Visual Graphic Art Trends to Watch This Year

Visual Graphic Art Trends to Watch This Year — contribution from Joel Snyder

It’s difficult to identify trends in a field as vast as illustration and visual art since it’s global and across different media types. With that in mind, it’s possible to identify some themes about types of graphic art that are becoming more popular with clients. Whether or not you approve of them or wish to follow them yourself, it’s highly important that you’re at least aware of what’s dominating the industry right now.

  1. Bold colors and simplicity
    The trend this year in branding, advertising, and packaging is overwhelmingly heading in the direction of simplicity and clean, crisp design. This is reflected in illustration and other visual art as well. The increase in start-up brands that cater to more ethical and eco-friendly consumers is leading companies to revamp their branding for more simple visuals and bold, bright colors. The danger with this trend is that different brands can start to resemble each other, so make sure your business still has a distinctive visual presence that stands out from others and connects with your audience. The College of Visual Arts and Design, North Texas, is a great place to see these emerging trends displayed and to learn more about what’s at the forefront of visual art. The colors that are forecasted to be most prominent this year are those that cater to a natural photography palate, such as Mother Earth tones, foliage green, lavender, and flowery shades. Pantone has also selected the color of the year as living coral.
  2. Organic and natural
    Colorful geometric patterns are still everywhere to be seen, but there’s a separate trend that is distancing itself from it and returning to an organic and natural feel. In this highly digital world, clients are increasingly drawn to pieces that look organic and even hand-made, with imperfections. Consider including items like trees, skylines, and clouds to your designs which have an organic connotation, exploring our place in the natural world. According to Martha Vonn, an illustrator at 1Day2Write ( and Next Coursework (, “gardening is a new pastime for millennials that will increasingly see images of women and men surrounded by flowers and foliage. This plays into the fluidity of gender which is so visually important in these last years.”
  3. Abstract
    There could be a return soon for abstract visual art as more and more artists are mixing all types of images, shapes, and textures into abstract concepts. There may be space for this in interface design as customers are looking increasingly for a change from the status quo, though it’s still important to keep in mind the timeless guideline ‘don’t trip up the user.’ Some trends are even indicating that abstract visuals will go one step further, saying the interest is in hypnotic imagery like swirling patterns.
  4. Playful
    In light of the troubled and gloomy world events of the last few years, many illustrators turned to dark and depressing themes. Lucy Hanson, a graphic designer at Write My X ( and Brit Student (, says that “there are signs pointing to the end of this period and playfulness might be back on the menu for the near future. Indeed, people are ready to have fun with their visuals again and get a sense of positivism from the branding.”
  5. Back to the 90s
    Fashion has been at the forefront of this latest trend which is now bleeding into visual art. 90s illustrations are all about bright and loud colors, such as neon, pink and teal, VHS effects, and bold, solid lines. This makes sense because design targets are those born or raised in the 90s, so this resurgence is appealing to this demographic, playing on their emotional responses. For this trend, think of pink and purple tones, loud and plastic-looking aesthetics on everything from 90s soundtracks to websites and clothing. There may also be a hint of the 80s in this trend, including animal print patterns, lots of color clashes, and opulent vibes.

While these are only predictions, some of these trends are already starting to creep into public awareness and consumers are starting to gravitate in these directions. The 5 trends outlined above are those to watch for the coming year, and as a business, it pays to be at the forefront of visual art evolution.

Joel Syder, a photographer and writer at Origin Writings and PhD Kingdom is always tuned in to the latest trends and fashions in the field of visual art and enjoys sharing his tips and predictions with this readers. His articles at Academic Brits are all on various topics that excite him and educate others about his latest discoveries.