7 Upcoming Design Trends of 2021

Trends within the design world are either short-lived or stick around for a long time. We’ve put together a list of the likely upcoming design trends of 2021.

if you’re curious about this year’s design trends, make sure to read our article about the Top 5 Design Trends of 2020.

1. Monochrome and Duotone Design

Duotone and monochromatic colours have undoubtedly been a design trend towards the end of 2020, and is likely to continue into and dominate the 2021 design world. This trend is incredibly versatile, taking the form of; monochromatic filters, structure, harmony and wholeness. Monochromatic and duo-chromatic colour schemes have seemed to dominate the fields of web design, logo design, branding and other design avenues. The use of this trend ensures a feeling of calmness, order and minimalism.

The video explains how you can create monochrome and duotone designs in Adobe InDesign and Photoshop yourself.

YouTube video

If you want to work faster and more efficient, then we would recommend using the Cyberpunk – Life Styles Presets for Lightroom which only costs $4. But there are also plenty of alternative duotone actions for Photoshop and Lightroom here.

Create stunning images with the Cyberpunk Duotone presets

2. 3D Design

Although not a completely new trend on the scene, 3D design is definitely a leading force of the design trends set to come in 2021. With the advancements in technology, highly complex software now allows creatives to explore 3D art like never before. This trend takes many forms, including; fonts, characters, applications, objects, gaming products and backgrounds.

LockDown Loop by Daniel Zucco
3D Design by Daniel Zucco

3D design allows designers to step out of the world of 2D and into a world of depth, realism and futurism. 2020 has been an incredible year for 3D design, putting out some of the most incredible designs and visuals! The trend seems to be leaning towards visuals so like-like that it leads to a blurring of the line between the digital and the physical. 

If you want to give 3D a go yourself, then make sure to check out Daz3d, which is a free application to create stunning 3D scenes. You can read all about it in our article about Daz3d.

YouTube video
Learn how to use Photoshop to create an awesome 3d Character.
YouTube video

3. Nature Themed Design

Another dominant trend set for 2021 is the well-known nature themed design. Although not at the forefront of design trends over the past couple of years, it has nevertheless left its mark. The theme itself incorporates earth tones, natural light, soft colours and flowing lines to create harmonious designs.

The use of natural textures like stone or wood, as well as natural gradients are also a prominent component of this trend. This trend stretches across a number of design spheres, and will continue to do so in the coming year –  predominantly in cards, web design, scrapbooking, illustration and packaging design.

Learn how to do it yourself with these inspirational videos or check out these beautiful seamless nature patterns.

YouTube video
YouTube video

4. 3D Typography

Complimenting the general 3D design trend we touched on earlier, 3D typography is another notable trend likely to dominate the design scene in 2021. This trend has taken on many playful and interesting forms.

Throughout 2020 it seems that this trend evolved into something bigger and better, and shows no signs of slowing down! Often seen paired with this trend is minimalism, animation, texture, pattern and monochromatic colour schemes. This attention grabbing trend is likely to make the transformation from regular, 2D designs to that of 3D. It could be said that typography within design is a key signifier of innovative, forward-thinking in a designer.

YouTube video
YouTube video

If you want some help creating 3d texts in Photoshop, then this add-on for Photoshop could be a great help.

Use this Photoshop Action to create 3d texts in seconds

5. Collage & Cut Outs

Dominating all spheres of design, the collage, cut out and handwritten trend has been around for a number of years – 2021 is no exception! Collages are made by cutting or tearing individual elements and sticking it on top of an illustrated background. This trend is a great way to experiment with texture, colour, pattern and composition.

Although these pieces can be handmade, there are a number of software options that can be used to create a similar, multi-layered effect. The Collage Photoshop Action is a great Photoshop tool that can help you create awesome collages.

A view tutorial videos that can help you create a collage:

YouTube video
YouTube video

6. Primitivism

Likely to take an important spot among the design trends of 2021, primitivism is on the rise. This trend refers to the designs that seem to scream, “my kid can paint better!” Primitivism’s highly abstract nature and limited specifications is perhaps what appeals to designers as they unleash their inner child. It’s likely that few will fully appreciate and understand this particular art direction. When delving into this trend try to remember to be playful, have fun and enjoy the best parts of the primitivism trend.

YouTube video

7. Optical Illusion

Also referred to as ‘Op-Art’, the optical illusion trend has infiltrated a number of design spheres in 2020 and is likely to trickle into fashion design in upcoming 2021. This trend is based on the well-known trick-of-the-eye concept. Essentially, the brain is unable to perceive an image as it should – creating an illusion. Within design, this trend has been noted in typography, branding design, and illustration among others. Often accompanied with bright colours, optical illusions within design catch the viewer’s attention as they feel the need to figure out their misinterpretations. The theme is correlated with designs of mystery, dynamics and obscurity. This trend undoubtedly brings the ‘wow factor’ to any project it is incorporated into.

YouTube video
YouTube video

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