Graphic Design Trends That Will Be Everywhere in 2023

For anyone ending the year seeking creative rejuvenation, look no further than the graphic design trends set to dominate visual branding over the next 12 months.

We tapped into the insights of the global community of professional freelance creators working on 99designs by Vista to gather their predictions around what we should expect to see in 2023.

Looking at these trends holistically, it’s clear how design has been impacted by the unmet expectations held for 2022. Designers and consumers had high hopes for a year filled with adventure and freedom, but for many these were overshadowed by unwelcome and challenging global events.

For some, design creates the opportunity to counteract negativity by exploring light-hearted styles threaded through with escapism. Others favor capturing today’s challenging global climate with a grittier realism. Suffice it to say that businesses looking to refresh their brand in a trend forward way in 2023 have an eclectic set of styles and options to choose from.

Exploration of other worlds

Unsurprisingly, when life continues to feel like a rollercoaster ride, we are seeing creatives turn to ethereal elements to find peace, comfort and refuge. Infusing the trend of mysticism in branding through the use of zodiac symbols and astrological imagery like moons and stars is enabling designers to create a sense of serenity. Delicate lines and muted colors often complement this style, creating designs that are gentle and calm.

Similarly pleasant energy is found through a fresh approach to surrealism in 2023. Surrealism, which seeks to capture the magic of the unconscious and unconventional, has been popular for a long time, but in the year ahead expect to see it coupled with 80s airbrush techniques. Characterized by intense saturated colors, floating objects and a soft glow, this design trend feels dream-like and approachable all at the same time.

On the darker end of this otherworldly exploration is the trend of experimental escapism, strongly influenced by recent technological advancements. With the progression of artificial intelligence (AI), especially AI art, as well as the Metaverse, designers in 2023 are inspired to push their own boundaries of creativity, leading us into unknown worlds of mesmerizing and unimaginable landscapes.

Reviving counter- and sub-cultures

Designers, like much of the world, are fed up with a myriad of systemic global issues and in 2023 they are channeling past movements to communicate their opposition. In many ways, it’s no surprise that punk revival is a trend coming back into the mainstream spotlight. This anti-establishment style breaks the rules of traditional design, making use of chaotic collages, hand-lettering, newspaper typefaces and distorted imagery. While messy and jumbled, its energy is honest and forthright – and something that many can relate to.

Less rebellious but still here to make a statement is the trend of acid graphics. Defined by bright colors, warped typography and chrome textures, this aesthetic has ties to 90s goth subculture that steered away from conventional design. With digital tools offering design templates that are easy to use and follow all design norms, it makes sense that graphic designers are working to prove that branding, if done right, doesn’t need to follow any rules.

New textures adding depth to design

Designers are constantly exploring and experimenting with fresh shapes and textures to keep things interesting. In 2023, we anticipate more and more designs hitting the scene that digitally capture the effect of the risograph, a type of print technology invented in 1986 with a distinctive aesthetic. The style is about highly saturated colors, fluid abstract shapes and grainy textures that give depth to simple visuals.

Similarly dynamic, abstract gradients are predicted to play a significant role in the year ahead. While gradients are nothing new, they are taking new forms in abstract and oblong shapes: with frothy smooth curves, this style feels fluid and soothing. At a time when things often feel uncertain, it’s nice to have a trend that feels reliable and familiar.

A blurring of boundaries

Design has never been about staying in a single lane, and in 2023, this is truer than ever. Through 90s space psychedelia, designers are all about pairing the future and the past. Blending 90s retro styles like Memphis design and sci-fi elements like androids and spaceships with neon vibrant colors, this aesthetic suggests a sense of optimism for the future by putting a nostalgic spin on the high-tech world of tomorrow.

On top of a time warp, designers are also playing with the dichotomy between physical and digital spaces. This mixed dimension trend is all about adding doses of cheery color and cartoonish illustrations to real-life photography. Rather than taking away from the real life imagery, the blending of these styles actually emphasizes the power and impact that imagination and art can have in the world.

Finding delight in details

Nature’s influence always shines through via one graphic design trend and this year it’s in folk botanical. This style is about displaying natural patterns in a less polished way, with hand-made textures, doodles and unexpected color combinations. This approach works well in making digital work feel more natural and perfectly imperfect.

Alongside this nature-focused trend, we’ll see all sorts of stories being told through complex compositions. Consisting of multiple illustrations in one scene, this aesthetic is like walking into a room and creating a snapshot of everything happening at one moment in time. Despite having several elements, this style tends to feel quite minimal - engaging but not overwhelming.

In 2023, many designers are also turning to minimal line art to create vintage cartoon style illustrations that make a fun and light-hearted impression. Thanks to the simplicity of the line drawings, designers tend to complete the look with splashes of bright colors and playful bubble fonts.

There’s no denying that 2023 is going to be filled with an eclectic mix of graphic design styles, mirroring the issues and attitudes in the world around us. What we are really seeing is the evolution of whatever reality we want to be a part of. Whether that’s a trip to the 90s or to the depths of outer space, creatives are here to make it happen.

12 inspiring graphic design trends for 2023

Written by Caitlin Collins, Head of Brand Marketing & Comms at 99designs by Vista

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