Every year, graphic design trends show us how art can imitate life. These trends are a reflection of our ever-changing needs and perspectives as a society.
In 2023, we’re seeing graphic designers pull away from minimalist design and monochrome colors to bold and diverse design styles.
From Y2K nostalgia to touchable texture, handmade illustrations, and mind-blowing psychedelic elements. 2023 is all about breaking free, restructuring perspectives, and channeling freedom through creativity.
Why graphic design trends matter
Graphic design trends help you create projects that communicate and connect to your audience in a timely way. By following and understanding trends, you’re communicating to your audience that you are plugged in and engaged with how consumer interests are evolving.
Like writer and activist, Toni Cade Bambara said, “the role of the artist is to make revolution irresistible”. In other words, graphic design trends aren’t only a sign of the times, they’re sometimes a catalyst to change themselves!
1. Y2K here to stay
This is likely one of the top graphic design trends you’ll see this year. The nostalgia train has made its way to Y2K, where design rules were as loose as the jeans and as bold as the lip gloss.
This trend has few restrictions. Marked by bubblegum pinks, holographic designs, cyber-inspired imagery, and shimmery-metallic textures the Y2K aesthetic has a child-like freedom of expression.
2023 is embracing digital design in its first truly creative era. infancy. Playing on a sense of nostalgia can root your brand or designs in a sense of history. With a decade as playful as the early 2000’s, you’ve got plenty of options to characterize your brand.
The graphic design industry often evolves in tandem with the world of fashion, beauty, and interior design. Jumping on this trend signals to your audience that you are present and engaged with up-and-coming design styles.
Create your own unique logo now!
Minimalism ruled the design world for years.
But lately, the graphic design world has shifted towards maximalism as an escape from uninspiring routines and restrictions.
We’re seeing bold, explosive typography, radical color combinations, and overwhelming visual elements.
For example, a maximalist design may involve electric blue and supercharged yellows, display fonts, and challenging 3D elements. The idea is to layer multiple graphic design elements while still following the rules of visual hierarchy.
The more the merrier in 2023.
While a tad overwhelming at first, maximalism is striking and unforgettable. Make it work by following the rules of graphic design through an unconventional lens.
3. Experimental fonts
Some designs are transcending language barriers by focusing on visual communication. Mundane sans serif fonts are taking a backseat in 2023, and fonts will speak through shape and color rather than words.
Display fonts and serif fonts are taking center stage as we as we experiment with how far legibility boundaries can be pushed while maintaining clarity. Display fonts can vary significantly, but we predict a rise in fonts with soft organic shapes, as well as playful graffiti-style fonts.
Note: Be cautious with this trend, sacrificing legibility for cutting-edge design can backfire.
Check out these experimental logo fonts on Looka’s logo maker:
4. A handmade touch
Handmade illustrations and doodles are a prime graphic design trend in 2023. For business owners looking to add a human touch to their project, this trend is all about reconnecting to people with a hand-drawn appeal.
From quirky patterns to free flow illustration, all doodles are welcome this year! Add an artisanal and handmade touch to your products by implementing serif and cursive fonts as choice elements. It’s an ode to old-world craftsmanship and handmade arts!
The logos below have a handwritten logo font and a handmade illustration as their symbol. These elements are best suited for artisanal industries that need branding with a human touch.
5. Getting gothic
We can thank Wednesday Adams for the recent goth-craze taking center stage on platforms like Tik Tok. The #gothgirl trend has a cool 4.6 billion views at the time this article was written.
All that to say, the goth revival is one of the latest graphic design trends to hit the scene in 2023.
Goth and grunge design comes as an opposing force to all the bubbly, colorful, Y2K era cuteness we’re seeing in the design world.
Here, black isn’t optional and is accompanied by torn and ripped textures, dark tones of crimson, sapphire, and hints of violet. The rules of composition, color, and hierarchy are all challenged in order to create something new in an anti-conformist style.
There’s no wrong answer here! In fact, wrong answers are welcome. Do your worst!
6. Vintage minimalism
This year’s rendition of the vintage trend is a simple vintage color palette with muted pastel colors taking the lead. Designers are adding a twist by removing most elements and keeping it minimalistic. Think of the vibrant ’70s color palettes without all the tweed and florals.
Keep font pairs minimal, and use a modern font to add an edgy element like the olive oil branding below. This trend is great for projects that want to capture the playfulness of the 70’s while showcasing a modern element. It’s a great balance of past and present!
7. Blurs and gradients
While gradients have been trendy for a bit, graphic designers are getting more experimental with their use.
Equal parts modern and psychedelic gradients create a soft smoky effect that gently morphs colors from one hue to the next.
Functionally, gradients add focus to your designs and improve the appearance of overlaid text. They’re a brilliant way to incorporate multiple bright colors in a way that isn’t overwhelming.
Blurs work similarly to gradients in that they distort color in a visually appealing way. We often see blurs as stand-alone decorative elements behind or beside text to pull the eye towards a specific visual element. Blurs and gradients are a great way to make your brand identity stand out in a crowd.
8. Touch and feel
People use colors, shapes, and words to communicate and inspire in graphic design. But in 2023, we’re adding real-world textures like bubble gum, glass, grainy paper, and flowy silk to include a physical feel to design.
When designing a project, look beyond digital confines and add layers of physical sensation through texture. From the fizz of soda to a soft cloth, textures stimulate a sense of touch your audiences can relate to – and crave.
9. Down to earth
With the sustainability conversation growing, designers are embracing climate awareness and infusing their designs with natural elements, textures, and earthy color palettes.
This trend is about being inspired by the sturdiness of rocks, the oscillating sea, bright fresh fruit, and lush forest canopies. Like a breath of fresh air, designers want to channel nature’s sensations through their designs. Ideally, this trend is great for branding, website design, and packaging food or nature-based products.
10. Sci-fi psychedelia
While some designers are getting inspired by our planet, others are taking inspiration from the vast unknown beyond it. With interest in space travel is at an all-time high, designers are embracing it with ethereal shapes and otherworldly elements.
Although this design trend isn’t suitable for all industries, it’s for projects that aim to shatter our perceptions of what is possible. Take inspiration from sci-fi or fantasy movies like Dune, Star Wars, and The Mandalorian to kick off your designs.
11. Designed by AI
One of the newest graphic design trends to hit the scene is the use of AI platforms and tools. While this might seem counter-intuitive, designers are using their creative minds to art-direct AI tools and take graphic design to the next level.
We’re seeing hyper realistic visuals of storefronts, and designs that resemble hand drawn illustrations created by digital artists.
Text-to-image generators bring a new level of accessibility to graphic design and visual storytelling.
It’s a world of new possibilities with AI design accessible to the masses.
Jump on the graphic design trends of 2023
Design is everywhere, and staying in tune with graphic design trends gives you the advantage of being relevant, open-minded, and spot-on with your projects. So, here are the graphic design trends of 2023:
- Y2K nostalgia
- Experimental fonts
- Handmade illustrations
- Gothic aesthetic
- Vintage minimalism
- Blurs and gradients
- Real textures
- Earthy elements
- Sci-fi psychedelia
- Designed by AI
Although this year’s graphic design trends feel like a bit of everything, they’re only a reflection of the changing world around us. With so many trends to try out, It makes the playground of graphic design boundless and exciting. Try on different perspectives and go out there to create meaningful, world-changing work. We’re rooting for you!