Design Trends – 2019 in Review

Top 5 Graphic Design Trends of 2019

The following review is based on a thorough analysis of colour, typography, shapes and styles that we’ve observed in the work of prestigious designers around the world.

1. Flat Illustration

We start our 2019 trends review with the flat or simplified illustration trend that has dominated all design fields this year from landing pages, to entire websites, from the digital space to print applications and packaging design.

This major trend has been steadily growing in the last few years, characterized by the flat iconic advertising illustrations of the post-War era. We’re seeing a lot of brands launching with gorgeous websites, full of these mid-century influenced illustrations, often rendered in a clearly modern style but retaining dreamy vintage colour palettes.

Based on recent statistics, custom illustrations can convert 7 times better than any stock photography. A unique illustration with bold colours will definitely make a business stand out especially when customized to suit a brand’s needs.

2. Typography – Old Style Fonts

Typography is becoming more necessary for brands that really want to stand out and recently designers are turning to signature serif typefaces. After years of dominance the clean sans serif is now seen as “generic” and “soulless” and serifs are seen as cute, quirky and bursting with character.

With sans-serif type being the face of nearly every global company, brands are now rebounding and bringing back some emotion in the form of personality-packed serif typefaces, often with rounded terminals and in Old-Style or Transitional styles.

While the illustrations are getting lighter, the fonts are beefing up—especially when it comes to serifs. The past year has given us some gorgeous plump serifs that seem pulled from the days of cast-metal type. While sans-serifs and hand-drawn fonts will continue to be highly present, this was the year where the range and diversity of serif fonts has exploded.

3. Bold Vivid Colours & Gradients

Strong colours have been an important trend in the last few years and will continue in 2020. Bold colours create rich, bright and sometimes even extremely vibrant environments. Perfect for illustrations, they create a jovial atmosphere, make the characters stand out and bring out the story behind the image.

Brands like Spotify and Apple Music have embraced gradients, bold colours, and flat design before it was fashionable and they currently feel right at home with some of the other graphic design trends that we’ve seen in 2019.

4. 3D & Isometric

3D has proved itself a persistent trend for the last few years, so we are anticipating to see a lot of it in the years to come. Luckily, technologies are evolving quickly allowing graphic designers to create amazing 3D masterpieces which immerse the viewer into the design. Bringing your work to life in 3D allows you to recreate the world around you but also to construct new fantastic environments and dimensions.

Isometric designs create whole universes in tiny little spaces. Isometric design sounds highly technical, but it’s simply a method of drawing a 3D object in two dimensions. The arena where this trend is heating up the most is with icons. Isometric icons have a lot more tactility and warmth than flat design, drawing users in. Plus they are saved to a smaller file size than 3D, so you get all of the bang with none of the lag!

5. Variable Typography

Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite now supports variable fonts, a new Open Type font format supporting custom attributes such as weight, width, slant, optical size, etc. You can change these custom attributes using convenient slider controls available when you click in the Control panel, Character panel, Character Styles panel, and Paragraph Styles panel.

With variable fonts you just need one file because variable or generative fonts provide an infinite number of letter weight and width adjustments. The possibilities of this are only just being tapped into, and will continue to grow in 2020.