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What Will Be the Big Graphic Design Trends in 2019?

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Read Time: 8 mins

We’re looking into our crystal ball and making predictions about the design trends that are going to be influential in the year ahead. From chiselled serif fonts to cobalt blue, these are the styles we think will be everywhere across graphic and print design in 2019. 

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Gradient Poster Template

So if you’re looking to give your design work a fresh update and stay ahead of the curve, read on to discover the trends that we predict will be making waves next year. 

1. Chiselled Serif Typefaces

Next year, we’ll start to see more brands revisiting serif typography to bring an elegant and sophisticated edge to their print designs. 

The serifs that look spot-on right now? Look for chiselled styles with softer ligatures, which give fonts a 1930s edge. 

Use these for branding projects which require a sophisticated, intellectual edge. This brand identity for real estate firm Grupo GW makes a strong feature of serif type on business cards and corporate magazines, while this identity for art school Nido combines softly chiselled typography with calm, tonal colors and metallics.

Try out the fonts below to recreate the look:

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Faraz Modern Serif Typeface
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Moisses Serif Font Family

2. Neon on Neon in Print Design

Designers’ fondness for all things 1980s isn’t disappearing any time soon, and this is going to be most keenly felt in the sorts of color palettes we’ll be seeing in 2019.

This isn’t a time to be shy and retiring—color combinations are becoming increasingly bold and mismatched. One of the most fun emerging trends is the application of neons in print design. Splashed across traditionally more conservative items like book covers, neon teamed with neon feels fresh and a little bit rebellious. Anchor it with black for a stylish interpretation of the color trend. 

For neon on neon inspiration, look to Beetroot Design’s brand identity for the Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC) in Athens.

Or take a neon font for a spin, like this Cursive Neon Type

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Cursive Neon Type
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Cursive Neon Type

3. Nautical Stripes

Nautical-inspired stripes never really go out of style, but they’re starting to shed their classic image, with designers using stripes in ways that feel completely new and fresh. If a neon palette feels too flashy for your tastes, this Riviera-inspired trend makes for a more subdued but equally eye-catching alternative. 

Bold and breezy—stripes in primary colors paired with crisp white make a beautiful backdrop for black typography. Look to the poster designs created by Familia for this year’s Sant Pau summer concerts and the gorgeously chic identity for Las Vegas’s The Aquatic Club for ultimate stripey inspiration.

Add a touch of seaside chic to your print designs with this striped business card template. Update the color palette to punchy red or blue for a nautical nod.

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Striped Business Card Template

4. Symbols and Pictograms in Brand Design

Look to the work of famed graphic designer Paul Rand to inspire you for this trend. An ultra-simple way of representing ideas and brands, pictograms or symbols will replace busy logo designs in the year ahead. 

Just as Paul Rand used simple symbols to represent the sounds of the ‘IBM’ letters to create his iconic logo design in the 1950s, contemporary designers will start to look to more intelligent and quirky ways of representing brands and ideas. 

Pictograms and quirky icons work especially well for logo designs. Look to Canape Agency’s brand identity for Co. Means Coffee for icon inspiration. The simple cow silhouette is used to stylish effect across business cards, cups and coasters, and makes the point that the cafe is animal-friendly. 

The SMK University of Applied Social Sciences in Vilnius, Lithuania, takes the trend one step further, using a variety of pictogram symbols to create a fluid visual identity.  

Downloadable vector icons are a quick way to tap into the trend. You can find hundreds of different sets of icons themed on different topics on Envato Elements. 

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Farm Animals Simple Icons Set

5. Cobalt Blue... on Everything

If there’s one color that will define the year ahead, it’s cobalt blue. 

This arresting shade of blue has an intensity that looks fantastic paired with warm shades like coral orange and brick red. Perhaps because cobalt is so attention-grabbing, we’re seeing it currently used across events branding, like in this identity for Tallinn Music Week and these poster designs for Beijing Design Week.

Along with the trend for all things neon, cobalt blue is another pointer that maximalist design is here to stay. The message to take away? If you tend to turn to subdued tones in your work, try mixing it up with a brighter, bolder shade to give everything a lift. 

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Bangalore Portfolio Template

6. Abstract and Arty Illustrations and Backgrounds

Art meets graphic design with the growing trend for all things artistic, painterly, and abstract. This trend tends to edge on the whimsical rather than serious, bringing a fun and youthful feel to print designs. 

You can keep this style fresh and contemporary by pairing arty illustrations or abstract backgrounds with simple, striking color palettes and elegant typography. Look to Tomba Lobos’s packaging designs for chocolate brand Branco for whimsical painterly inspiration, or these sophisticated business card designs for food brand Gourmeta for a more sober take on the style. 

Backgrounds are a quick and easy way to tap into the abstract trend. You can download packs of painterly backgrounds from Envato Elements—unleash your inner artist and splash liberally across your layouts.

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Abstract Backgrounds
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Abstract Paint Backgrounds

7. ‘Fake’ 3D Collages

We predict that 2019 will be the year that flat design finally retires. This trend has been dominant for some years now, but we’re starting to see much more experimentation with 3D effects, shadows, and highlighting. 

Illustrators are interpreting the trend with collage-style designs which translate particularly well to print advertising. Blending the vintage-inspired appeal of flat design with immersive three-dimensional layouts, these collage creations are beautiful to look at and are a quirky way of explaining otherwise dull or abstract concepts. 

These illustrations for Italian pharmaceutical brand Farmacisti Preparatori are a lovely example of the ‘fake’ 3D trend, as are these editorial illustrations by Eiko Ojala, which take on a whole other level of interest and quirkiness in animated form. 

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8. Moody Gradients

Gradients have been one of the most influential trends in 2018, with neon and pastel styles being especially popular. If you love the gradient trend but are looking for a fresh update on the style, 2019’s take on graduated colors is moodier and altogether much cooler. 

Inspired by the lingering end of sunsets and mixed with darker tones, this color trend gives an atmospheric feel to posters and flyers. It's perfect for advertising events taking place at night or for brands looking to give their identities a gritty edge.

These poster designs for Trieste Estate Summer Festival by Studio Mut use deep, rich colors to give simple gradients a fresh update, while these poster designs by Pop & Pac Studio use dark gradients in a horizontal linear style for a retro flavor.

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Gradient Poster Template

Learn how to create five simple gradient effects in Adobe InDesign in this tutorial: 

Conclusion: Looking Ahead to 2019

Next year is shaping up to be a really exciting year in graphic design. While we predict some current trends, such as gradients, will have lasting influence and continue to evolve and develop, other trends that have had long-term influence, like flat design, will soon be on their way out. 

Watch this space to see if 2019 will be the year of cobalt blue, chiselled serifs, and collage illustration. 

While you wait to see if our crystal ball predictions come true, why not make a headstart on the trends and source cutting-edge backgrounds, fonts and graphic templates from Envato Elements and GraphicRiver?

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Faraz Modern Serif Typeface
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