Keeping the bigger picture in perspective, 2023’s graphic design trends kind of feel like a tug-of-war between some rather conflicting styles. The ol’ “out with the old, in with the new” is obsolete. We’re designing either for comfort, unconventionality, or immaculate vibes this year. Some design trends might overlap in these three extremes, but the one thing one can confidently say about any of this year’s tendencies is that they are not boring!
Expect to see rich jewel colors take up more digital real estate, starting with Pantone’s color of the year, Viva Magenta, which is described as “vibrant yet warm, earthy yet rich.” Even modern-natural designs are getting makeovers with the pivotal aid of motion graphics. To top it all off, Gen Z design trends are leaving the sidelines of the design world and are now at the front and center.
The Graphic Design Trends in 2023:
- Motion Design Reigns Supreme
- Vector Art Overlay + Real-Life Footage = ❤️
- Gen Z Graphic Design Influence
- Experimental Typography
- 90s Nostalgia Aesthetic
- 70s Retro Flat Style
- Memphis Design
- Psychedelic Design
- Shapes and Strokes Mash-Up
- Neon Cartoon Stickers
- Modern Natural Aesthetics
- Clean Design Style
- Risoprinting With a Twist
- Abstract Gradients | Anti-Gravity Design
- Maximalism Design
- Anti-Design | Neubrutalism
- AI-Generated Art
- What About Colors? What's Trending in Graphic Design?
Is “Staying Ahead” of Graphic Design Trends Still a Thing?
Looking at a side-by-side of the graphic design trend predictions for 2022, and all the 2023 visual trends we’re expecting to see take off, it’s clear that going against the grain is becoming the norm. It seems that finding ways to avoid designing on-trend is actually becoming a trend in and of itself. So, in fact, staying ahead of the curve this year is all about finding the wave that your own style can easily mesh in with.
Above all else, keep in mind that all trends should be taken with a grain of salt. As long as you are up to date with UX and web accessibility requirements, and you’ve got the graphic design basics down pat, there’s no trend that can overshadow a truly remarkable design! The best way to use trends is to acknowledge their marketable value and cherry-pick what to implement in your own work as you see fit.
Let’s see what graphic design trends we’re working with in 2023!
Motion Design Reigns Supreme
The ascension of motion graphics to the tiptop of graphic design trends in 2023 is not exactly breaking news. Motion design has been a recurring theme throughout the trend lists of recent years, in one way or another. Experimental kinetic typography took 2022 by storm, and digital content creators and marketers continue to tap into the inexhaustible, attention-grabbing nature of animated graphics for branding and improved web/app user experience.
In 2023, we’re expecting to see dynamic graphic design follow a similar upward path to popularity, as there’s no longer a “skill wall” to stop anyone from creating stunning vector animation from scratch. We call out vector motion graphics in particular for a reason! They’re the most performance-friendly option for both the web and mobile, and the constraints of code writing or plugin-purgatory are non-existent when you’re using a no-code animation tool, like SVGator.
Vector Art Overlay + Real-Life Footage = ❤️
In 2022, a mixed-media blend of 2D and 3D elements, in both static and dynamic form, was very much in vogue, as it challenged designers to, in a way, breathe new life into flat design. This year, we’re likely to see the mixed-media trend evolve and take shape in the form of the vector art video overlay technique. To an extent, it has grown in popularity thanks to the short-format content creators on TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube.
The combo of vector art and real-life footage makes it easy for anyone in the creative field to produce visually striking content that has the best of both worlds: the realism and emotional charge of live footage, and the flexibility and scalability of vector graphics. Not to mention that vector graphics can be used across multiple formats and devices without losing quality, so they can be repurposed in countless ways. Engaging content is forever going to be in high-demand, and in 2023, we’re meeting those demands more easily than ever!
Gen Z Graphic Design Influence
As digital natives, Gen Z are leaving a dominant footprint in the hectic drifts we’re seeing among graphic design trends in 2023. Deeply saturated colors, grainy gradients, ransom-note-like typefaces, organic textures, and motifs that spark conversation – all get used in a fusion with vintage elements from the 70s, 90s, and of course, Y2K.
