Design helps us understand our world, and trends place us in time. The overarching design trend for 2019? Just like in every other part of life, we seem to be in opposition with ourselves: this year is all about contradictions. Design trends from conflicting eras and opposing ends of the visual spectrum are all vying for attention.

Whether you’re a designer or are working with one, you need to stay on top of the latest graphic design trends. No matter the medium, understanding how styles are changing and evolving keeps your work fresh and resonate with clients. Take a look at our top picks for this year and start imagining how these trends can help inform your style.

10 graphic design trends that will be huge in 2019

  1. 3D design and typography
  2. Asymmetrical layouts
  3. Art Deco
  4. Modern Mid-Century Modern
  5. The evolution of duotones and gradients
  6. Warm and moody color palettes for photos
  7. Light and delicate custom illustrations
  8. Buxom serifs
  9. Open compositions
  10. Isometric design

1. 3D design and typography

Three dimensional works seems to be everywhere right now: entire compositions that have so much depth, you can’t help but reach out and touch them. 3D typography especially feels just about ready to pop. The best part about it is there’s no particular type that works best for this trend: bold, skinny, sans-serif, script, any font can be rendered in 3D.

Mulher 3D logo
A gorgeous example of 3D type brings whole new life to the floral trend. Via Diêgo Soou.
A creative and fun metallic poster

A creative and fun metallic poster. By Pinch Studio.

These complex designs by Khatt Phatt offer something new for your eye every time you examine them.

3D netbee logo
This composition shows how 3D design can enhance a logo design. Via Khatt Phatt.

Beyond typography, we’re seeing a lot of gorgeously rendered 3D compositions that give the impression of being still-lives from distant planets. Some designs, like Pinch Studio’s vibrant pop art or Issey Miyake’s marriage of textiles and food, merge these two design trends into futuristic landscapes of color, type and form. Others, like the stunning papercut illustrations by Eiko Ojala, seem like they were created from elements directly from the natural world. In both directions, the effect is stunning—these compositions literally jump right off the page and make it impossible to look away.

Pop art design
A fantastic pop art composition. By Pinch Studio.
Wine textile texture

Incredibly rich textile textures. Via Issey Miyake.

Ice cream textile texture
Paper design of green woman

Papercut illustrations by Eiko Ojala manage to feel both futuristic and retro at the same time.

Colorful 3D city landscape

A fun, colorful 3D landscape by EFL.

2. Asymmetrical layouts

We’re starting to see the beginnings of a move away from the rigid grid-based designs that have been standard for the past few years. The dominance of Squarespace and Canva and other template-based design sites provided beginners with beautiful websites and graphic products, even if they had no idea what a grid was. Now designers are looking to create products that feel more bespoke and alive.

Enter the asymmetrical design trend.

Because these layouts break free from the rigid and predictable grid, they deliver more kinetic energy and movement. An asymmetrical layout, whether on a design composition, in an app or on a site, demands attention. The user feels an innate curiosity about where the information and graphics might go next, creating a feeling of wonder and interest as they scroll or peruse a design.

Deconstructed web design
A deconstructed and unconventional web design. Via Mila Jones Cann.
Furniture asymmetrical design

Another asymmetrical layout challenges notions of the way products should be displayed. Via Artem Oberland.

Remote working design

The boxes in this design don’t interact the way we expect in a standard grid. Via Jesse Showalter.

The wisdom of nature gallery display design
This design avoids the normal grid display for artwork. By AbdooElhamdaoui.

3. Art Deco

The “modern” design era gets its name from the artistic movement of modernism that began after World War I and continued for nearly a half-century. There are two major styles from this period that are currently experiencing a total renaissance: the highly ornamental and glamorous Art Deco designs of the 1920s and the streamlined organic forms of the Mid-Century Modern period of the 1950s and 60s.

Chalk it up to the nearing centennial of the roaring twenties, but Art Deco-inspired designs are set to blow up in 2019. We’re seeing the trend emerge particularly in logo work. Designers are embracing the complex line-work intense symmetry of the era’s best work, while combining it with sharp metallics that would make Jay Gatsby feel right at home. We’re noticing this influence in typography as well, as sans-serifs get narrower and leggier, like they were pulled from a classic A.M. Cassandre poster design. These designs feel opulent and luxurious—and starkly in contrast to the rustic, country-inspired work that has dominated for the past few years.

