Top 8 graphic design trends in 2023
If you cover your ears while saying "fashion", it rhymes with "2023". It's not a coincidence.
This is it! They're here: the major graphic trends of 2023. You've been dreaming about them for so long! Right?
Maybe not right, because the year has just started. Yet, here they are already, ready to inspire you for your next graphic beauties!
Is this divination? Or is it a hipster design council sitting around a table deciding on the next trends, all with hats screwed on and overpriced Starbucks lattes in hand?
Well, it's actually quite simple: it's the natural evolution of the condensed art movements we saw at the end of the year... Yes, the one we are about to share with you! You are so perceptive.
Come on! Embark with us for a superb aesthetic journey through 2023, you don't even need your passport... And you'll be amazed.
Trend #1: Mysticism
It's not the first time we've said it, certainly not the last: artistic trends are often there to take our heads out of our reality and catapult us into a magical universe beyond our daily lives.
With the trend of mysticism, we're getting even more than what we bargained for! Between astral symbolism, zodiac signs, tarot cards and delicate illustrations reminding us of divination... This aesthetic wave guides us to a very special place, a place out of time and space. It's simple: if this trend was a person, it would be that girl with short bangs and a nose piercing who, thanks to your astrological sign, will be able to predict your future as well as your family's AND next week's TV program. Mysticism makes you dream, mysticism is mysterious and good news...
It is within your reach! To try this, combine fine line illustrations of moons, stars or the sun in carefully calculated geometric compositions and you are on your way to a breathtaking interstellar journey... Let the ideas flow!
Trend #2: Surrealist escapism
It represents a magical world that seems to belong to a galaxy far away? A marvelous universe that would awaken the sense of childlike wonder of the most bitter of us (even of your 6th grade PE teacher)? No doubt about it: it's surrealist escapism, another big trend in graphic design in 2023.
As a clever mix of fantasy, science fiction and cyberpunk imagery, this trend is expressed in a visual style with almost photographic realism. Let's say it right away: this big trend is closely linked to AI-generated art. If you haven't heard of this yet, it may be because:
- You have just woken up from your coma after a Breton shuffleboard accident and now have amnesia;
- You live in an Amish community and... But wait, how did you get here? ;
- You've been living with headphones on your ears playing Crazy Frog at maximum volume for 6 months (it's for a world record).
Or it could be that you have fallen through the cracks, it happens! Anyway, it's easy to summarize: what we callAI art refer to works of art created thanks to the intervention of an artificial intelligence.
Dall-E, Midjourney, Nightcafe... The AI art creation tools are multiplying and becoming more and more democratic to become accessible to everyone. So yes: this technique makes art accessible, it's great! To have creativity without having the technique, it's possible and it can be frustrating... Especially when you have potentially profitable ideas, with POD for example.
Trend #3: Nostalgia for the 2000s
Nostalgia for the 90s? That's very 2022. In 2023, we move on to the next stage without looking back... The 2000s.
Shhhhh, no, don't panic! You can take a deep breath: we're not talking about low-rise jeans, dresses over pants, eyebrows plucked to the point of total disappearance and THAT SONG.
All that is over, I promise... When we say 2000s, we're talking about a graphic aesthetic nicknamed acid graphics, or Y2K grunge (understand year 2000). This aesthetic mixes a merry band of visual codes, including distorted fonts and geometry, metallic textures, retro-futuristic elements and imagery of a bygone technology (grey Windows 98 windows, diskettes, flip phones). On the colors side, it's a very characteristic palette that expresses itself through this trend: fuchsia, cyan, bright purple and black and white to add contrast.
The result? A rich aesthetic, recognizable among thousands, which would transport you in a wink in a rave party of the early 2000s (a cool one, not one that smells of sweat and where the ground sticks under the sneakers).
And that's what's great about these nostalgic trends: it's that little Chad, 17 years old, will be able to enjoy the best sides of this decade and wear his nice 2000s t-shirt completely carefree... Without knowing how the 2000s really were. What a lucky boy, that Chad fellow!
Trend #4: Cartoon mascots
The times we all live in can easily lead to a certain distrust of brands: indecent carbon footprints, abuse of capitalism, fast-fashion, green-washing... All this can give our daily life a slight fragrance of "I don't believe them anymore", of "We are being lied to" or even of "After all, what's stopping me from going to live quietly in the communal forest, feeding myself with dandelions and braiding my own sandals with public square grass?
Faced with this phenomenon, brands seem to have resorted to a great way to get the public to sympathize with them... They use mascots! More specifically, cute mascots with a retro cartoon look: fun, memorable and full of colors, they are everywhere in our graphic landscape at the end of the year. They perfectly translate the desire of brands to humanize themselves, to re-instill a personal touch in their branding and marketing... And it's true, it works. Imagine, if Some-Oil-Company © had a cute little shell with glowing eyes as a mascot... It would almost make them likeable (we said almost).
