10 cutting-edge graphic design trends for better branding in 2019

Your customers know more about graphic design than they think. All day, every day, they see social content, web pages, ads, product packaging, and logos — whether they’re aware of it or not, their minds are taking note of what they have and have not seen before.

What does that mean for digital marketers? If your style is out of date, your brand will feel out of date, even if people can’t put a finger on why.

The good news is, that works both ways. Present your customers with graphic design trends that they haven’t seen yet or often, and your brand feels new, fresh, and at the forefront.

With that in mind, we pulled from our list of the best graphic design trends for 2019 to curate predictions specifically for digital marketers.

1. Naturalistic Illustrations

Holistic Cattle logo

By 99designs designer Aga Ochoco.

Aviso Wine label

 By 99designs designer Justswell.

What It Is

With minimalism dominating web and app design these last few years, we see a countermovement lately in custom illustrations with a fine-eye for detail. These drawings account for minutiae like eyelashes, wrinkles, individual feathers, etc. — think of illustrations made by scientists in the wild.

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

Naturalistic illustrations are most popular with logos (see #5), but can also create a nice thematic throughline to your website. Such impressive visuals also do well on social media, especially for profile banners.

2. Logos Using Negative Space

Ledo Genuine Leather logo

By 99designs designer Dan Newman.

Browning Ventures logo

By 99designs designer Akdesain.

What It Is

Like FedEx’s famous negative space arrow between the E and X, more and more logos are starting to emulate this style, with varying degrees of subtlety. It’s a perfect tactic to add duality or depth to a logo, or just make it more engaging.

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

This trend works best for brands that have multiple layers in their personality, or can just benefit from a more thought-provoking style. Simple, easy-to-recognize shapes work best.  

3. Friendlier Geometrics

Alo logo

By 99designs designer bo_rad.

Riskby logo

 By 99designs designer ludibes.

What It Is

Geometrics — the style involving mathematical visuals like grids, lines, and abstract shapes — have been trending for a year or two already. Geometrics seem to resonate with people because of their futuristic, high-tech vibes, but the style itself is inherently cold and impersonal. Lately, designers are correcting this by using bright colors and sporadic curves to make it look “friendlier.”

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

Friendly geometrics are most common on home or landing pages because they make a powerful first impression with new visitors. Any brand that wants to highlight their technical prowess or come across as ultra-modern while still seeming approachable can benefit from this trend.

4. Serifs

CTBH Partners, LLC home page

By 99designs designer Mike Barnes.

By 99designs designer ultrastjarna.

What It Is

Like naturalistic illustrations above, the trend of using serifs is also a response to years of minimalist fonts. Serifs are a typographical term for those little tags that some letters have, and the fonts that use them. Under minimalism, sans serifs (fonts with no tags) were the norm, but in 2019 that’s likely to change.

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

Serifs are great for adding a little sophistication to the look of your text. Because they’re ornamental, serifs work best for titles and headings, whereas sans serif is better for the legibility of blocks of texts. You can even vary how flashy your text is — some serifs are drastic and stylistic, others are tiny and barely visible.

5. Vintage

Essex Brewing Co. logo

By 99designs designer CBT.

The Nature Alchemist product packaging

By 99designs designer Steve Hai.

What It Is

In spite of all the futuristic styles that highlight technology, some brands prefer looking back instead of forward. Vintage styles for logos and product packaging continue to be strong going into the new year, reminiscent of “the good ol’ days,” no matter the industry.

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

Vintage adds a certain charm to some companies, depending more on their brand identity than their industry. If your brand can benefit from a more homely and down-to-earth style, consider this style. Common characteristics include a circular frame around the logo, naturalistic illustrations (#1), and an established year, even if it’s “2018.”

6. Asymmetry

Cloco web page

By 99designs designer Mila Jones Cann.

Obura Coffee package

By 99designs designer Esteban T.

What It Is

Asymmetry refers to when an image is not balanced on both sides. Because symmetrical designs are seen as more pleasing, asymmetrical compositions tend to unsettle viewers, for better or worse.

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

Asymmetric styles are growing more popular across the board: web pages, logos, ads, etc. It’s ideal for edgy brands that don’t mind intense visuals — brands opting for a more relaxed and calmer atmosphere should steer clear.

7. Hand-lettering

Herzeffekt logo

By 99designs designer ananana14.

Hawaiian Style website

By 99designs designer DSKY.

What It Is

Another decorative style of font gaining popularity in recent months is hand-lettering, resembling handwriting, cursive, or even fine calligraphy. With loops and extra flourishes, hand-letting lends your brand a decadent and high-class feel.

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

Like serifs, ornamental fonts work best for titles and headings only. However, hand-lettering also works well for text in logos, as long as you’re going for elegance.

8. Neo-Minimalism

Architecture of Words logo

By 99designs designer Nowshad Art.

LitPrescripts logo

By 99designs designer bo_rad.

What It Is

The minimalism trend seems to be evolving — with so many minimalist sites and logos out there, one way to stand out is to be even more minimal than your competitors. Hence neo-minimalism, an offshoot style that takes minimalism to its extremes with even fewer details.

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

Neo-minimalism fits web design like a glove. Fewer elements not only improve your site’s aesthetics but also its loading times and its appearance on mobile devices. Logos are following suit, using just a few lines to create ambitious imagery.

9. Diversity

Nowness Screenshot

Via Nowness.

Screenshot from Iodine

 Via The Webby Awards.

What It Is

Not all graphic design trends are aesthetic — some are reflections of the time. We’re seeing a lot more diversity in graphic design lately, with photographs and cartoon now accounting for minority groups regarding race, gender, and sexuality.

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

Of all the trends on our list, this one has the most applications for social media. Brands can come across as more inclusive and tolerant, not just with more diversity in their images, but also with direct messages of support to disenfranchised groups.

10. Shapeshifting Logos

Vintage Homes and Design logo

By 99designs designer Agi Amri.

Elle & Kay logo

By 99designs designer petiteplume.

What It Is

For almost a century, the marketing rule has been to never change your logo. Now, with the availability of so many screen sizes and an emphasis on personalization, that rule has been flipped on its head. Brands are currently developing multiple versions of their logo so that they can optimize their branding depending on where it appears. That goes beyond just screen size (responsive logos), but also changing the content of logo based on specific campaigns.

How to Use It in Digital Marketing

Moving forward, every brand should have a least four different logos of varying complexity for different placements, from an Apple watch to a mammoth billboard. If you want to market different products or to different customer groups, you can even change the content within — just remember to retain enough consistency between the logos that it’s instantly recognizable as “you.”

This post was written by: 

Brea Weinreb is Marketing Specialist at 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. As an artist herself, Brea is passionate about visual culture and making design accessible across the globe.

 Brea Weinreb

 

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