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6 Expected Design Trends for 2023

In previous years, we have seen design trends evolving and shifting at a slow, gradual rate. However, times have changed. The numerous social movements as well as the global pandemic have brought about significant cultural and social change in a number of spheres. Design is no exception.

The importance of creativity and design cannot be stressed enough. Design is intrinsically involved in our identity, our self-expression and is in a state of consistent growth. If you are a design centred business owner, an artist, a freelance designer or creative of any kind – it’s important to explore the latest design trends and movements and somehow implement them into your work. Ensuring you stay current and relevant is highly dependent on your ability to flow with the trends.

If you’re looking to get a sneak peek inside what trends, concepts and changes we should expect to see in 2023, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to be breaking down 6 of our favourite changes within design we’ll be seeing in the upcoming year. Let’s dive in the Design Trends for 2023!

Surrealism

Often bringing that sought after ‘shock value’, surrealism that is a trend that first began to show itself back in 2020. Since then it has been gradually gaining more traction which we predict will continue to make an appearance in this upcoming year 2023. Modern surrealism can be described as a mix of realism and non-verifiable surrealism.

Rain Spell by Temporary-Peace
Rain Spell by Temporary-Peace

It seems as though consumers are drawn towards this depiction of an altered reality that is difficult to place our finger on. That mystery and intrigue is perhaps what has kept this trend alive for so long!

We have already seen companies integrating surrealism into their branding, book covers, advertising posters and even product labels. With this being said, it seems as though this trend has no interest in slowing down any time soon with marketers preferring surrealism as it works as a tool to surprise the consumer.

Colourful minimalism

Minimalism is a trend that has been no stranger to the design sphere over the past few years. By traditional definition, minimalism is defined as a combination of black text and a white background (or various shades of the 2). This did not however appeal to modern day designers who felt the lack of colour and brightness in their work. It was perhaps this realization that spurred the colourful minimalism trend within design.

In past years, modern designers have reshaped the concept of minimalism overcoming the obstacle of limited colour palettes. Instead, they have re-interpreted the trend in a way that includes a range of colour palettes that are both bright, fun and maintain the minimalist look. Colour and creativity have become strong points for famous brands who have opted for this neo-minimalist approach.

Nostalgic themes

It’s not uncommon for people to experience a longing for an idealized past. This same longing exists within the design sphere in the form of a trend! It’s important to note that styles related to the 90s aesthetic are particularly influential in this case, as opposed to the earlier eras prevalent in the trends of the past.

A dominant trend that has made its mark in the design world, year in and year out – is the retro style. However, we may be witnessing the end of an era. The then popular retro theme within graphic design, media and marketing was characterised by Gatsby-esque fonts and embellishments, 70’s inspired colour palettes and symbols and the unforgettable typewriter!

2000 music album now decade
Now Decade 2000’s music album – source Amazon

Now, nostalgia seems to be taking the place of the retro trend, bringing forth themes from the 1990s and early 2000s. The trend now referred to as ‘Y2K’, has already made its mark in the fashion world, and will undoubtedly make its way into graphic design by the time the new year rolls in.

Geometric shapes and bright colours

Towards the end of 2020, we saw Google take a big leap that surprised many of us. It’s icon was redesigned to depict geometric circles, blocks and shapes. Together with this, bright primary colours also seemed to be particularly significant in the design revamp. These changes can also be seen in the branding of Behance as well as Bauhaus, who have stated that art is a method for social change.

In the upcoming year we will likely see more graphic designers taking inspiration from these changes within the school of design – geometric shapes, clean composition and the use of bright (primary) colours.

Graffity Geomatric Shape Design, artist unknown - Photograph by Toa Heftiba Şinca
Graffity Geomatric Shape Design, artist unknown – Photograph by Toa Heftiba Şinca

Another reason for this shift within the field could be due to the need for safety and approachability. What better way to convey such a feeling than with blocks, shapes and bright colours? As we mentioned earlier, a sense of trust is something that consumers are actively searching for in brands and businesses. This demand for transparency is conveyed perfectly with this shift towards more simplistic design choices. In 2021 we saw the beginning of this trend start to take form, with a great example being the revamp of the Swarovski packaging.

Diversity and inclusion

When referring to inclusivity and diversity in this article, we find it important to note that this isn’t a trend but rather an advancement in society towards a better future. Instead, this can be understood as a space within the design sphere that will be occupied in 2023 (and hopefully many more years to come) by those who have not had a space or a voice prior to the social movements as of late.

In terms of design we should expect characters, models and depictions of previously marginalized groups to appear in more design projects, branding and art. This is perhaps the best change within the design sphere this industry has ever had, spurred by the unfortunate circumstances that began the Black Lives Matter movement.

Designers are beginning to question their choices in representation and making a change towards inclusivity for all cultures, ethnicities, races and beliefs.

Sans Serif fonts

Put simply, serif fonts can be defined as having horizontal lines at the top and bottom of each letter. If it’s hard to imagine this, consider the popular font Times New Roman – one of the most popular serif fonts. Towards the beginning of the 2000s, designers slowly began to abandon the serif trend and move towards a more clean, minimalist feel. However, now in 2022 and the upcoming year 2023, it seems as though the design world is transitioning back into their love for serif fonts.

Difference between serif and sans-serif
Difference between serif and sans-serif

The transition back to serif fonts from the previously loved san serifs can be explained in terms of the sense of security and tradition they seem to evoke for viewers. When brands or businesses portray a sense of trust, they are more likely to acquire a client base that is consistent. In the upcoming year, brand trust is likely to be at the forefront of buyers expectations. Research showed that over 70% of people agree that trust is an increasingly important factor today in comparison to the past.

This can be attributed to the global pandemic and the great social movements that have happened over the past few years within our society. In essence, serif fonts have a longer history in the mind of society and are more likely to convey a sense of trust and safety.

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