05.02.2024 - Design

Design Trend Report: The Graphic Design Ideas to Watch For in 2024

Graphic design trends have a tendency to come and go quicker than we might expect. What’s big one moment might be outdated the next – and that can hugely impact a brand’s perception and performance from top to bottom. But any design trend that can withstand, outlast, and continue to impress in fickle, fair-weather times is well worth talking about.

When design is timeless, it doesn’t have to worry about being in vogue, it can stand on its own, regardless of what’s coming and going all around it. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at what we can expect from graphic design trends across the next 12 months – including the ideas which are here to stay well into the future.

Design Trends Which Aren’t Going Anywhere

Sustainability and conscious values

When values and habits shift within culture, they can often be reflected in the design – that’s just one way brands can create meaningful connections with their audience. Climate change and global warming are two hot topics (no pun intended) doing just that.

So, it’s no surprise that the increasing commitment to the environment has made its way into the design and manufacturing of packaging. The reduced sizing of packaging itself means designers have less to work with – and we’re seeing some really creative ways brands can stand out as a result. And instead of constraining them, the minimal approach is working in their favour, letting brands tell a story that feels genuinely more authentic.

Generative AI informing and assisting the design process

Love it or hate it, AI has a role to play in design. With new products and services being developed and released on a near-constant basis, something like generative AI will have the power to help test ideas, speed up research and even rule out the ideas that aren’t working. In essence, the modern design process can have a serious speed injection.

Human-centred design

Brands are more aware now than ever just how much experience is the defining factor in successful audience interaction and response to their brand. Beyond just digital UX and UI, it’s not possible to fuse marketing channels and social media to create a way more comprehensive brand experience – one that fully connects to audiences on a human level.  

Brutalism/utilitarian and pixelated styles

Whether it’s posters, app design or album covers, Brutalism’s less-is-more approach is going nowhere. And there’s good reason for that. Its clarity lends itself very, very well to UX, functionality and streamlining the user journey. Want to stand out? Give design a spring clean, and get rid of the clutter.

For something a bit more futuristic, brands are once again discovering the power of pixels. Bold but simple, they can add a nostalgic edge to streamlined layouts, and the video game-ready heritage makes them well-suited to animation and movement too.

Illustration in branding

The thing about minimalism is that it can often seem cold and closed off. As a brand, being human is vital, especially if connecting with your audience is important (and why wouldn’t it be?). Illustration adds personality in spades, using patterns, handwritten fonts, and character to a brand in ways that really stand out.

Whether you emphasise humour, coolness, or any number of traits, we think it’s an ace way to make a brand memorable. Just look at Byron Burgers. Designed by Taxi Studio, it was nominated for a ton of design awards – no mean feat in the saturated market they find themselves in.

The Best Design Trend Advice for 2024

It’s important to remember that trends are just that. By definition, they come and go. And while you might hit on something that works for the time being, design and visuals will serve a brand better the longer they can last.

So, with this in mind, the best thing you can do is not get caught up with what’s in – especially if it doesn’t relate to your brand. The best, most authentic design is that which aligns with your brand, your audience, and their values. Never underestimate how much their hobbies, emotions and needs could influence where to take your designs. What you think looks good might not speak to your audience, so heed the insights your research gives you.  

The Value of Being Aware of Trends

With that said, staying up to date on graphic design industry trends is still important. They’re a reflection of the shifts made in visual culture, pop culture, and consumer interests, all of which can give you a steer in the right direction – whether that’s in terms of relevance or communicating effectively with your audience.

Try not to make trends a checklist of things to tick off in an effort to make your design work “feel current”. Randomly adopting new styles which aren’t relevant can end up harming the perception of your image and what you stand for.

This can be tricky, of course. But we can help you navigate these trends and find a route through this constantly changing landscape.

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