If 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade, the year 2019 already showed some signs of innovation that will get momentum in the year to come. So, what comes next? In my job I constantly monitor and visit blogs, magazines and websites from different domains and can’t help noticing and spotting current and new styles and trends.
In this article I have included 6 design applications to watch out, which I believe are set to become real design trends in 2020. Here are my top forecasts for 2020:
#1 Street Art
The Street Art trend – a comeback from past decades both in design and fashion – takes very specific characteristics:
- Graffiti typography
- Neon colours
- Spray effects
- Hand-drawn elements
- Dirt stains and textures
The inspiration comes from different ages and decades, in a mix and match of elements that freely pushes temporal boundaries. The retro-styled graffiti are inspired by the 70s punk scene, the neon colours come straight from 80s big and bright fashion trends, while the grunge drift is a reminiscence from the 90s.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is still the buzzword of digitalization and its future -and futuristic - scenarios are also expressed in graphic design.
Unnatural, oversaturated colours and surreal visual landscapes create a sort of distance in the viewer, but at the same time they also appear extremely eye-catching and fascinating. The colour palettes revolve around the master colours of blue, cyan, pink, magenta, neon, while the graphics are based on the genre of science fiction.
Or the power of error. The dystopian aesthetics is much more rebellious, provocative and “cracked” than the cyberpunk ones.
One of their main components is the so-called glitch art, a visual style characterized by the use of digital or analogue errors for creating distinctive visual effects. Glitch art originates from pop culture and is heavily inspired by album covers.
The main design features of the dystopia style can be summarised as follows:
- Use of mechanical typography, partly with malfunctions
- Partial unrecognizability
- Blurred textures
- Noise and graininess
- Double exposure
#4 Diagonals and shadows
The Diagonals and Shadows design trend is a clever combination between bidimensional flat art and 3D shapes.
With its matt colours and solid shades, this trend subtly imitates real objects. The 3D stonecutting techniques seem especially useful when applying this design to digital elements, such as app icons and buttons. They create a tactile experience for the user, while softening the endless flatness that dominates the on-screen visual aesthetics.
The characteristics of this trend are:
- Matt colours
- Sharp edges
- Basic shadows
- Chamfered surfaces
- Engraved effects
- Orthogonal optics
#5 Ultra-fine lines
Ultra-fine geometry is modern, abstract and immediately associated to IT machines considering how difficult it is to implement without the help of a computer. This is probably also the reason why it is so popular in tech company branding.
This elegant, abstract style seems to capture the future of technology, something that becomes less and less physical the further we venture into “the cloud”.
This visual approach conveys a modern, futuristic feeling, mostly digitally but also in print - provided it is well executed.
What are the main features of this trend?
- Repeated fine/ultrafine lines
- Geometric shapes/patterns
- Abstract images
- Partly surreal, intense colours
- Lines and shapes elegantly flowing or evaporating
#6 Big Data
The next decade will be dominated by Big Data. It will become more and more important to visualize large amounts of data in such a way that information can be accessed more quickly and easily.
Infographics, dashboards, permanently updated statistics and live data will become new and important fields of focus for designers.
The main ingredients of the Big Data trend are the following:
- A digital look with dark backgrounds (as in a dark mode)
- Dark blue tones
- Abstract polygons
- Sans serif typography
The styles that I outlined above can be useful ideas and techniques to enrich your graphic art this year in order to stay relevant with your clients and in our creative approach. If new ideas and inspiration are always welcome, it is nonetheless essential to never forget the key rules of good design:
- Never use more than three fonts
- Use grids
- Use the space wisely
- Always use high res images
- Work with contrasts
- Break the rules