Top 5 Design Trends of 2020

Throughout the years, trends within the design world seem to come and go – some longer than others. We’ve put together some of our favourite graphic design trends of 2020 that really seemed to leave their mark.

Top 5 Design Trends of 2020:

  1. Line art/minimalism
  2. Character Composition and Body Positivity
  3. Geometric motifs/patterns
  4. Restrictive palettes
  5. Soft/atmospheric gradients

Let’s take a closer look at these 2020 trends.

1. Line art/minimalism

The use of light, simplified lines to create both simple and elaborate illustrations has been a dominant trend of 2020. They are most commonly used for wall art, typography, branding, logos and a number of other domains. The simple style is somewhat memorable, as their simplicity seems to hint at a hidden meaning or symbolism.

What started off as a trend within typography has moved into artworks, branding and website design. This trend is often carried out using limited colour or monochromatic themes. The minimalism trend gained popularity around the 1960s and 1970s which aimed to counter modernism.

Today, several years later, minimalism is no longer just a design trends but a way of life that transfers into various aspects of life.

Keen to get in on this trend? See this tutorial on line art below:

YouTube video

Two other interesting how to create line art instruction video’s:

2. Character Composition and Body Positivity

Continuing on from 2019, character composition and the depiction of human bodies in innovative and interesting ways left its mark in 2020’s graphic design sphere. This trend took on many forms, incorporating a number of styles, exaggerations and imagery into designs.

Visually, this trend has generated strong creative originality – an increasingly sought after characteristic within the design world. The experimentation with form celebrates the human body and provides great opportunity to create beautiful, harmonious pieces. Successfully creating such caricatures does however require a good amount of skill!

Ready for a challenge? Get started with this tutorial on character composition below:

YouTube video

Another interesting video about flat character design:

3. Geometric motifs/patterns

Geometric patterns has been a dominant trend during 2020, especially towards its end. Given its spike it popularity, it’s likely that this trend will continue into 2021! The use of simple geometric shapes to make both simple and elaborate designs has been frequently seen not only within illustration but in a number of other spheres including; packaging design, branding design and website design. A range of gradients, textures, tones and grids are often used in combination with this trend.

Check out the video below on geometric shapes in design:

YouTube video

And an interesting tutorial from Elena about how to use geometric shapes and create patterns in Adobe Illustrator:

4. Restrictive palettes

Another trend that took the 2020 design world by storm is the use of a restrictive colour palette. Whether your restrictions are self-set or set by others, having simple, clear cut guidelines is always a good way to stay focused and on track. What’s often referred to as the ‘less-is-more’ trend, tends to bring a sense of freshness, elegance and aesthetic style. This trend stemmed from the field of modern design to portray a sense of wholeness, especially within in a digital design space.

To get a sense of using restrictive colour palettes in your work, check out the following video on making full colour palettes from one colour:

YouTube video

Pro tip: Make sure that you know everything about colour theory in design and that you know why selecting a great colour palette is important. You can use one of these colour palette generators we recommend to make colour selection simpler and more fun!

5. Soft/atmospheric gradients

The gradient, a trend that seems to be lasting almost a decade– has expectedly been a major trend in 2020 too. Seen predominantly in digital illustration, fashion design, packaging design and UI design, the use of gradient portrays a particular feeling, atmosphere or emotion of a piece.

The use of gradient in 2020 has taken on a more sophisticated, detailed approach in a way that produces a range of moods. It is likely that in 2021 the gradient trend will lean towards more monochromatic, pastel or neutral tones.

Hop on board the gradient trend! Check out the video below to get started:

YouTube video

Make sure to also check this video about gradient management:


As you can see many tutorials refer to Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.
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