12 inspiring graphic design trends for 2022
Graphic design trends are more than just a fleeting fashion trend: the limitations and clichés of the outgoing year are being revised, something new is coming in their place. Imagine how boring life would be if design never changed.
This year, graphic design trends represent the second wave. The world is slowly but surely recovering from a protracted pandemic. Styles from different decades get a second life. In addition, experimental solutions are emerging, which are based on the rejection of old approaches.
2022 promises to be an unpredictable year. You will see this when you read our article.
1. Nostalgia for the 90s
More recently, hit movies like Stranger Things and It seem to have evoked nostalgia for the 80s aesthetic and ushered in an era of gothic serifs , neon colors, and retro landscapes. In 2022, 90s fashion is finally back (also recently romanticized in Netflix’s Fear Street).
As is the case with other trends on this list, the 90s will return in different incarnations. At the heart of this phenomenon is nostalgia – longing for the past and idealized ideas about it.
We’ll revisit this era with Memphis-inspired design patterns, simple emojis, and primitive frames. Bright colorful blocks and drops will evoke cute childhood memories. If you want a project to look a little old school and make users feel comfortable, look no further than the 90s style!
2. Expressive experimental typography
As the world moves more and more online, words are not enough to convey a particular message to representatives of different cultures. Many designers see this not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity. In 2022, readability will fade into the background, typography, consisting of expressive forms, will become popular.
The possibilities are endless as this trend is all about experimentation and self-expression. Badly combined styles, stunning shapes and amorphous contours – that’s what will be in fashion. Such typography blurs the line between abstract elements and readable letters.
The trend can be called risky – such decisions are unlikely to resonate with an audience that is not too interested in artistic experiments. But those who show enough courage will be rewarded: they will be able to understand what the author wanted to say, even if the text is written in an unfamiliar language.
3. Flat ukiyo-e design
Over the years, designers have been looking for ways to bring flat vector illustrations to life that meet digital design standards. In 2022, we will draw inspiration from the work of the pioneers of flat design, in particular the Japanese ukiyo-e artists of the Edo period.
Ukiyo-e is a style of printed graphics (although sometimes such works were drawn by hand).
The artists carved the outlines on wooden blocks and made prints from them.
One of the most famous works in this style is The Great Wave off Kanagawa. It, like other similar works, is characterized by bold outlines, flat colors and a special technique for depicting perspective – all of which are familiar to designers working with vector graphics.
For 300 years, ukiyo-e artists have depicted subjects ranging from landscapes and local celebrities to myths, all in a flat style. Although they mainly turned to everyday scenes, which resonated with the main audience – the bourgeoisie. Facial expressions and postures were often indicated by smooth lines and looked hypertrophied.
Today, illustrators use similar techniques to give standard flat images an original look.
4. Dreamy doodles
Doodles aren’t just mindless shapes you draw while floating in the clouds during a Zoom call at work. They can tell a lot about you.
These sinuous drawings are purely personal, which means that in 2022, designers will bring a bit of their own abstract thinking to professional work. This will help to bridge the gap between the digital and real world and bring something human to the design.
Such illustrations will definitely evoke an emotional response in people. At the same time, you should not abandon the usual tools, such as animations, with which you can show the drawing process.
Over the past decade, the relentless application race has resulted in strict application design rules focused primarily on usability. While this has created interfaces that any user can easily understand, it has also led to the fact that all digital products have become the same type.
Many designers are already deviating from the norm and breaking the rules. In 2022, some plan to abandon them entirely and become anti-designers.
The name fully reflects the essence of the movement: anti-design is a rejection of traditional design principles and generally accepted ideas about aesthetics. It resembles brutalism , but they are still different concepts.
Anti-design challenges us with asymmetric shapes, disharmonious color combinations, devoid of decor or, on the contrary, interfaces full of details, harsh typography. While it’s most commonly found digitally, you can express your rebellious spirit with other tools as well.
Critics call this style ugly. And his fans say that such a design is free from the standards of beauty created by someone else.
Last year, designers tried to escape their home offices into imaginary worlds. Since then, many of them have been delving deeper into their fantasies. The results of such work are the epitome of escapism.
Escapism attracts us not only with the opportunity to escape to another world, but also with its wonderful embodiment. Projects like these are filled with unexpected hues, teasing details, and whimsical characters. They help both viewers and designers develop their imagination.
