With each new year, freelancers strive to evolve with the changing digital landscape. Keeping current on the latest graphic design trends is essential to remain competitive in an always-changing marketplace.
With that in mind, we thought we’d give you a headstart for 2019. We’ve analyzed and collected emerging design trends across the board—graphic design, logo design, web design, and more—to showcase what we predict to be the next big trends in branding.
Whether you’re building your own brand or making these decisions for a client, use them today to show you’re on the cutting edge of your industry.
The recent rise of serifs shows that minimalism’s domination of the digital realm is starting to crack. That’s not to say that minimalism is going away any time soon—as you can see in some trends below, it still remains highly influential. But recently we’re seeing more tolerance for designs that are far from minimal, including ornamental serifs.
Serifs refer to those little tags on letters, and the fonts that use them. Their opposition are the sans serif fonts—letters with no tags—which until recently have been crowding web design as part of the minimalism movement.
2. Thumb-friendly mobile navigation
It’s been a couple of years since mobile devices beat out desktop for browsing the internet, but design trends are now starting to catch up. The first of our “mobile-friendly” web design trends involves something that, in retrospect, seems so obvious: designing navigation for thumbs.
In the past, navigation menus like hamburger icons were usually situated in the top left or right corners to coincide with desktop sites. But since research shows how nearly all (94%) of mobile users prefer their thumbs over their fingers, designers are rethinking that setup.
3. Vertical Videos
Our second “mobile-friendly” trend is part of the larger movement around videos, one of the most popular types of content for all things online. With tech advancements and better data packages for mobile devices, demand for video content continues to grow with no sign of slowing down.
As a result, people are starting to film and post more mobile-friendly videos, in particular vertical video. While shooting vertical (portrait) videos was once considered an online faux pas, the powerful shift to mobile has since changed people’s perspective.
4. “Friendlier” Geometrics
In the last couple of years, we started seeing more geometric shapes all over the design world: shapes with sharp corners and rigid lines, large grids extending out into the distance, repeated patterns of intermingling shapes for backgrounds, etc. While that trend itself is still growing, it’s also learning from its mistakes and changing its trajectory for “friendlier” territory.
While their structure and order are appealing, the problem with geometric shapes is that they can come off as cold and impersonal, even oppressive at extremes. Designers have learned to temper this drawback using two tactics in particular: warm colors and curves.
Especially in web design, asymmetrical layouts are starting to pop up everywhere. Some say it’s a way for professionally designed sites to differentiate themselves from the template-builder sites like Squarespace or Canva; others say the trend is a rebellion against the structure of the geometrics trend above. Regardless, if you want to market yourself as edgy or as someone who thinks outside of the box, asymmetry is a good way to do it.
6. 3D imagery
The better tech gets, the higher users’ expectations rise. With HD visuals, faster loading times, and more advanced design tools, people today demand visuals that wow and impress, which paves the way for our next trend: 3D imagery.
7. Custom Fonts
It’s not just images and photographs that are getting a makeover. Fonts are also updating their standards based on what’s popular.
We already mentioned the return of serifs, but another typographic trend for 2019 is custom fonts, original or rare fonts with telltale looks. After all, typography is just another opportunity to showcase your brand identity.
9. Vintage Logos
No industry is immune from fierce competition anymore. With new companies popping up every day and every one claiming to be the best, brands and freelancers alike are looking for ways to prove their authenticity amidst a sea of pretenders.
One shortcut many brands take is using a vintage logo. Because the visuals are reminiscent of decades past, simply using this style is enough to suggest your company has a successful history, even if it just launched yesterday.
10. Duotone gradients
Last, we end with the merging of two trends from years past to create a wholly new trend for the future. The duotone trend, reducing an image to just two contrasting colors, became popular a few years ago thanks to Spotify. But now, and more-so in 2019, the duotone trend is seeing a resurgence thanks to the help of gradients, or “color transitions,” which fade into one another.