Design Trends for 2021

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021|

Design trends often respond to the current cultural trends.  It’s no surprise that given the upheavals of 2020, 2021’s predictions for design trends while calm and positive, also include a disruptive undertone.  Distance learning, remote offices, and digital communications impact these trends further.  Some notable 2021 trends in graphic and web design include:

Pantone’s color(s) of the year

Each year Pantone selects its color of the year.  This year it has selected two colors that represent, to me, where we’ve been and where we want to go:

PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray’ and ‘PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating.  The hopefulness to this duo is echoed in Pantone’s introduction of the colors: “A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.”

Environment-first approach

2020 required many to stay indoors, so it’s only natural that desire for the outdoors has influenced packaging and graphic design. A focus on natural patterns with flora and fauna will have an impact on design.  A deeper connection with mother nature will continue in 2021 influencing improved trends in sustainability.  Be ready for softer hues, muted colors, and more organic fabrications will be everywhere from interior design to graphic design.


3D graphics, Shapes Textures, Patterns, and Illustrations will have a huge impact in 2021.

The continued rise in gaming, as well as AR & VR, also requires the use of 3D graphics and software to be realistic, engaging, and eye-catching.   Especially in the e-learning space, where keeping engagement and elongating the attention-span of kids is needed for hours at a time, the intelligent use of 3D graphics becomes critical.

Look for 3D emoji designs, cartoons, illustrations, textures, and patterns to have a big impact on graphic design and animation. These all evoke emotion, capture attention, bring about fun, optimism, and a playfulness that consumers crave.  Look for animated logos as a continued design trend in 2021.

What’s your Type?

Typography rules have been pushed and we’ll now see bold and disruptive usage in 2021.  Patterns, optical illusions, 3D, as well as Inkstyle drawings and word-only logos, will be popular this year.

We’ll see a fun use of geometric shapes, experimental typefaces, and a plethora of handwriting typefaces fonts that have been distorted, elongated, and condensed, giving recognition that our world has indeed changed.

What new design trends are you seeing in your business?


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