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 2024, we’re seeing graphic designers dive head-first into diversity and inclusion, 3D surrealism, and start to dip their toes into the world of AI-powered design.
From the warm feels of nostalgia to the chilling look of cyber realism and loaded compositions, 2024 design trends are a clash of machine advancements and human comforts. Expect to see a dichotomy of perspectives on the past and the fast-approaching future!
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 into the graphic design world and engaged with how consumer interests are evolving.
As 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. Diversity and inclusion
Although diversity and representation should be an industry standard and not a fleeting choice, It’s making a breakthrough in 2024.
Designers are diving into diversity unapologetically and highlighting the many looks, perspectives, and lifestyles of the beautiful people on earth. Our strengths as a society lie in our varying outlooks on life. Why not celebrate it?
2. 3D surrealism
The rise of AI technology and tools has herded in a new graphic design trend. Surrealistic settings, products, and environments are coming in hot as tech in 2024 takes leaps and bounds into the future. These designs have an inflatable, 3D look that feels like it’s straight out of the Cyberpunk world.
AI tools like Midjourney and Open AI make these visuals accessible at cyber speeds. This graphic design trend is ideal for ads, posters, social media, and web design. Reddit’s 2024 rebrand is the first brand embodying this trend with its 3D mascot and logo symbol.
Create your own unique logo now!
3. 70s nostalgia
Last year Y2K brought back glitter, gaudiness, and worst of all, low-rise jeans. But this year designers are looking to the funky 60s and 70s for nostalgic relief. This is one of the top graphic design trends you’ll see this year. Think of faded retro color palettes, handmade illustrations, and a focus on the human touch to designs.
In 2024, people are clinging to the simplicity of older times. With all this talk of AI, quantum computing, and the end of the world as we know it, designers and people alike need a break from technological advancement. Que the rise of polaroid cameras and film – and a regression to simpler graphics and colors.
Unlike the unhinged look of Y2K designs, these retro designs are more earthy. Think of retro stripes, floral or funky patterns, and a laid-back look and feel. Re-watch some ’70s classics to get into the vibe of the golden years.
You’ll see a revival of vintage art designs and retro stripes and checkers all over branding and graphics. 2024 is embracing the look of older designs in new ways!
4. Maximalism in composition
We saw 2023 usher in a slew of maximalism to save us from uninspiring routines and the same old safe bets in design. In 2024, we’re seeing a pivot into loaded compositions that feel like a “Where’s Waldo?” book.
Margins are diminishing as designers load up every corner and crevice with color, shape, fonts, and visuals. Think of big, bold fonts in jarring sizes. Shapes and gradient color combinations that bleed outside of the design confinements. It adds interest, intrigue, and an overall disregard for page size.
5. Experimental typography
Last year we saw experimental font trends take over graphic design. But this year, that’s changed. Just kidding, exciting fonts are still in, but, they’re packing a more modern punch! And, they’re being used as the focal point of design.
Some designs transcend language barriers by focusing on visual communication. Mundane sans serif fonts are taking a backseat, and fonts will speak through shape and color rather than words.
Display fonts and serif fonts are taking center stage 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 elongated and handwritten fonts and abstract lettering.
Check out these experimental logo fonts on Looka’s logo maker:
6. Illustration and animation
In 2024, we’ll start to see illustrations come to life with animation. We’re going to see the rise of the logo mascot. The unwavering power of a hand-drawn logo symbol is wiggling its way into branding and graphics everywhere.
Handmade illustrations and doodles are a prime graphic design trend in 2024. This trend is all about reconnecting to people and adding a sense of fun and emotional connection. With the right color palette, it can go hand in hand with the new nostalgia graphic design trend!
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.
In 2023 we saw dark and brutalist designs along with the goth trend re-emerging from its grave. The dark and mysterious allure of 2023 remains, but the approach is different in 2024.
All that to say, breaking the rules tastefully is easier said than done. We’re seeing sacrilege like multiple fonts with varying weights and sizes grouped into one sentence. Designers are using altered spacing and sideways composition to make you tilt your head.
After following age-old design principles, designers are intentionally breaking the rules to create a unique design that instantly catches your eye and imagination. This trend is not for the faint of heart, it works well for creative industries with events, art galleries, bars and bands, and festivals.
There’s no wrong answer here! In fact, wrong answers are welcome. Do your worst!
8. Vintage minimalism
This year’s rendition of the vintage trend is a simple vintage color palette paired with a retro font. Think of visiting a centuries-old apothecary or a perfumer in ancient times. This trend is channeling the look and feel of a typewriter label, a wax stamp, and hand-drawn instructions on labels.
But the fun doesn’t end there. Use any vintage-era elements, but keep them minimal and striking. Designers are adding a twist by removing most elements and keeping them minimalistic.
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!
9. Abstract gradients and color transitions
Gradients create a soft smoky effect that gently morphs colors from one hue to the next. Gradients are keeping their momentum this year, but designers are looking to add a bit more pizzaz than the usual crystal tones and pastel hues. We’re seeing Vibrant neon colors that are lava lamp-esque and add a surreal look to designs.
Color transitions in design are a bit simpler, usually a two-toned transition between two complementary colors. This is a great way to divide the design and draw attention to other elements without creating a psychedelic effect. Color transitions have a more modern look!
10. Texture and senses
People use colors, shapes, and words to communicate and inspire in graphic design. Piggybacking on the surreal vibe of the new world-realism trend, we’re seeing designers add real-world textures like bubble gum, glass, grainy paper, and flowy silk to include a physical feel to design.
This style lends to a more handmade, artisanal look and can add a retro art deco element. It’s great for brands or designers looking to stand out from others or go against the modern grain.
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.
11. Earth-first design
With the sustainability conversation growing, designers are embracing climate awareness and infusing their designs with natural elements, textures, and earthy color palettes. A report from McKinsey on sustainability and affordability found that:
This trend is about being inspired by the sturdiness of rocks, the oscillating sea, bright fresh fruit, and lush forest canopies. Designers are channeling nature’s sensations, but also mindfully selecting colors that have natural dye alternatives and work well on the surface they sit on.
12. Geometric shapes
Geometric fonts, shapes, and compositions are making a sharp entrance in 2024. Designers and people alike seek refuge from ambiguity in the pristine angles and geometry of shapes.
Get inspired by reducing the world around you into rudimentary shapes. There’s something soothing about looking at the world from a more simplified lens. Shapes of all sizes and colors are appearing in branding, packaging, and web design to usher in a bold and contemporary look.
Although this design trend isn’t suitable for all industries, it’s for projects that want a modern and advanced look.
13. 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 digital art that resembles 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.
A look back at graphic design trends in 2023
Wondering what was relevant last year? Some trends linger longer than others. Here’s a recap of 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. Try different perspectives and go out there to create meaningful, world-changing work. We’re rooting for you!