Top Design Trends for 2021 – with Art Director, Kris

A number of new graphic design trends are expected in 2021, and Easil’s Art Director, Kris, is here to share 5 of the design styles that he forecasts to be hot for the upcoming 12 months!

Kris’s vision shapes the direction of design templates you’ll see added to the catalog in the coming months, so you can expect to see many of these added soon. You can also catch him on our YouTube channel, where he hosts quick how-to lessons, which will also cover these trends!

Over to Kris!:

2021 Design Trend # 1 – Curves, curves, and more curves

Think images in shapes like arches, curved edge shapes like circles and semi-circles for graphics, as well as curved text.

If 2020 was the year for organic blob shapes, 2021 is certainly going to be the year of the refined curve.  We’ll see a more polished approach to 2020’s organic forms with the new year being all about harder edged circles, and rings and curves being implemented more than ever. 

• Try curved shape graphics with textures overlaid (see trend prediction #2!)
• Add a curve to your text, to match the curve of other elements in your design.
• Use arch shaped image masks to easily perfect this trend!
• Curved shape graphics can be cropped off the edges of your designs.
Click on the image above to use this for your own design in Easil.

Utilizing arch shapes in designs is the coolest trend I’ve noticed for a while, and I’m guessing it’s taken from the revival of 80’s interior design. Using arched window shape masks to focus on a product or scene will be trending in 2021.

With us all busting at the seams with curves, the way we design with text will be sure to get a workout too! With the release of Easil’s user-friendly curved text tool, it has never been simpler to curve text, so it will be interesting to see just how curvy our creativity will evolve throughout the year.

Embrace the curve and try out this style, and try using curved text for yourself with all the tips in this article.

2021 Design Trend # 2 – Textures

Grunge, grains, particles, textures and half tones; –  Whatever we call them, we’re going to see much more of these gritty little elements being applied to designs.

We’ll see a less dramatic, and more subtle application of textures in designs as they become more straightforward to use. Forget having to buy brushes and trying to achieve this effect with graphic packs for Photoshop only. They are now so much more accessible, with an abundance of free stock options available that can be teamed with DIY design tools.

Look out for them being used over text to archive that aged artisan look, but especially as background textures, over flat colors, and even gradients to add a little extra dimension and uniqueness to a design. 

• Create background textures by using grunge texture graphics around the edges or borders of your design.
• Adjust the opacity of any textures to achieve and subtle, unique effect.
• Match grunge textures with rougher edged graphic elements.
Click on the image above to use this for your own design in Easil.

Hot Tip: To get this look, add your grain or texture image layer, and then use the opacity slider to obtain a subtle texture showing through in your layout, or drop it into your text using a text mask.

2021 Design Trend # 3 – Warnings (!!), Alerts, and Notification Style Graphics

We’re seeing some of the world’s greatest brands leaping on this trend already!

Smart, simple and often humorous messaging within a phone UI style display to replicate your device notifications, will stop you scrolling. It’s also a really easy graphic to produce that doesn’t require you to even apply your brand fonts or colors to remain authentic to the device UI.

• Start with a pre-designed template, and replace the text with your own messages in the UI.
• Drop in your own image or use your brand colors/pattern in the background to stay on brand.
Click on the image above to use this for your own design in Easil.

But with an alert overload anticipated throughout the year, will we still be taking notice, or start to get notification fatigue? I’m thinking we’ll still be paying attention, because we always react to alerts or warnings. So if you decide to give this style a go, don’t ‘over alarm’ your audience. Get the most out of it by using it sparingly, or even branch out and use a more comical or hand drawn look for your alerts.

2021 Design Trend # 4 – Serif fonts to take center stage 

Over the last few years we have definitely seen the rise of Sans serif typefaces, like Roboto or Montserrat (one of our favorites here at Easil) always structured, clean and super legible. But hold tight, because serif fonts are back, and they’re back in a big way!

[If you’re not sure what a serif is, it is the little ‘feet’ or strokes on the end of fonts – read more about them here!]

Well OK, OK, they never actually went anywhere, but they have evolved to be bolder than ever. There will always be a place for our Sans serif favorites, but I am predicting we will see more bold serif fonts with personality being used across social websites and print, and shifting from being used as a body copy option, to headlines and feature in a lot of large typography.

• Use bold serif fonts to highlight words, paired with sans serif fonts in a smaller size, to achieve this on-trend style.
• Add a curved text effect around the end of the top line, also using your serif font.
Click on the image above to use this for your own design in Easil.

Swipe some of our favorite Serif fonts used as feature or header text, and complemented with sans serif fonts for body copy:

2021 Design Trend # 5 – Hello yellow!

Much like most of 2020, Pantone’s color of the year (Classic Blue), was a little meeeh in my opinion! Thankfully, brighter times are on the horizon with a new year,  and a way more exciting color of the year winner  – Illuminating (Yellow)! 2021 is another year Pantone hasn’t settled on just one color, and have paired the sunny yellow with a very accessible ‘Ultimate’ Gray.

The reason that this combination is so exciting is because of its versatility. As you can see in the examples below. The ‘illuminating’ yellow can be used layered over the Gray, and vise-versa while still being legible.

Use them in Easil with these Hex codes:

Ultimate Gray: #939597

Illuminating Yellow: #F5DF4D

This combination paired with black and white, and some great extended palette options will be sure to give us a really strong variety of colors options to get use through the new year. Another easy way to combine the yellow and gray is to add a filter (try ‘Willow’), that removes the color from your photographs, and add a block of yellow into the design!

If you’re not shy with using color, experiment with some of these stunning combinations in your next design, taking your pic of any 3 colors, and adding black and white to complete your palette:

I have a feeling the 80’s revival I mentioned earlier will inspire some color palettes for the year ahead too!

Over to you

Are you ready for an injection of yellow, grungy textures, and abundance of arches in your designs? We are! If you use any of these tips in your DIY designs, don’t forget to tag us with #madeineasil or #teameasil. We’d love to check them out!

Graphic design trends predicted for 2021 Pinterest graphic

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