Looking for some great design examples in 2020? Read on.
Towards the end of any year, predictions abound about the next 12 months, what will be in? What will be out? What will suddenly come from nowhere to be the next big thing? Even more so when it’s the start of a new decade. Design fashions are no exception and graphic design trends are more forward looking than most.
There is no doubt that graphic design has developed into an art form in its own right and designers are constantly pushing the boundaries of ideas and the limits of technology. Whilst we can only predict where that will lead, what we can do with an element of certainty is look at the kinds of designs that are already making waves in the first few months of the decade.
We’ve found a great selection of what we think are not only great looking design examples for now but are also the ones that are setting the bar higher and higher for others moving forward. A fine set of inspirational ideas and techniques that will get your creative juices flowing, and whet your appetite for a bright and colorful future.
1. Images + Illustrations
To begin, we’ll look back.
Once upon a time Graphic Design and Illustration art were two different fields. The commercialism of graphic art and the fine art of graphics did not sit comfortably at the same table. So much has changed and will continue to do so. The two separate worlds are more and more one, with graphic designers using illustrations to stunning effect.
We’ve selected four tremendous examples of use of illustration and graphic design working in combination to enhance each other and therefore the overall piece.
All in four examples a photographic image is drawn on and added to each time with a completely different technique. Great design examples of combining techniques to create visual impact and interest above and beyond.
2. Illustrations… Simple illustrations
Whilst illustration and graphic art combinations are increasingly trendy in general, within this fashion there are growing movements that want to work with simplified illustrations. It is completely logical and practical that if illustration is designed to convey an idea, a more simplified image will get that message over with a clarity, speed and internationalism that works incredibly well with a broader and more widespread audience.
The best designers know the simplification isn’t simple! To get a message across clearly and succinctly is one thing, to do it with style and panache another. We’ve come up with four very different designs that don’t just succeed but excel.
Simplified often childlike, lacking realistic details for sure – but great, great design. There is no denying that these design examples mix clear function with artistic flair creating effective and memorable imagery. Sometimes what you leave out is as important as what you put in.
We can’t say colorful is out of fashion, it never will be, but there has been a noticeable rise in monochromatic themed design. Let’s forget black and white, although that’s another area that will never go away. Here we are talking full on ancient Greek μονόχρωμος – having one color. The trend for playing with a limited palette and shades within those limits, has been coming and it has certainly arrived. You may also be interested in some Free Illustrations For Your Next Design Project.
One Color is enough
But designers aren’t limiting themselves, and why should they? These outstanding examples are monochrome heavy but not total. Flashes of contrasting colors serve to pick out vital elements, maybe text, text boxes or borders or dividers.
4. Realistic 3D
Art & Design ideas are often influenced by the technological progress of the day, and we all know just how fast progress is being made. Monochrome filters have made life easy and so have 3D tools and software. We better make the most of it whilst we can, i suspect it’ll be 4 and 5D soon enough.
As Graphic Design has traditionally been associated with two dimensional images, the rise of 3D particularly over the last few years has created quite a stir. 3D images in the form of illustrations, animation, photographs or text can provide enhanced, more realistic versions or even textured effects. They catch the eye, grab attention and hold it – and all our selected examples do exactly that. Clever use of shading, shadowing and scale or combinations of them give depth and bring life to the design.
5. Isometric Art
Let’s see the art from a different perspective!
Following on the 3D theme, isometric drawing has long been the standard way of creating the perspective and depth of a 3D figure on a 2D design. The idea of isometric design is that the additional perspective lines declutter the image allowing space for more detail and creating interest for the viewer, and often a feel of a birds eye view of the image. Sounds perfect for web design, doesn’t it? No wonder it’s trending in 2020.
Our favorites of the year so far, all use this isometric technique in beautifully elegant ways giving a real sense of clarity and openness in often very detailed images. These design examples combine the isometric design with color shading and shadow so effectively that they add to the clarity. They are not there just for show.
Do you want to find some cool premade illustrations for your designs? Check out our article 20 Beautiful Isometric & 3D Illustrations For Your Designs: Free and Paid
6. Golden Art
The golden age of Design
It’s been on the horizon, growing steadily over the last few years and now it looks like it truly got a foothold. The use of shiny metallic effects – it’s exciting even writing it. Still heavily dominated by gold, there is a push for other metals too, silver is coming and copper is a must. A spark of light catching, rich, textured gold can’t help but give a design a lift. The trending style is sparing, minimal use for shimmering highlights, and pick out elements and it also works brilliantly with embossed and debossed patterns.
Our awesome selection of design examples show a variety of ways in which this addition can push your design to the top of the pile.
7. Experimental Typography
The text is around the corner
If the function of your design is to inform, give information or get a brand known, there is a more than fair chance that you’ll need some text, somewhere. As such, typography/font design has gone absolutely crazy, with a rough estimate of half a million different designs. Is hard to comprehend how such a theoretically limited area can have such variety -but there it is. Calligraphy, 3D, graffiti and street styles have all increased in popularity recently and there seems no reason to suspect a slow down. There is also a push to more dominant lettering, the font as an artistic concept in itself.
