Graphic Design Trends 2018

1. Multiple brand color schemes

Traditionally, companies have a few colors that they use across all of their branding and design work. This helps people recognize them out in the world, on social media and other places online.

But I think this design “tradition” is going to be completely upended as brands look for more ways to stand out in 2018 and beyond.

In fact, companies rebranding with a plethora of colors schemes is one of the first graphic design trends that I see really taking off.

Spotify started doing this a few years ago in all facets of their design but they were one of only a few.

Graphic Design Trends 2018

Now they have such a strong visual brand that I know something came from Spotify almost instantly.

Dropbox also decided to completely ditch their old color palette in 2017 to help update their brand and reach.

Usually, a rebranding effort updates the font or graphic of a company logo, but this one was completely different.

Graphic Design Trends 2018

Instead of changing their logo design, which everyone already knew, they added a ton of new official brand colors to use with it.

They built this new branding to show that great things can happen when diverse minds work together. And I hate to say it because some people were not big fans, but I kinda love the rebrand.

Graphic Design Trends 2018

They already had a logo that everyone knew, but now they have a ton of new ways to use it. When you are a massive company like Dropbox that needs to appeal to almost every industry, this kind of flexibility is ideal.

I also think that this change really reflects their growth as a company from a free place to store your school paper, to something that connects the creatives of the world.

Just take a look at how they evolved their social media presence from last year.

2. Color gradients are making a comeback

Whenever I think of color transitions and gradients, I can’t help but remember the bad word art from Microsoft Word over the past 20ish years.

As kids, we thought this was the best way to make your report on dinosaurs look professional. And I think that we were on to something back then.

Because in 2018 color gradients will be literally everywhere, from web design to Twitter headers, and even presentations. Instagram, always ahead of the curve, has used it in their branding and logos for the past few years, actually.

Graphic Design Trends 2018

Graphic Design Trends 2018

3. Better branded social media images

Last year I talked a little bit about using more authentic photos in all parts of your design and marketing strategies. This year, I really want you to focus on extending that trend to your social shares as well.

Readers and consumers use social media to distract themselves from what is happening in their life.

They don’t want to see a tenuously relevant stock photo that you picked in two seconds for the sake of having an image. That shows readers that the person who produced the content didn’t care enough about their work to find an impactful image.

If the person who created the content doesn’t care, why should you?

For example, if you were scrolling through your Twitter feed, would you click on the tweet that used this image?

Graphic Design Trends 2018

4. Unconventional colors everywhere

As we have seen so far, 2018 is the year of taking risks in your design.

One of the best places to start taking risks is in the colors that you use.

That doesn’t mean that you need completely rethink your brand’s color palettes, like some of the brands I’ve mentioned already. Instead, be ready to inject some more risky colors in your design projects this year.

Bold colors are the most common driving force that we have seen behind each of the design trends this year. I wouldn’t call any of the following colors traditional in any sense of the word.

Sticking to the traditional corporate blue palette isn’t going to cut it this year. Also, if you noticed, minimalism and neutral color schemes are on its way out.

Instead, I recommend going a little off the rails with the colors you pick–within reason.

Find a few colors that you can call your “unofficial brand colors” and use them across all your projects. This way, you can do something new and exciting but still stay close to your core values in other places.

A great example of using bold color comes from the sports world, in Bleacher Report. They are in an extremely competitive space, fighting with thousands of sports writers for your eyeballs.

Graphic Design Trends 2018

5. Bold & handwritten fonts dominate

What makes you a good graphic designer? Another way to add some eye-catching features to your designs is to use some bold or handwritten fonts. This is another trend that seems to come from the design world, moving away from boring minimalism as a whole.

Bold and handwritten fonts are going to stand out against the simple or overused fonts that your competitors are using. And they will help your content jump off the screen on social media–whether it’s infographics for your blog, Facebook ads, or motivational quotes on your social media.

Kinda like my alma mater, the University of Arkansas, does below:

Graphic Design Trends 2018