A new year means a new set of exciting design trends, and 2019 is shaping up to be a fascinating 12 months.
These exciting design trends cover a large spectrum of styles and will be evident everywhere from the catwalk to online campaigns. From organised chaos to boundless minimalism, there’s plenty to take inspiration from for the year ahead.
Brands need their websites and advertisements to be more colourful and eye-catching than ever and this will be reflected in the design trends of the year to come. Bright colours will dominate, but this may also lead to a counter movement of more neutral colours being deployed.
However as the year unfolds, it’s sure to result in some breathtaking graphic design. We’ve compiled a list of the 60 biggest design trends to watch out for in 2019. No matter how talented a designer you are, you’re bound to find something here to take inspiration from.
2019 Pantone Colour of the Year - Living Coral
The 2019 Pantone Colour of the Year has been confirmed as Living Coral and this will influence design trends by inspiring designers to include the colour in their work. Living Coral is a warm shade of orange that feels full of life and energy. It’s a soft, comforting colour and serves as a contrast to last year’s colour of the year, Ultra Violet. Authentic and intimate - living coral is reaction to the constant intrusion of technology and social media into our daily lives
Video backgrounds are one of the most effective design trends for getting engagement from your audience. It’s harder than ever get attention online, and short, engaging videos help to achieve this. Professionally-created high-quality video backgrounds can often be the best way to market products and services on social media and companies will continue to tap into this. Placing your own text and images on these video backgrounds can be used to give them a personal touch.
Minimalism is a design trend that has always had a place in graphic design since it emerged in the 1970s. Less is often more and minimalism is proof of this. Simplistic designs also load faster online, making them more suitable for catching the eye on mobile phones. With so much of graphic design now aligned with commercial goals, distracting and unnecessary elements of a design will continue to be eliminated.
Colour is king at the moment and people just keep wanting more of it. That means gradients are going to be as big of a design trend in 2019 as they were in 2018. It’s a reliable, attractive design for a whole host of mediums and is guaranteed to catch a viewer’s attention. Gradients add visual depth and often offer have more of an appeal than one-colour designs. Big-name companies like Apple and Instagram are aware of this and have been using it extensively in their branding.
2018 saw a shift from a preference for grid layouts to a more asymmetrical style. Many websites had been following age-old templates, but these eventually became boring and alternative replacements were needed. In 2019, designers will use new perspectives in both imagery and web design to freshen things up. Asymmetrical designs arouse curiosity and prompt the viewer to explore them. There’s an element of movement to asymmetry and an unpredictability that just isn’t present in a rigid grid. While it might be challenging to get right, that risk can lead to reward.
The Glitch Effect/Corrupted Image
Designs that are intentionally distorted are increasing in popularity. Corrupted images show that there is beauty to be found in flaws and in 2019 they will be especially noticeable. Also known as the wave effect, it can be placed over part or all of an image to create the desired look. It gives designers an opportunity to experiment with old creations in new and exciting ways.
The popularity of duotone shows no sign of slowing down. They can be used in lots of different ways. For example, you could have complementary colours, gradients or even contrasting colours. Spotify has been one of the frontrunners in this area, with their beautifully-created playlist covers being a prime example of how duotone can be used effectively. Duotone is not something that’s easy to ignore and there are tons of colour combinations that you can experiment with.
Put a shine on your design by adding a metallic effect. Gold is always a popular choice, but 2019 will see even more metals feature in design trends. Technology has now advanced enough that computer screens and printing can do the metallic effect justice. In years gone by, metallic effects couldn’t be used on paper or other materials effectively. Combining a 3D style with metals gives a modern, classy look to a design and 2019 will signal the growth of this technique in new and exciting ways.
Giving the text in your design an authentic look is going to be popular this year. No matter how advanced technology becomes, hand-drawn styles will always be appreciated. Hand-drawn fonts are unique and attract attention, whereas a standard typeface might often get lost in the design. By its very nature, hand-drawn typography is more evocative. It has become especially prevalent on packaging, where brands are attempting to achieve a more genuine image.
Candid Stock Photos
Those cheesy office-shot stock photos could soon be a thing of the past as more authentic and genuine alternatives come to the fore in 2019’s design trends. Many businesses have realised that their audiences are more willing to engage with real scenarios than heavily staged office shots. The success of stock photos lies in their authenticity. Watch for credible shots, an increase in movement and photos that emotionally resonate.
