Website Design Trends for 20222nd February 2022
An Internet Minute10th February 2022
Graphic Design Trends for 2022
Graphic design trends are more than forgettable trends: they reflect a year’s worth of constraints and clichés being upended for the sake of something new. Because imagine how boring life would be if design stayed the same.
This year—like an echo of the near palindrome that 2022 is—the graphic design trends represent a tentative second wave. The world is slowly but surely picking itself up from a lingering pandemic. Styles from across the decades are being given a second life. And a few experiments are replacing the old with the new.
It seems not that long ago that popular media like Stranger Things and It brought 80s nostalgia back into the mainstream, ushering in an era of gothic serifs, neon colours and vaporwave landscapes. In 2022, the retro comeback has finally landed on the 90s (having also recently been romanticized in Netflix’s Fear Street).
Expressive and Experimental Lettering
As the world becomes more global and online, we can’t always rely on words to convey meaning from culture to culture. Far from being a setback, many designers see this as an opportunity. For 2022, we expect lettering that pushes the bounds of easy legibility, creating forms that are expressive in and of themselves.
Ukiyo-e Flat Designs
For years now, designers have been searching for ways to reinvigorate the flat vector artwork imposed by digital design standards. The designers of 2022 are taking their inspiration from past pioneers of flat design, specifically the Ukiyo-e artists of Japan’s Edo Period.
Ukiyo-e is a style of printed artwork (though it was sometimes painted) using hand-carved woodblocks. One of the most famous artworks of the style is The Great Wave off Kanagawa. It often featured bold outlines, flat colours and limited perspective techniques—all of which are familiar to the vector designers.
Doodles are more than meaningless shapes you draw when your mind wanders during a zoom presentation. What you doodle can say a lot about you.
Over the last decade, the app race has fostered strict design conventions focused on usability above all else. While this has created interfaces that any average user can easily understand, it has also led to homogeneity across the digital landscape. Many creatives have been pushing back by bending the rules. In 2022, some plan to break them entirely: enter the anti-designers.
Last year, we witnessed designers escaping stay-at-home orders through imaginative forays into the natural world. Since then, they have waded deeper into evermore fantastical worlds. The resulting designs reflect escapism in its purest form.
In a much more literal sense than today, the people of the Y2K era were certain technology would be their doom. When that proved untrue in the year 2000, the resounding sigh of relief led to an intense renewed technological optimism. But social media isolation and misinformation have dimmed that significantly in recent years. It’s no wonder many creatives are trying to reclaim that early sense of excitement—when anything seemed possible through technology—through Y2K-inspired designs.
Patterns are a mainstay of graphic design. They are useful for breaking up solid colours and adding visual interest to a background. But in 2022 designers are bringing statement patterns to the forefront through parametric geometry.
Frasurbane—a portmanteau of the 90s American sitcom Frasier and the word “urbane”—is another style that hearkens back to the 90s but from the point of view of the young adults. It considers the GenXers who, at that point, were settling down in urban areas and were finally earning enough money to indulge themselves in some high culture. Essentially, this is encapsulated by Frasier’s Seattle apartment—which included a grand piano, a modernistic fireplace and a statement column all within a general beige decor.
Although it is tempting to define maximalism by its counterpart “minimalism,” this trend does much more than you’d expect—true to its name. Maximalism isn’t just about filling space, but filling space with objects, colours and patterns that mirror the whim of the artist. It is like how hoarding can reflect a lifetime of keepsakes that mean nothing to anyone but the hoarder. The trend has been growing a while through related interior design movements like “grandmillennial”
Extreme Bubble Design
Each year, graphic designers find a way to imbue their professional work with some much-needed fun. For 2022, we expect to find designers at play through reinventing rounded graphics and lettering styles.
If 90s nostalgia is the child and Frasurbane is the yuppy adult, grunge is the destructive teen. Grunge is angst incarnate, and its return is a recognition of an out-of-control world. It is characterized by gritty textures, shadowed imagery and zine-like collages. These aesthetic oozes unleashed energy, as ink trails and splotches create an emotive feeling of movement. Its slapped-together also echoes the hurriedly edited videos younger audiences view on TikTok.