Trends have the tendency to come and go, they emerge, many stay around for years, others are more of a flash in the pan. They don’t start one year and end the next, instead they shift until they fade out. It’s a process that often begins on the catwalk, and gradually moves to other areas such as graphic design, packaging, illustration, and home decor. A trend might be just entering one market, while it’s in full bloom on another market and fading in a third. It’s common to see trends that go in opposite directions, such as a futuristic, high-tech trend and a trend like the hipster beard, that’s more nostalgic, looking to the past for inspiration. Trend spotting is a lot of fun, and a great way to infuse your work with fresh ideas. Throughout this article, we’ll take a look at 10 brilliant trends taking over the graphic design space in 2016. If you’re interested specifically in brand identity trends, check out this roundup.
1. Flat 2.0.
Flat design was introduced in 2006 with Microsoft’s Zune mp3 player, refreshed by Apple’s iOS 7 in 2013, and further refined by Google’s Material design in 2014. A beautiful example can be found in the award-winning indie game Monument Valley.
2. Bold, Playful Typography
The Flat Design trend together with tools like the Glyphs app that make the production of fonts more easy and inexpensive, pave the way for dramatic and creative typography. Bold statements, playful sans-serif typefaces, and letter stacking. Possibly also the Serif will make a return performance, encouraged by the higher resolution screens. We’ll continue to see new crops of handwritten fonts in 2016. Huge, interesting drop caps like SNASKs hand-crafted, 3D letters.
3. Whimsical Illustrations
Whimsical, hand drawn illustrations aren’t just for kids anymore. An example can be seen in Dropbox’s friendly doodles that inject a playful human element. Illustrators continue to explore sketchy lines and brushstrokes, mixing their tools and techniques, digital and analog, and this leads to a broader range of illustration styles and use, including isometric projections and illustrated hero images.
4. The New Retro
Retro styles are inspired by the 80s and 90s, The Memphis Group, and arcade video games. Think about bold colors, pixel art, playful geometric designs and patterns.
Photos and illustrations come to life with 2D animation and cinemagraphs. With just a flicker of movement, enough to catch our attention without distracting from the content, this is a hybrid of motion and still.