3D design will become even more popular in 2019, and it’s likely that it will form a huge part of graphic design trends in future years too. It gives fresh perspectives to a lot of different elements of the design and helps viewers to engage with it better. 3D opens the door for new opportunities that weren’t available before. It leaves lots of room to experiment in a new space.
Vivid Colour Combinations
Combining vivid colours is nothing new, but designers are always finding fresh ways to do it. It was extremely trendy in 2018 and that’s set to continue. In 2019 we’ll see designers bringing a futuristic feel to many of their works. Vivid colours will be combined with 3D effects to transport the viewer out of the real world and into a world of the designer’s creation. These colour schemes are likely to include complex gradients of pink, violet, blue and red.
Take your designs to another dimension by adding a galactic or cosmic effect. This design trend carries over from 2018, when it became even more popular through the Pantone colour of the year. Ultra Violet is especially suited for creating these types of designs. Galactic styles epitomise the rapid advancement of technology in the last few decades. In 2019, we’ll see more designers experimenting with galactic imagery than ever before.
Using negative space adds intrigue and mystery to a design. It’s a highly creative way of transforming how an image is perceived. There’s always something more to a negative space design than meets the eye. Its subtle yet striking presence is usually in the form of a small image inside a larger one. It experienced a comeback in 2018 and negative space typography will continue to be hugely popular in 2019. The FedEx logo is a great example of clever use of negative space.
Creating vibrant designs with multi-coloured fonts will continue to be all the rage in 2019. Today’s designers are finding more and more ways of creating visually appealing multi-coloured fonts. Technology now allows for more visually appealing fonts to be used in a design and the options available are far more abundant than before. Bold and colourful typography has the potential to dominate designs and convey powerful memories.
Pushing beyond the boundaries of borders is set to become a common theme in 2019. With open compositions, borders are dispensed with to create an infinite design. This can be used in both online and print media. One part of the design might be initially visible, but it can also be slowly revealed over time instead. There’s no need to focus on a certain aspect of the design in an open composition, so this allows a designer to let their imagination freely flow.
Year after year, custom-made illustrations have continued to grow in popularity. The hand-drawn look of these illustrations give designs a personal touch. Brands want a distinct look and custom-made illustrations can go a long way to helping them achieve this. If you want a fresh, original look, then custom-made illustrations are the way to go.
Anti-gravity designs are on the rise in 2019 as floating elements become an increasingly popular design trend. Designs that aren’t confined by gravity have a certain amount of freedom that allows for a plethora of possibilities. These designs can be created as an open composition, allowing elements to float in and out of the canvas.
Nostalgia - Vintage, Art Deco and Mid-Century Illustrations
Nostalgia often has an unrivalled power to evoke emotion. After all, everybody loves to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses. Vintage styles, art deco and mid-20th century looks will see a return to fashion in 2019. They will be used by designers to give brands and websites an authentic appeal. Fonts and logos with a classical appearance help to give brands respectability and can make them seem more trustworthy.
Warm and Moody Colour Palettes
As bright and bold colours continue to dominate, an opposing force is rising to meet it. This comes in the form of warm and moody colour palettes that hark back to the days before deeply saturated images were even a possibility. Technology and social media are so intrusive in people’s lives these days that a counter movement is slowly starting to take hold. Warm and moody colour palettes are one of design’s ways of expressing this. They’re a return to low-fi photos of the 1970s and can be soulful in a way that neon colours will never be able to replicate.
The use of two separate light sources around an object highlights it in a unique way. Similar to duotone, double light can offer an interesting contrast in a design. It’s visually modern and gives the design it features in an edgy appearance. This can be achieved by using two actual sources of light or through colour channel splitting. Expect to see lots of vivid colour combinations used in double light throughout the year.
The 90s will always be a hugely important decade for those who grew up in it and many younger designers will take inspiration from it. 2018 saw an upsurge in 80s and 90s illustrations and we can expect that to continue in the design trends of 2019. Fashion is a huge influence on graphic design and in recent years we have also seen the return of 80s and 90s clothing.
Micro-interactions will be maximised in 2019 as more and more designs start to move. With proper planning and strategic mobile app testing, they make websites more interesting and communicative and encourage users to interact. These micro-interactions can also be tracked to help you figure out what your users are doing on your website. So it’s a UX and marketing win. It's not something that has to play a huge part in your website design, but it can be a very beneficial addition nonetheless.
