Top 5 graphic design trends for 2023

Graphic design of a woman's profile. She has dark hair, a red cap, and a red and white striped shirt.

Even if you’re not a graphic designer, following design trends can be inspiring for blog layout (and subject matter), social media content creation, website look and layout, and brand style.

  1. Mysticism
  2. Retro Illustration
  3. Folk Botanical
  4. Risograph
  5. ’90s Space Psychedelia

While graphic design websites are speculating on the popularity of many potential trends in 2023 (retro line art, punk revival, and abstract gradients are some examples), here are five that speak to me.

All five styles here play with color. Three tap into nostalgia. There’s also a through line of imperfection lending to the uniqueness of the design.


Fantasy, which blends mythology and sci-fi, has been a major design trend for a while. But mysticism, drawing from iconography that relates to astrology and divination, feels like fantasy’s more obscure and mysterious cousin. I love symbols, sigils, and talismans that contain secret or hidden meaning. “From a purely visual standpoint, there is an inherent gentleness to these designs,” writes 99 Designs. “They are constructed with thin lines and organic curves that feel light and delicate. Colors become calming when subdued through muted tones. And the imagery of moons, stars and meditative faces evoke uplifting peace, an escape from earthly concerns that offers hope and solace.

A graphic design with orange, green, blue, yellow, and pink clouds on the left side of the page. On the right side is a navy blue Hamsa hand with a moon and clouds in the palm.
“Midnight Hamsa” medium layflat notebook design by Denik

Retro Illustration

This is a trend that appeals to us through nostalgia. But it can also be updated with contemporary techniques. French illustrator Malika Favre, for example, “captures the raw sex appeal of the mid-20th century,” writes “She combines it with minimalist art to give striking art pieces.” Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Nat Geo, and Vogue Spain, among other publications. I love her use of bold, clean lines and saturated, contrasting colors. Designs feel both lush and organized. They express current themes and ideas through the lens of recognizable and familiar design aesthetic.

Stylized graphic design of a woman's  face. She wears a hajib and has red lips and round sunglasses. Reflected in the sunglasses lenses we see she is driving a car.
Start Your Engines by Malika Favre

Folk Botanical

Florals have long been a staple of graphics design. Last year was big for blossoms. But for 2023, botanicals take on rougher and more rustic proportions. Think: imperfectly hand-carved stamps, hand-drawn lines, and off-kilter block prints. “This trend reinterprets familiar nature themes into unexpected, whimsical drawings,” says 99 Designs. “It also rejects the geometrical precision too often imposed by vector art tools. But the vibrancy in these patterns does not only come from the plants but from the shaky imperfections of the human hand. The effect is to make digital artworks feel organic in more ways than one.”

Water color and ink design of flowers and leaves in black, gray, red, yellow, and green.
Mixed media design by by kirsen
Floral design of yellow-green petals and gold leaves against a black background.
Folk flowers from PNGTree


A brand of print duplicators used for high volume copy and print jobs, Risograph was introduced in Japan in 1980. The technology is similar to that of the mimeograph, and riso printers were known for using soy-based ink. Contemporary digital designers have repurposed the color and visual style from riso printing and mainly use the aesthetic in background designs. “Expect to see bright blues, oranges, yellows, and pinks. Some of these same colors are part of the material design palette that was popular not too long ago, so there’s a natural carryover for this trend,” explains Design Shack. “The color palette in the riso style is often rather limited and might even be reminiscent of a duotone or include a dot grain or halftone effect. [And] Risograph backgrounds are quite imperfect with lines or shapes that aren’t exactly as you’d expect, but have a quaint quality to them.”

Ad advertisement for the Risograph PSD effect with hazy hands in white holding a purple butterfly.
Risograph template from Envato Elements

’90s Space Psychedelia

Last year’s ’60s psychedelia trend gets an update … to the 1990s. The shift here is that inspiration comes less from nature (trippy florals, mushrooms, clouds) and more from futurism. There’s a nod to sci-fi here, and Saturday cartoons. Other influences include the loud, colorful style of 1980s Memphis Design, “and colors reminiscent of Lisa Frank school supplies,” reveals 99 Designs. “It mixes in futuristic themes, like androids and spaceships, vaporwave landscapes, simulated environments and cyberpunk neon.”

