Graphic Design Trends to Watch for in 2022


With another year fading into the rearview mirror, it’s time to start looking forward to everything great and groovy coming for 2022. What does this new year have in store for designers and design-lovers everywhere?

Graphic design trends aren’t just fads – they’re reflections of what moves us as creatives, consumers, and people. This year signals a light at the end of the tunnel that was 2020 and 2021, with the world beginning to shift back to the sense of “normal” that was stripped away by the pandemic. The cultural events that we experience as a collective influence design, so what trends can you watch for this year?

Bye-bye, Minimalism!

If the 2010s were all about sleek minimalism, then this new decade is all in for maximalism. Maximalism is the aesthetic of excess – more is more. When it comes to design, that means bright colors and space crowded with objects and patterns that convey a theme. Instead of relying on a single element to reach viewers, maximalism presents a lush, eclectic mashup of elements.

Broll & Prascida for Le Chocolat des Francais

This trend extends beyond just graphic design into home décor, fashion, and more. Expect to see lots of bright, clashing patterns and motifs popping up this year.

That’s Hot: Late 90s and Y2K Nostalgia

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, this trend isn’t news to you. Nostalgia is powerful, and design is no exception. However, where nostalgia tended towards the early 1990s, now we’re seeing influences from the late ’90s and early 2000s, with Y2K being the popular moniker for this style.

Y2K style is easy to spot, with bright and flashy graphics, kitschy textures like plastic, metallics, faux fur, and bling everywhere. Think Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Bratz Dolls… this style is particularly popular with the Gen Z crowd, so expect all things Y2K to come back hot this year.

Cover art for Juno by Remi Wolf

Express Yourself with Lettering

What links together all the trends we’ve covered thus far? If you guessed experimentation and personal expression, then pat yourself on the back! Many of 2022’s top graphic design trends are rooted in artistic expression, and the emerging expressive lettering movement is no exception.

An Introduction to Expressive Lettering by Kyle Letendre, via Behance

We predict that you’ll see this unique style everywhere this coming year, particularly from brands with artistic demographics. Because this lettering style comes from a place of self-expression, there’s no limit on what can be created.

Flat Design That Doesn’t Fall Flat

Flat vector artwork is nothing new: we’ve seen it for several years now, and it’s especially popular in corporate settings. So what makes the flat design trend for 2022 different? Where flat art from years past was sleek and minimal, the flat design of 2022 is decadent and dripping in detail.

The flat vector art of 2022 is expressive, with faces and gestures often exaggerated to the point of caricature for aesthetics. Look for these techniques this year, particularly from brands that have previously embraced the plainer vector art of the past.

Brutalism’s Gritty Cousin: Anti-Design

I know what you’re thinking: isn’t it antithetical to talk about anti-design in a design trends blog? Well, no, not when anti-design is itself a trend!

Courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek, via AIGI Eye on Design

Anti-design is exactly what it sounds like – designers pushing back against the ultra-useable, strictly utilitarian design styles popularized by apps and smartphone user interfaces. This style breaks the mold and aims for designs that are brutalism-inspired, tossing traditional design principles aside in favor of clashing colors and patterns, crowded canvases, and asymmetry. It might not be for everyone, but this trend is all about rebellion and liberation and makes a bold statement wherever it’s seen.

Microtrend: What Does it Mean?

2021 was the year of the microtrend, and it looks like we can expect that energy to continue this year. Thanks to fast-moving social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, fashion and design trends popped up and then withered back away in a manner of weeks. From the subversive energy of “avant basic” to the discourse surrounding the Tumblr-inspired twee revival, the hallmark of microtrends is that they don’t last long. However, that doesn’t mean their impact on design is null.

While keeping up with and capitalizing on every microtrend that hits the web would be exhausting and nearly impossible, these pop-up obsessions can be a great indicator of what overarching trends are here to stay for the year. Many of 2021’s fleeting crazes pointed to the greater trends that defined the year: think Y2K-inspired designs, nostalgia-soaked campaigns, and more. While microtrends might pass quickly, catching onto one that matches your branding can be a powerful way to connect with what’s hot in the moment.

Design is of the utmost importance when conveying your brand to customers and prospects alike. With these trends in your back pocket, you’ll be ready to conquer 2022 and make it your best yet. Want to see our design predictions from 2021? Check them out on the #SAGEBlog today!

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(Marketing Coordinator)

Caitlin is a Marketing Coordinator at SAGE. When she's not writing, she enjoys baking and spending time with her beagle puppy, Piper.

One Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this well-written article. I love the trends of 2022.

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