Graphic Design Trends for 2021

by | Apr 20, 2021

graphic design trends

Trends come and go, which is especially true for graphic design. Every year is an opportunity to reset and try something new (or in some cases, bring back something old). As we head into the spring of 2021, we’ve noticed that this year’s graphic designs have relied on classic patterns like muted colors, minimalism, and geometric shapes. In many ways, these simple trends can be seen as a breath of fresh air, but also as a way to communicate clearly amongst the chaos of today’s media. Here are the graphic design trends that we see dominating 2021…





Graphic Design Trends

3D Designs

This design trend just keeps getting cooler and cooler. With more technological advancements and software capabilities, 3D is making itself a focal point in this year’s list of trends. Designers are able to create incredibly lifelike, hyper-realistic visuals and typography with new 3D software. Designs have begun to look so real, that viewers have to study them to determine if it’s a photo rather than an illustration. Because of that, they’re extremely visually appealing and engaging for the viewer. 



Muted Color Palettes

As opposed to bold and vivid color schemes, muted colors that have a low saturation have seen a rise in popularity. With spending a lot of time on our personal devices this year, we’ve learned that some colors are more comforting and easy-on-the-eyes compared to others. A muted color palette can be described as dulled or diluted, not so bright and intense in color. Nowadays, many health and wellness brands are using muted color palettes because it reflects a more natural and organic way of life. It can also be a great style for brands that want to have a relaxed or nostalgic vibe. 

muted color palette

Geometric Shapes

As a way to contrast simple color schemes or text, designers have implemented the usage of geometric shapes. In this trend, flat shapes like circles, squares, and triangles are being layered and mixed to create abstract compositions. The best part about this design is that it can be very simple or complex based on your design preference. These classic, hard-edge patterns bring a sense of playfulness and modernity to your designs.

geometric shapes

Flat Icons and Illustrations

Even though they’re nothing new, flat icons and illustrations are a growing trend seen around the world. They are a great way to introduce simplicity, creativity, and nostalgia into your social media graphics and website designs. Many brands are using them as visual tools to explain instructions, symbols, or narratives. They can create more understanding with fewer words when used in your designs.

flat icons and illustrution

Simple Data Visualization

We are living in the age of data. There is so much data being collected and shared in our world, but only some brands make it easy to understand. Simple data visualization is a design method that is used to simplify statistical percentages, graphs, and charts by using only the very essential pieces of data. By cutting out the excess information, you can get your point across more clearly and communicate more effectively.

simple data visualization


Graphic designers are big fans of “less is more” — especially for those who approach design with a minimalist style. This year, you’ll likely see designers limit the number of elements used and emphasize the amount of empty space in their designs. The trend of minimalism lets viewers easily digest what’s meant to be seen. It’s clear and concise. For brands that want simple and clean styles, this is the way to go. 


Vibrant Gradients

This 90s trend is making a comeback! A gradient is the gradual blending of one color to the next. This trend can be quite subtle or rather bold depending on the color combinations and transparency of this technique. Gradients have gained back their popularity because they’re eye-catching and attention-grabbing. It’s an easy way to add color and depth to a design that is sure to make it stand out.



Many of us have felt cooped up this past year with a growing desire to spend more time in nature. Using designs that mimic nature with natural light, leafy patterns, and earthy tones brings a sense of calmness and soothes the soul. This trend is popular for brands whose purpose is to encapsulate tranquility, renewal, and growth. 


Social Slide Decks

Social slide decks are a new and exciting way to share information on Instagram and LinkedIn. Slide decks are a miniature form of a slideshow or infographic specially designed to be posted on social media. Rather than using just a single image post, slide decks allow users to communicate longer messages in a series of images. With the added action of sliding through the pictures, both platforms have seen a rise in engagement and are now more likely to be boosted in the algorithm. 

social slide deck


What’s Next?

There are our thoughts on this year’s graphic design trends. As we’ve seen this year, designs that can clearly communicate your story are the real winners. We’re looking forward to seeing what innovative and creative designs come next. What’s your prediction?

As a marketing agency near Lincoln, NE, Transformation Marketing offers graphic design services as well as social media marketing, web development, programmatic advertising, and photography and video production. If you want to stay on top of the trends, contact us today at 402-788-2896.


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