Graphic Design Trends to Watch For in 2023
This post was written by our Branding Specialist Chelsée Curé.
With 2022 inching towards its close, ‘tis the reason for recaps. If it’s not Spotify Wrapped, it’s Google releasing the year’s top searches. Is Instagram top nine still a thing? We’re all for reminiscing, but let’s take a minute to see what’s coming in 2023.
Design trends are often a mirror on the current state of the world. With so much going on right now, 2023 is bound to get interesting. Let’s take a look at some of the things we might expect to pop up in graphic design and branding next year.
Taste the Rainbow
If you were one of the more than 120 million people who accessed Spotify Wrapped this year, you were met with bold saturated colours and crazy mosaic shapes.
As Rasmus Wangelin, Spotify’s global head of brand design stated “Since the pandemic, we’ve all started to embrace much more individuality. No one knows what’s cool anymore, it’s so subjective now.”
After a number of years of restrictions and uncertainty, neutral, sterile branding just isn’t going to cut it. We’re seeing bold use of colour across most design styles in 2023.
From warm earth tones to bright Barbie pink to neon cyberpunk hues, be on the lookout for vibrant, saturated palettes in 2023.
2022 saw more apps switching to the dark side. Apps like Youtube, Reddit, and Instagram offer users the option to switch to dark mode and 81% of us are making the change. With the majority of us accessing our smart phones for information, it’s no surprise that graphic designers are catching on.
In 2023, we’re going to be seeing a lot more dark mode, but not just the typical black background with white text, expect bold coloured backgrounds like navy, green, and red.
The use of gradients have long been used in design. As of late, we’re seeing a lot more use of liquid gradients, which have more shape and visual interest. These gradients offer a retro feel, reminiscent of lava lamps and tie dye.
We’re also seeing a lot of gradients used in more futuristic synthwave designs.
Let the words do the talking
Designers won’t just stop at bold colours for 2023, expect loads of creative expression with type. Whether embracing vintage aesthetic or going full sci-fi, we’re going to see a lot of distorted, embellished and intricate text.
“The medium is the message” is a marketing phrase first coined in the 1960’s but for 2023, the message is the medium, and it will tell its own story.
The Return of Sans Serifs
Serif fonts have been a popular choice over the last few years, but in 2023, sans serif fonts will take center stage. A main driver behind this is inclusivity and accessibility, with most of us accessing information on screens, sans serif fonts are simply easier to read. Screen readers also have an easier time reading sans serif fonts.
While sans serifs will be a popular choice, steer clear of the classics like Helvetica or Arial, instead opt for a little more fun and flair with clean and slightly rounded fonts as seen in Pepsi’s new branding.
For graphic designers and marketers, it can be really challenging to source images online that accurately represent the diverse populations we’re trying to reflect. Thankfully more efforts are being made by brands and stock image sites to produce photos and illustrations that better represent the population.
In 2022, graphic design website Canva announced Canva Represents which has a mission to amplify creators and champion diversity. These efforts will surely continue in the new year with more accurate portrayals taking the main stage.
Branding is the personality of a company or product and good photography helps share that. Think Nike, and you’ll likely conjure up an image of a determined athlete, sweat dripping down their forehead.
Photos do something illustrations can’t, they bring brands to life. 2023 will see more brands use vivid photography to share their stories.
Google’s 2022 Superbowl ad “Seen on Pixel” perfectly sums up what we’re going to see in 2023: inclusivity and beautiful photography.
Themes on the Rise: Tech Central
AI Generated Artwork
If you’ve scrolled your feed in the last few weeks, you’ve surely noticed a flood of AI generated artwork. AI Art generators like Lensa and Midjourney offer users a simple way to get striking digital art pieces at a pretty affordable rate with just a few clicks.
Some controversy remains as to the ethics of such apps as many of the AI are trained using actual artist’s work and learn to replicate art styles. That being said, we predict this is a trend that will continue well into 2023 and seep into graphic design and marketing materials.
2022 was the year of tech, with the NFT craze, the rise of AI generated artwork and increased interest in the escapism of virtual and augmented reality.
Brands are looking for ways to hop into the Metaverse. Whatsapp integrated virtual avatars, Wendy’s created a character on Fortnite and arcade game pioneer Atari offered a collection of NFTs based on classic games.
This surge of all things cyberspace will seep into graphic design as well. Think fluorescent colours, cyberpunk vibes, glitchy font and 3D illustrations.
Nod to the Noughts
The early 2000s centered majorly around cyberculture. Kick-started with widespread Y2K panic, the noughties brought the world online with the dawn of chat rooms and social media, mp3 players and online gaming.
The early 2000s were filled with forward-thinking optimism - a world of opportunities on the information superhighway. Who didn’t love perfectly curating their myspace page? Now that was branding!
While most millennials will cringe at the thought of the early 2000s aesthetic, there’s no denying that this design style is making a comeback. We’re going to see fluorescent colour palettes, over-the-top typography and a nostalgic flair.
Easy, breezy, beautiful…
With financial uncertainty, climate change and the pandemic taking up our brain space, it’s no surprise many of us see the allure in a more minimalistic, natural or agrarian time.
A stark contrast to the previous future-focused trend prediction, expect to see a lot of earth tones, cheerful botanicals, and clean crisp designs.
Sustainability is all the rage. Furniture giant IKEA continues their branding efforts towards a more earth-friendly tone. Just a few weeks ago, they launched their “Green-Friday” Campaign encouraging consumers to live more sustainably.
Other majors brands are talking sustainability too. Starbucks is testing recyclable and compostable cups. Royale now offers toilet paper and paper towels in plastic-free packaging and Amazon recently announced plans to switch to renewable energy for their global data centers. These efforts will surely be better with more “green-focused” packaging and branding.
Cut the Clutter
In the last few years, major brands have opted to simplify their branding. Pringles and Burger King rebranded with minimalist versions of their familiar logos. Other brands like Netflix, McDonalds, and Shell are going as far as just using a symbol or icon.
While “less is more” is a common theme in design, a logo is meant to tell a brand’s story and oversimplification can lead to confusion – looking at you Kia (or KN?)
The jury is still out on how simple is too simple, but this trend will likely stick around into 2023 and beyond.
Don't Miss the Latest Graphic Design Trends
While it’s fun to keep an eye out on design trends, it’s also important not to feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. See what’s trending, and if you can incorporate some of these popular themes in your marketing, then great! If the new fads aren’t your vibe, that’s okay too. Good branding is authentic and genuine.
Trends are just that, they come and they go, but consistent clear branding identity stands the test of time.
Ready to see how we can help your designs in 2023? Drop us a line and let’s chat!
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