The 10 Biggest Graphic Design Trends of 2022
In our annual trend report we bring you the design trends set to make waves in the year ahead, helping you to stay ahead of the curve and create designs that resonate with your audience.
The biggest graphic design trends of 2022 include a range of exciting styles and approaches that push the boundaries of print and brand design, with beautiful embossed packaging, pictotype logos, Mincho typefaces and kooky brand mascots set to define the face of graphic design and print design in the coming months.
Read on to discover our prediction for the ten biggest design trends in 2022 as well as tips for illustration trends and branding trends to help bring your 2022 design projects to life.
The 10 Biggest Graphic Design Trends and Branding Trends of 2022
We analyse search data and emerging project work across an international roster of creative agencies to compile our annual design trend report. We anticipate the biggest graphic design trends of 2022 to include:
- Embossed Packaging
- Pictotype Logos
- Refined Retro
- Noisy Gradients
- Brand Mascots
- Mincho Typefaces
- Cut-Away Type
- Sinuous Serifs
- Endorphin Design
Scroll down to read more about each graphic design trend in detail, and discover tips for putting each trend into practice in your own design projects.
Trend 1: Embossed Packaging
Texture will be a widespread yet understated trend in design in 2022, with embossed packaging bringing quiet luxury to lifestyle and food products. Embossed illustrations and graphics, as well as logos and typography, help to bring depth and tactility to packaging designs, and they look even more ethereal without colour variation.
This design trend requires a confident approach to print—in absence of colour the whole focus will be on the quality and physical appeal of the paper stock. Avoid print-on-demand services and consult local suppliers for the best results.
Trend 2: Pictotype Logos
With type-based logos still retaining popularity into the coming year, designers will start looking for new ways to differentiate typographic designs. Introducing the pictotype logo—these type-focussed logos include a graphic reference to the brand name or theme of the product. Whether it’s a subtle crescent moon in the logo of lifestyle brand Moonglade or a knitted texture woven into the fabric of the Hug Scarves logo, 2022’s pictotype logos manage to steer away from novelty territory with subtly stylish details.
Trend 3: Refined Retro
As the recent rebrand for Burger King demonstrates, the power of nostalgia marketing still stands in 2021, and we expect to see a range of similarly retro-tinted designs across branding in particular in 2022. The timing for a resurgence of retro-influenced design is no coincidence—after the pandemic, consumers are particularly receptive to nostalgic products and brands, which offer emotional reassurance and comfort in an uncertain modern world.
However, rather than an authentic reiteration of the past, logos, graphics and type will have a more refined retro feel in 2022, with sleeker lines, contemporary color palettes and a notable absence of vintage textures.
Trend 4: Noisy Gradients
Can any graphic designer remember a time when gradients weren’t on-trend? From 80s-inspired neon sunset styles to pastel-hued washes of colour, gradients have been a near-permanent fixture of design layouts over the last few years. Gradients aren’t going away anytime soon, but they are evolving into something a little more interesting. Introducing grainy, noisy texture into your gradients gives designs a vintage, airbrushed style, as well as adding more depth to illustrations and graphics.
Introduce texture to gradients with overlay images or noisy glows, or go one step further and experiment with a texture-boosting print technique such as risography or letterpress.
Trend 5: 3D Brand Mascots
We’ve come a long way since Microsoft’s Clippy, even though Microsoft have recently threatened to resurrect the loveable annoying paperclip character. Luckily, today’s brand mascots are much more fun and dynamic. A number of brands have introduced 3D mascots—often created using CAD software and animated to accompany marketing videos, apps and websites—which take inspiration from gaming, cartoons and Japanese anime. A crossover design trend that seems to have emerged from the gaming and TikTok world, these cute characters add extra energy and interest to digital designs.
Trend 6: Mincho Typefaces
Mincho, which translates to ‘Song’ in Japanese, refers to a traditional form of type design that is used to display Chinese, Japanese or Korean letters. Characterised by high-contrast strokes and a tranquil, calligraphic style, the modern wave of Mincho typefaces are being used to set English-language content on otherwise simple websites and print layouts. Combine these Japanese-inspired fonts with monochrome color palettes and black-and-white photography to maximise their elegant appeal.
Trend 7: Red
Strong, graphic and to the point, red has never completely fallen from fashion but this impactful colour is definitely having a moment across branding and marketing. This warm and potent hue feels like a breath of fresh air when used in isolation, bringing a commanding mood to websites and print layouts.
In 2022, expect to see red being used in a more confident and graphic style, whether set as a simple backdrop for brand communications or used as a powerful accent colour on packaging, logos or stationery. Red’s versatility can be seen in the designs below, whether giving a retro feel to poster designs for MESiBA, a sense of playfulness to packaging for Dino Burger or fuss-free graphic simplicity to the brand identity for Jump by Uber. Combine large washes of crimson color with white for a crisp, clean feel.
Trend 8: Cut-Away Type
Whether a curvy sans serif or a sculptural serif, give your typography an instant update for 2022 by introducing cut-away sections. This striking and graphic font trend gives lacklustre type more character and quirk, prompting viewers to look twice. Be bold and cut away a section from your letterforms or logos to create a geometric effect or for curvier typefaces increase the contrast of strokes to dramatic effect, to create a stencil-style effect.
Trend 9: Sinuous Serifs
One of the biggest design comeback stories of recent years is the triumphant return of the serif after decades in the wilderness. While sans serifs will always offer clean and contemporary minimalism, a beautiful serif typeface can really bring something extra to designs that require a high-end or luxurious look.
In 2022, we’ll see the serif trend pushed even further with ever more sinuous and sensual serif typefaces that playfully melt and curve, creating a modern interprettaion of calligraphic 1970s-inspired type styles. Use for social media, lifestyle branding or retail products to elevate designs instantly.
Trend 10: Endorphin Design
We could all do with a mood boost post-pandemic, so it’s no surprise that optimistic and ultra-colourful design is set to continue into 2022. Multicolored rainbow-hued palettes and childlike graphics characterise this playful design trend, helping to spark joy across a range of designs, from packaging to websites.
Go Forth and Try Out a New Graphic Design Trend
Whether you’re looking for an endorphin boost or a fresh update for your typography, 2022’s biggest design trends have plenty to offer for your design projects. Try out a Mincho typeface to give a sculptural edge to website text or go all-out with a bold crimson palette to give your print designs and web designs more style and substance over the coming months.
Looking for more design inspiration?
Discover inspiring font lists, graphic design tips and endless inspiration on our Inspiration page.