We were all wrong when we thought we would celebrate the end of COVID-19 in 2021.
This year, we saw how the lingering pandemic took a toll on everyone.
For visual designers, it shifted the way we communicate and express ourselves as a brand or individual.
The past year’s events paved the way for psychedelic design reimagined, bold and experimental designs fueled by a clamor for change and intentional communication. We also saw how social media presence is crucial for brand survival, and how the desire for brands to be authentic is stronger than ever.
With all the uncertainties, it’s difficult to predict the upcoming graphic design trends.
Instead, let’s take a closer look at how emerging trends in graphic design will shape marketing, reporting, hiring, and even how we communicate as humans. You’ll also learn about the common thread that binds these trends.
On top of that, you will learn graphic design tips on how you can apply these trends to your presentations, reports, infographics, and social media content.
2022 will be a year of creative pragmatism
Creative pragmatism is the common thread across graphic design trends in 2022. We will see bold, expressive, yet purposeful and intentional design.
As a graphic and communication designer who’s made it through the wild rollercoaster of a ride this year, I will draw a picture (with words and visuals this time around!) of what I interpret as creative pragmatism.
What is creative pragmatism?
Creative pragmatism is a concept from two opposing ideas: creative and pragmatic.
Creativity sparks the imagination, which means being bold, expressive, and inspirational. Meanwhile, pragmatism means being realistic based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
The uncertainty plus the gloom and doom vibes of the pandemic has led to The Great Resignation. Employees have reached their breaking point, making them rethink their work and life goals.
The workforce, including creatives, is yearning for purpose and meaning at work. At the same time, after all the isolation, people are starting to realize that staying connected matters more than anything.
This is how we arrived at creative pragmatism.
It describes a bolder, expressive approach to design but with a more meaningful purpose to communicate.
Here’s how creative pragmatism will shape the following graphic design trends in 2022:
1. 90’s Retro futurism icons
Creative pragmatism has brought back the retro graphics and stickers of the 90s with some psychedelic influence!
The psychedelic style, often associated with the hippie movement and surrealism, is getting a new purpose as they now carry a brand message.
Expect to see these eccentric, fun, smiley icons all over social media. It’s easy to spot this trend because of their authentic, bold, and hand-drawn style.
How to use and incorporate 90’s retro futurism icons to your visuals
Use icons and stickers to express both brand and individual personality while communicating your brand message at the same time.
Next, combine them with your fonts of choice to create brand awareness, whether it’s through your product packaging or social media posts. You can even incorporate this trend to your business flyer design! Take a look at some of the examples below.
2. Abstract asymmetrical background and patterns
Heavily influenced by the retro style, expect geometric backgrounds and patterns to stay in 2022.
In 2020, the geometric pattern style was made popular through Abstract Geometry, and the popularity continued to rise in 2021. With the influence of creative pragmatism, expect to see more creative usage of icons to come up with abstract, asymmetrical patterns.
How to use and incorporate abstract asymmetrical patterns and geometric shapes to your visuals
Pro tip: Create geometric patterns by repeating one (or more) basic shapes like squares, triangles, and circles for a unique and seamless design.
3. Radical contrast
“A diverse and distinctive range of colors connects our need for calm and comfort with free-spirited optimism and joyful adventure,” foresees the Pantone Color Institute in their color trend forecast for New York Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2022.
What are examples of radically contrasting colors?
Think of colors on the opposite ends of the spectrum that look good when you put them together: blue and yellow; purple and pink.
How to use and incorporate radical contrast to your visuals
Radical contrast best represents creative pragmatism. This color scheme simultaneously brings personal expression and mindful design, making it the perfect choice for your infographics, research report, and the landing page you’re planning to redesign in 2022.
4. 2D & 3D mashup and character illustrations
We have all witnessed how 3D graphics took over the web and social media throughout 2021. The 3D graphic trend is still ongoing and evolving, while 2D hand-drawn illustration makes a comeback.
With creative pragmatism, designers and creatives combined the two styles, and that’s how 2D & 3D mashup styles are born. This mashup brings together the freedom and authenticity of 2D illustrations and the sense of realism in 3D illustrations.
How to incorporate character illustrations to your visuals
While 3D style will dominate the web, scenario illustrations are the go-to solution for sharing brand stories in graphic and video formats.
Scenario illustrations typically highlight characters performing a particular action. The 90s’ retro futurism style will heavily influence scenario illustration style in 2022.
5. Experimental typography
The typography game is evolving in 2022! You’ll notice this trend in movies and TV shows like Loki and the Squid Game, which have incorporated typography in their poster design.
How to use and incorporate experimental typography in your visuals
How can you apply creative pragmatism in typography?
Play with different fonts and incorporate shapes or photos to your text. It’s a playful way to visualize your brand vision or create an eye-catching poster!
Serif fonts are also gaining popularity in 2022. You will notice that most of the fonts used for experimental typography style are serif fonts. That’s because serif fonts have high readability and distinctive characteristics. As a result, they’re the perfect fonts to experiment with while still valuing practicality.
6. Interactive data visualization
With data visualization as a crucial skill in the coming years, people are taking data visualization techniques to a whole new level. Say hello to interactivity!
With the rapid development of VR and AR technology, expect data visualization that you can experience in person next year. BadVR refers to it as “stepping inside your data”.
You don’t have to follow every trend
It’s a wrap for our take on graphic design trends that will take 2022 by storm.
These trends say a lot about humanity’s hunger for connection and search for meaning. It’s something we look forward to as well here at Piktochart!
Where do you think 2022 will take us in terms of graphics and visual design?
Which trends are you looking forward to using in your infographics, annual reports, videos, and presentations?
On a final note, it’s totally okay not to follow any of the trends we’ve just mentioned!
It boils down to creating graphics and visuals that will truly resonate with your audience, whether it’s trendy or not.