Every year, we see the rise of new graphic design trends.
Some are original while others hearken to a different era in time.
Some are bright and boisterous while others are low-key and quiet. It depends on whatever marketers find draws the eyes of potential consumers in that moment.
Why Graphic Design Is So Important
In today’s market, the competition is stiffly fierce. You might be offering a great product, but so is everyone else.
A well-designed logo, website, or app helps you stand out from your competitors.
What’s more, the great graphic design makes you more memorable to consumers. It defines the visual aspect of your brand, which consumers will associate with you.
For example, many consumers think of a yellow M against red when they think of fast food. When thinking of social media, many picture a white F on a blue block and various white blocks full of text. The phrase “search engine” conjures mental images of simple, multi-colored letters on a big, white background.
McDonald’s, Facebook, Google–these names aren’t company titles or brands so much as they’re definitions. And part of their success comes from effective, memorable graphic design.
New Graphic Design Trends Introduced in 2017
Bob Dylan once famously sang, “the times, they are a-changin’.” 2017 proved no different in the world of graphic design.
Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable, effective, new graphic design trends that 2017 produced.
The popularity of GIFs has spread faster and hotter than wildfire. The moving image files were once quaint decorations on cheaply made fan sites. Now they’re high-quality website elements that many a casual browser uses to express their feelings.
GIFs’ popularity and the improvements in image editing technology have led to the creation of cinemagraphs. Cinemagraphs are GIFs made using high-definition video.
At first glance, a cinemagraph looks like a photo. But after a second, you’ll notice animation in the image. The animation is always something minor, such as wine swishing around in a glass or a car zooming by in the background.
Even though it is minor, the animation is pronounced enough to catch your eye. It emphasizes that element in the photo and brings the photo to life.
2. Bright, Bold Colors
In the past, graphic designers resorted to blander, more muted colors for a few different reasons. First, quiet colors were easier to work with from a design perspective. Second, designers felt neutral whites and grays represented the future as depicted in popular movies.
Well, the joke’s on them. Virtually all of 2017’s new graphic design trends feature bright colors–and not just a pop of them, either.
A mixture of colors such as lemon yellow, magenta, and lime green isn’t just fun to look at. It makes a statement about your company. It says, “We’re bold, we’re happy, and we love variety!”
A word of caution about this trend, though. Sometimes you can have too much color in your graphic designs. Before mixing a bunch of colors together, consider the psychology of color and principles of effective design.
3. Color Transitions
Bright, bold colors just didn’t stop in 2017!
Color transitions depict one color fading into another. They look much like the gradient fill options available on Microsoft Word.
The color transition trend started in 2016 when Instagram underwent a logo overhaul. Out went the cartoony camera. In came a white outline of that same camera set against a color transition.
That color transition, though, is brilliant. It consists of burning yellow, orange, and red fading into cool blue and violet. It’s an effective blending of complementary colors that makes Instagram’s logo–and in turn its brand–stand out.
Since last year, logos, websites, and apps featuring color transitions have popped up everywhere.
Once considered gaudy, animation has emerged as a quick, fun special effect that engages consumers.
Including animation on your website catches viewers’ attention from the get-go. Then while they’re engaged, you can hit them with various pieces of information that they’ll remember thanks to the animation.
A word to the wise, though. Don’t overuse animation on your site. Most companies use animation only as an introduction to their websites.
Including too much animation will distract and frustrate consumers. And when they become distracted and frustrated, they will leave your site.
5. Scroll-Based Parallaxes
Scroll-based parallaxes are an eye-catching alternative to animation and cinemagraphs.
Although a nice design choice, animation and cinemagraphs take up space on a website. They can also fade into the background once consumers are used to seeing them.
Scroll-based parallaxes don’t have that issue. This new graphic design trend features three images. One is in the foreground, another in the middle ground, and the last in the background.
When you scroll, these images move in accordance with where you scroll to. Because you affect the movement, you always feel engaged.
For example, let’s say you’re developing a website for an Exterminator business. Those exterminators want you to create an appealing page that gives facts about bugs in the area.
So you go with this design trend. In the background, you place a sky, and in the middle ground, you place a boy with a magnifying glass.
Then in the foreground, you include a vine with big leaves. On the leaves are bugs with facts about them.
When consumers scroll, they won’t just travel up and down the vine. They’ll see the boy and sky move in accordance with where they are on the vine. They’ll always feel engaged because they’ll feel like they’re really going up and down.
6. Geometric Shapes and Patterns
Like color transitions, geometric shapes and patterns rose to prominence in 2016. 2017 saw their popularity grow, even making it onto Facebook’s available status update backgrounds.
Geometric shapes and patterns are seen as simple yet cute and effective decoration. There is also a myriad of them available, from circles and triangles to flowers and zigzags.
Additionally, geometric shapes and patterns provide space for bright colors against black and white backgrounds.
Even more simple than shapes and patterns are minimalism.
Minimalism focuses strictly on the product or message. There are fewer focal points, and often the product is featured against a white background.
There is something pleasing about minimalist images, though. They don’t try hard to catch consumers’ eyes, which many consumers like. The product is just the product, and consumers take it as they please.
Likely minimalism took hold thanks to how the human mind processes. We remember simple designs faster than complex ones due to simple designs containing less information.
We see the same concept applied to successful icon and logo designs.
8. Modular Layouts
Breaking up information into boxes isn’t a new idea. But (probably thanks to social media) it has become one of the hottest new graphic design trends.
Organizing various pieces of information into boxes don’t just make them pleasing to look at. It also makes them easier to find. When information is easy to find, consumers are less likely to leave your website.
Using multiple modules also lets you include pops of color and images between information.
9. Modern Retro Stenciling and Imagery
You can’t spell “gold” without “old!”
Another one of the hottest new graphic design trends, retro stenciling and imagery made a major comeback in 2017.
Designs featuring this trend draw inspiration from the drawn poster images of days long past.
Old graphic designs on new products make for an interesting–even attractive–mixture in the eyes of many consumers. That goes double for consumers who are old enough to remember when the old was new.
10. Bold Photography With Bold Text
Boldness is a theme among 2017’s new graphic design trends. And this trend is no different.
The concept is simple. A photo with large text on it. It doesn’t sound daring, but oh boy, is it!
First, the photo itself is emotionally riveting. Picture a woman getting ready to run. Her face is hard with determination.
Next, picture the words “NEVER BACK DOWN” in large, white text beside her. A simple photo with a simple sentence now evoke feelings of strength.
One of the easiest new graphic design trends to emulate, bold photos with bold text require little work to say a lot. Their simplistic design also makes them perfect for sharing on social media platforms and image-sharing websites.
What New Graphic Design Trends Will 2018 Bring?
2017 brought us a lot of unexpected new graphic design trends, from colorful pallets to simple patterns to animation.
All of these elements suggest simplicity is still key to engaging consumers. But they also suggest that consumers are ready for fun. They’re looking for something new and interesting that elicits feelings of joy and creativity.
Animation, simple shapes, bright colors–all of these things hearken back to childhood. Millennials are quickly gaining ground as one of the biggest consumer groups. One social behavior that the group is noted for is indulging nostalgia.
Given Millennials‘ love of nostalgia, we expect to see 2018 continue to draw inspiration from yesterday’s youth!
Learn More About Great Graphic Design!
At PSD Learning, we strive to provide you with all the resources you need to produce successful, effective graphic designs. For more on how to produce great graphic designs, check out our design interface section!