2020 is finally over and as we start looking to the future, it’s time to take a look at what 2021 will have in store for graphic design.

After a year of isolation, home working and community focus, just about every industry has had to make a few changes. As well as the usual visual trends, we’re seeing a lot more focus on design concepts, user experience and social consciousness.


Focus on accessibility in design has been growing over the last few years, and the pandemic has helped to further highlight its importance.

The use of digital content and apps has skyrocketed as people have used them to keep in touch with loved ones, to purchase essentials online, and for entertainment. As well as catering to those with visual, motor or cognitive disabilities, UX and UI designers have become increasingly aware of making products accessible in a very literal way.

For example, video conferencing platforms such as Skype and Zoom made multi-participant calls free and unlimited, making this feature accessible to users who are unable to afford a premium membership.

The concept of broadband internet being a right instead of a privilege was also particularly highlighted in 2020, as the nation turned to remote working and homeschooling. More and more websites and apps have been working to improve load speeds and reduce bandwidth requirements to cater to those with limited internet access or low-spec computers.

We’ll be seeing a continuation of this focus on accessibility well into 2021 and beyond, and that’s certainly one of the positives to come out of an extremely difficult year.

Daring typography

Over the last few years, sleek, plain sans-serif fonts have been dominating the design landscape.

Now, as people are striving for something new and exciting, we’re seeing the focus shift to something more eye catching. From oversized text and bold colour treatments to weird and wonderful geometric typefaces, we can expect to see words and letters at the forefront of graphic design in 2021.

Typography is a particularly interesting element when it comes to experimental design, as any design choices must be made within the confines of universally recognised shapes. How far can a font design be pushed while still being legible?

Social consciousness

More and more, the impact of our actions on the environment have become a selling point for customers across pretty much all industries.

For the graphic design industry, printed media is a key area of focus for this. Ensuring the use of recycled and recyclable materials and only using vegan, water-based inks helps designers to support the environment and show customers that they care.

Reducing the amount of waste in the studio is another key factor. This includes switching to digital-only formats as much as possible, sending out minimal samples and evaluating existing design, print and manufacturing processes to reduce waste materials.

It’s also time for graphic design agencies to reconsider which clients and projects they take on, and how to position brands for success in 2021. Choosing to support smaller, more environmentally friendly companies rather than huge multinational corporations might be a positive move, while ensuring that the concepts and messaging behind campaigns are in line with consumer interests.

3D design

3D design has been developing at an incredible rate, and it’s becoming increasingly accessible to companies of all sizes.

From character design to 3D typography and hyper-realistic imagery, there are almost endless possibilities available to graphic designers. As the technology has advanced and become more affordable, even smaller organisations will be looking to take advantage of 3D design in all aspects of their business.

We’ll be seeing 3D objects in everything from animation to printed media, allowing brands to create realistic environments and never-before-imagined scenes to create intrigue and develop a connection with their audience.