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.
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.
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 KoolStories.com. “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.
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.”
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.”
’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.”
What design trends are you hoping to incorporate in 2023? Share in the comments below.