This year, designers are thinking outside of the box and breaking from the norm, while also nodding to the past. It’s an exciting time to be in this industry, as graphic design responds to the aesthetic preferences of Gen Z and Millennials.
Listing every new design trend would be a long list — we are seeing a wide range of trends from sustainability to surrealism. Instead, we are going to share 3 overall themes for 2022 and some of the specific trends that caught our eye.
What can we say, everyone seems to love a good reboot these days.
A few years ago, the 80s were back in fashion with hit shows like GLOW and Stranger Things, but the trends are moving through the decades and finally made it to the 90s! The bright color blocks, simple emojis, and primitive internet frames give us a twinge of nostalgia along with some great design elements to help brands stand out.
Another time period experiencing a comeback is Y2K, or as we like to call it, the Cyberpunk-lite trend. With bubblegum pinks and blues, iridescent and metallic sheens and low poly CGI, this trend brings us back to the early excitement of the internet and the possibilities it held.
If you are looking for a darker, grittier style, then look no further than the grunge resurgence. With dark tones, the controlled chaos of ink splotches and shadowy elements, this trend has an unpolished look that helps generate movement. What we find so fascinating about this trend is its reliance on physicality, like using the texture of torn paper or film.
We blame this one on doodling during all of those Zoom calls.
While we will forever love the art of photography, the new illustration trends happening right now are creating some visually stunning design work. One such trend is Ukiyo-e flat designs, which are inspired by the Ukiyo-e artists of Japan’s Edo Period. This is a style of printed artwork that uses hand-carved woodblocks and features bold outlines, flat colors, limited perspective and fluidity, which are all used by vector designers.
Another illustrative trend is literally doodling – because the best ideas can come from unlikely places. These doodle style designs are more simplistic, but they bring a personal, intimate element to the design. A little bit of abstraction and free-form drawing mean that every piece feels handmade and organic, and often results in whimsical characters.
On the other end of the spectrum, we also are seeing maximalist escapism. After a lot of working from home, designers are setting out into the natural world and letting their imaginations run free. Sometimes this maximalism has clashing content and colors and taste, but it is a kaleidoscope of wonder with new elements to discover every time you look at it.
Typography is finding new meaning in less legibility.
This appetite for reinvention has also made its way to typography. From nostalgic bubble shapes that have exaggerated, elongated forms and psychedelic colors to mismatched letter styles and mind-bending shapes —2022 is challenging the distinction between abstract shapes and the readable letter.
As design trends move away from Helvetica and similar modern-style type treatments, custom typefaces and serif typefaces are coming to the forefront. There is room for fun and play with letters and type forms that pull inspiration from a variety of sources and speak to the design trend of simply creating something utterly new.
In a world that already feels a little chaotic, the designs we are seeing all reflect a type of anti-design movement. Today’s design trends are offering a more colorful palette than past years, messier designs, irregular composition and a new desire to recreate the world ourselves. We love how the design trends today are a juxtaposition of creativity — some are breaking free from traditional norms, while others are relying on the nostalgia from the past. Graphic design is an ever-changing creature, and we love the creativity it allows us to bring to the table.