2021

21 Design Trends for 2021 You Need To Know About

Hash Studio | August 2nd, 2021.

Welcome to the first edition of Digital Bites: Easy Marketing. Our purpose is sharing easy reading entries without complications, including insights, ideas, and inspiration about different topics in marketing.

In this first article, we will be talking about an essential topic for today’s brands: Design. One of the most beautiful things of design is that it gives us the opportunity to reinvent it over and over again, evolving until it becomes something entirely different from what we knew before. Last year, our lives had a 180-degree turn, changing as well design as we knew it. We bring you, in this article, some trends that have been rocking this year, and that we cannot let you pass them by. 

1. 3D Design

3D modelling is not exactly new, but we do can tell it gets better every day. With Augmented Reality (AR), many brands have come to realise the avail that this format has to show products; but also how attractive 3D elements look combined with images, 2D illustrations, or even better… when you animate them.

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Andromeda
Abstract Illustrations Series by
Mathieu Le Berre

2. Chaos Typography

Chaotic typography makes its way, following the path of every other artistic movement in history: complaining and breaking the rules of past times. What’s more, design is a reflection of it’s time, and what’s better than chaos typography to reflect what has been happening lately?

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Above, left and right:
PUMA: This is my flow by
Danilo Gusmão Silveira

3. Monochromatic and Duotones

The idea of a limited colour palette has been working really well lately. It helps designers to create cleaner arts and the consumer does not get saturated with a complex combination of elements. Another point in favour of this trend is that by using it, it creates a sensation of structure and harmony.

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Fondeadora by Futura

4. Retrofuturism

Retrofuturism was born in the 80s, from the visions of artists and designers about how the future would be. It was all about a combination of elements of the time in sci-fi situations. This movement has been back for the past couple of years, and 2021 was not the exception, where designers use an old school aesthetic in modern or futuristic situations that exceed reality.

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Neon City by Fill Ryabchikov

5. Nature Inspired Design

With the growing trend of following healthier lifestyles for ourselves and that make less harm to the planet, people are looking for products that mimic or pay tribute to nature; that makes them feel that, by choosing that product, they’re being gentler with themselves and with the environment.

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The Handmade Ice Cream
Packaging desing by Tatiana Rusalovskaya and
Elena Bulay

6. Voxel Art

3D pixels (cubes) compose voxel art: it is basically pixel art brought to 3D. It’s being used lately by many brands and designers because it is easily recognisable and linked to video games (such as Minecraft, that we all know) or Lego blocks, so this modern style stays in the consumer’s mind.  

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Above: Voxel Room by Yeganeh Aubi
Left: Ice Cream Kart Voxel by Yeganeh Aubi
Right: Dumb Ways to Die Characters in Voxel Style by
Vida Foruzan

7. Optical Illusions

This kind of elements has an advantage that we, as spectators, hardly can defeat: the longer we look, the longer we need to look. One of the main issues designers face with nowadays, is that, with the amount of content out there, you’re lucky if someone takes a split second looking at your design. This is why designers are using optical illusions, to draw people’s attention and digest what they are looking at.

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Effet Papillon by Figure ™

8. Diversity Design

Brands should drop stereotypes in their daily communication, but not only during some times, but forever. Now more than ever, we should trash everything that doesn’t celebrate the diversity we live in. Just like in fashion, entertainment, business, and photography industries, design and advertising are also evolving for good.

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Left: Black Lives Matter Movement (art by various brands)
Right: WA Cosmetics Packaging Design by Yurie Takashima

9. Gold

Since always, golden colour has been linked with luxury. Adding it to daily use elements makes us perceive them as an elegant product or service, calling out our ambition (which we all have, don’t feel guilty).

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Barro de cobre by Futura.

10. Subdued Colours

Living in times (so chaotic, yes) that makes us feel rushed at all times and with so little space to take a break, makes consumers look for safety and comfort in some products they buy. They’re looking for something that makes them feel relaxed and far from all the noise (in all meaning of the word) that surrounds us.

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Yoga lovers by Roberto Blefari

11. 3D Geometric Shapes

Versatility of geometric shapes helps the to stay always in, and it’s effortless to combine them with other trends. You can also use them in any field, topic, industry… whatever you want! The idea is using individual shapes to create bigger and more complex ones. Large and solid blocks merge with strong colours and outlines to create imaginative combinations.

