2020 has been a rough year with not too many brands taking design risks. Even now, in 2021, times are unpredictable. What I think will happen for 2021 (and probably 2022) is that many trends will be a consequence of the last year events – attention to everything is related to medicine and healthy or data visualisation. Some trends will merely continue what was successful in 2020 (flat icons, illustrations and motion).
Design is the way to engage with the world around us, and how things are presented online or in print, where our daily lives have never been so important. It is not surprising then that a calm and relaxing mood pervades our trend forecasts with new colours palette, geometric shapes, tranquil graphics, optical illusions, and fantasy 3D illustrations. Alongside this, it runs a thread of trends that are reactionary to 2020 with clean info-graphics, simplified medical branding and activist-influenced design aiming to address the problems that a pandemic year has brought. Read on to discover our trend prediction for design and get ahead of the curve in your projects.
1- Calm and tranquillity
After a tumultuous year for the design community and the world as a whole, it’s time to breathe, reflect and look forward. Soothing, 2021’s design mood will be a salve to the upheaval of 2020. Calming colours with a nice palette from blue and violet to green and tan, meditative graphics and minimal layouts are welcome responses to the pandemic effects and the daily saturation of online news and information.
2- Contemporary medical branding
One of the more popular trends due to COVID crisis has seen many designers turning their attention to the design of medical packaging and health and medicine brands. With many of us spending more time at home, there is an increasing focus on self-care and wellness. Everything related to these is getting simple and refreshed, with instantly recognisable graphics, creative colour and vibrant makeover. By looking more contemporary, many of these designs play a fundamental role in the user experience side, allow users to locate the right medicine quickly, or raise and promote health awareness through graphics and drawings.
3 – Simple info-graphics and illustrations
Today need and trend in editorial design and social images are to stripped-back simple info-graphics and illustrations that seek to explain complex topics more concisely. Due to the pandemic, there are tons of data and information flying around in all parts of our lives. As a designer or communicator, you should be making that data less scary but easy to comprehend. An interesting inherited trend is the use of “slide decks” in platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram, a simple way to have hands-on information, receive help for a product or even repurpose popular contents from a blog post. These slide decks get about 10-20x more impressions and clicks than a simple visual or graphic. Remember: a keyword for 2021 is simplicity even with a touch of optical illusions and vintage style.
4 – Motion
Static designs are almost over. You can expect more demand from clients to modernise their brand with a bit of locomotion (or “logomotion” as it were). With an increasing number of traditional companies moving into the digital/social media space, there will be a need to captivate and engage in new ways. Motion is perfect and is also an excellent visual storytelling tool, used more and more often. With motion design, you can engage viewers and communicate ideas in a brisk captivating manner. In this post (read here), we’re going to go over a list of the biggest reasons why motion can help marketing.
5 – Geometric Shapes
As a top keyword of 2021, Simplicity clears up the geometric shapes and patterns will appear on illustrations and layout. These shapes can be regular and clean or be mixed with psychedelic elements, trippy design and mid-century style. These to give consistency, tidiness and structure to your visual or even texture and depth to your graphic. There are a ton of ways to use geometric shapes this year, so get out and start creating!