Trends—can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.

It’s evident that “Top” lists have recently taken over the internet by storm. Top 5 internet search trends, Top 10 cities to live in, Top marketing trends. We took it upon ourselves to continue the momentum and give you some top design trends.

What are some of the top graphic design trends as of late?

Should we shy away from trends or glam on to all of the latest waves of bling when ad agencies have clients who need classic marketing to effectively communicate their brand messaging? Truth is trends influence and inspire, get you thinking.

Whether adopting a style or complaining with distaste, the more visual reference that designers and art directors soak up, the more they evolve their process of creation. As trends in language influence our conversation, visuals influence our point of view and expression—influence, insights and research will affect the success of advertising and innovative creative communications.

Flat design, web graphics and logos
“Flat” as a descriptive term for a design style refers to: simple, straight lines, square corners, very few elements/added effects, typography and bright color. Below chart shows the old and new logo adaptations from a more detailed or dimensional style to a flat style.


Simplified shapes
Recently a myriad of web designs are showing up where vector-based objects as illustration and design become a style.

You ask, what is vector?…  Simply stated, vector images are flexible and high quality when enlarged to  any scale so that no quality is lost when you zoom into the image. Here’s some more explanation on the basics of vector and raster images.

An example of how a vector-based illustration can become the focal point creating a stunning poster with an abstract image that is simple yet complex (see national park poster below).

Simple shapes and vector flat graphics are not a new concept. Here is a slideshow with some lovely vintage 1930’s WPA promotional posters for U.S. park tourism which show the simplicity of art and illustration designed using flat graphic shapes for a for multi-color silk screen printing process.

Handmade style
Making stuff look old seems to be a back lash of sorts— happening in the mix of big bold minimalist graphics, this style says, “I’ve had enough of this slick marketing stuff.”  Instagram allows for instant filters that look old, weathered or retro so that amateurs can treat photography. Designers will go to lengths researching photoshop tutorials to give special effects to images that need a distressed style or worn out shoe feeling.  Check out this tutorial!

This book on handmade graphics is pointed out in a blog post from a NYC-based trend forecaster:


What’s next?
Getty Images iStock put together an interactive infographic on top visual design trends to expect in the coming year in photography and illustration (including everything from witches to “experiences over things”).