Minimal Lettermark logo and Line Graphic Illustration for Juicebox
A gorgeous and intricate metallic branding design. By Skilline.
Tulipan Husene logo

Another lovely metallic logo by Arthean.

Cannabis Regulatory Compliance logo

Logo by aarif ™

Peacock logo design

Logo design by flycr.

Insaaph logo

This modern lion logo evokes the glamour and pomp of the Art Deco period. By Arthean.

Collective Humanity package logo
Packaging design that uses fonts and motifs lifted directly from the Art Deco movement. By svart ink.

4. Modern Mid-Century Modern

After the Art Deco period—and in direct response to it—designers decided that function should dictate form, ditching the flashy designs and embracing stripped down and organic clean lines. While mid-century influence has been prominently visible in areas like interior design and fashion for the past few years, it’s been a steadily growing trend in graphic work.

It’s especially prominent in the illustration styles that harken back to the iconic advertising illustrations of the post-War era. And like in that era, small companies and start-ups are recognizing the power of custom illustration work. We’re seeing a lot of brands launching with gorgeous websites, full of these mid-century influenced illustrations, often rendered in a clearly modern style but retaining dreamy vintage color palettes. In 2019 we expect to see these continue to dominate web and in print work as well.

Goodbye summer web slider
A very modern web slider, with a decidedly retro vibe. Via Paarth Desai.
Retro-futuristic boxing poster

Poster and ad design came to define Mid-Mod period. Via ANAMOLLY.

How attentive are you? illustration

This illustration style pulls heavily from the mid-century aesthetic and will be everywhere in the coming year. By Spoon Lancer.

Golden Rule - Old Fashioned Matchbooks

A matchbook design that draws on the classic “Atomic” styling popularized in the Cold War period. Via Nicola Broderick.

Solar Eliquids logo

Another Space Race inspired design. By Arthean.

Mid-Century modern graphic design logo
Patterns that evoke the masters Mid-Century modern graphic design. Via Andrew Littmann.

5. The continuing evolution of duotones and gradients

Gradients—“color transitions,” as they are now sometimes called—have been a well-recognized trend for the past few years. Recently they’ve definitely begun to creep back into logo design more heavily. Simple one-color logos aren’t enough; more and more are showing up with some kind of gradient. Some are the expected combinations (blue/purple, red/orange) but others use chunkier duotone fades.

There was much noise made in the past year or two about the “return of the duotone”. Now, often contributed entirely to Spotify and their iconic playlist covers, the two parallel trends have combined, making 2019 the year of the duotone gradient.

Immaculate Styles concert poster
Poster design via nevergohungry
vlogeasy logo

artsigma offers two nice gradient logos in the classic “blurple” duotone.

Buildify Systems logo
Printing Apparel Company website design

This shows how bright (but complimentary) gradients can be used throughout a web design. By mikebarnes.

Explore. Sonhe. Descubra. poster design

This gorgeous combination of bold gradients is the definition of on-trend. Via Bruno Pego.

6. But also a steady rise for warm and moody color palettes for photos

But of course for every action there is an equal reaction: the prevalence of saturated and bold duotones has led to a rise in moody, vintage tones. While a few years ago designers were told to shun muted colors to embrace the bold and neon—inspired by shows like Stranger Things—the photo colors of 2019 feel more like the days when cameras and screens were not able to capture deeply saturated colors.

They feel like a direct throwback to the soft, low-fi photography of the seventies and even muted camcorder footage of the 1980s. Incorporating some amount of black into each color, these photos have a warm and wistful vibe that neon colors will never compete with.

Moody fashion shoot

More moody colors in fashion photography via Tiago Ferreira.

Fashion spread

A fashion spread that ditches the usual bold colors in favor of muted tones. Via lasho.

Woman eating at restaurant

Contemporary portraits that feel like they were lifted from a 1970s photo album. Via Fernando Machado.

Woman wearing denim jacket and sunglasses
Lil Yachty mixtape cover

Stunning collage-inspired book cover and mixtape cover by nevergohungry

7. Custom illustrations lighten up

After years of bold, thick lines in illustration, there’s been a recent rise in more delicate, elegant illustration. Heavily influenced by botanical and natural elements, this trend is more feminine and appeals to a more innocent and childlike part of us all. We’re seeing it take a front seat particularly in packaging design, where intricate designs are rendered beautifully against a textured paper background. With addition of premium materials like foil and embossing, these designs strike a balance between maximalism and simplicity.