Text on Background Boxes
If you want to create a modern, youthful and urban look, placing text on background boxes can be an effective way of doing this. This style will be seen displayed against a host of city backdrops, such as underground stations, alleys, basketball courts and parks. Using yellow and black can be especially effective and helps to give a retro feel to the design.
Augmented reality is definitely something that could really take off in 2019. AR uses computer-generated information to augment the surroundings of the viewer. AR games such as Pokémon Go have attracted a huge fan base and have helped to spur on this trend. Expect to see more AR in web and app design as the year goes on. AR provides an experience like no other and the opportunity for companies to offer something unique to their audience is not one that will be passed up.
Quirky and Abstract Styles
There will always be room for the quirky and the abstract in design. It offers something totally unconventional and has the ability to easily catch people’s eyes. Abstract illustration could become prominent in 2019 as an increasing amount of illustrators start mixing shapes, lines and images to create unique designs. Quirky and abstract styles make websites more interesting and can provide great solutions for user interfaces.
Retro Shapes and Shades
Keep it retro in 2019 with shapes and shades that bring back memories of previous decades. Funky rectangles, triangles and circles are reminiscent of 80s styles and add some fun to any design that they feature in. Bright yellows, pinks and greens are superb choices to bring vibrant pops of colour into your design. Shapes could be used to create patterns, text boxes or borders.
The classic nautical stripes are set to evolve in 2019, as designers start using them in their creations in new and exciting ways. Nauticals stripes set against a white background are a superb combination with black typography. They have a classy look that is befitting of both older and newer design styles. Nautical stripes have a timeless aesthetic that makes them likely to be a recurring design trend for years to come.
Black and White Geometrics
Black and white never goes out of style, and for good reason. It’s slick, classy and fits almost any theme or style. It’s simple, but effective, and can look truly spectacular on the right design. Black and white geometrics can also be a very apt choice for creating a sophisticated, modern look. In a year when vivid colours are set to take centre stage, there will always be a place for the timeless combination of black and white.
Projecting realistic 3D designs in unrealistic proportions on a 2D plane gives you the opportunity to put something typically large into a small, intimate space. Isometric illustrations have the potential to go into great detail and create designs that provide a completely new perspective. As 2019 sees more and more demand for eye-catching designs, highly visual styles like isometric illustrations are set to become more popular.
Keeping a design flowing isn’t always an easy thing to achieve, but adding a liquid effect can go a long way to achieving it. Fluid shapes that contain gradients have been a popular web design trend in 2017 and 2018, and this is set to continue in 2019. Designs that are created with a liquid effect have a certain flow to them. It could be water, oil or another liquid that features in your design. The choice is yours!
Outline typography is set to become even more prominent in 2019. While some other outline-based design trends seem to have gone out of style, outline typography is going in the opposite direction. This style of typography really opens up the design and allows for more space to include other elements. If you have an image on your site or in your design that you don’t want to detract from with loud text, outline typography can be a suitable solution.
Neutral Colours - Beige and Shell Pink
Beige is always a reliable colour when it comes to design. Its soft and relaxed tone is very easy to include in your work. It offers a refreshing alternative to the vivid colours that are likely dominate design trends in 2019. Warm and moody colour palettes will also come the fore and beige will be a big part of this. Colours like beige and shell pink are neutral, naturally occuring and don’t assault the senses like vivid colours can sometimes do.
People all over the world use GIFs in their everyday lives to communicate. That’s why implementing GIFs in your design can be a personable way of explaining things on a web page. It’s easier than ever before to create GIFs and designing one that’s personalised for your own specific style or brand can potentially be a big success. GIFs can convey visual messages in a short, snappy format that can be effective for getting engagement from your website users.
Realism and Flat Design Elements
The contrast between flat design elements and real-life imagery is easily apparent when they are placed alongside each other. Mixing designs that do not obviously complement each other can create a really unique look and it’s set to remain trendy in 2019. Often, it’s one or the other for designers, but more and more designs have shown that this unlikely combination can work.
Get your logos moving in 2019 with some clever animations. Animated logos allow a brand’s personality to shine through in ways that a static logo can’t. Your logo could move only slightly or it could move around quite a bit. Different styles suit different logos. Animated logos bring heightened originality to a design and help a brand to stand out. It’s a trend that looks set to grow in the years to come.
Typography Interacting With Real World Objects
Real world objects and people will be cleverly combined with typography in 2019 to create fascinating designs. For example, you could see elements of a font transform into various objects or surround them, but still convey their message effectively. Animating typography while also combining it with real world objects is an even more modern way to approach this design style.
