‘Tis the season for trend forecasts, when the branding world’s experts start issuing predictions about which typefaces, hues, shapes, textures and styles are on the rise, and which brand ID fads are fading fast.
As marketing decision-makers look ahead to 2020, many will be evaluating their branding strategy to ensure their approach is relevant, fresh and meets the needs of their business and customers. While no one wants to simply follow the leader and jump on the latest trend du jour, it is undeniably valuable for marketers to stay informed about where the market is going to keep a brand modern and relevant.
With that in mind, here are four of the strongest design trends we predict will dominate logos, websites, packaging and more in 2020 and into the decade ahead.
Futuristic design elements are among the most striking of next year’s visual trends, expressed through everything from color choice to broad-stroke cultural references.
2020 will specifically see designers embrace a futuristic cyberpunk style, defined largely by bright, luminous color schemes and oversaturated hues that we don’t typically see in nature.
Blue neons, hot pinks and magentas are typical within this trend, creating an otherworldly, surreal visual landscape reminiscent of the sci-fi genre. Take the new packaging for Nitro Tea, for example:
Pulling in elements of 70s punk scene imagery, hues from the neon ‘80s and touches of ‘90s grunge, 2020 will see a wave of retro-inspired graffiti and street art-influenced design.
This inherently edgy trend can likely be traced to changes in the composition of today’s designer population. As design education and training has become increasing accessible via online channels like YouTube, it makes sense that younger designers would champion the DIY aesthetic of street art.
This business card designed by Mark Unger for a company called Push is a great example of this style.
By creating 3D forms out of hard lines, the bevels and chisels trend finds a balance between skeuomorphism (i.e., objects that mimic their real-world counterparts in how they appear and/or how the user can interact with them) and flat design (using simple, two-dimensional elements and bright colors).
These designs subtly mimic real-life objects (like raised buttons, engraved coins or beveled stone), but they’re constructed out of flat colors. The end result is a flat image that looks real enough to touch — for example, this logo for the Twin Cities Bike Polo created by Studio Day Job:
3D stone-cutting techniques are particularly helpful in designs for digital use, such as app icons and buttons. They create a tactile experience for users and mitigate the endless flatness that dominates the visual aesthetic of screens.
Movement is another defining element that will shape branding design in 2020, but in increasingly sophisticated ways. Found in everything from logos to microinteractions and explanatory motion graphics, animation is a powerful way to bring a brand to life. This year, we expect to see simple motion graphics evolving into continuous animation sequences that heighten immersion, such as this live BMX freestyle data visualization from designer Clever*Franke.
These are just a few of the emerging design trends that will reign in 2020, but one thing is clear: Next year will see disparate visual elements combined in unusual ways.