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Banregio by Francisco Capuzzi

12. Emoji Design

Emojis are not only  a trend for latest generations; they have made their way and are used by people from all ages to express emotions through a tiny illustration. Designers have taken advantage of this, achieving a connection between the emojis that they use in their designs and consumers, who feel identified with them.

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McDonalds x Emojis by Muneer Khalfey

13. Personalized illustrations

This type of illustration have become a witty way of making a product or brand stand out in this ocean of visual communication. Illustrations are now more varied and interesting than ever before, and can add lots of value, not only to the design, but also to the brand, product, and the communication overall.

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Hash Tealicious Illustration for Blends

14. Colour gradients

Many brands chose to reinvent themselves using colour gradients, achieving a modern, renovated and fresh look. The energy of this impressive transitions of vibrant colours, that does not limit to two colours, makes them stand out and, well achieved, they help to rise any design. Nevertheless, they can also be dangerous, for if they are used wrong, they can generate a feeling of saturation.

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Apple Card/ Big Sur by Apple

15. Collage and Intervened Photography

Since Barbara Kruger illuminated us with her artistic proposal about b&w pictures intervened with words in Futura Bold, collage and intervened pics with design purposes stands straight. It’s also about this desire for rebellion and to break what we know to create something new.

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1. The New Luxury by OnRepeat Studio
2. Collage by Barbara Kruger

16. Personalized typography

What’s better that a typography that reflects the intention of the design? Usually brands only contemplate personalised typography just for the logo or for really specific applications. This has evolved, and now brands will have to consider their typography for every application, from stationary to their OOH and more.

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1. Grillography by Fredrik Melby
2. Burger King Rebranding by CACHETE JACK

17. Overlap and Shading

Three-dimensionailty that shading generates and the dynamism of overlapping create heavily creative designs that convey strong sensations, resulting in a heavily attractive product. This technique opens a new dialogue with the audience, making the design hardly go unnoticed. 

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Silo Theatre Campaign by Seachange Studio

18. Die-cut and Bas-relief

A really creative and functional way of showing the product that’s in the packing without losing style; well executed, it can add a lot of value to the design itself. Usually, this technique is used on printed media or products because we can literally punch a hole in the material and play with layers, but you can also create the illusion of die-cut in digital renders.

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Chris + Jesse by Hyela Lee

19. Colourless Design

We already talked about something being comforting about colour shortage in a reality that bombs us with colour filled content at all times. Desaturated colours became trendy in mid-2020, right in the middle of the pandemic because many people had to learn to live with less, and they keep doing it this year. This also follows the trend of less information and fewer distractions.

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Calm App
Illustrations and App Design by
Nickelfox

20. 3D Typography

As we mentioned before, 3D elements are in, but, why should we conform with shapes and characters? 3D typography cause great impact because they leave the commonplace. Even though they are not the greatest for reading, they are perfect for giving a twist to titles or taglines.

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Nemoritis by T A V O .

21. Optimism and Comfort Storytelling

This trend definitely is mirroring everything we’ve been through as a society, adjusting to our needs and feelings. Nowadays, design cannot exist just by the sake of it; it should have a narrative, and given what has happened in the last months, it has to ve a positive one, that whispers to the consumer: “it’s all going to be fine”.

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Luuna Store

María Azuela Mac Donald

Awesome Story Creator 
Hash Design and Marketing

  1. Mauna Media: «Sensational Design Trends for 2021». November 26, 2020.
  2. El Mueble: «Where Do Trends Come From and Why We Love Them» June 03, 2021.
  3. Crehana: «Design Trends for 2021» May 3, 2021.
  4. Marketing for E-Commerce:
    «Design 2021: Key Trends That Will Revolutionize Marketing» December 17, 2020.
  5. Graphic Mama: «Graphic Design Trends in 2021 That Will Cause Revolution.» August 10, 2020.
  6. Code Web Barcelona: «Trends in Graphic Design 2021» December 15, 2020.
  7. 99 Designs: «11 Inspiring Graphic Design Trends for 2021.» October 20, 2020.

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