Graphic Design Trends in 2021 That Will Cause Revolution

Graphic Design Trends 2021

Update Oct. 2023: Graphic Design Trends 2024 are officially out. Check them out.

Design trends for the coming year are always big news and 2021 is just around the corner, out with the old and in with the new has never been more wished for.

To say that 2020 has been a strange year is more than just an understatement. But in the online world, lockdown, forced closure of stores and educational institutions, and so on have had an enormous impact. Distance learning, online shopping, and the search for entertainment not to mention working from home and communications platforms have all seen rapid growth. People and businesses have had to adapt quicker than ever before, and as always in periods of dramatic change technology and trends have to reflect the needs of the customer and fight their corner. New fashions and techniques are pushing onwards and upwards and to keep ahead of the completion you need to know what’s bubbling under the surface.

There are certain elements of website design that are here to stay, fast speeds, easy navigation, and increased security, as well as the rise of the battery saving, eye-saving dark mode. The latest graphic design trends are working with these aspects, enhancing them visually. And it’s not only website design we are talking about, the ripple effect on company branding, logos, marketing, general illustration, and in all areas of graphic design are also clear to see.

So let’s put our thinking caps on and make some predictions. Based, of course, on research and experience we want to give all you creative designers some insight into what the popular trends and fashions of 2021 will be. Remember standing still is moving backward.

You may also be interested in Infographic Design Trends 2021: Opposites Attract.

Top Graphic Design Trends in 2021 are:


Graphic Design Trends 2024


2021 will be the year of:

1. 3D Design

The 3D design trend is not exactly new, to be fair but it’s getting cooler, and cooler. This design trend is one that has certainly made the most of more modern technological advances and software capabilities.
A really good example of design trends growing out of new “can-do” possibilities. The rise and rise of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in high-performance UI web design and apps, increased internet and technology speeds, and amazing off-the-shelf software -all of these things mean that designers are upping their 3D game.

3D Design example Leo Natsume

Example by Leo Natsume

UOL Edtech 3D Illustrations

Example by Leo Natsume

Huawei 3D Illustration example

Example by Leo Natsume

The popular drift is going to be towards incredibly lifelike, hyper-real visuals to blur the digital and physical. To run alongside this we predict that these 3D visuals will be incredibly impactful, not just pushed as a minor element but taking center stage, even dominating the entire page. The hot trend of combing photographic images with illustrative elements is also influencing 3D. Trending designers are combining 3D designs with photos or flat illustrations. Others are adding movement and animation, all to make the site stand out from the barrage of others.

3D Animation Inspirational Example for 2021

Example by Anna Novikova

3D food illustration animated

Example by Anton Tkachev

Example by Tran Mau Tri Tam


These visually stunning creations are not purely for artistic merit, they interest and engage the viewer, holding their attention and vitally affecting your bounce rate. Great design with a practical edge. To see the kind of red hot design that has picked up so much momentum that it’s going to be hard to stop, check out this amazing selection we’ve picked for you. Absolutely inspirational design from the very best designers around today.

3D illustration with depth of field

Example by Nayab Fatima

Trending style web design with 3D with image depth

Example by STFN

Wonder where to find 3D illustrations? Check out these 20 Beautiful Isometric & 3D Illustrations For Your Designs: Free and Paid


2021 will be the year of:

2. Emoji Design

Emojis are the now-ubiquitous form of pictograms, that enable designers to add emotion to statements, sites, or printed media. The web designers’ tone of voice or a little wink at the end of the sentence, and are more and more popular, even the central feature of communication. Mainly but not only on social media- Snapchat, Instagram – Emoji encourage interaction. The same can be said of all your designs, the use of Emojis creates a reaction and a response, they lighten the mood (and we all need that) and they communicated the underlying feelings.

