graphic design trends 2020 for small creative business

Trends have always been something I have found fascinating. Before I got into graphic design I studied fashion design. I was always buying Vogue magazines and the latest runway looks, to check out the latest fashion trends and try to predict what trends would show up in high street fashion based on what was seen on the runway.

I also find it interesting to watch how different trends emerge in homewares, products and styling. And so while I don't recommend basing your brand graphics just on the latest trends, I think trends have their place and it is great to be aware of where things are heading, so you can utilise them early, rather than when they have already become oversaturated and done to death.

When should you be using graphic design trends for your business?

It is important that your core branding isn't based on trends. The keyword here is BASED, if you happen to use trends in your core branding because it fits perfectly that is fine, but if you used trends simply because they looked good, then you used them for the wrong reason. Your core branding needs to be based on strategy, considering the identity of your business, your own personality and who your audience is and what you want them to feel.

Your core branding is the key consistent pieces that make up your brands identity. Such as your logo, fonts and colours. These elements need to remain consistent across all graphics and should last you a long time (not be changed every few months unless your business itself has a big change).

However trends can be used if they perfectly fit your brand message, and therefore you will stick with them beyond the trend, or for more fleeting graphics. By fleeting graphics, I  mean things that are a less permanent part of your branding, such as a new product, marketing campaign or event promotion. Of course it still needs to align with your core branding. As long as it is still in line with the feel and message of your brand it can be a fun way to make a special offer feel fresh, new and now.

The Graphic Trends for 2020

Last year when I looked at the logo trends for 2019, the overarching theme I was seeing was an art deco 1920's feel. Now, this trend hasn't died off and is still being used, but the new trend I am seeing emerge for 2020 has a 60s/70s feel.  With warm, low saturation colours, organic shapes and bold bubble-like retro fonts. There is a move towards a feeling of warmth, connection and love.

2020 Colour Trends

The colours that are showing up more and more in graphics for small creative businesses are warm low saturation colours like pink, orange, red, cream and peach. They are very warm tones with low saturation giving them a retro and comforting feeling.

These colours are often paired with blue or green tones. Either a sage green or a deep rich blue-green or a deep blue such as the Pantone colour of the year.

These colours are very rich, warm, comforting, nostalgic and earthy. They also evoke joy in a more subdued way. Rather than being poppy and bright, they bring a more comforting, relaxing joy.

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2020 Font Directions and Typography Trends

There are two main font directions emerging in 2020. The first is a very retro-inspired rounded bubble-like serif font. These fonts tend to be rather bold, playful and friendly.  These fonts are very much inspired by the popular fonts of the 70s.

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The next font style that is becoming popular is a more sharp, structured geometric style. This style of font feels a little more sharp, focused, direct and edgy. It also has a slight 70s feel, with some influence of the 1920s art deco style which has been very popular in 2019. This style of font style can be seen either bold and highly contrasted or fine and thin.

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As for font application, we are seeing a lot of movement and more creative layouts.

Rather than keeping the text on a straight line, there is a lot more use of waves and curvy baselines. This creates movement and a calming feeling. It feels less rigid and structured, but more free-flowing and at ease.

We are also seeing a lot of interesting layouts, that get creative, such as cut off text and text used as borders or placed in corners.

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Playful Bold Simplicity

When it comes to overall design and layout we are seeing very playful bold designs. These designs tend to minimalistic, but not in stark, lots of white kind of way, but rather they use minimal bold elements and lots of colour as well as shape and pattern to add interest and movement. It all feels quite fun and playful and a definite 70s style vibe.

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Line and Shape

We are seeing a lot of organic shapes, big bold chunky lines and rainbow arches. Painted curvy lines, things that feel more free-flowing and organic rather than stiff and computer-generated. It all feels very organic, flowing, calming and handmade. It feels more human and full of love and joy.

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There is a real feeling of connection, love, mindfulness, comfort, playfulness, joy and hope. I think in uncertain times people are looking to feel connected, comforted and find joy and peace.

Let me know what do you think of these design trends and will you be using any in your graphics in 2020?

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