Chaos doesn’t always have to have negative connotations. When done right, chaos can result in a mesmerising design. While it contrasts with minimalism, both styles will stand out in 2019. For obvious reasons, chaotic designs can be very eye-catching. A chaotic design leaves huge room for experimentation, as you can include lots of new and exciting elements in your work
Strong, Bold Fonts
In an increasingly crowded market, it’s becoming more important than ever to get your message out loud and clear. We live in a time where people will quickly move along if you don’t manage to capture their attention. Strong, bold fonts are perfect for holding their gaze. When an image isn’t present in a design, your text can sometimes need to work even harder to stand out. Fonts like these can be an effective centrepiece for a design once they are used in the right way.
Photo overlay typically looks very good and requires little work to implement; which is why it continues to be so popular. These photo overlays could be any colour you like and can give bland stock photos a new lease of life. They can be a fitting choice for website design, where a striking photo can be the perfect backdrop for explanatory text.
Blue and Violet Hues
Ultra violet was last year’s Pantone colour of the year and it will continue to be popular in 2019. Blue typically adds depth to a design and has the potential to give it a more professional appearance. Violet serves as a meeting point between cool and warm colours, making it a highly flexible option for using in your design.
Big Serif Fonts
As some illustrations get toned down, the design trends of 2019 will ensure that certain fonts will get larger. Serif fonts sometimes have more character and soul than their clean sans-serif counterparts. They give a classy and refined look to any design that they feature in and have the potential to boost brand recognition. In 2019, lots of newer brands will go for big serif fonts in an attempt to foster a vintage appearance.
Digital Paper Cutouts
Digital paper cutouts have an authentic, hand-crafted style to them that lots of websites will be looking to implement in 2019. They allow designers to make use of space in a creative way that they wouldn’t normally be able to. You will see some cutouts having simple designs, but they can also be more complex and intriguing.
Alternative art causes us to look at things in a different perspective and an alternative viewpoint will be as important as ever in 2019. Classical illustrations will still hold huge value but sometimes alternative options will be utilised. Alternative art makes a design unique and helps it stand out from the crowd. There is huge scope for improvisation and we’ll surely see lots of designers put their own personal stamp on an illustration.
Double Exposure Duotone
Double exposure-style duotone will replace some of the more traditional uses of duotone. It makes the colours in a design look extra vivid. Double exposure allows for images to be transformed in extraordinary new ways. It’s achieved by overlapping or doubling an image. When duotone is applied, the colours really blend with each other in an exciting and energising way.
Holographic design is something that really took off a few years ago. It’s been around for a while, but it’ll still remain popular in 2019. Holographic or reflective elements put a shine on a design and are by their nature very eye-catching. These designs can be made even more striking by creating unusual patterns with lines and shapes.
In 2019, bold and creative images will be in high demand. Brands will seek to include unique images in their marketing campaigns that make them stand out. We could see a lot of retro images being adapted for a modern audience in 2019. Loud colour schemes will dominate these photos and will be tailored to suit the products that brands are trying to sell. These photos could be made unique by implementing alternative angles and unusual fashion styles.
The memphis design trend stems from the 1980s and embraces the disorganised side of design. Memphis took everything in design that was frowned upon and made it great, and it’s still as popular today as it ever was. While it came to prominence through interior design, it can be found in graphic design too. Watch out for the memphis palette’s eclectic mix of bright colours such as yellow, pink, purple, white and blue in the months to come.
User friendliness doesn’t always have to be a necessity when creating a design. Brutalist designs rebel against conventions and take on their own unique look. Expect to see plenty of websites use techniques such as large negative spaces, asymmetrical layouts, jarring colours and the combination of elements that do not obviously go together. Brutalist design was a popular trend in 2018 and it’s set to be a big hit again this year. It’s often the opposite of what you would expect to see, but it still manages to work.
Retro Human Illustrations
One of the latest design trends in human illustration is using unusual colours and exaggerated proportions. Whether it’s humans with big hands or humans with large legs, all sorts of unusual depictions of the human form will be found in design in 2019. This trend began with tech companies, but we can expect to see its presence grow in other industries throughout the year.
Graphics that are drawn by hand have a unique appeal to them. Their originality is a strong selling point and there are no limitations to what a designer can do. Embracing their own personal style adds authenticity and helps designers stand out from the crowd. Hand-drawn graphics can be both simple and intricate creations. They can range from lines to complex drawings.