Example by FOREAL Studio

Emoji package design

Example by Multiple Owners

3D emoji style design for commercial

Example by Multiple Owners

For all these reasons the trend of using Emojis in design is very likely to pick up speed over the next few years. It’s time to get creative when something is everywhere, you need to be different. The trend for 2021 is going to be the more and more creative and imaginative use of emojis. Think of different styles and techniques to create them but also different ways and places to incorporate them into your designs. You have the advantage that people know them and like them, now you need to push them outside their comfort zone but still keep the message clear.

Emoji in graphic design - 3D illustration

Example by Mego studio

Emoji Illustrations for website design

Example by SoLemon

Emoji Illustration Design in 3D looking style for social media

Example by Leo Natsume

Modern Emoji Brand Design - trend example in 2021

Example by kissmiklos

Poster print design trend with emoji graphics

Example by Ibán Ramón


2021 will be the year of:

3. Nature-Inspired Design

Organic, softer, natural design trends have been coming up slowly on the sidelines of the top trends for the last 10 years or so.  The idea of mimicking nature, natural lights, softer, earthy colors and tones, natural gradients in color schemes, flowing lines – oh yes, it has been coming back into fashion. It fits with the trends of minimalism, muted color palettes, illustrations, there are color filters designed to create natural ambiances, textures featuring wood, stone, etc. the signs have been there for a while. But the big push has come somewhat of the blue.

A well-documented side effect of the present pandemic situation is the thirst for nature. Not surprisingly, people who have been denied the chance of being outside for long periods, have the sudden urge to find excuses for getting out. People who have never seen a field, get the need to picnic, guys who spend every weekend propping up the bar as if from nowhere need to walk barefoot along a beach! Whilst designers may want to set the scene and push the trends, commercial designers might well do right by reflecting the mood. If you can’t go to the mountain let the mountain come to you.

And the essential qualities of nature are suitable for all designs, all techniques, and all commercial fields. It is a blessing for designers that this source of inspiration is a design trend that the people of 2021 want.

Elegant modern product design with natural floral elements illustrations

Example by Right Studio

Nature inspired design trend - product package design

Example by Multiple Owners

Design trend with natural colors and natural materials in 2021

Example by Supernova Design

green book design inspired by natural colors and floral motives in 2021

Example by Orlagh Murphy

Package design trend in 2021

Example by Kateryna Yemchyk



2021 will be the year of:

4. Optical Illusion Design

When the image the brain receives doesn’t quite work as you perceive it should, a trick of the eye, what do you do? Immediately turn away and forget it, or spend some time staring at it trying to work it out. We know the answer. If you’re not sure, browse through the featured designs below and see how long you spend looking at each one!

R letter optical illusion

Example by Max Shevchuk

& letter optical illusion design example

Example by Pablo Myths

So, we’ve already discussed the advantages of the design holding the attention, and keeping the evermore busy viewer on your site. Optical Illusion design is ideal for this and 2021 will be the year when designers get truly funky with this fashion. If your brand has something related to the idea of movement and strangeness or spirituality all the better, but even if you just want the design to stand apart, fix in the memory, and have that wow factor, then illusion design is worth considering.

ABC letters optical illusion design on wall

Example by Txaber _

Flow drawing with optical illusion design

Example by Ben Johnston

Letter K typography design with optical illusion

Example by Divin Creador

Buss stop commercial with optical illusion

Example by Ernst Lindahl

The more you look, the more you need to look. The longer you try to work it out, the longer you need to work it out. It’s clever, it’s addictive -it’s a magical way of dragging viewers in. But a note of caution, there is a time and a place. Overcomplication is not good so think about the usage. Is it appropriate? It is overbearing? Over confusing? Is the illusion of doing the job of adding to the design or has it taken the essence away purely for the sake of looking wild?

Branding design with optical illusion

Example by Figure ™



2021 will be the year of:

5. 3D Typography Design

Typography design got it in 2020, with designers using allsorts of playful ideas and concepts and viewers taking to them in a big way. There was a much more artistic flow to typography and we can’t see that going away anytime soon. Geometric or organic, the next trend looks like being developing into 3d typography, using the same ideas but adding to rather than moving away from.

