allows blind people using screen readers to understand what images on a website represent
  • Improving the tab sequencing order on a website can improve navigation for people who use the tab function on keyboards due to mobility issues.

4. Sustainability

Many organisations are looking at ways to reduce their environmental footprint and graphic design is one area where some simple changes can make an impact. Minimising impact on the environment can be: using recycled or carbon neutral stocks or stocks made from sustainable forests; using water-based, soy-based or UV ink; or using more energy-efficient computers and servers.

Designers can also use printing companies that are environmentally accredited with regards to energy efficiency, waste reduction, pollution control and water management; and using more energy-efficient computers and servers.

5. Authentic stock photos

The quest for authenticity in design has also spread to the use of stock photos. Brands, including social media influencers, increasingly want to use images that tell a story and look original and unique. Glossy, generic, highly-photoshopped stock photos are out, and stock photos that look like they’ve been taken by a semi-professional are in. Authentic stock image libraries such as Death to Stock and Scopio are leading the charge in providing organisations with exciting and interesting images.

6. GIFs in social media posts

This year organisations will continue to use GIFs – otherwise known as a Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) – to enhance their social media content.  Although GIFs have been around for decades, they are now the latest trend in social media. GIFs are a series of images or soundless video that loop continuously. They can be shared across many device sand mediums, such as Twitter and on Instagram in users’ Instagram stories.