The use of funny, relatable, and political messaging is how Gen Z designers are balancing the use of offbeat and gutsy design styles. We’ll be seeing a number of graphic design trends with an underlying Gen Z influence in 2023, like 90s nostalgia, neon cartoon stickers, or Neubrutalism.
Digital typography is becoming one area of graphic design that feels more and more like a lawless playground for adventurous designers. Experimental typography is unconstrained by rules and can sometimes display as less functional, but definitely more expressive. The guidelines for shape, height, and spacing of letterforms are less etched in stone in 2023.
Designers are breaking free from the constraints of traditional typefaces and experimenting with bold, dynamic, and playful lettering. From fluid brush strokes to layered neon lights, letter case mashups, animated handwriting effects, and peculiar uses of white space – the possibilities are endless. In more conventional typography-related news, serif fonts are stealing the spotlight this year.
90s Nostalgia Aesthetic
Making use of 90s graphic design inspiration hasn’t ever truly gone out of style. The nostalgia that 90s kids hold onto, and Gen Z’s fondness for the style of that era, are enabling this graphic design trend to click with a sizable crowd in 2023 as well. It's like taking a trip down memory lane, but with better design software, and lightning-fast WiFi instead of dial-up internet.
Chunky text, funky neons on dark backgrounds, cyberpunk motifs, slightly blurred lines between 90s nostalgia and Y2K mania, and generally loud imagery are the graphic elements that make this trend’s ideal audience get the same warm and fuzzy feels that Beanie Babies, frosted tips, and light-up sneakers evoke.
70s Retro Flat Style
Figma and Gumroad might be the two biggest influences behind how firm of a position the retro flat style has taken among the most popular graphic design trends of 2023. A large part of the design community is eager to boogie down with the groovy patterns of the 70s! Clean, simple lines, geometric shapes, bold colors (think avocado green, sunshine yellow, bright orange) are also thrown into the mix.
The funky flair of the designs that blend with the 70s retro flat style makes them feel nostalgic to a sizeable audience. By fine tuning the designs with more modern takes, like implementing motion graphics or using them in tech-related contexts, designers are managing to pull off a vintage look that won’t get mistaken for “outdated.”
The 80s aren’t exempt from the graphic design world’s tendency to revisit and revive trends in 2023. A great example is the return of the Memphis style, now explored in the 3rd dimension! Neon pinks, risky color combinations, black and white stripes, clashing patterns, a futuristic 3D twist, and a general quirkiness and playfulness – this is how Memphis design is making its comeback.
The broader direction of this trend is simply about having fun and not taking ourselves, or our designs, too seriously. A perspective that designers can benefit from at this moment in time. That’s not to say that artwork created following this trend has less marketability. The projects we’ve seen so far are (literal!) head-spinners!
With an 80s airbrush style undertone, 2023’s surrealist graphic design may not be a trend that all artists will pick up on, but the draw of puzzling juxtapositions cannot be ignored. The airbrush technique, which creates smooth gradations of color and texture, layered on top of unexpected and dreamlike elements and compositions, makes for a particularly outlandish (in a good way!) visual style.
The 2023 version of surrealism is highly detailed, erring on the side of realistic illustrations that are only slightly bordering on a fever-dream-ish mental image. Truth be told, this trend is an eerie playground for designers that are looking at new avenues when it comes to creating memorable graphics. Put those same graphics in motion, and the allure increases tenfold!
The traction of immersive technologies, like AR and VR, have made it clear that stimulating the mind in atypical ways is an inherently effective way to captivate an audience. Psychedelic design has been doing just that, on and off ever since the 1960s. In 2023, the psychedelic digital art’s resurgence is more tame than its first-generation form, and takes on a tinge of 90s space-inspired imagery.
In 2022, psychedelic artwork featured loud color palettes, bold contrasts, and immersive visualizations. This time around, psychedelic graphic design is making us do doubletakes and guiding our attention with entrancing retro-futuristic elements and unexpected ways of exploring the space motif.