The prediction for 2021 is that the popular typography designs of 2020 will be transformed into 3D. Ultra-realistic lettering that feels like you can reach in and touch it. Alongside this 3D are elements of animation, texture, and pattern. In fact, typography design is rapidly becoming a great symbol of innovation in graphic design, utilizing all the most fashionable, go-to techniques, and using them is stunning and imaginative ways.

3D Liquid Typography Design in 2021

Example by – SAWDUST –

The prediction for 2021 is that the popular typography designs of 2020 will be transformed into 3D. Ultra-realistic lettering that feels like you can reach in and touch it. Alongside this 3D are elements of animation, texture, and pattern. In fact, typography design is rapidly becoming a great symbol of innovation in graphic design, utilizing all the most fashionable, go-to techniques and using the in stunning and imaginative ways.

Letter E in 3D with gold lines - modern design trend in 2021

Example by Prateek Keshari

Letter P Modern 3D typography design trend

Example by Eslam Mohamed

Animated Letter X Design

Example by Nathan Riley

Macaronni B letter creative typography design

Example by Max Shevchuk

3D coral letters - amazing typography in 2021

Example by T A V O .

YOUNG 3D glass creative typography design

Example by hayoung lee



2021 will be the year of:

6. Cartoon Illustrations in Design

Custom Illustrations have become a nifty way of getting your design to stand out from the generic blur of websites with their heavy graphic elements, clean digital look, and minimalist sleekness. Illustrations are more varied, interesting, and multi-technique than ever before and can enhance the design whilst still keeping on point, and in line with the ethos, you want to present.  We are all for illustrations and they aren’t going to fall off the trend radar for the foreseeable future. But the next popular design trend in the illustration is going to be custom cartoon characters.

A format that keeps the variety, is adaptable, and imaginative but adds playfulness, and raises a smile. Perfect for memorable branding, excellent for creating the atmosphere for a product or site, and incredibly multifunctional. You can use your character on the website, business cards, posters, and presentation materials, really there are no limits. And everybody without exception enjoys cartoons.

We’ve had great fun finding some of our favorites which are featured below. You’ll be dazzled by the quality, variety, and mixture of styles.

Coffee package design with illustration in 2021

Example by Cubic Orange

Branding with cartoon illustration trend in 2021

Example by Multiple Owners

Dog brand with animated illustrations trending design in 2021

Example by vegrande

You may also be interested in The Best Character Illustration Examples and Ideas [Mega Inspiration]

Magazine with cartoon illustrations design in 2021

Example by CarryGrow

box package design with colorful cartoon illustration modern in 2021

Example by Aadhya Baranwal

Can product design with cartoon branding trend

Example by SAMPLE

Print package design with cartoon style in 2021

Example by Sujin Her


2021 will be the year of:

7. Gold Design

Metallic effects in design are becoming and set to become uber-trendy in 2021. Already popular in product design, look at the latest smartphones, this fashion is going to be a feature of 2021 design trends. They fit in perfectly with a drift towards minimalist design, as they have an innate interest factor but they also work on smaller elements to draw the eye to them.

Designers have successfully been experimenting with different metallic looks such as silver, brass, and lead but gold is still the daddy. Gold shows off all variations of metallic design, matte, shiny, reflective light effects, emboss, scratched and etched, and cut out.


7.1. Gilding for Luxury Feel

Inevitably gold gives a luxurious, expensive feel and these designs illustrate how gold is going to set the trend for 2021. Gilding everyday items to give that extra special feel.

Gold design trend in 2021 - golden objects

Example by Multiple Owners

Gold in graphic design example

Example by Multiple Owners

Golden ice cream product design advertising design trend

Example by Hassan Ahmed

Amazing Golden Food Design Collection

Example by Ben Chelouche


7.2. Gold&Material Mix for Modern

2021 will see gold being used in combinations with other materials in many different and imaginative ways. Here gold provides striking contrasts, that can’t fail to wow the audience.