Image of a character than looks like an astronaut in a jagged, rocky landscape looking out to a sky with planets and a red and gold spiral.
Golden Phi by Monkeii
A graphic design in pink, orange, and purple of a female character with reflective glasses and moon boots seated on a boom box. The words "Midnight Girl" are in silver across the top third of the page.
Midnight Girl by WifiSigns

What design trends are you hoping to incorporate in 2023? Share in the comments below.

How to Use Color Palette Generators

  1. Canva
  3. Figma

Why use a color palette generator? When branding a business, website, or campaign, it’s important to have a dedicated color palette. Because those colors represent your mission, they should stand out, be immediately recognizable as YOUR COLORS, and also relate to your products, service, or campaign.

There are many places to find color palettes, such as Canva, Pantone, and Pinterest (just search “color palette” — you won’t be disappointed!) You can also learn more about color wheels and color theory at Hubspot’s informative blog on the subject.

But one way to create truly unique color palettes is to create your own from images that inspire you. Here are three color palette generator tools to help you do that.

1. Canva

Instead of using Canva’s Color Combinations Resource, try the Color Palette Generator. Here’s how it works: You upload an image and bam! In less time than it takes to blink the generator has churned out a palette for you.

But, as you can see from my demo below, the generator has a mind of its own. I was expecting pastels and brights and, instead, ended up with something more reminiscent of The Brady Bunch’s living room.

PROS: It’s ridiculously easy to use, and the site also offers demo images to try.
CONS: If you don’t like the colors it pulled from your image, there isn’t a way to select other parts of the image, or add or subtract from the generated palette.

Light bulbs of various sizes, shapes, and colors such as red, pink, lavender, yellow, and blue. Below is a palette created by a color palette generator.
A color palette created in Canva’s Color Palette Generator


The Image Picker at offers lots of options. To use it, browse or drag and drop a photo. The Image Picker will immediately select five colors from the image. BUT — and here’s the cool part — it places markers on the image showing you where each color came from. You can drag each marker to change the color, creating a truly custom palette. There are also layout options for a collage when you export your palette.

The image I used, below, is of purple and gold late-summer flowers. The initial palette suggested by the generator was darker and more subtle. I reselected for brighter yellow and pink shades.

PROS: So many options, and it’s fun to use.
CONS: Some options, such as certain collage layouts, are only available with a pro subscription.

An image of purple and gold late summer flower in a field. Below is a palette created by a color palette generator.
A custom color palette created using the Image Picker at

3. Figma

Collaborative interface design tool Figma offers tools for layout as well as palette generation. For the latter:

  • Install a plugin such as Photo to Palette.
  • Run the plugin and it will automatically generate a color palette based on colors in your image.

Or, for more control:

  • Create and set up a free account on Figma.
  • Create a new project and import and image (or several images!)
  • If you’ve selected a number of images, you might way to organize them on the page.
  • Using the rectangle tool, create a 50px by 50px square to the right of your image(s).
  • Duplicate the square at least three times.
  • For each square, click the fill option on the left-side tool bar.
  • Using the eye-dropper select a color from the image
  • When you’ve filled in each square with color, you’ll have a customized palette.

For my palettes, I selected images of butterflies (below) and vintage hats (top of page). The plugin-generated color palette runs along the bottom of the image and my hand-picked palette is on the right side.

PROS: Lots of control in color selection, and the ability to use and select from multiple images.
CONS: More complicated to use. The automated generator requires a plugin and offers no control of color selection. The manual process has many steps. The Figma platform requires initial set up.

A collage of images of butterflies. Some are photographs and some are illustrations. Below and to the right are palettes created by color palette generators.

There you have it! Three ways to generate your own color palettes for your brand assets, your website, a marketing campaign and more.

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