Sophisticated chocolate bar packaging
The packaging for these chocolate bars feels expensive and natural. By Mila Katagarova.
Natural Deodorant packaging

Lighter, more organic packaging design for a natural deodorant company. By Wooden Horse.

Sea Monster Software logo

A playful branding design by Gwydion”

Clinical looking illustration of Dandelion plant

A soft illustration inspired by old botanical drawings. By Yokaona.

The Seattle Baby Company logo

This adorable deer created for a baby accessory brand. By Mad Pepper.

8. Buxom serifs

While the illustrations are getting lighter, the fonts are beefing up—especially when it comes to serifs. While sans-serifs aren’t going anywhere—especially in digital—2019 will be the year of the serif. The past year has given us some gorgeous plump serifs that seem pulled from the days of cast-metal type. While sans-serifs and hand-drawn fonts will continue to be highly visible, this is the year where the range and diversity of serif fonts will explode.

Custom type is becoming more and more necessary for brands that really want to stand out and increasingly a signature serif type or logomark is what designers are turning to. Why? Because after years of dominance the clean sans serif is now seen as “soulless” and “characterless” and serifs are the horned-rimmed glasses of type–seen as quirky cute, smart, and bursting with personality.

Cabin Fever web design
A stunning and immersive serif font web design. Via Nathan Riley.
D. McQuillan Construction and Fine Homes logo

The beautiful and classic serif feels bespoke and hand-carved in this logo for a high-end construction company. By Dave Roach.

Lighter illustration and trendy serifs combine on this restaurant logo. Via tulimilka.

Minimalist/Scandinavian web design

A website template that evokes ultra-minimalist/Scandinavian design. By Alex Capellan.

Branding for a toast and juice bar

Branding for a toast and juice bar. Via Levi Lowell.

9. Open compositions

Remember that old adage about leaving something to the imagination? After years of boxes and frames encasing elements in a strict order, every single part visible and accounted for, designers are starting to embrace more open compositions. These are designs where you feel like you only see a part of the whole picture and there’s an entire world off the page.

These compositions embrace white space and eschew clear hierarchy. The elements in these compositions feel loosely tethered to each other, as if they could float away. Often open-styled, seemingly chaotic, broken and cut-up, these compositions take a very strong design hand since the placement of each element is anything but random.

text open composition website
This entire website is a menu, with not all the letterforms present on the screen at once. Via Lionel Durimel.
Rise up statue design

This design hits the mark for 2019 with duotones, gradients and an open composition style. Via Bruno Pego.

3D poster design

A bold and open design that makes you wonder if you’re holding it right side up. Via Vasjen Katro.

Pink Louis Vuitton design

Light, modern illustrations that feel like they are continuing off-screen. Via Lionel Durimel.

Ayodele modeling website

A open composition used for a modeling website. Via Kieran.

10. Isometric design

While open compositions leave some things out, isometric designs create whole universes in tiny little spaces. Isometric design sounds highly technical, but it’s simply a method of drawing a 3D object in two dimensions. The drawing is simple and clean, but has a depth that flat design can’t compete with. The arena where this trend is heating up the most is with icons. Isometric icons have a lot more tactility and warmth than flat design, drawing users in. Plus they are saved to a smaller file size than 3D, so you get all of the bang with none of the lag!

City illustration
An isometric illustration of a city. By LittleFox.
CryptoGoal.io web design

A very on-trend isometric mountain. By KisaDesign.

Savagely website design

A super fun isometric landing page. Via Ghani Pradita.

Isometric data design

This design shows data moving in a way that feels more vibrant and alive than flat design. Via Dmitrii Kharchenko.

Man sitting at desk with computer

Isometric design can be used for character creation, as well. By Daria V.

Are you ready for design in 2019?

We’re embarking on what is sure to be a deeply interesting year for graphic design. There’s a push and pull happening between the forward-looking, tech-conscious designers exploring in newer areas like 3D and AR, and the traditionalists still putting pen to paper each day. We also see this in the simultaneous embrace of vibrant duotones co-existing with toned down, vintage palettes. Same goes for whimsical illustration and mid-century functionality.

The best part? Exciting things happen when designers embrace conflict, allowing room for inspiration to strike from every direction at once. We celebrate and look forward to seeing what incredible work they create. Make 2019 the year you create your best work!

Want a deeper look at the best graphic design trends of 2019?

by Meg Reid

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