Shapes and Strokes Mash-Up
Digital graphics designed following this liberally simplistic style have a distinct flair, as they look both open-ended and concise. This design practice has made its way among the graphic design trends of 2023 just as easily as it has occupied a secure territory in most illustration and animation libraries. Needless to say, this is a trend that we’ll be seeing consistently this year.
This design style works wonderfully with a limited color palette as the shapes and strokes do the heavy lifting of creating a sense of depth and movement. Negative space is also used to create contrast and balance in the composition. A peculiar brand of minimalism that’s been steadily winning designers over!
Neon Cartoon Stickers
Bright neon colors (pink, green, blue neons) are popping back into the spotlight thanks to a playful and colorful 2023 graphic design trend, namely cartoon-ish stickers. The whimsical look of these graphics is on par with both millennial graphic design (for which it’s a blast from the past), and with Gen Z’s affinity for resurrecting trends we thought were done.
Bold outlines, cartoon-like artwork, simplistic shapes, and asymmetrical compositions are all features we’re seeing come as a package deal with this trend. In animated sticker format, these visuals have a striking effect, and we’ll be seeing them plastered over all sorts of mediums in 2023. Given how easy it is now to create custom GIF stickers, these neon snippets of creativity are the perfect add-ons to TikTok videos, banner ads, and more!
Modern Natural Aesthetics
Soft, muted hues and whimsical graphics, often used in combination with geometric shapes and a limited color palette, topped up with simple modern typography – these are the main features of the modern natural aesthetic that’s taking shape in the early days of 2023. The colors and textures used in this design style are reminiscent of natural elements, like linen or recyclable materials.
Think of this 2023 graphic design trend as the mildest push-back to the ultra-sleek look of rigid material design. The most popular designs that have this aesthetic are uncluttered clean, and use minimal shapes, all while still being cheerful and expressive.
Clean Design Style
Doubling down on the minimalist approach, designers aren’t letting go of the (super)clean design style in 2023! With a strong preference for clutter-free UIs, creatives that are perpetuating this trend are centering all the attention on the product, or better yet, on how the product aims to serve the user.
As simple as this aesthetic seeks to be, it actually requires a lot of effort to pull off. The style is distinguished by ample space between elements, a clear visual hierarchy, ease of information navigation, and a mostly white-ish color palette. Subtle tints or a single strong pop of color are variations that get used (with a purpose!) in this style as well. Considering this trend’s constraints, designers need a good handle on the principles of graphic design for an effective implementation.
Risoprinting With a Twist
On the opposite end of the graphic design realm, creatives are leaving the “clean” look behind and aiming to re-create the striking uniqueness of vivid risograph prints using blending modes. This retro style is defined by the use of bold contrasting colors and grainy textures. It mimics the artwork of the risoprint era, which came to be via a blend of screen printing techniques and an average office copier.
Posters, magazines, zines, album covers, and all sorts of prints created using the risograph printing technique were absolute eye candy, as no other affordable printing method could produce such “loud” colors at the time. In 2023, we’re seeing designers bring back the “perfectly imperfect” vibe of this technique in all sorts of projects. Grainyents are likely to become just as popular as Glassmorphism was in 2022!
Abstract Gradients | Anti-Gravity Design
Another gradient-linked graphic design trend that’s gaining momentum in 2023 is the liquid gradients style paired with anti-gravity design. This type of gradient involves blending colors in a way that emulates the appearance of a fluid. Adding the illusion of said fluid floating in space, defying the laws of gravity, makes the design an instant attention-grabber. Anti-gravity motion design typically requires asymmetry and rotation effects on a smooth loop.
Both liquid gradients and anti-gravity design are part of the larger movement that supports creating dynamic, visually engaging designs – without taking away from the messages that need to be conveyed. We’ve experimented with this combination of effects with SVGator, and the result is mesmerizing!
Maximalism is basically a way to declare war against white space, simplicity, and the “less is more” mantra. With an intentional decision to not play by the rules, graphic designers are experimenting with maximalism after a long (and not yet over) streak of minimalism supremacy. 2022’s version of graphic oversaturation is heavily influenced by Gen Z’s tendency to give established standards a 180° makeover.
