January 8, 2018

How to spot graphic design trends

One of the best ways to spot trends is by seeing what the big international brands are doing. It is always good to look out for brands such as AppleSpotifyNikeAmazon to see what type of color, images, and effects they are applying.

Inspirational sites such as BehancePinterestDribble has also made it easier to spot what other creatives are experimenting with. Trends can also be spotted in current films, TV, fashion, and music.

How to create graphic design trends

Trends are nothing new, chances are everything has already been done before but they simply re-emerge every 20 to 30 years later into a modern contemporary style. For instance, there has been a rise of 80’s and 90’s style recently in fashion, film, and art.

The 80’s and 90’s kids are now the main influencers in terms of designing, buying and consuming and as a result brands will add excitement and nostalgia for them while still appealing to the mass younger audience. 

With so many cool trends evolving, here are 10 handpicked trends for 2018 which all designers should try to understand and master. At YES we will be coming up with tutorials on all trends so keep an eye out for those in our one minute tutorial on 365 Days of creativity!


1. Overlaid Colour Channels (color shift)

CMYK and RGB colors plates are overlapped and blended together to create a really cool color shift effect which works really well in both images and typography

2. Duotone Double Exposure

Double exposure is one of the most used graphic design trends, It was commonly used before using wild animals in nature composition, which has now become slightly outdated. Thankfully it has re-emerged and become more sophisticated using vivid colors and color channel shifts.

We will also see an advanced form of Duotone mixed with Double Exposures to give it a modern look and feel!

3. Creative Typography

Companies will move away from using standard font but rather will be focusing more on creative typography. We personally love Aron Jancso’s work (a fellow classmate of our CEO Martin Perhiniak and designer from Hungary who sadly passed away in 2015). Aron Jansco was always ahead of the time and we will see designers this year creating layouts using typography as more of a design element rather than the text itself. We will also see bigger, bolder typefaces, 3d typography, sliced, disjointed text and 3d liquid effect!

4. 80’s and 90’s is back

Being a 90’s kid myself, I am very excited by this trend. Brands are now competing to stand out as much as possible so expect to see more geometric shapes, patterns, bright color, neons color's all year around!

5. Colorful Abstract Gradient

Again expect more vivid color but applied as a gradient. We are now seeing more sophisticated abstract gradients being applied to UI, branding and as background elements!

6. Glitch

This is a really cool style, it looks like a mistake but visually it is really effective. It seems really popular for designers working within fashion and film industry!

7. Responsive logo

This will be an exciting challenge for logo designers but it will allow users to have a much better mobile experience. This is still a fairly new concept but we predict that companies will adapt and make their logos more responsive as users move towards mobile rather than the desktop!

8. Hand-drawn elements

Custom Illustrations has always been one of the popular graphic design trends to follow and was something only illustrators did. However, now more and more companies do prefer graphic designers that can create Illustrations too. Apps such as Procreate and Adobe Draw have also made it easier and accessible for us to doodle which is perfect for drawing over images!

9. Hand-lettering

Rather than using digital handwritten fonts, we will see a rise in hand letters using chalk, ink, paint and so much more in their work. Brands want to stand out from the crowd so do prefer creatives that can create custom organic hand lettering layout. Hand-lettering will definitely continue to evolve as one of the most important graphic design trends of all time!

10. 3d Design

We will see a rise in bright colors being used in 3d designs as well as metallic effects. Brands will move away from flat designs, instead, they will be more focused on making their products look and feel as realistic as possible!

We are loving these styles and are really excited to experiment with them this year.

On that note, it is best to use trends sparingly as it can become over saturated, boring and then eventually fade
away until another style creeps in.

Do you have a favorite trend you are excited by? Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the author 

Shumi Perhiniak

Shumi is a self-taught graphic designer, in 2012 she took one-year sabbatical career break, where she devoted her time studying Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. In just after 6 months she started freelancing and within a year become a Certified Photoshop Expert. Over the years she worked both in-house and in agency roles as a retoucher, artworker and moved on from junior to senior design roles.

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