These were challenging times. We can’t be sure they are behind. As digital creators, you can do something very special for humanity — uplift the overall mood by creating a design that makes each of us better.
2020 — what’s your first association with it? The pandemic, recession, closed stores, staying alone at home for a long time… But it’s also about the shift of mindset, reestimation of life values, disruptive changes, the end of the old, and the birth of the new. Everyone has approached things in a different way after the events experienced in 2020. We all expect a little bit more sunshine in 2021. Graphic design is how you can give it to everyone in the digital space when we are still staying mostly at home.
Here I suggest graphic design trends that can help people feel more positive and comfortable with those unexpected circumstances forcing us to change many things in our lives. This article isn’t only about the graphic design inspiration, but also about humanity, compassion, and the good inside of each of us (admit it, inside of YOU too!).
The creative industry is going to experience the splash of vibrant colors, playfulness, optimism, and humor. While humanity is now isolated from each other at homes, the design is taking a “funnier” direction. People are looking for optimism, hope, and laughter in the things they use every day. As graphic designers, you can give it to them. We can notice that people are excited by designs that reflect a more open and inclusive future, the lift of all lockdown restrictions, and socialization.
Virgin Money implemented it masterfully. They hired Pentagram to rethink their branding design and make it more playful, optimistic and colorful. Virgin wanted to reflect its people-centered approach in brand identity.
2020 changed us and the things around us. Whether it’s good or bad, but most of us have become more cynical, skeptical, and frazzled by restrictions. We don’t want to be blinded by dopy marketing campaigns promising us the castles in the air and pink unicorns grazing on our lawns anymore. Humanity is striving to experience something authentic, true, and original. No lies. Openness, equality, and honesty instead.
These social tendencies are naturally reflected in graphic design as hyper-realistic scenes, authentic textures, characters that embody our naive beliefs, and warm, retro color palettes. The graphic design 2021 will reveal more intimacy and true desires hiding inside of us for such a long time. They will break out through the design, showcasing that all people are people and everyone has a broad spectrum of peculiarities, dreams, and desires.
The trends of reusing and recycling everything from the grain to water are embracing different industries. The graphic design just couldn’t help but experience them too. The evocations to be more self-aware, empathic, compassionate, and tolerant are shouting out from cool, modern adverts, posters, banners, and other graphic design samples. In 2021, we will see the particular growth of the “Be-Awesome” trend in packaging design. It’s not new, but we expect to see it blooming even more in the upcoming years.
Positive design in 2021 might look like this…
… or like the one below. The goal is the same — to awake positive-thinking and reserves of the Good inside of people.
Limited, restricted, and locked at home jails. This is how the majority feel themselves today. Yes, unfortunately. In 2021, we anticipate the rise of graphic design trends that disrupt outdated rules, promote informality, overcome restrictions, and add a pinch of sweet madness. The overall social mood is about breaking the patterns, doing unusual things, combining incompatible, and implementing unexpected.
Trends like steampunk and biopunk are expected to come back. Moreover, some forward-thinking designers create new graphic design trends as the genius combination of different “disruptive” styles. For instance, concept designers from Fireart Games (owned by Fireart Studio) have created the new, dream-empowering visual style, Mechbiopunk (Mechanic + Biopunk), for their newly born point-and-click adventure game Tohu.
“I have no clue whether anything like this exists anywhere else, but we name it “mechbiopunk.” — said Dima Venglinski, Founder and CEO of Fireart Games and Fireart Studio.
“I wanted to create something opposite to dark Giger’s biopunk. Something that featured the cohesion of biology and mechanics, but would be kind and positive. I understood that the gaming world lacked more original genres. With the visual concept of a new world in my head, I started designing the first characters by mixing the animal world and mechanisms.” — DAN Gartman, Concept Designer and Illustrator at Fireart.
A nice example of mechbiopunk is Tohu’s main character. Meet The Girl.
Oh… I’m sorry. Meet The Girl & The Company, of course.
During the lockdown, many people have been immersed in gaming. Many of us have been waiting for the release of Cyberpunk 2077 like kids. Finally available, this video game has strengthened the influence of cyberpunk in the graphic design world too. We see more and more cyberpunk designs arising on the web. So, we expect this trend to boom in 2021 as well.
Futuristic landscapes, cyborgs, flying vehicles, bold colors, neon lights, robo-warriors, and more — cyberpunk designs take us into the imaginative world that many people say is going to become a reality soon.
In one of my recent articles about product design, I have mentioned that “people don’t buy products but better versions of themselves.”
We can say nearly the same about visual content consumption in the digital world: people want to interact with designs that are a “better version of themselves,” which reflect them and trigger the Good inside them. If you are reading this article up to the last paragraph, you probably want to become a better version of yourself, as a designer, too.
2021 is knocking on the door. Hopefully, this article will inspire you to open it more confidently and start creating a world-changing design!
The article first appeared on Muzli on 31 December 2020