Mix - Gold with other materials in 2021

Example by Multiple Owners


3D Design Shapes with golden texture

Example by Roman Bratschi

Golden particles in graphic design in 2021

Example by Bihhel .

3D design with bright golden elements

Example by Juan

Vivid color design with gold metal lines

Example by LAUNDRY ™



2021 will be the year of:

8. Voxel Art Design

A voxel is a 3D cube, basically the 2d version of a 2D pixel. You’ll have seen it in many video games such as Minecraft and it has an instantly recognizable style, almost like lego blocks. You can see why this style would be making large moves up the fashion charts for 2021. We’ve talked about 3D being a major player, and we’ve predicted the use of shape elements to form more interesting creations, well Voxel art is very much a combination of both. A highly visual technique, it’s slightly childish simplicity and retro appeal yet it is incredibly modern.

You only have to look through this handpicked selection of great designs to get the feel for what can be done. It’s dynamic and fun, and very, very memorable.

Voxel style art trend in 2021 - Pizza

Example by Vida Foruzan

3D ice cream - amazing voxel graphic design example trend in 2021

Example by Martin

3D unicorn character illustration in 3D voxel style trend

Example by Yeganeh Aubi

3d voxel rabbit graphic design trend example

Example by Yeganeh Aubi

Island illustration design in voxel-pixel style - trending in 2021.jpg

Example by William Santacruz



2021 will be the year of:

9. Monochrome & Duotone Design

The idea of a very limited palette has been around for a while in modern design. Partly influenced by a smooth, cool look and vibe but also as compensation for the increase in illustrations and other complex graphics. Partly this helps the designers, by using your limited time on more complex elements and using simple color themes. for the consumer, this also helps simplify the design so the brain is not awash with a complicated mixture of design features all playing off against each other.

Blue Image Monochrome Design in 2021

Example by Karina Ucug

Noor - Monochrome design in 2021

Example by Efi Dermani

Duotone and monochrome designs are the logical next step, allowing designers to create a background atmosphere but still use the tricks of technology. It’s easy for designers to use monochromatic filters and experiment with duel tones whilst still leaving scope to really express yourselves. Another plus point is the automatic sense of structure and harmony that is given by this design style. We know people are spending more time in front of their computers, and not necessarily out of choice. There is an idea that this is pushing a need for more relaxed, calm themes for sites and color is one of the answers, holding a site together as a unified whole and emphasizing the emotive effect of color.

3D monochrome text design concept in 2021

Example by Hadi Tulimat

Bluemoon - duocolor design trend in 2021

Example by bydani .

Duotone branding design in 2021

Example by Guido Silva



2021 will be the year of:

10. Geometric Shapes Design

This design trend is something we’ve noticed coming for a while but looks all set to peak in 2021. The idea of using individual shapes to create larger more complex ones. Large blocks and solids often with strong colors and outlines mix and unite to produce imaginative combinations.

This idea seems to break away from reality and in some aspects underlines how simple blocks go to build and grow into more rounded recognizable ideas. The relationships involved forming something much bigger than the individual components, ideal with the growing influence of infographics.  Although we could be reading too much into the philosophy, perhaps it’s just a cool and noticeable way of depicting images.

Either way, we’ve come up with an amazing set of really iconic designs starting with these 2021 favorites – 3D elements.

10.1. 3D Geometric Shapes in Design

Managing to mix the simplicity of block design with the depth, shadow, and gradient effects of 3D will be all the rage in 2021. Deceptively simple and alluring it gives great scope for imaginative creation and design.

Modern pattern design with 3D elements in 2021

Example by Maria Zaitseva

Example by Matthew Jedrzejewski

User experience design with 3D shapes in 2021

Example by Edoardo Mercati


8.2. Simple Geometric Shapes in Design

There’s an art to producing something ingeniously memorable from basic shapes, and it’s something to look out for in 2021. Simple flat shapes but not simple design, abstract, and confident.

