5 graphic design trends to watch in 2014

Peter Vukovic

No, I don’t have a magic ball, thank you for asking. This article is not about predictions. It’s about things that already surround us, but are only beginning to enter the mainstream — some would say they are “trending”.

Staying on the cutting edge of graphic design means spotting those trends early and using them to produce contemporary, original work. And later, when everyone is doing the same thing, you’ll probably want to do something else.

Here are a few styles we’ll be seeing more of in 2014 — let’s get up to speed.

1. Super-Geometric

poster1_800-600

Poster: Liam Brazier

Incredible detail, but straight lines everywhere. If origami was graphic design technique, this would be it.

Don’t be fooled by apparent simplicity though — the level of skill and attention required to produce this kind of work is not for the faint-hearted. That’s probably why this design style is trending, similar to the Handiwork example below.

2. Handiwork

statusserigraph

Poster: Status Serigraph

Craftsmanship is coming through the big doors. Detailed, 19th century style illustrations are your best bet, but high-fidelity illustration of any kind will get you serious attention. After decades of photography-driven design, serious drawings are in high demand again — and rightfully so.

3. Technical

james_provost2

Inforgraphic: James Provost

Once reserved for boring instruction manuals, the beautiful art of technical illustration finally made its way into mainstream design with introduction of infographics. No need to explain the reasons — its clarity, simplicity and precision perfectly resonate with our chronic busyness and lack of time.

Obviously, you don’t have to learn the fine points of technical illustration. Clean lines and thoughtful use of color will take you a long way.

4. Pragmatic

usa

Website: USA Today

A growing trend in digital design is pure pragmatism, or keeping things as simple and practical as possible. This is a combination of grid-based layout, minimalist design approach and clever use of color that makes websites and mobile apps easy to use and navigate.

5. Retro-graphics

retro

Album cover: Rodrigo Maia (via new records, old covers tumblr)

They say every design style comes back in fashion every now and then, and it seems this is a great time to revive graphic work from 70’s and 80’s. Back then, design approach was pretty modest due to technical reasons, but that fits perfectly with our sudden taste for simplicity and minimalism.

All in all, design work inspired by the times of arcade games and hit tunes will make big impact this year.

Conclusion

As always, there are two parallel tracks in design trends this year — the vintage one and the contemporary one.

The vintage track is about detailed line drawings and illustrations, as well as retro graphics from 70’s and 80’s. The contemporary track balances with super geometric style, pragmatism and design inspired by technical illustrations.

These styles are so diverse and rewarding that every designer can pick one and do amazing work — it’s going to be a great year!

What are your thoughts on design trends for 2014?

The author

Peter Vukovic
Peter Vukovic

Peter Vukovic is a seasoned designer & creative director with 10 years of experience in worldwide advertising agency. He is a proud member of the 99designs community. You can view his 99designs profile here.

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