8 Graphic Design Trends for 2018

By |Published On: April 5th, 2018|Last Updated: June 16th, 2022|

Last year, when we initially published our 2017 graphic design trends, we interviewed some of our favorite designers. For this year, we wanted to write about 2018 graphic design trends a bit more different.
So we compiled a list of tools and techniques for inspiration to really get your creative juices flowing.

Graphic design trends are really important for entrepreneurs because using trends is a great way of keeping your brand contemporary to your customers, to the marketplace, and to your competition. For designers, recognizing and understanding trends and being able to address them properly is even more important because they need to be able to provide them to customers.
This being said, 2018 is the year of color in graphic design trends. Everything gets brightly colored, bolder and more dynamic than before. Oh, and you will see a major 90’s inspiration, just like in fashion.

1. Responsive logos
Adaptation is the process that all living beings need to do in order to survive.
Consistency is a core principle of good design. However, in order to stand out from the crowd, one must evolve and incorporate new graphic design trends into its design. This is why we’re talking about flexible and responsive design in 2018.
Graphic design trends 2018 responsive logos

It all starts with branding, and when we talk branding, it starts with a logo.
Some logos are too detailed to be used effectively on websites at small sizes. The most effective logos can be recognized in a simple, iconic mark. In 2018, responsive logos should become standard across all platforms.

Graphic design trends 2018 responsive logos netflix

2. Multicolored brand palettes
Diverse color generally indicates variety and it seems like 2017 was the year of colorful rebranding. If brands usually use less color in their branding, to help people recognize them out in the world, lately we’ve seen more and more brands taking risks as they rebranded using a multitude of colors.

Take, for example, Dropbox.
2018 Graphic design trends dropbox

Dropbox describes its new brand identity as being inspired by the creative work of its customers.
The new brand system shows that Dropbox isn’t just a place to store files — it’s a living workspace that brings teams and ideas together.

Apple Music released a video, back in November 2017, building a gorgeous new visual identity around its musical note.
2018 graphic trends apple music

3. Color gradients are cool again. Or how Instagram changed the game
Color gradients are surely making a modern-day comeback this year, as we see them everywhere. In my opinion, this trend emerged from Instagram’s rebranding, two years ago. Although people had not embraced the new logo right from the very start, now brands seem to be catching up.
2018 graphic design trends instagram

Stripe is using color gradients as main background on their homepage. It looks clean and sophisticated without being boring.
graphic design trends 2018 Stripe

4. Brighter, more vivid colors. Duotones
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a graphic design transition from the greys and the neutrals that everyone was using, to more bright and vivid colors.
Spotify first started doing this when they changed their logo from a muted, earthy green to a neon.

graphic design trends 2018 Spotify

They are now using colors as a part of their brand, making their images instantly recognizable.

2018 graphic design trends spotify 2

We see more and more companies using vivid colors in their branding, so it makes them more identifiable and attention-grabbing in this hugely saturated marketplace.

Duotones is a halftone reproduction of an image using the superimposition of one contrasting color halftone over another color halftone. Thanks to Spotify (once again, a real trendsetter when it comes to using colors in design) duotones are making a comeback as well. Spotify uses this technique in the music playing app and for various promotional microsites. Here, the band, One Republic integrates duotone and a bold handwritten font on their website.
2018 graphic design trends one republic
Via Ohmymyexperience

If you don’t want to take big risks and change your entire brand color palette like Dropbox did, you can incorporate vivid colors in your social media or other design projects you have coming up this year. It will definitely make your brand stand out from the crowd.

5. Fonts. The bigger and bolder, the better
2018 is all about grabbing the attention. I would say it’s the year of bigger and bolder, the better.
duotones- 2018 graphic design trends
Via okcupid.com

You will see a lot of huge headlines, bold extra large font sizes and handwritten fonts. Oh, and the serifs are back in town.
graphic design trends 2018 medium
Via medium.com

6. Creative typography 
This year we’re gonna see a lot of companies using creative elements within design type. We’re talking about creative typography which is the use of fonts in different compositions.
2018 graphic design trends - creative typography
José Bernabé – Letters matter

7. Custom illustrations
Instead of using the same old boring stock photos on their blog, Intercom decided to take a more custom approach with their visuals and went for custom illustrations. This is one of the biggest 2018 graphic design trends.
It may look like a magazine, but that’s the point, actually. It’s friendly, and it’s got high quality editorial content.
2018 graphic design trends intercom

We paid close attention to hierarchy, typography and illustration in order to create a connected and organized experience.” – INTERCOM

2018 graphic design trends intercom 2
8. 90’s inspiration
I grew up in the ’90s. I am, what they call, a ‘millenial’. The fact that a lot of designers are going back to this decade to look for inspiration, is somewhat nostalgic. The ’90s are back. They’re back in fashion and they’re back in graphic design trends, as well.
This year, we’ll see a lot of geometric patterns and color schemes inspired by the ’90s. And the zine culture is making a major comeback if you ask me.

2018 graphic design trends - illustration

Via Beci Orpin illustrator 

In the end, we talked with one of the designers mentioned in last year’s article and asked for his opinion on the major 2018 graphic design trends.


“The buzzword of 2018 graphic design trends should be ‘playful’. I think, unique, crafted content like Medium, Slack or Intercom’s new visual style, using custom illustrations combined with sketches and random UI or design elements will see a huge rise in popularity in 2018. All these, in combination with the continuous improvements of modern web technologies, will evolve into a new, more interactive, playful design trend. Basically, all this new playful approach will work towards more engagement and better storytelling for all the usual boring product and feature stuff.”
— Gery Meleg – Head of Design at Creatopy.

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