We’ve chosen a great selection of top-class creative font designs from this year.
Even wilder fonts, including animated, hugely decorative, definitely eye-catching and often pushing the letters to the limit.
8. Linear Design
One line, second line… Design
Sometimes certain styles just refuse to go away, and thankfully line art is one. The good thing is that it hasn’t stood still to be overtaken by the new boys, it’s developing in its own right and keeping right up there in the fashion stakes. There are certain inherent advantages of line art – clear, clear, simple, unfussy but there is great skill involved in creating so much with so little. The ability to convey a complicated idea, concept or scene with what appear to be a few simple strokes should not be underestimated.
The collection of new design examples we’ve selected show a classy, simplistic elegance and something that is becoming more and more popular animated line drawings.
9. Retro Style Design
The ’80s are back!
One dictionary definition of vintage is : of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality : classic. It pretty much sums up why this is a fashion that thankfully refuses to lie down.
Traditionally the way of establishing a vintage look is color scheme. Earthy, neutral, natural colors including hues of browns, tan, and darker colors, clay earth pigment colors, such as umber, ochre, and sienna, sandy yellow. But of course occasional splashes of others (particularly turquoise) to give contrast. The new decade is encompassing these design favorites but adding softer natural red as well aged creams and off whites especially for old paper effects.
We found some cool design examples where the colors reflect the tone and create atmosphere.
You may also like to read Retro Design in Modern Times: An Ultra Inspiring Collection
10. Pattern Pattern Pattern Design
Repeat, repeat, repeat…
An area of graphic design that used to be overlooked was pattern and texture. Easy and vital in fabric design, getting a similar effect in a visual way was a challenge but no longer. Design tools and software can create a sense of feel and touch, and in many ways pattern has developed alongside this. Both can be used individually or together to define a surface and can be impactful adding interesting with imaginative use. Great design brings an overall feel to a piece, and patterns and textures can hold things together in unique ways.
2020 has already seen this fashion continue to the fore and the selection we’ve woven together demonstrates ingenuity and design flair in different design areas from products to business cards.
More awesome examples using repeat seamless pattern and other techniques.
If you need some pattern designs, check out these 150+ Free Pattern Designs
11. Geometry Shapes
Square, triangle, circle… voila!
Strong, simple geometric shapes used in single or grouped form have always and will always stand out. Clean, solid, recognisable and used with huge flexibility, it is obvious why designers come back to them time and time again. The other advantage is that the forms lend themselves to any color scheme, blocks, shading, outline, heavy or light and variety of combinations – the whole world is made up of simple shapes.
The movement seems to be towards combining these shapes to form other images or to guide and direct focus. We’ve chosen some that do exactly that in exciting ways plus great design examples of a more back-to-basics style.
12. Liquids in Design
Let’s add a splash into this design!
A completely contrasting design that is heading to the top of the fashion charts is the liquid – splash, splatter, drip! The polar opposite of geometric shapes, they can be used to stunning effect in combination with the more traditionally form structures, or alone. The thing about design is that there is room for everything. Liquid gives the obvious effect of natural flow – organic, freedom, creation, hypnotic.
The use of liquid motifs with combined effects of colour shading, gradients, 3D effect, metallic effects, translucidity etc mean that your creative range is expansive. High definition fast frame photography is also an additional plus to capture the point of impact.
This variety of mesmerising designs from photographic to cartoon demonstrate the variations in ways that make them stand out. Using liquid design in completely appropriate ways rather than fitting the design around the technique.
13. Need More Inspiration?
We are just getting started!
Genuinely it was so difficult to pick out great design favorites – even for such a short period of time – that we could resist throwing some more wood on the fire. These great 2020 design examples caught our communal eye and are certainly something to look out for going forward. Never stand still!
Animation is becoming more animated every year – check out two design examples, where the movement works wonders.
Collage effect grabs the interest and keep you glued. Here are two different but equally cool modern versions.
A little humor is always nice, and these three hit the sweet spot between great serious design and giving a little smile.
Green is growing. Eco friendly products need eco images, a design trend that keeps growing
Crazy colored, weird and wonderful, patterned or neon. A cyberpunk, modern, futuristic, hallucinogenic pair.
A great runic pattern, showing how brand influences design. A strong lesson to keep in mind.
This example of website design and especially this unique menu design, made our jaw drop!
And we make no apologies for finishing with this extremely cool black-and-white number, the circle of fashion starts all over again.
With the decade barely out of its nappy stage one thing is for sure, creative, imaginative design is not in its infancy. New techniques and styles are being created and old ones rehashed with vivacious flashes of brilliance.
The designs we’ve picked are all great examples, they are ready to inspire and push you to your limits. We’ve varied the styles, we’ve included different design areas. From products to posters, from blogs to business cards. A blank page is a challenge not a threat and the designers from around the world are arming you with ideas. The momentum is increasing and nobody is jumping from the ride.
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