The design trends in 2021

Abstraction, triangles and psychedelics. What to expect from design in 2021

Reading time: 8 minutes

Last year tried to stop the world by locking us all at home. Lockdown has wholly changed our habits, and with them, the way business now interacts with customers.

We moved to online. A typical social media user now spends 2 hours and 25 minutes a day on social media, which corresponds to about one day of wakefulness per week. Zoom shares skyrocketed when the platform became one of the main communication tools for millions of users.

The presentation has become the best way to share important information online in a colourful and intelligible form. And the requirements for them have grown. It is now more difficult for the speaker to hold the listeners' attention (many of whom are hiding behind disconnected cameras). The slides must be interactive, brighter and more affluent.

Hence, the struggle for the user's attention in the oversaturated virtual world and the attempt to go beyond the usual designs have primarily determined the trends of 2020 and will continue to influence the plan in 2021. What they will be — read below.

Trend №1. Muted colors

Pastel palettes have been in trend for so many years that they are becoming a modern classic. In 2021, they will be at their peak again.

What are the muted colours? Plainly, they are primary colors just diluted with white or black. It looks like this:

Muted colours represent both modernity and nostalgia, give a sense of calm and balance. For this reason, designers often use muted colours in health products advertising.

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For several years in a row, the Pantone Institute has preferred soft shades. In 2021, they stayed true to tradition, choosing Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Gray.

So feel free to use such palettes. It is especially appropriate to use soft shades in long presentations. At the same time, competently placed accents will help you to keep attention.

Trend №2. Serif fonts

One of the most ancient and respected fonts families in design is back. They are classic, beautiful and reliable — what else do you need in today's unstable world? After all, the history of these fonts dates back to the XIV century.

Such fonts look very good at presentations. Especially if they tell a story about an expensive product. The Serif family perfectly conveys elegance and high cost, creating a brand with history and philosophy.

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This is what we needed in the presentation on Qurdh Al Hail perfumes. The present smoothly intertwined with the past and traditional Arabic motifs.

To choose a serif font you can check the library of Google Fonts.

Trend №3. Simple data visualization

We live in a world of data. It surrounds us everywhere. Still, we have not learned to perceive it without quality visualization.

And it is not necessary. After all, the design is here to simplify life. Besides, simple visualization looks better on mobile devices. The primary visualization purpose is to make the information clear and the meaning obvious.

Visualization from Reuters Graphics compares the amount of disposals to the territory of New York

Series of visualization from Ryan MacEachern about food consumption

It is essential to use simple data visualization in online presentations. Sometimes it is enough to highlight one significant number and make the text around it smaller.

Presentation of Reprezent for Dynamic Division

Trend №4. Geometry everywhere

This trend will stay with us. It is only gaining force. Straight lines, circles, triangles, trapezoids and abstract shapes began to appear in almost every presentation.

In 2021, there will be sharper shapes at the peak, which contrasts with the muted colours.

The fame of geometry is evident: it looks simple, but at the same time stylish, bright and eye-catching.

Simultaneously, we can use it to implement more complex ideas: to create the identity of an entire city, as was done in Baku. Or use in the design of stamps (as was the case in the Netherlands).

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Trend №5. Back to nature

Being locked up during a lockdown, we started to miss nature and open space mostly much. All this is a continuation of the global trend towards nature.

Hence, in 2021, illustrations with plants, wooden or stone textures, various natural motifs and patterns are famous. They go well with muted colours and together create a cosy and calm atmosphere.

By Alexandra Necula

By Alexandra Necula

By Victor Korchuk

By Victor Korchuk

Komorebi Pattern by Bron Alexander

Komorebi Pattern by Bron Alexander

Trend №6. Mind Games

Responding to the straightforward design, there is a trend towards complex abstractions that catch the viewer's eye, drag in the game, and not let you get bored and distracted.

Abstract psychedelia, originally from the '60s, in 2021, will find new life through incredibly bright colours and intricate shapes.

Berlin Mural
Garage Project

Optical illusions will add a little more magic — the same psychedelia, only in a more strict and precise execution.

By Figure

By Figure

By Divin Creador

By Divin Creador

By Ben Johnston

By Ben Johnston

Another trend is wonderful characters that may seem unexpected and even inappropriate. They look incredibly cool and unexpected in storytelling.

In general, such a design pursues a different goal than past examples. There is no cosiness or conformism. So illustrations are becoming more and more bizzare, and the author will need to go far beyond his creativity to get attention.

Hence, such an original presentation will have the most substantial effect on the audience because there is no other one like yours.

Trend №7. 3D effect

The trend towards using 3D has been at its peak for several years and continues the fashion for virtual reality. The online may be very missing in the realism of the shapes that 3D provides.

For inspiration, you can check the portfolio of Peter Tarka. Som of his works are below.

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Use it in presentations (this can surprise the audience a lot!). Earlier, we talked about which 3D displays can be a feature. It is essential to understand that 3D objects themselves are not remarkable. It is animating 3D objects with the Morph transition what looks impressive.

Trend №8. Brand new old

Last year, the aesthetic of the 90s was at its peak. Vintage illustrations have long been popular in design.

And in 2021 the trend is polished retro with clean, clear lines and bright modern color palettes. The reason for this is nostalgia. Such designs are now often used in advertising and presentations of food and beverages.

Cool examples you can find in the portfolio of Break Maiden.

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Filters with the effect of shooting on film will become even more popular on social networks. For several years in a row, designers have been using brutalism techniques, responding to light, light and comfortable projects. One and only font, no gradients and animations (or at least), the primary palette is red or green.

To achieve a rough effect, use design elements in an analogue-style and try to create the appearance of errors (such as alignment), they make the impression of a bare, flawless design.

But the most significant trend in 2021 is creating without fear. Especially now that the world is so changeable, don't be afraid to design something new, inspired by your passionate feelings. And our tips will help add relevance to your ideas.

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