After a year like no other, it’s no surprise that there are a few key changes to the way we think about design. One thing that hasn’t changed is how important it is to stay ahead of the latest digital design trends. We like to think of ourselves as a helpful bunch (at least that’s what our clients say!) so we’ve pulled together a round-up of the top seven design trends of 2021.

1. Soft, muted palettes

A year of bold colours and hard messages has left people craving the gentle, almost nostalgic feel of a muted colour palette. Put simply, a muted colour palette focuses on a vivid colour but with the brashness dulled down thanks to a shot of black or white. The result is a design that feels safe, comfortable, and easy to absorb.

2. Data graphics that simplify complex info

Simplicity is key, especially with complex messages. If people have to seek extra explanation then your data graphic may need tweaking. Designs that are too complex or awash with stylistic quirks overload the reader and complicate the message. Simplicity is a trend that is here to stay for 2021 and beyond.

3. Goodbye abstract, hello geometric!

The flowing lines of 2020 show signs of being superseded by a shift towards geometric shapes. Rigid, hard edges populate a host of designs, bringing a sharp sense of consistency – perhaps echoing a need for certainty in uncertain times. Of course, this trend has a bonus for design teams – geometric shapes are often simpler to create and a cinch to incorporate giving us more time to spend on getting the message spot on. Or having an extra sip of latte. Or even both!

4. Flat icons and images

We’re seeing more flat icons emerging as a design trend for 2021. Easy to consume and easy to adapt this type of image is a great choice for fast communication and simple sharing. The leading light of choosing a flat icon is that they can be understood without the need for text – ideal for mass messaging.

5. Back to the fifteenth century!

Don’t fret, we’re not about to swan about in a snazzy doublet and hose! This is all about typeface, honest! Continuing the need for nostalgia, we’re seeing a renewed enthusiasm for the classic serif fonts. These oldest of typefaces create a feeling of trust and an air of elegance. This is something that brings comfort and surety in uncertain times and works with other trends we’re seeing like the muted colours mentioned above.

6. New ways with the socials

Slide decks are appearing more and more as part of a digital marketing strategy. These nifty features are a way to create an interactive experience that tells a succinct story. They’re most common on image-heavy platforms, but other social media outlets are adopting the device.

7. Text

No, we’re not heading back to the nineties – this final trend is entirely practical. The logistics of creating video content are challenging to say the least. Whilst the novelty of a talking head style video has sustained us through 2020, this style is bound to get as tired as everyone does after the eleventybillionth zoom meeting of the day. We’ll see a move towards text-heavy video content for everything from simple user guides to full-on product intros. Simple to produce and easy on the budget, this style of content is likely to stay with us through 2021 and beyond.

So, there you have it! Our top predictions for seven major graphic design trends of 2021. Things like soft colours and classic fonts alongside straightforward geometric shapes make it look like the digital design world is taking steps to make at least some aspects of everyday life feel a whole lot simpler!