An exciting year in graphic design has passed by. It’s amazing to see that the community of designers seems to connect, mix and mingle via online platforms. Within the communication we observe a trend. Silent corporations and cross inspiration form clusters of exciting mix and match styles that speak a strong language. 2020 for sure will be an amazing year for design that takes inspiration from music, vintage, fashion, and a critical view on our pluralist world. Without further ado, let’s dig into the Graphic Design Trends 2020.
Design VS commercial graphics
As always, we have to draw the line before we go into observation. Most things we collected here are from very progressive international influential designers. Certainly some of these talented people will form the current and upcoming trends in design. For reasons you probably won’t find those talents in classical advertising or marketing agencies. You find them in type studios, design studios, and small branding businesses. As always we encourage an artistic dialogue — even in a commercial world. The value of real design, of course, is much different than the value of a normative piece of advertising. Several studies show that especially creatives are living in precarious life situations: The value of their work is financially not as well recognized as the work of big advertising agencies. Our wish for the future is that creatives would receive a more prestigious status, and (fasten your seatbelts) that all of the work that designers do within a job is being paid.
Wild and controversial. Punk!
As for the years 2017 – 2019 we could observe a wide spread of minimalism in the design world. Designers would tend to clean looks to differ from the vast world of commercial advertising. What we observe for the future: It’s definitely getting more crazy, more trashy, and more anti. We see a trend of continuance in that direction. Design certainly plays with an element of surprise, it makes things work that used to be a no-go.
Random, tasteful bad taste, and a bit anti.
There is a lot of rule breaking going on. Random accumulations of retro inspired logos, super weird non harmonic color combinations, neon hitting dirty colors. This design is here to remind you of work that accidentally turned bad because your clients wanted to have that one logo bigger, and the partner logos should have been there too, and the wife loves a neon pink. And please add an outline to that font, and make that type over there in Serif. It’s paintbrush, my granny in the kitchen baking bread, with lovely glyphs. You name it! Throw it in. Shake it. Go!
The 90s Nostalgia your parents will hate, (but you can fax it).
The aesthetics of the nineties have been lingering around for a while. Now, in our upcoming graphic design trends of 2020 we are thinking about amateur design that reminds of work from early 90s hobby designers that stretch, and bend type. That are adding unnecessary photoshop filters just to cover up their lack of talent. The mix of type with photos that don’t speak for themselves. But also the early Starbucks-o-esque North American style of typography, the intro of F·R·I·E·N·D·S — and the technoverse grainy styles of illustrations, covered in a shady layer of grey brown cigarette dust. But: It looks fucking fabulous, and it certainly will give you the feels (unless maybe you’re a boomer).
Webdesign goes editorial
I don’t know about you. But we definitely have seen enough WordPress websites with the same layout (that said — our new new website is in the making, ha! 😅). Webdesign strifes to break more rules, be more editorial and leave more space for typography, animation, and interaction. That also means that JAVA plays a big role again. A few weeks ago we approached a coding agency with a draft for a client’s design, and their response was: That’s so uncool, we did things like that back in the 90s. Well. There you go, it’s that element of surprise. And also maybe a little bit like that frozen vegan chili that sat in your freezer for 6 months, and now scarily tastes amazing.
Typography wants to play, now!
Of course, we will see much more of the crazy type that’s been hitting our systems. We feel that typography will have more of a functional role in the future. Much more than just a visual style designers will create typographical tools that mix match, randomize (as seen e.g. in the current campaign of Vienna’s Burg Theater). Finally by now InDesign features the function for variable fonts. I mean, it’s about time. It doesn’t work perfect yet, but it’s a start. Also, font wants to be morphable and transformable, kinetic and playful.
In style we see fabulous mixed fonts that take clear inspiration from a certain field and take it elsewhere. There is for instance the „GRAND SLANG“ by Nikolas Type, which we loved using in a project this year. It’s elegant, vintage 70s/80s with wiff of nail polish bubble gum and techno, taken to elegant heights. We see techno inspired fonts, fonts that take inspiration from touristic Central Europe in the 80s, and much more.
Techno street wear: HYPER! HYPER!
