Animation Trends 2022: Experimental and Open-Minded

Animation Trends 2022

Just barely kicking off the new year, the Graphic Design trends are already in full power raising the game in all graphic design fields. With a wonderful mix of nostalgia, movement, and open-mindedness, the trends bring more excitement for animation as well. Do you love complex hyper-realistic CGI or do you prefer classic animation on the Lo-Fi end? What about dynamic typography or old school?  Whatever the case, get ready for the Animation trends 2022 because this year is all about going fully experimental.

Get ready for:

The 10 Animation Trends of 2022 Overview:
1. 3D Forever
2. Hyper-Realistic CGI
3. Psychedelic and Surrealistic Animation
4. Flat Style Characters
5. Mascot Characters
6. Outline Animation
7. Kinetic Typography
8. Old School Animation
9. Experimental and Indie
10. Lo-Fi


Graphic Design Trends 2023 are here

Exciting news! Graphic Design Trends for 2023 are already released! Want to see a quick video recap of the most current trends in graphic design?

Check out the full article for more insights: Graphic Design Trends 2023 Are Shaping the New Reality


1. 3D Forever: Cute Cartoon 3D Animations

Always evolving, 3D aims to add realism to the unrealistic. The more complex it gets, the more it aims for simplicity in shapes and colors. In 2022 the 3D trend is focused on cute round shapes with vivid contrasting colors, making them look like clay figures come to life. The result is amazing for videos and movies dedicated to children’s entertainment.

It’s finally time to say goodbye to the cheap and empty-looking 3D mass-produced cartoons so we can finally appreciate that 3D can be as creative and beautiful as the 2D classics from our childhood.

3D Animation Trends Forever Example 01

The Panda in the Rain by Hossein Ghasemzadeh for Acedesign.

3D Animation Trend Forever Example 02

Like by Nguyen Nhut.

Rexy and the Volcano by Pangea – Never Ending World

“Dead Meat” by Adnan Mohamed

“God tries to create ‘Earth’. But he can’t get a break from the kids.” by Omeleto

2. Hyper-Realistic CGI: More Real Than Real

When you blur the line between reality and animation you can create something more: hyperrealism. This is exactly the type of animation in AAA video games cinematics that makes people say “It looks more real than if it was real”.  The absurdly great detail allowing you to see the smallest pores on the skin of the character or the microscopic cracks on the armor can be a little bit uncanny, but very impressive nonetheless.

Remember the cute characters from Among Us that made us sus in 2019? This is how they look now in hyper-realistic CGI:

Among Us | Hyper-realistic horror 3D animation by 3D Print Guy

Irradiation by Short of the Week 

Mxrdxrchain by Ondrej Svadlena

K.I.T. | Award-Winning Animated Short Film by Brandon D. Hill


3. Psychedelic Animation: Surreal Fever Dreams

The twisted, melting and distorted aesthetics of the 1960s made a great comeback in every graphic design field. Naturally, they look even more trippy and mind-bending in motion. This trend rises like a counterculture to reflect the chaos of today and draw strength from within. The animated videos wake up our carefree spirit with incredible lucid visuals and entrancing design. Unfortunately, the trend might be too much for the wider public. Being the Resistance to all trends, it will always sneak into the periphery of the mainstream, but never in the spotlight.

Viewer discretion is advised.

Animation Trends 2022 Psychedelic Animation Example 01


Cool Trippy Animation Example in 2022

Mystic Pizza by Max Barry.


Pulse by Micah Buzan Music

Shade on Me by Thelen Creative


4. Flat Style Characters: The New Default for Marketing

Flat style is nothing new to design trends, however, its popularity brought it to the next level. Now the flat style is not just a trend, but a default for marketing-related animations, especially explainer videos. The style works great for visualizing complex ideas in a simple and comprehensive way. Flat graphics are much easier to animate and look very professional as most people already associate them with the “corporate art style”.

Cool Flat Characters Animation Example

Devices by Dinos&Teacups.

Flat Pretty Girl Character Animation Example in 2022

Year In Review: ClearVoice by

Explainer Video for Loigi Report by Vidico

Explainer Video by Pandium


5. Custom Mascot Characters: Brand Ambassadors Strike Back

Second, only to flat-style, custom brand mascots rise in full force for marketing videos, explainer videos, and advertising. Maybe not as complex as old-school mascots like the Duracell bunny, but definitely experimental and adorable. We can see the trend getting stronger, especially for mobile applications that get more and more interactive each year. The mascots are specially designed to work well with the overall app design and interact with the micro UI animations.

Cute Robot Mascot Animated Trend

Chatbot Mascot by Shiue Nee.

Funny potato animation with mascot - creative animation in 2022

Baby Potato by Taufikrizkyy.

Rocket Man by Motiv Productions

If you’re a novice and you have just started learning animation and basic principles of 2D and 3D, you might want to try something cool and easy. Especially when it comes to marketing and business-oriented 2D explainer videos, or animated infographics, using puppets is the best way to start. If you wish to animate your own mascots, Adobe Character Animator is the most popular tool that uses your expressions and movements to animate characters in real-time. And, most importantly, have a lot of fun doing it.

