Photography Techniques

The Most Anticipated Graphic Design Trends for 2022

The Most Anticipated Graphic Design Trends for 2022

Hold onto your cyber hats! Here are the trends expected to dominate graphic design in 2022. But, really, anything’s game.

The design world doesn’t usually move quickly. Trends come and go, but their uptake is typically a slow burn. They build over many years, adding to or transforming the trends that went before them, rather than supplanting them entirely.

But, these aren’t normal times. As we’ve tried to make sense of our new reality, some trends have come and gone so quickly that we barely noticed they existed. Last year’s predictions have already fallen victim to even newer emerging trends.

While tumultuous for society, periods such as these almost always bring about a wide-reaching and generation-defining recasting of creativity, with the old methods evaporating to make way for the new. It’s exciting, and it heralds an opportunity to branch out and create in ways we’ve never dared before.

With that in mind, let’s get down to business.

1. Movement

“Thumb-stopping content” is a much loved phrase by the folks at Facebook. Their theory is that to create an effective online campaign, you need to be able to stop a person from endlessly scrolling for long enough that they engage with your content and click through to your website.

Though the phrase has persisted over time, what constitutes “thumb-stopping content” has changed significantly over the years.

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Today, if you wish to reach new customers, static content will no longer cut it. Motion and animation have become such important elements of the online experience that anything less is effectively a missed opportunity.

From a brand’s perspective, building a language of movement is yet another way of distinguishing it from the competition, and allowing customers to identify it in a lineup of competitors. Bottom line: Motion, including in graphic design, is now an integral part of a brand’s toolkit.

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If you’re a designer, and you haven’t dived into motion yet, then understanding the fundamentals of movement, rhythm, and timing will become as critical as layout, typography, and form. Now is the time to embrace this new frontier.

2. Gen Z Comes of Age

We’re at one of those interesting intersections, where one major generation passes the baton to the next. Millennials may no longer be the new kids on the block, but their influences and aspirations still define a large part of how we operate as a society.

At the same time, Gen Z is beginning to assert its authority, demanding changes across the board in everything—society, the environment, diversity, and political change, not to mention aesthetics, design, fashion, and identity.

Psychedelic Composition

Neon Teen
Gen Z may be coming of age, but Millennials still have influence. Images via PhoenixNeon and Vladimir Kolen’s.

What’s considered modern is likely to take on a whole new meaning, and we’re already seeing the resulting changes in design. For the longest time, design has felt uniform, with clean lines, minimalist motifs, and a fascination with monochromatic color palettes.

Gen Z Influencer
With the emergence of Gen Z, monochromatic, minimalist design may be on the decline. Image via local_doctor.

But, in a world that’s been turned upside down, such a serious, clinical, almost demure aesthetic is beginning to feel old. Even Apple has returned to its more colorful, exuberant past in an attempt to rework itself for the modern era.

Messier, more chaotic, more saturated design will undoubtedly take on new bravado in 2022, as the younger generation looks to rework the world in its image.

Expect a lot of Internet 1.0 design tropes, with a jarring, neon, and irregular approach to composition.

Pink Poster
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. Image via iku4.

3. Eco-Aesthetics

Environmental concerns are nothing new, and will only intensify as time passes. Coloring your campaigns green and espousing your love for the planet was never enough.

But, now we have a word for these meager efforts—greenwashing—and the public is becoming increasingly vocal in pointing where they see it occurring.

Natural Skin Care
Design is taking action when it comes to eco-friendly branding. Image via createvil.

Design has an influential role in the way brands meet this challenge. Packaging is a major area for development, with sustainable materials, inks, and finishes taking on ever-greater importance.

Recycled Material
Sustainable products are finally upping their game. Image via Anneleven Stock.

Expect to see a focus on biodegradability, non-permanent inks and finishes, and a shift from self-indulgence, selfies, and perfectly preened design, to a more community-based approach to visuals, aesthetics, and motifs.

4. Eccentric Serifs

With such huge societal and environmental shifts going on, the smaller details of design have gone largely unnoticed. For example, typography has gone through a metamorphosis of spectacular breadth—seemingly while nobody was looking.

At the beginning of the 2010s, it was all about brutalism, then four or five years later retro typefaces and maximalist approaches spiked.

In 2022, typography will evolve again.

Jelly Font

Bold Text
Even fonts are having their day in the sun. Images via Igor Havok and Munerf.std.

Custom typography and serif typefaces will have a renaissance. Serif fonts—often considered too primitive to command a place in modern design—are no longer defined in such terms.

Idiosyncratic reimagining is giving the category a new lease of life that’s providing a much-needed shakeup in the sometimes homogeneous choices we make with our typography.

Fear Slogan

Print Design
Nineties tropes are back with a bang! Images via Lovely Graphique and CHAKRart.

Gone is the over-reliance on Helvetica and the miasma of replicas it has spawned. Driven by the aesthetic preferences of Gen Z, ’90s tropes are back with a bang, and will undoubtedly define how this new interest in typography develops.

5. Cyberpunk Resurrected

Last year, we predicted that cyberpunk would take center stage in 2021. As it happened, the trend was supplanted by others—related to the environment and the pandemic—that more clearly defined the way in which the world was developing.

But, we predict that the trend is still coming, just a year later than we thought

Laser Cube
Get ready to go cyberpunk. Image via POR666.

Facebook’s announcement of the metaverse—a virtual world in which AR and VR are prominent—is one reason for our prediction. Their idea is to rework the internet into a fully immersive world for both work and play. Think The Matrix, but hopefully without the danger.

And, The Matrix itself is another reason for our prediction. One of the most popular and era-defining franchises ever created, The Matrix is back with a whole new installment in late December.

Last time around, the franchise was responsible for a societal shift in beliefs, technology, our understanding of our place in the universe, fashion, design, and philosophy. We were wrong to underestimate its impact then, so we won’t be making the same mistake this time.

Expect a fairly obvious slant towards cyberpunk motifs and styles, as brands hope to leverage the goodwill created in and around the release of the film. And, as AR and VR move from pipe dream to viable methods of interacting with each other, expect this new paradigm to drive interest in cyberpunk.

Matrix-Themed Design
Expect even brands to take a stab at cyberpunk motifs and styles. Image via ex_artist.

We have no doubt that as the medium matures, the more obvious tropes will eventually erode, but the aesthetics of a well-known and well-loved franchise are a good way to ease consumers into this new and exciting world.

Cyberpunk Girl

Cyberpunk Gamer

Cyborg Girl
Images via Roman3dArt, GrandeDuc, and Roman3dArt.

One More Thing . . .

You may have noticed as you were reading this article that there’s a fairly heavy emphasis on one color in particular: pink. This isn’t a coincidence. Pink will be one of the hottest colors for 2022.

Data-Backed Ways to Think Pink in Your Next Campaign

A color that’s been divisive in the past—just five years ago, pink wasn’t a serious contender for a professional brand—pink is now becoming a firm favorite.

Get creative, go wild. Think pink.

Cover image via Beatriz Vera.

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