Maybe you have read our past design trends blog posts from 2017 and 2018. There was a reference to gothic inspired design. We observe a fluid connection between street wear and fashion inspired graphic design, that effortlessly blends into over the top glossy renderings go techno. And it’s all slightly dark and gothy — but not in a classical sense. (That’s why you will find the goth section next!) As usual, it’s all a bit anti and might look like bad taste to the mainstream. But that’s the point. It’s mainly design that speaks to creatives and the art world. We see black with neon and iridescent effects (which still are high in the game, and it’s been there forever!). But also we see references that go to the 90s area, as used by artists as e.g. Róisín Murphy or Robyn. Again these designs are very random, but the visual diversity makes it stand out. We see it as a big playground: Do as you please, it’s hedonism 2020.
Goth! Goth! Goth! But make it cute.
Goth inspired design is still in the game. And it does not necessarily speak to classical gothic lovers. It rather wants to stretch its arms and bend the flavor of things that are (or have not been) dark. It’s a medium of contrast: Heavy metal for pop lovers. This graphic design trend of 2020 has started way earlier, and we are certain we will see much more of it.
2D on 3D on 2D on 3D. On 2D.
Design has been flat for a while. After the disastrous apple material design about eight years ago (remember those wooden app icons?) people’s craving for simplicity was insatiable. With all the slight anti design inspired chaos (please see above) creatives definitely dabble deeper into blending flat and tasteful design with glossy renderings. Definitely a lot of translucent renderings that lie on top of editorial inspired layouts will create a contrast: These layers catch the eye.
Dual design systems for contrast
There is a lot of rule breaking going on. Something that we highly approve of. Wether it might be editorial design or branding, designers create grids and then actively break their logic to create exciting and functional communication systems. Just on top of the game there are two way systems: Designs that practically play with two grids or base concepts that work beside each other. You might think that this is an absolute no-go — but it works. We can’t sum this Graphic Design Trend of 2020 up to one look. Please see some collected examples of fabulous designers below.
Handwriting: Just notes
And lastly more a small design detail we notice more and more. Actually we grew quite fond of it, and we also use it in an upcoming project: Handwriting in editorial and poster design. Just like someone made a note on a print that needs altering. It gives design a sensible human touch and is a fun element of contrast.
More art for commerce
So, the great divide between advertising, graphics and design. We surely know of it. Our wish and aim for 2020 is to bring more design into a world of capitalistic commerce. I can say that all in our studio are concerned with what’s going on in the world. With doing branding we surely give our two cents into a capitalistic world. The past year we only chose to work with clients that create something meaningful. And that’s also what design to us should be. We want to bring design into the vast world of mainstream branding. We want to break the rules, and create a momentum for a new dialogue between communication design and consumers.
We from KR8 bureau actively chose not to grow as a team. We want to stay small and work for a dedicated group of clients, we want to keep our aim high. We love learning from you fabulous designers, and we want to take your word/work out to the world. For now we wish you a fabulous 2020. May the world become a bit better!
List of references:
Meteorite by Frank Wo Studio
Cloackroom by B.A.M. London
KAYTRANADA by Andrea Bianchi
Cleo Bestein Branding by bizarre bizarre studio
In the morning when I rise the first thing on my mind by Timo Lenzen
Self motivation by Marina Lewandowska
“How To” Series by Nicholas Law
Limbo by Sometimes Always
Montreux Jazz Fest by Daytona Mess
Body&Sould by ElDorado
Poster by Petr Kudlacek
Objects on my desktop by Hee Jae Kim
Sounds of Red Bull by Saul Osuna
Alice Florence by William Lintern
Blanc Festival 2019 by Stupendous Studio
&Walsh brand identity by &Walsh
The Tide by Crea.St
CRYPTIC SPELL by Luca Longobardi & Gloria Favaro
Fever Ray Identity by Martin Falck
Tunica Magazine by Tunica Studio
Mixed work by Alycia Rainaud
Artwork by Tom Arena
OCCUPATIONS1 – Print concepts by Alycia Rainaud
Poster for Robyn by Bráulio Amado
CONCEPTESHAM-DMT by BIS Studio Grapique
Typography gamification by Schultz Schultz
Giselle Type by Fatih Hardal
Grand Slang by Nikolas Type
The Malee Scholarship by Sharp Type
Ecosistema del disegno by Folch Studio
OMOTESANDO Website by Naranjio-Etxeberria
WakaWaka by Ben Mingo
Matchen by Nikita Pitertsev
Gothenburg Design Festival by Hannes Ahremark
Nora Eglesz Identity by KR8 bureau
Editorial by Viktor Tittel
GESCHEIN booklet by KR8 bureau