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Thoughts on Design Trends for 2021

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

With each New Year that passes, new graphic design, brand and video trends evolve, bringing a fresh new take on visual communication. And boy do we need some fresh ways to communicate! With the amount of time we are now forced to be online through various lockdowns and the nationwide social media 'obsession', any new style of animation, illustration, visual metaphor or even a fresh new colour palette is a breath of fresh air that adds fuel to your marketing drive.

So let's start with colour. According to the experts at Pantone, the colours of this year are yellow and grey. Or in their more eloquent words:

"PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, two independent colours that highlight how different elements come together to support one another, best express the mood for Pantone Color of the Year 2021. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is one of strength and positivity."

We're all in need of some strength and positivity right now so perhaps their choice is completely appropriate. I think it would be fair to say that connection and a sense of our common humanity is what we're all searching for this year which is why I believe illustration and a sense of the 'hand-made' will continue to attract and motivate potential customers.

Bantu Vegan Artwork by Shaivalini Kumar
Bantu Vegan Artwork by Shaivalini Kumar

Animated gif by Manon Louart

Honesty and authenticity are also continually on the rise and we'll see more purpose-driven, emotionally raw campaigns as consumers and B2B search for bigger meanings behind brands other than fake prestige and hollow claims:

Another continuing design trend that shows no sign of slowing down is the ubiquitous 3D styling in typography, illustrations and animation. 3D imagery now plays into a much more casual styling and isn't just for the themes of tech, product design and architectural visuals. With the continual development of AR and VR (although not exactly in widespread use as everyone predicted) 3D modelling is a skillset every design studio needs up its sleeve.

There are obviously many more visual trends that will evolve over the year as our screentime continues to rocket up during lockdown. Hopefully this short introduction provides food for thought as we all help shape this next phase in the evolution of visual communication.

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