Creative/marketing design trends are often the result of shifts in technology, pop culture, and the political climate as well as larger cultural shifts.

An overall theme that the trends often circle around “design becoming more human”. This was expressed well in one quote:
“As technology becomes an increasingly intrinsic part of our lives, companies will try to fill the need for human connections. This includes a deeper understanding of the customer and communicating to them on a more personal and emotive level. This may manifest itself in many different ways including an increase in photography, illustration, and emotive language.”

I found this quote discussing one design trend and how it reflected people’s evolving needs and desires particularly compelling:

“It goes hand in hand with the movement away from the very technical and a return to an artisan approach, which we’re seeing across everything from food to the resurgence of handicrafts, and the search for a more balanced way of life.”

“Similarly, there’s been a move away from polished photography to more gritty, real-world photographs. I think this all stems from the Millennial generation looking for design that has a bit more integrity, and the manifestation of physical art in graphic design has really struck a chord.”


“One of the things we’ve noticed … is the desire to be more personal through design – a nod to a previous era,” he says. “Clients sending a beautifully designed postcard or a hand-written letter for example; a return to old-fashioned methods of communication as a means to stand out.”

And on the brand experience and story-telling overall:
“…a primary brand mark is no longer the logo — instead it’s the experience.”

Shutterstocks’ Creative Trends Report lists the top styles identified from search results on their site.

The top 3 trends they identify are
fantasy (unicorn is up 297% and mermaid is up 145% from 2017),
New Minimalism (including continuous line and bold vibrant colors),
Space Imagery (Searches for solar are up 991%).

Among the additional trends they identify are punchy pastel colors, digital crafts, Natural luxury (think agate or marble textures), and cacti.

Marketing profs published their list of design trends, along with some interesting insights. Their #1 trend was Organic, with vintage designs “evoking warm, approachable nostalgia”. Interestingly, they predict that “this organic trend will work its way into photography. Garnering inspiration from Facebook Live and other unfiltered, slice-of-life technology, photos are becoming less posed and more infused with realism, imperfections, and emotional moments.”

They also called out movement (animated gifs to add interest to everything from email newsletters to logos), and complexity and depth, with flat 2-dimensional design being enhanced with shadows, vibrant gradients and color transitions.

Other trends identified (by various sources):
• geometric fonts – conveying bold clarity and honesty, simplicity and openness
• hand drawn images – nostalgia, and especially a “personal touch in a world dominated by screens”
• emotive design – an increase in photography, illustration, and emotive language

(full Shutterstock report with videos)

2018 Creative Trends

Blog post with Infographic

Direct link to infographic

Marketing profs article


The Unparalleled Business Impact of Graphic Design

The 8 Biggest Graphic Design Trends That Will Dominate 2019 [Infographic]