The biggest graphic design trends for 2024

Our predictions of what will shape the industry in the year to come.

2023 has been a turbulent time across the globe, and the design world has been no exception. Our media and creative spaces have been dominated by activism and new technologies, with artificial intelligence tools developing at an unbelievable rate. The battle for brand loyalty rages on, companies are using every weapon in their arsenal to connect with their customers and provoke an emotional response to their products.

With values and opinions seemingly becoming more and more divided, people are pushing for a louder voice in an already crowded space, meaning strong design is more valuable than ever. To help you keep up with the fast paced design world and make your voice heard this year, we have put together our predictions for the top design trends of 2024.

 

1. Bright and bold colour palettes

We have already seen bright colours and pastels make a return to the scene, with the huge success of the Barbie movie painting the world pink it’s clear to see the naughties’ aesthetic is being embraced once more. 2024 will see a wider use of candy and fluorescent colours across both digital and print (time to try some riso printing!).

While brands start adopting a louder palette, we also predict that intentionally clashing colours will find a place in the mainstream. This choice is likely to be controversial and may not work for all brands, but those who do take on a considered clash will find their voices heard and stand out in the crowd.

Whether it’s futuristic neons or warm tones like Pantone’s peachy colour of the year, it’s safe to say the future is looking bright!

 

2. AI is taking over!

Like it or loathe it, artificial intelligence is here to stay. The last couple of years have been uncertain as we have only scratched the surface of what AI can do, and the laws and ethics around using it for design can be a confusing mess. Opinions of AI are very divisive in the design community, many fear that artists will be replaced by clients writing a quick prompt which yields almost instantaneous results. But it’s not all doom and gloom! Many of us also see AI as another tool in our belt which can help streamline laborious tasks, create unique reference images, or even push the boundaries of what we are capable of as artists.

AI is particularly useful for platforms that require quick, time-sensitive turnaround such as news outlets. We have already seen a big spike in the use of generated imagery to accompany articles, social media posts and video thumbnails. The lines are blurring around what is real and concerns about misinformation are high, this is sparking a lot of debate around when we should or shouldn’t be allowed to use AI generated content. Regardless, we will most definitely see a huge increase in AI use for graphic design worldwide in 2024.

 

3. The revival of traditional handcrafted design

Hope is not lost for those who aren’t happy with recent shifts into the age of generative AI, analogue is making a comeback! We predict that in the years to come we will see a backlash against computer generated imagery, with some designers and brands moving away from perfect digital dream worlds, back down to earth to a place of handmade authenticity.

This comes at a time when companies are looking to engage with their audience in a more emotional way, reacting to a general shift away from disingenuous corporate design trends such as Corporate Memphis and overuse of generic stock imagery. While it’s true that digital design will remain prominent for the foreseeable future, manual techniques will fill the ever growing demand for soulful design that we can connect with and draw inspiration from. You can expect to see more hand drawn illustrations, traditional printing techniques and creative custom typography, this is something that we at GRIN are very excited about!

 

4. Modern Retro

Modern cinema has shown us that nostalgia is a valuable tool which we are seeing more and more. People are looking back and longing for simpler times and the comforts of retro design, so now is a great time to draw inspiration from our roots. Modern retro isn’t just about using old imagery, typefaces and colour palettes, but refining them with current techniques and integrating them with modern or sometimes futuristic aesthetics.

 

5. 3D will continue to become more widely used

3D design has already featured in the top trends of recent years, and this trend just seems to keep growing bigger! 3D software such as Blender has made creating captivating digital sculptures, immersive virtual scenes and dynamic 3D typography much more accessible. Many artists who only ever worked with 2D design are now diving into the world of 3D and the plethora of opportunities it provides. With the continued development of virtual reality and the Metaverse we can expect that there will be a huge demand for 3D in the years to come.

 

6. Open-source innovation

Budgets have been tight as of late, and as a result we are seeing more and more people opt for free and open-source design programmes. The huge popularity of software like Blender and Canva is closing the gap in quality of free and paid options, particularly when the programme offers community made plugins and content. For example, a Blender object called Grease Pencil is revolutionising the way we animate, it accepts the drawing information from a mouse or pressure-sensitive stylus and places it in 3D space as a collection of points, which are defined as a stroke. This combination of 2D in a 3D workspace is becoming a very popular technique and has even been used for the Spiderverse films! It just goes to show the powerful an impact the passionate communities around free and open-source software have on the design and animation industry.

 

7. Sustainability

Environmental impact and sustainability are a hot topic on everyone’s minds at the moment. This isn’t restricted to just conservation and carbon footprint campaigns, many businesses are now evaluating their environmental impact and looking at how they can show that they are making a positive difference. This means using eco-friendly materials for print and packaging, reducing or offsetting carbon emissions and donating to relevant charities.

We are seeing the attitudes around sustainability shape the design industry. It’s not just about using plant motifs, brown paper, and photos of wind turbines. Sustainable design is about innovation and problem solving. We are making considered choices based on how our work will impact the world and be perceived by those who are concerned about the future of the planet. This is a trend that we are happily embracing moving into 2024, and we hope everyone else will too!

 

8. Playful branding

After a long era of sleek and minimal logo design we are seeing that there is an ocean of brands which look the same or are void of personality. In a bid to stand out and breathe life into identities, brand designers are becoming more experimental and playful with their logos, graphic devices, and colour palettes. Whether it’s using unconventional typefaces or trying colour combinations which don’t traditionally align with certain industries, we can expect to see more diversity in the branding world as companies embrace uniqueness.

Part of this shift to a more playful world is influenced by the revival of retro, with big brands like Burger King and Kodak reverting to their old branding but refined for a modern audience. This is a trip down memory lane to a time where branding was perceived as fun and unrestricted, unearthing a deep-rooted connection with the brands we once knew.

 

9. Maximalism

More is more! (Restrictions may apply). Minimalism has had its moment, and while it’s not going anywhere any time soon, maximalism is crashing its way onto the scene. It’s not about cramming anything and everything into your designs but rather filling the space in a considered way, which looks intentionally chaotic or organic. There is a plethora of tools available to designers which can give personality to a brand; illustrations, textures, stickers, shapes… who says we can’t use them all?

It’s not complete free rein, however. When taking a maximalist approach, it’s more important than ever to establish a strong visual hierarchy when you want to communicate important information. Contrast is key, you don’t want your heading or a call to action to get lost amongst the chaos. To this end, a combination of minimalist white space and maximalist graphic devices can be a powerful layout choice to explore. The most important thing is to have fun with it! The artistic expression that comes with the maximalist approach is what people are craving and celebrating, so we shouldn’t be afraid to experiment.

 

There’s no way to know for sure what the new year has in store for us but 2024 is looking like an exciting and innovative year for the design industry. The GRIN team are eager to see which new trends will materialise and evolve to shape the world of design. Let’s see if our predictions come true!