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Identifying trends in the immensely broad field of illustrations could be a bit tricky. It stretches well beyond borders and media channels and, as such, illustration trends need a lot more attention.

Now that 2018 has passed by, we do feel as if it’s time to take a look at a few illustration trends which are likely to either stick with us or emerge in 2019.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of ways illustration in UX design improves the overall performance of your website and if you’re in line with what’s current and what’s new, you’ll have a better shot at standing out on top of the vast competition.

Abstract Could Resurface

This trend we predicate on the defined dominance of bright and shiny 2D vector art.

There is one thing that needs to be taken into account here. While abstract illustrations which are also a tad bit quirky can be particularly effective for your design in 2019, it’s important not to trip the user.

There’s a fine line between being creative and being confusing, the latter of which can quickly start to annoy. Subtle and playful abstract forms trigger the imagination and invoke a welcoming feeling of playfulness – something that you should strive to.

Fun and Engaging

A couple of years ago we observed a fairly substantial turn of the tides as the majority of illustration artists seemed to follow both depressing and fairly dystopian themes.

It seems that people have had enough. In 2018 we saw the return of illustrations which are both playful and engaging.

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2019 is likely to keep following the same pattern. The animation is becoming particularly popular for a wide range of different reasons.

It’s relatable – that’s why it’s easily accepted. People relate to cartoons and animated designs because it takes them back. However, it’s important to balance it properly.

Again, there’s a fine line between what’s likable and what’s annoying. If you overdo it, your theme will begin looking unserious.

Back in the ‘90s

Nostalgia is a very popular catalyst and it invokes a lot of emotions. We saw that a lot of artists tapped into this uncharted field in 2018 and we’re likely to keep seeing it in 2019.

One of the reasons for this is because we’re at a tipping point just on the verge of a new decade. This is undoubtedly going to start causing people to reflect and go through the past 10 years in an attempt to determine what’s changed.

One of the industries which are definitely leading the trend in fashion. We see an abundance of brands using the 1990s style references in their campaigns and on their websites.

One thing to be careful about here is authenticity. This is especially true if you’re relying on photography to layout your illustrations. Use authentic, high-quality, and original imagery instead of trivial stock photos.

Gradients and Duotones

We’re going to go on a hunch here but gradients, or the so-called color transitions, are going to keep on trending through 2019.

They’ve been particularly recognized in the past few years and we can see that they are also cracking in the design of logos. As far as illustration trends go, they are likely to keep steaming.

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Additionally, we can also see that some artists are relying on certain rather expected color combinations such as blue and purple, while others are leaning towards chunkier duotone fades.

Speaking of which, last year we saw a lot of fuss being made around the resurfacing about duotones. It seems, however, that both approaches are likely to co-exist in 2019.

Moody and Warm

In light of the above, we need to say that everything has its counter-reaction. Bold, bright, and saturated duotones are also causing an increase in the usage of moody and warm color palettes.

But that’s not only a counter-reaction to duotones – it’s a response to the fact that a few years ago most of the designers began steering away from using warm colors.

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Naturally, this is causing the trend to resurface. They invoke a direct, hands-on throwback to low-fi photography of the ‘70s.

As we said, nostalgia is a very powerful catalyst.

Dynamic and Hand-Drawn Illustrations

If you want to make your design stand out and pop among the vast competition, there’s nothing better than a dynamic hand-drawn illustration.

As we said above, competition is only bound to increase. Hence, we believe that dynamic and hand-drawn illustrations will see the mainstream because they will just become necessary.

Original work is treasured across the board and that’s the beauty of drawing – it’s always authentic.


Now that we’ve lined up a few trends we believe will prevail in 2019, you can also take a look at examples of how illustration can improve your overall web design.

It’s also worth noting that these are just a few of the trends that we think will come to light in 2019. There are certainly others which also deserve a mention. Nevertheless, these are what we think will surely make a mark.