Geometry based illustration design trend in 2021

Example by Natalia Cebotari

Festival print design trend 2021

Example by Broklin Onjei

Geometric shapes illustration in web design

Example by TomaszPawlo023

Product design with minimalist geometry shapes trend

Example by Marco Oggian

Animated print product design trending style

Example by Anna Romantsova

Amazing website design - trending in 2021

Example by Tran Mau Tri Tam



2021 will be the year of:

11. Typography Chaos Design

Typography can often be seen as a direct reflection of the cultural times, the organic art nouveau type reflected an attempt by society, in general, to break away from the past at the turn of the last century. In troubled times we seek nostalgia and the vintage style comes bad into fashion. For the same reason, we bring you “CHAOS” typography, what could be more appropriate. Lack of text and letter alignment, mixing the order of letters and words, breaking the rules as it goes. What could be more appropriate for 2021?

Amazing typography design with a chaos

Example by Multiple Owners

Typography chaos design in 2021

Example by Berkay Taş

Modern Poster Design with typography chaos in 2021

Example by Multiple Owners

Modern typography poster design

Example by Victor Kovalenko

Concert print advertising design in 2021

Example by Stephany Castro

Take a look at the Top 20 Free Fonts for 2021.


2021 will be the year of:

12. Color…less Design

There is something comforting and homely about the lack of color in a multicolored world. Bright, bold multicolored clashing colors are one very obvious way of attracting immediate attention, but 2021 could well be the year of the backlash. In a fast, ultra-sensational, look-at-me world, a clever option is not to compete with bigger and brighter but to head off in the opposite direction. 2020 saw a move toward muted palettes and 2021 looks like taking that one step further.

Black and white mobile design example

Example by Bhavna Kashyap

colorles mobile design

Example by Quan

Example by Dannniel

The classic black and white effect, is soft, subtle, and eerily enticing. You turn on the TV in the afternoon and stumble on an old black and white movie, we’ve all been there. How difficult is it to turn off or switch channels? There is a magical, almost hypnotic charm and a sense of nostalgia. Absolutely perfect for these crazy days. This graphic design trend has the same effect. It’s not dull, it’s not boring, – a scheme designed to create an atmosphere and let the other effects; movement, shadows, animation, liquified organic shapes, content, stand out. Softer on the eyes strained by hours on the computer, it’s the permanent dark mode design

Example by Julien Renvoye

Example by Ramotion

Don’t think we’re talking only black and white with grayscale here, although this classic style does fit the bill. The fashion works brilliantly well with soft sepias, and minimal highlight colors too. Ultimately very cool and super effective. Enter into this world by checking through some of these fabulous designs.

Fitness App Mobile Design for 2021

Example by Sèrgi Mi

Mobile Banking User Interface Design

Example by Sèrgi Mi

Check out some Amazing Black-and-White Illustrations that Don’t Need Color to Impress.


Final Words

Predictions are always in the laps of the gods, and never more so than in the present times. But the world doesn’t stop and neither does the need for the next new exciting innovation, the next big thing. The world of graphic design is a world that is experiencing unprecedented growth, a world in which if you want to be on top you have to keep running. Tastes change, technology moves forward, and we either ride on their coat tales catching up or we push onto the front. These top design trends of 2021 are here for you to see, to inspire you, to lead you in the right direction, to argue about, to dismiss as complete nonsense, to spark your mojo -it’s up to you.

2021, will be nothing if not interesting, so let’s look forward and push on.

You may also be interested in some of these related articles:


Graphic Design Trends 2023

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Iveta Pavlova

Iveta is a passionate writer at GraphicMama who has been writing for the brand ever since the blog was launched. She keeps her focus on inspiring people and giving insight on topics like graphic design, illustrations, education, business, marketing, and more.

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