Collages have always been a part of design in some way. Where once they featured prominently in magazines and newspapers, they are now prevalent online. If you want to combine images nowadays there are so many ways that it can be done. Designers can now create stunning original collages for websites. There will be collages that combine real world elements with illustrations in a design and while it has been seen in previous years, 2019 will see modern collages become even more popular.
Light and Dark Colour Schemes
Combining light and dark colour schemes can be done in numerous different ways. In 2018, we saw a lot of apps adding ‘dark modes’ and including dark and light colours in their design. It can offer a fresh take on a previously created design and can often enhance it in unexpected ways. Darker colour schemes also have a practical use, as they can help save battery power on a device. The combination of light and dark can be found in lots of different areas of design in every decade. Its simplicity is what makes it so timeless.
People have been becoming increasingly aware and concerned about the injustices that take place in our world. In 2019, this will be reflected in graphic design. Brands often seek to be perceived as advocates for social justice and that trend is set to continue. Expect to see more marketing campaigns centred around societal topics. Not only will these designs be inspired by previous protests, but they will be used to boost the profile of protests that are in the midst of taking place. Designers who support different types of activism will continue to reflect their beliefs in their work.
Making a design a uniform colour has a certain visual appeal to it. 3D is often used to make the central object of the design stand out from the background. While you might think that using just one colour may not be as eye-catching as other styles, these designs can often be even more interesting. When these designs are created using bright colours, a viewer can be drawn to look at it. Brands are catching onto this and you’ll see lots more of it in 2019.
Mixing Illustrations With Real Photos
It’s often the case that brands can’t decide whether to go with an illustration or a real photo in their marketing campaign, but it’s also possible to do both. Mixing illustrations and real photos can offer unique perspectives that wouldn’t be attainable otherwise. You can make really obvious edits to the design or you can make subtle ones. The degree of how you let an illustration impact the photo is up to you.
Minimalism can be a fantastic design style, but sometimes it needs a little bit of colour and energy! Many designs in 2019 will feature a colourful minimalist style. Colourful minimalism retains the simplistic nature of minimalism, but gives it an extra edge. In one way, colourful minimalism showcases the best of both worlds. A little bit of the loud and little bit of the quiet.
Altering Brand Colour Schemes
Lately we’ve seen big brands such as Spotify and Dropbox experiment with varying colour schemes. Allowing your logo to be displayed in so many different ways allows you to be flexible and gives you the ability to find out what variation is the most visually appealing to your audience. Expect to see more brands attempt to gain an edge this way in 2019, and while not everyone will be a fan of these changes, they will give brands an alternate look they would otherwise be unable to achieve.
A Focus On Diversity
We are now all part of an extremely diverse society and graphic design will be used to reflect that. Diversity of ethnicity in photography and design adds greater complexity to an image and makes it relevant amongst a larger group of people. The struggle for equality is a huge part of modern narrative and diverse images have the potential to tell stories in a unique way.
Digital Painting and Drawing
The unique effects of digital painting and drawing has been made possible by advances in design technology. 2D brush strokes that once adorned a canvas will now become more vibrant than ever by becoming 3D in online spaces. You can make a really detailed illustration come to life and display it in an entirely new and unique way.
Google AMP for Email
AMP for Email will make it possible for your customers to perform simple actions (such as booking a calendar appointment, RSVP-ing an event, filling out a questionnaire, browsing through a store’s inventory or responding to a comment) directly within the layout of the email – users can interact with content without leaving the Gmail client. This also means that your customers will be able to browse and purchase products by interacting with content right within your emails, without having to open a website in their browser.
AMP for email provides users with an easier, friction-free way to interact with brands via email. For brands, the benefits of making interactions easier are always seen in the ROI growth. Technical support for AMP should be configured both in the email service and in your email marketing software.
Remember, you don’t have to like every design trend on this list. Some of the best graphic design has gone completely against the grain.
However, if you stick to following these design trends, you won’t be going too far wrong. With a so many fresh, creative ideas, 2019 promises to be really fascinating year for graphic design.
Which predicted trend was your favourite? Is there another trend that we didn’t mention that you think should have been included on this list? Let us know by tweeting @getdesignwizard.
Michael Cole is a content writer at Design Wizard. He has completed a BA in English and History and an MA in Journalism, and is hopefully finished with college at this stage! Michael has extensive experience writing for both print and web and can turn his hand to any subject. From wedding dresses to football matches, Michael has written about it all. One day he hopes to write his own novel and hopes even more that people will actually read it.