There is a certain degree of overlap between maximalism design and surrealism/escapism, but its distinctive features are clashing textures, noisy color combinations, and excessive layering. This graphic design trend is only a few risky moves away from being synonymous with brutalism, but the truth is that it does what trending graphics do best: it seizes attention!
Anti-Design | Neubrutalism
The anti-design, or anti-aesthetics movement might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a true testament to how much of an influence Gen Z graphic design trends have on the entire creative field. What started out as a manageable case of Y2K mania last year has now morphed into a design style that has the sole intention of challenging traditional ideas of beauty and perfection in modern design. Neubrutalism is the poster child of the anti-design movement!
Neubrutalism in graphic design is easy to spot, especially if you’re the type of designer who’s accustomed to playing by the rules. Clashing color combinations, high contrasts paired with pure black, mismatched typography, intentionally pixelated imagery, and pages stripped down to the bare essentials are all commonplace in neubrutalist design. Glorified chaos or exhilarating change of pace? Still up for debate!
One of the current trends in graphic design that is just as controversial as it is enticing for digital creators is AI-generated art. In 2023, AI art is predicted to shape up and become more than an experimental tech novelty. What some viewed as a threat to the creative industry in 2022, we are now seeing leveraged by creators that are compounding the power of artificial intelligence with their own skills and experience. The results are outstanding!
We all stand to gain from pushing the boundaries of this 2023 graphic design trend. AI-created art is by no means replacing the wonderful art that stems from the human psyche which takes time and effort to materialize in either digital or physical form. There is, however, a conversation to be had on ownership and copyright laws in the context of AI-generated artwork.
What About Colors? What's Trending in Graphic Design?
We’ve already touched on color palettes strongly correlated with the 2023 graphic design trends that they’re indicative of, like how clashing color combinations of red and blue or red and green are typical of neubrutalist design. However, there are three color trends that thrive independently, and that we’re sure to see used in a myriad of contexts this year. They’re on three different levels of the emotional-impact spectrum, and serve their intended purposes to a T.
Rich Jewel Colors
Rich, jewel-toned colors are gaining popularity in 2023, in a decidedly successful attempt to create designs that stand out in an already crowded digital landscape. Reminiscent of the graphic design style of 1930s luxury brands, this color trend features a bold and vibrant palette of deep hues, including emerald green, sapphire blue, and ruby red.
This year, look for high-end brands to fall back on this visually indulgent color palette to evoke elegance and a perception of exclusivity. It’s certainly a graphic design trend we’re seeing be welcomed back with open arms. The difference is that now we’ll notice jewel colors predominantly being used as backdrops for an added sense of depth and dimension, as gradients or abstract shapes.
It’s reassuring to notice how the eco-aesthetic that the design world gushed over in 2022 turned out not to be a simple fad. We’re seeing it have a longer life span, as the muted colors that it’s defined by have clearly made the cut to being a significant 2023 graphic design trend! This evolving style features a palette of soft, natural hues such as earth tones, muted greens, and blues, and it often depicts imagery related to the natural world.
Anticipate seeing the eco-aesthetic migrate further than brands and companies involved in sustainable fashion, eco-friendly products, or green energy. Muted colors are seen as a reflection of interest taken in important social and environmental issues, regardless of what you’re building on the web. This aesthetic has also taken the role of a safety net for designers who want to adopt a neutral calming palette in the wake of the difficult world events we’re all hyper-aware of.
On the total opposite of soft aesthetics, the use of very striking and arresting colors will make an impact in 2023. This color trend is predicted to flood a wide variety of styles, not just neubrutalism and Y2K. Acidic hues are a great tool when you want to come across as edgy, confident and make a strong statement.
The graphic design trend 2023 forecasts are looking exciting, in some ways keen on challenging the status quo of the design world, and ultimately open to interpretation. Now that you’re up to speed with all the ways designers are either going against the tide (looking at you, Gen Z!), and what retro vibes we’re resurrecting in 2023, we encourage you to put your own spin on things!
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