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Digital illustration has become one of the most effective ways to start a more emotional conversation with customers. It helps brands establish warmer and more “human” relationships with their target audiences and build their loyalty. As a big trend itself, a custom digital illustration has been influenced by other graphic design trends and brilliantly evolved.

The world is going to face a new wave of design tendencies and transformations this year. To kick off 2020, we are sharing here our predictions toward digital illustration trends that will rock online audience.

Restricted Palette

Illustration by Patryk Wojciechowicz for Fireart Studio

There is no need to use a full specter of colors if you can creatively operate with a few of them. Many designers call it a “less-is-more” effect. Using several leading tones in the illustration, you can add even more style and elegance to your artwork. It will definitely stand out in a digital space since this trend has just come into the designer’s palette this year.

These restrictions add more air into an image and bring a fresh look. Reducing colors to basics, we can notice that the slightest tones can be replaced with bolder essential colors. It is one of the most popular digital illustration practices for 2020 that will make images look outstanding.

Soft Gradients

Illustration by Patryk Wojciechowicz for Fireart Studio

The gradient seems to be a well-known practice that has been frequently used since 2010 and till today. In 2020, it will be still in fashion, and the gradients will appear not only in digital illustrations but also in UI design and packaging design.

In the right hands, the gradients turn the images into masterpieces that convey a whole lot of feelings and emotions. In 2020, we will probably notice more gradients of pastel colors. This technique makes objects look even more immersive and add the alluring look to the overall image. 

Blurred Lines between Illustration and Animation

Illustration by Dmitrij for Fireart Studio

As known, the user’s attention spans tend to become shorter, and as skilled illustrators and designers, we should take new approaches to keep the user’s eyes on image for a longer time. In 2020, the limits between a flat image and animation will be blurred. Even today GIFs and other animations are quickly replacing flat illustrations on websites, mobile apps, blogs, and social media. 

It means that in 2020, illustrators and motion designers may collaborate more often. Digital animation plays a vital role in creating the modern customer experiences with integrated AR and VR technologies. They empower designers to do new creative experiments and find fantastic ways to engage with illustration in real-world environments.

The union of an excellent illustration with incredible motion design will constitute one of the most popular digital illustration techniques in 2020.

3D Surrealism

Animation by Aslan Almukhambetov for Fireart Studio

We could already see beautiful and even weird surrealistic artworks created in 3D space earlier. However, in 2020, this practice is expected to boom into new incredible visuals. 

The fast-evolving 3D software opens up more opportunities for designers and illustrators. Surely, they won’t miss the chance to do new crazy experiments and fuel the mind-bending surrealist imagery. Well-combined video, sound design, and a surrealistic manner make up a new type of thumb-stopping visuals, which ideally suit social networks.

Real-Life Textures

Animation by Fireart Studio

Some examples of digital illustrations for business may seem a bit cold and impersonal. To become cozier and more friendly, they need a slight touch of authentical techniques and textures. Just imagine an illustration with the areas of lino, silkscreen, letterpress textures. It must look much more exciting and “warmer” than the ordinary vector graphics.

Applied skillfully, hand-made textures can make magic with your digital illustration. Triggering tactile memories of our interactions with the real-world objects, they make flat images look more appealing.

Innovative Approaches to Depicting a Human Body 

Illustration by Sha_G for Fireart Studio

In 2020, designers will take creative approaches to the body silhouettes and will depict human bodies in unusual and innovative ways. Digital illustrations will celebrate our physical appearance. The funny and stylish caricatures will become one of the most prominent digital illustration trends. The imperfect brush strokes and wobbly lines will probably be the frequent attributes of a caricature.

Geometric Patterns

Illustration by Julia Hanke for Fireart Studio

Geometric patterns applied in the digital illustration are one of the biggest upcoming trends. From soft and round forms to sharp beauty of strict mathematical shapes, geometry will reveal itself in the variety of textures and grids.

Likely, this trend will be implemented not only in illustration but in other areas of design, including web design, packaging design, branding design, etc.

Conclusion

The new year brings a lot of further design techniques and experiments. In this short overview, our team has shared the trends we have spotted recently and predictions on what will be in the air in 2020.

We hope that the examples mentioned above and practices will inspire you to challenge digital illustration with new approaches and create something outstanding. Of course, no one is saying that you have to follow these trends, but it is certainly good to know what they are.