Of course, this trend mainly concerns illustrations, but it can also be used to design the background of a website or labels. The main thing is to fill the worlds with a large number of intriguing images, exploring which, users will forget about time.
The people of the Y2K era (late 90s – early 2000s) were literally sure that technology would destroy them. When that didn’t happen in 2000, a loud sigh of relief led to a resurgence of technological optimism.
But the loneliness of people on social networks and a large amount of conflicting information has significantly weakened such feelings. It’s no surprise that many designers are trying to recapture the old enthusiasm (after all, it once seemed that everything could be achieved with technology) by designing projects in the Y2K style.
8. Parametric patterns
Patterns are the foundation of graphic design. They help us make solid color elements or backgrounds more interesting. In 2022, spectacular parametric geometry comes to the fore.
Parametric patterns consist of complex geometric structures, each line of which transforms depending on its position. Such a pattern is based on graphs of parametric equations .
Although they originate in geometry, these flexible three-dimensional patterns look dynamic and do not look like frozen structures. In 2022, designers will turn to parametric patterns to show the complexity of something, such as communication or corporate identity.
Frasurbane is a term formed by combining two words: the name of the popular American sitcom of the 90s “Frasier” (Frasier) and the word “refined” (urbane).
This is another style that has its roots in the 90s – at that time it was popular with young people. I mean generation X, who at that time settled in the cities and finally earned enough money to join the high culture.
In essence, Frazier’s Seattle apartment epitomizes this style , with a grand piano, modernist fireplace, and dramatic column, all in beige hues.
Although this trend is predominantly prevalent in interior design, in 2022 it will also come to graphic design. It will feature majestic serif fonts, muted tones, and thoughtful placement of elements. This is a kind of balance between boring conservative adult sophistication and youthful urban fashion.
We are not abandoning traditional aesthetics in favor of chaos (as representatives of young movements, for example, anti-design do), it is more about a kind of boasting of love for culture than about minimalism. When things go too far, a style like Fraser himself can come across as snobbish and pretentious. But when done right, Frasurbane embodies understated maturity.
10. Sophisticated maximalism
While you might want to define “maximalism” in terms of its opposite, “minimalism,” this trend has a lot more to offer than you might expect (as its name suggests).
It’s not just about filling the space, but filling it with objects, colors and patterns that reflect the passions and fantasies of the artist. In the same way, seemingly useless things can be memorable and important to the one who keeps them. The trend is gaining momentum thanks to similar movements such as the “grandmillennial ” style.
The designer focuses on individual elements, and when we look at the composition as a whole, we seem to see a chaotic smorgasbord on which the author’s tastes are presented, sometimes even contradicting each other. This style can be called shameless, because it openly demonstrates all aspects of the artistic taste of its creator.
Despite the fact that we are talking about a trend, it can linger for a long time: as long as there are many elements competing for your attention, new discoveries will always be waiting for you.
11. Funny bubbles
Every year, graphic designers look for ways to bring a little bit of fun into their work. In 2022, we will catch them developing new rounded graphic elements and letters.
Bubbles, of course, cheer up, because rounded shapes due to the lack of angles are often associated with goodwill and fun. But unlike the typical bubble fonts and elements (often seen in product branding for kids), the 2022 trend sees the use of this technique exaggerated by lengthening shapes and using psychedelic colors.
Such “inflatable” elements seem to be grown-up, albeit with the addition of a spark of childish fun.
12. The resurgence of grunge
If nostalgia for the 90s and Frasurbane is an active and successful young man, then grunge is a difficult teenager. Grunge is the epitome of anxiety and fear, and its return is evidence that the world is out of control.
The style is characterized by rough rough textures, gloomy images and sloppy collages. Such aesthetics transmit the released energy, ink streaks and stains add emotions and dynamics to the visual. The design looks like it was made in haste, which is reminiscent of the hastily edited videos that young people watch on TikTok.
Grunge involves the use of physical objects such as duct tape, torn pages, and scribbles, rebelling against the minimal flat graphics of the digital age. After a year-long quarantine, spent mainly online, such projects can really bring relief.
Ready for new trends?
The list of graphic design trends for 2022 looks to be a mixed bag. Frasurbane and anti-design, escapism and grunge, scribbles and parametric patterns. It’s hard to imagine that such dissimilar characters can gather in one place, but next year it will really happen. It is these unpredictable combinations that you definitely do not want to miss.