Every new year offers new opportunities for creativity, and nowadays everyone can make a statement. While 2020 took all of us by surprise, creatives aren’t slowing down. New designs can color our impressions of brands and ideas and inspire the next generation of creative professionals. We’re excited for 2021, and these rising trends in graphic design and fonts are a big reason why.
This is the ultimate case of, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Being in nature can be an uplifting experience, as well as a chance to calm ourselves, take a deep breath, and look ahead with confidence. The domino effect of the pandemic has touched every part of our lives, including our freedom of movement. It’s one thing to see pictures of a stunning landscape and dream about going there one day. But when you can’t go anywhere, those dreams suddenly seem unattainable. While we’re optimistic that we’ll all be able to travel again soon, until that time comes again design can fill in the gaps.
What does a focus on nature look like in design? Far from being rough and unkempt, designs that draw inspiration from nature emphasize earth tones, flowing lines, and smooth color gradients. They highlight our shared humanity, connecting the person seeing the design with the person behind the design. Because it’s not just that our freedom of movement has been restricted. It’s that our freedom of movement has been restricted along with our freedom to gather. We are not separate from nature, and when we acknowledge this in our designs, we will come that much closer to connecting with our audience.
Many of us look to nature for recreation, a chance to literally re-create ourselves while restoring our sense of peace and our sanity. The past year has meant unimaginable stress for so many of us, and everyone is looking for ways to relax, to pause and unwind. Bold design has its place, but when the volume is constantly dialed up to 11 it’s no more welcome than an endless shouting match.
In 2021 we’re all looking for ways to stay grounded, and we predict creatives will respond by channeling more calming energy into their work. Specifically, we’re picturing muted colors that are approachable and accessible. If you include these types of colors with uplifting art, you can help pave the way for a brighter future. With 2020 behind us, we have many reasons to be hopeful. That’s what makes good design so empowering, it’s the quickest path between attention and attraction.
Photo by Magic Mind // Boxed Water is Better on Unsplash
If we want a more inclusive society which works for all of us, we have to design it ourselves. In 2021, creatives will become even more deeply invested in social movements that seek a more equitable future. Representation matters, and designers who fail to recognize this in their work risk losing touch with their audience and falling behind. And one of the best ways to encourage greater diversity is to purchase from BIPOC creatives, like the artists at People of Craft and Blacks Who Design.
Though designers have already shared a few font favorites for 2021, you can also preview fonts from BIPOC type designers before you include them in your next project. And while serif fonts in particular might be poised for a comeback, be careful not to overdo it. Legibility is a big part of inclusivity, and serif fonts aren’t always the most legible. Remember that every step you take to make your designs more inclusive is a step is a sign to other designers that they can do it, too.
Can we make a confession? We began this article by with a shout-out to forecasts from the experts. But the good news is, trends are no longer handed down from above by media juggernauts and global tastemakers. In 2021 everyone has a chance to make their mark. And that means you are empowered to create timeless designs that will set the tone for years to come. Yes, you. And we can’t wait to see what you’ll create next.
If your creativity is like a map, your vision for sharing designs is your North Star. And if you stick to your vision, there’s no telling what you can accomplish. Read on for more ways to channel your creativity towards your goals.