In a simplistic iconographic style very 70's and primary colors , these cartoon mascots will be perfect within your branding and marketing materials... Like adding a groovy touch to your POD creations.
Trend #5: Serif fonts
Anything would stop being cool if it was seen too much, heard too much, used too much! It's human nature. A very good example to demonstrate the phenomenon: these cookies that our mothers buy back in excess, all because you once said you liked them. They were good the first ten times, not so good the next 43.
In the world of graphic design, and more specifically in the world of typography, the cookies are Sans serif fonts. Otherwise known as "sans serif fonts", they give a minimalist, modern and uncluttered image, while Serif fonts (with serifs) are more classic, rooted in tradition. Because we are aware that nothing speaks louder than an image (except maybe Will Smith at the Oscars), see for yourself the difference between these two categories of fonts:
Serifs are those little ornaments at the end of the font's strokes, the ones that make us go from "Sillicon Valley start-up" to "Dictionary mummified by years of dust". It's been years since Sans Serif has enjoyed a serene reign, comfortably installed in its throne. But then Serif fonts came back to reclaim the power that belonged to them for so long. Yes: Serif fonts are part of the tradition, they represent security, familiarity. Ideal when the public is in need of... ? Yes, bravo, confidence! You've earned our undying love. Okay, you already had it.
So we see more and more brands coming back to Serif fonts for their branding and communication materials. When it comes to fashion and design, it's obvious: the classicism of Serif fonts is appealing to many. Mostly more. Even brands with a very modern identity are trying it, like Fila above. Another good reason to use Serif fonts: Comic Sans MS is NOT one of them. So why don't you try it? You have no excuse. No, the aquaponey one hasn't been working since 2007.
Trend #6: Punk
What if we stopped the race for perfection? To symmetry? Let's take a break. Let's take the time to let go. Let's proudly display our cowlicks. Let's not be ashamed when we say "good evening" to our neighbor at 8 am. Let's send emails with missing attachments.
That's what the punk movement is all about: celebrating the beauty of chaos! And here's the good news: in 2023, it's inviting itself among the biggest graphic trends of the year (without knocking, like a true rebel).
Punk can be summed up as a joyful patchwork of visual codes: clumsy collages, a mix of photos, illustrations and chaotic fonts that look like graffiti or cut-up newspapers, torn textures, pop-art stippling or even references to DIY ( cool DIY, not Facebook glue gun tutorials): this movement relies on the abundance of visual codes and their combination without any headaches, ever. It's a real blast of energy that's taking the graphic design world by storm. It makes us want to put on big boots, to leave our home by slamming the door and to go to wild pogos in concert! Then to come back home at 11pm to wrap up in our plaid with a hot chocolate, because after all, let's not exaggerate.
Trend #7: Mixed media
Should we not try and add a layer of fantasy to reality? That's what this other big graphic trend seems to be asking itself loud and clear. It's more than obvious: in 2023, our graphic landscape wants to make us flee the world we live in. This world where we don't listen to Shaggy anymore and where Kanye West has the right to express himself.
In this mission of disorientation, mixed media excels! The idea is quite simple: it's a matter of taking a medium (most often a photograph) and infusing it with a touch of colors and eccentricity in the form of illustrations, brush strokes or 3D elements. This style blurs the lines between reality and imagination and gives us a little boost to (re)see our daily life with a childlike gaze. It is fresh, it is light, it is vitaminized: we love it. And it reminds us of something... But we don't really know what.
It's annoying, we have it on the tip of our tongue...
Roooooh, well, maybe it will come back to us one day.
Trend #8: Abstract gradients
We know it: gradients have already proven their worth in the world of graphic design in recent years. However, here they are again... Yes, but in a new form, like a phoenix rising from its ashes or a tasty gratin of leftovers.
In 2023, gradients come back to us in a very special form, which contrasts with the gradients with sharp lines and bright colors that we were used to until now. New Year, new them: from now on they adopt abstract forms, often round and oblong, which give them the air of floating objects almost palpable. Texture-wise, the lines of the 2023 edition gradients are diffuse and soft. The result? Very nice. To elaborate: the effect is a real eye candy, it's delicate, it's almost soothing, it's a radical change from the very tech gradients seen everywhere these last years.
Feeling inspired, even irresistibly drawn to your graphics tablet? Not so fast! We advise you to avoid opacity gradients (also called semi-transparency) for textiles, which are not handled by digital printing, as explained here. Basically, gradients with diffused contours like on the poster of the visual above right will not be reproducible on clothes if there is no background of color on your file. However, for other media (mugs, posters, etc.), everything will be fine!
We can see you from here. Your eyes sparkling, your head swarming with ideas. Boy, you're beautiful. Has anyone ever told you that this color top suits your complexion?
In any case, it's always a pleasure to accompany you in your creative desires. Whatever your inspirations in 2023, we have one conviction: you're going to do wonders... Let's go, maestro!