These Graphic Design Trends Are On The Rise

Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator

With all going on in the world, 2020 was filled with an influx of brand messaging ranging from heartfelt to seemingly disingenuous, leaving consumers seeking trustworthiness and transparency more than ever. They don’t want to waste their time reading fluff and trying to figure out the message, so instead they’ll move on. Earlier in our blog, we discussed using design as a communication tool and how you can influence a user’s behavior through the use of typography, photography, iconography and illustration. Now we’re going to be discussing what trends are on the rise for 2021 and how you can stay on top of your competition. We are in a constant stage of evolution and every year the bar is being raised. Attention spans are diminishing, people are wanting more value, and brands need to be more transparent. Communication and technology isn’t slowing down, and we are exposed to more opportunities each and every day. However, what sets a brand apart from the competition is how well they can communicate their message, it’s relevancy to the consumer, and the value it offers. It’s about getting ahead of the competition and always being in a state of both self and social awareness. Here are 7 trends in graphic design you can use to stay in the game and ahead of your competition.

Muted Color Palettes

Muted colors are vivid colors infused with black, white, or a complimentary color to help tone down the visual intensity. They blend well with text and help give the viewer a more relaxed, understated and organic look and feel which is proven to increase their sense of security and trust. Also, with health and wellness being a core value in today’s consumer, many brands in this industry are using this technique in their graphic design. Color isn’t the only element that matters in your messaging, but it can help evoke a certain feeling and emotion that comes with it.

Simple Data Visualizations

People are becoming more impatient and studies show the average person’s attention span only lasts about eight seconds. You want your visuals to speak for itself, and if you can’t understand the message of the graphic without text, then you might need to revisit. Simplicity and modern design is what’s trending and its goal is to visualize and communicate complex information in a way that’s easier to understand. Having a lot of copy in your message might confuse and overwhelm the viewer, making them not want to read it all. Keep it simple and get your main points across the best way you can with design. When you took your design as far as you can, you then fill in the blanks with the most important info that can help support the visual and communicate your message more quickly. 

Geometric Shapes Everywhere

Many brands are starting to use more geometric shapes to add more consistency and dimension in their design. They are great to use with a muted color palette because they help create contrast to help grab the viewer’s attention. Geometric shapes also add texture and depth to your design. Have fun with them, but keep your design branded. You can use them on your website, social media and pretty much anything you want. 

Flat Icons & Illustrations

Flat icons are versatile and great to use when you’re creating a lot of visual content. They are easy to work with and you can always change up the color, size, and orientation of the icon. You can also apply them to many different graphics such as social media visuals, infographics, or presentations. You can give them a more branded feel while still clearly portraying what they represent by using your brand colors and style. The goal is to be able to interpret the message visually without having to read a description explaining what it is. Using flat icons are better than stock photos because they are more consistent. Stock photos also give off a less trustworthy feel, so if you can, use real photos instead when necessary. 

Classic Serif Fonts

This is a font that has been used since the 1400s and is known for those little details at the top and bottom of the letters. They give off a classic feel that’s more trustworthy and less in-your-face. Imagine using a big bold font that says “INVEST YOUR MONEY WITH US!” That would be considered a hard-sell and would be a huge turn off for many people. Consumers want brands to be more genuine, and using this font can tone down the volume while still effectively getting your message across. Serif fonts are great to use for headers and can provide great contrast with sans serif body text. One great example is to look at dating apps such as Hinge and Tinder. Hinge positions itself as a more honest, relationship-seeking app, versus Tinder that has a reputation for more distasteful behavior. Can you guess the difference in their fonts?


Social Media Side Decks

Also known as carousels, slide decks are great for when you have multiple pieces of information to share. They’re commonly used on Instagram and LinkedIn because of the way the user can seamlessly view those images. These platforms’ algorithms also work well with slide decks and tend to perform better because they promote each slide instead of one single image. So for example, if you are scrolling on Instagram and come across a carousel, you’ll see a different image from that carousel 3 hours later when scrolling. If there was only one image, you’ll see that post once instead of multiple times. These types of posts can get up to 20X’s more impressions and engagement.

Text Heavy Videos

With the pandemic still at large, getting everyone in the same room to shoot a video might be difficult. That might be a blessing in disguise because when you don’t have to hire a whole crew, you’re saving both time and money. Aside from that, you will also need to consider if you can understand the video without the audio because if you can’t, you might lose people. People get bored just watching someone talk and by adding this extra element, it can make your video more engaging. Inserting text into your videos have many benefits and can help improve your SEO, brand recall and help viewers retain the content better. 

Minimalism and simplicity goes a long way and will be seen a lot more going into 2021. Although these trends aren’t here forever, staying on top of these trends is staying on top of your competition. Plus, it is possible they may come back. With improving technology, new demands, and emerging styles, graphic design is always changing. What might have worked for you last year might not work this year. If a user looks at your content and feels that it looks outdated, they will lose trust in your brand and see it as irrelevant. So if you want to have a brand that presents itself well and doesn’t look like it’s living in the past, make sure to keep updating and refining your visual content. If you don’t your brand will lose its credibility. Elements such as illustrations, layouts, space and color all influence a user’s behavior and experience, so every decision you make counts. To be successful you have to adapt and keep up, but that doesn’t mean following everything everyone is doing. Do what is best for your brand. In the digital era we live in, it’s important to always stay on your toes and be ready for when it’s time to modernize and adapt. Keep researching the market and jump on the opportunities when they show up. If you don’t feel confident in your design skills or know where to start, give us a call. 

At MSM DesignZ, we put in the time and energy needed for success, so you can ensure you are using every dollar for maximum return. With over 20 years in the business, we have watched graphic design evolve. Whether you need a website refresh, new logo, more attractive email, or even business cards and banners, we can do it all. We’re here to help you stay ahead of the competition and stand out from the crowd. When we take on a client, we put in 110% and treat every brand as if it’s our own. We will always continue to place our clients’ needs at the heart of our operations. From web development to social media management, we’ll work directly with you to build a personalized strategy to not only retain but also gain business. We are assisting in all areas for our clients. Visit our contact page at, and we’ll work with you to devise a custom plan that will keep your brand alive and well. We look forward to working with you!