Marketing Design Trends that Will Shape 2020
The marketing trends of 2020 are set to be a far cry from the design trends of the past few years—marketers will now have to rethink their design strategy.
We look at the six biggest design trends that will shape 2020, and the years ahead, and outline what designers need to do to remain on-trend.
Simplicity in Design
There is one thing that stands out about the 2020 design trends—they seem to largely be responses to the popular (and overused) trends of the past few years.
Thus we see a significant toning down in the number of design elements being used in one visual, as opposed to the clutter that has been dominating the design world.
Minimalism and simplicity are going to be the way forward in 2020—we will see people using fewer elements on a graphic, and keeping the lines clean and clear.
Graphics are also going to be incorporating much more white space than before—this will make it easier to segment the different visual elements and improve legibility.
We are going to see the adoption of such simplicity across social media graphics, email design, and website landing pages.
Minimalism is particularly relevant in the case of website pages. Google has become fairly strict about penalizing sites that don’t load quickly enough.
What marketers and designers have found is that the fewer graphical elements one creates for a webpage, the better the loading time becomes, resulting in better SERP.
In other words, simplification has a practical, as well as aesthetic, value for businesses and should be made a priority for 2020.
Color Palettes and Gradients
There is rarely ever going to be a time when colors aren’t the go-to design marker for businesses. Colors have so much storytelling value, and can share information and brand identity succinctly.
But the way colors have been used in the past few years has led to a pushback in the graphic design trends of 2020—the garish, over-the-top bright colors of 2019 are about to be left behind.
In its wake, we are going to see a far more muted color palette—still as diverse as it has always been, but with a white or black base that fades the color out a bit.
Color is now set to be used not to make a statement but to give visuals a more cohesive look and feel—the abrasive, in-your-face vibrancy of 2019 is all but gone.
And the same goes for the way gradients are going to be used this year. Gradients have become popular due to Instagram influencers’ use of it, but brands took over soon after.
But while gradients were made using an array of vibrant colors, this year, gradients will become more muted, and they will be used to highlight elements, not only as backgrounds.
Look at your brand style guide and define how to mute your color palette to be on-trend this year.
Bold and Unusual Typography
The more muted color schemes become, the bolder the typography of marketing design becomes. This year, we will see heavy typesetting, and the use of more unusual typography.
The reason why heavy fonts, rather than light fonts, are going to become popular is because of how legible they are no matter what the size of your graphic.
We will see more of a move towards bold typography because of the renewed interest in text-heavy visuals on social media.
Text was earlier being used to add dimension to a visual, but now it is becoming the focus of the visual itself.
Of course, to ensure this trend works for your marketing design, it is important to keep your text to a minimum—bold fonts work best within 5-6 words. Any more and it will look crowded.
Make 2020 the year when you experiment with your font use—always ensure that you choose legible fonts and keep your text to a minimum so that it makes a lasting impact.
Design in Motion
The internet is fast becoming consumed with the need for movement. Videos, animations, and GIFs are taking over the visual medium and its impact on marketing cannot be denied.
2020 is the year when marketers and designers need to seriously consider how they can bring some movement into their visuals.
Because as popular as videos have become, there is no doubting how expensive and labor-intensive they can be to produce.
For small businesses, even animations can be difficult to produce—software and talent tends to cost a fair amount of money.
Which is why most social media managers fall back on the tried-and-tested reaction GIFs that the internet loves.
But even though such GIFs are a great way to lighten the mood and make your brand feel like one of the people, they aren’t unique in terms of branding design.
Consider trying to create your own simple GIFs that are branded, or at least use brand colors and fonts. Mix them up with popular GIFs and memes for optimal effect.
And there are other ways to add motion to your graphics—transitions and parallax effects look great on a user-friendly website and add that sense of movement that will define 2020.
Illustrations and Hand-drawings
Stock photos will always have their place in marketing design, but that doesn’t mean that they will be at the forefront of brand visuals.
Instead, 2020 is going to see a rise in illustrative visuals, with a focus on minimalistic and dreamy hand-drawn imagery.
There is going to be a move towards whimsical illustrations that are packed with detail but dreamy enough to draw the viewer into the story.
This is a trend that is going to be harder to execute than most of the others on this list, primarily because of the talent required to create such memorable illustrations.
Set aside some budget to find a designer who can create unique, branded illustrations for your marketing efforts in 2020.
Authenticity in Marketing Design
Heavily filtered images have been the stock-in-trade of Instagram for a while now—so much so that in 2020, we are seeing a definitive pushback against the trend in social selling.
This year, there will be a renewed focus on authenticity in the visuals marketers use in their social media—fewer filters, more behind the scenes shots, and more candid portraits.
Even if you do use filters—for a more uniform look on your social media—it should be muted, almost invisible if your audience is meant to believe in you.
Portraiture needs to be of real people, in natural light, with poses that normal people would adopt—no duck lips, or unbelievable posture. Your brand needs to look real to people online.
There is a lot of falseness and advertising on the internet and users are becoming wary of both. If brands want to win back the fans, they need to put their most real self in the spotlight.
2020 is the year of pushbacks—retaliating against bright colors, overused GIFs, and inauthentic visuals.
The above six trends are going to shape this year and the years to come—marketers and designers need to learn how to adapt and begin incorporating these trends as soon as possible.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, an infographic template and design platform. She enjoys writing about digital marketing, sharing productivity tips, examining pop culture, and championing the need for representation.