The good news is, that there are countless free puppets for you to download, test, customize and use so you could quickly get used to the tool.

Pet Store – Created with Adobe Character Animator

You can check out what else you can do with the animation tool with 30 more examples.


6. Outline Animation: Modern and Fun

The simplicity of the graphics allows the imagination to go wild. It’s amazing what simple lines can accomplish in animation. In fact, outline animations offer endless possibilities from creating subtle and classy animations to more fun and goofy ones. This style has become a trend to its extremely diverse range of design styles so expect to see it a lot, especially in web/mobile apps and explainer videos.

Inspirational big outline character animation in 2022

Simple Colorful Illustrations by Ramy Wafaa.

Sport man cartoon animation example in 2022

Basketball Guy iZettle by Jonathan Dahl.

Explainer Video by CertainlyCo


7. Kinetic Typography: Words are Images

When you get used to hearing that a picture is worth a thousand words, it certainly gets interesting when you see the exact opposite. Kinetic typography is where words are the images, mimicking concepts and working like visuals. This trend is all about creativity with fonts and turning reading into an exciting interactive experience. Its popularity started mainly with lyrics and music videos, but now it’s everywhere.

Typography animation - trending in 2022

Wide kinetic type animation by Efi Kabak.

Amazing animated kinetic typography example in 2022

HEAT by Mat Voyce.

Stomp Kinetic Typography by Cinthya Studios

Kinetic Typography by Motionooze


8. Old School Animation: The Power of Nostalgia

Modern tributes to retro animations will always be trendy. The difference is creators find new and more modern approaches to convey the nostalgic feeling of frame-by-frame pencil-drawn animation. This type of animation is perfect in its imperfections, as the frame transition isn’t supposed to be smooth.

Trending style in 2022 - Old Scool Animation Example

Skull Ring by Ink Bad Company.

Cool flat animation latest example in 2022

Gasoline transport by Tim Constantinov.


Marjorie by Sammcat

Meaningful by Garahisarlıyın


9. Experimental Animation: Trial and Success

Mixing different styles and creating something new and unconventional has always been tied to the indie scene. Fortunately, in these chaotic times, the borders between indie and mainstream start to shrink and we can see the rising of creative experimental animations everywhere. Artists don’t hold back on exaggerating shapes and unleash beautiful artistic weirdness into the wild.

Inspirational experimental animation in 2022 - cool example

Humbled by Animography.

Experimental Animations in 2022

Creative block sticker pack by Lilla Bardenova.

Funny creative animation example in 2022

Cannabis Cup by Ovcharka Industries.

Widdershins | Animated short film by Simon Biggs

Nothing Happens | Animated short film by Michelle & Uri Kranot

Nigel | Experimental Animated Short Film About a Lonely Gannet


10. Lo-Fi: It’s All About the Vibe

Right after the experimental animation trend, it’s fitting to finish this article with the biggest animation trends this year. In our previous graphic trends 2022-related articles, we saw that the things people love most in design are nostalgia and the concept of perfect imperfections. In graphic design, we have the Riso Print trend, and in web design- the Brutalism. When it comes to animations, however, it’s all about the beautiful nostalgic vibe of low fidelity. Lo-Fi,  initially referring to low-quality recording, has recently become an internet phenomenon.

You’ve all seen the countless Lo-Fi YouTube playlists with downtempo beats with the occasional tape hiss or vinyl scratch. They all sound niche, but the modern revamp of the music attracts people to the point Lo-Fi became a trend. It capitalizes on nostalgia as a powerful aesthetic. Naturally, the same aesthetics from the Lo-Fi music translate into animation as well. What started as anime study girls and rainy days with infinitely looping backgrounds for music compilations,  is now a modern fragmented animation that purposefully lacks detail, and looks gloomy and imperfect. The animation seeks to convey nostalgia, romantic melancholy, chill, and stillness.

Modern Lo-Fi Animation Trend Example

Hope by Dongkyu Lim.

Really nice Lo-Fi animation in 2022

Illustration and animation for Lo-Fi beats by Dongkyu Lim.

Cafe Moka – 2D Animated Short 2021

HOMIES | 2D Animated Short Film

Squeezie – Tout / 2D animation

BLOOM – Animated Short Film 2021


Final Words

Design trends 2022 resonate with our strive to find meaning and pleasure in hard times and to break what holds us down. This willingness to gain strength from chaos and keep an open mind translates into animation with beautiful experimental creations that no longer stay bound to the indie scene only. Animation trends 2022 bring nostalgic aesthetics, imperfections, and experimental spirit.

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Al Boicheva

Al is an illustrator at GraphicMama with out-of-the-box thinking and a passion for anything creative. In her free time, you will see her drooling over tattoo art, Manga, and horror movies.

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