On Creative Bloq: Predicting 2020 Design Trends

To create is to change. And looking ahead to 2020, we know what worked this past year won’t necessarily be The Thing in the next. The Grady Britton creative team spoke with Creative Bloq for their feature, “20 Top Graphic Design Trends For 2020” about what’s headed our way. You can read the full feature via the link above.

We know styles adapt as societies do. That great design tells stories, and stories are never stagnant. So we asked our Grady Britton creative team two juicy questions:

  • What’s a design trend you predict will be big in 2020? 
  • What’s a design trend you hope disappears by 2020?

Here, we’re recapping all of Grady Britton’s thoughts (including some that aren’t in the feature—yeah, we’re givers) for a look at how design will continue to evolve.

Andy Askren, Grady Britton Partner and Executive Creative Director

Big design trends: 
There will be a continual looking-to-the-past for inspiration: heavier, rounder fonts mixed with larger, more pronounced serif fonts. Saturated colorways and design cues from the vaults will be what’s hot. It’s been coming for a while, but it’s going to explode this year as more brands, both old and new, work to introduce “roots” to their stories, even if they don’t have them — recalling simpler, more honest times (and values) any way they can. 

Disappearing design trends:
I hope mobile design gets its UX act together and figures out how to serve up ads either unobtrusively or in a way that doesn’t destroy the content I came to see in the first place. There’s too much gimicky, first-gen pop-up noise that makes me want to throw my phone away altogether and grab a freakin’ magazine.


Brian Dixon, Group Creative Director

Big design trends:
In line with marketing’s ongoing quest for transparency and honesty, design will continue to strip away extra flare and embellishment and move toward a much simpler, straightforward presentation. It may even veer into intentionally unfinished at times as believability is the priority.

Disappearing design trends:
Fake authenticity is out. As our fascination with quantity of information plateaus, the quality of information will become more important.


Adam Murdoch, Senior Art Director

Big design trends:
Equity-focused marketing will continue, as brands continue to show they “believe everyone is of equal and important value.” But what will change in 2020 is putting real funds toward actual causes behind their message. Care-washing will continue to be heavily called-out in the year ahead, meaning companies need real action behind sappy commercials.

Simplified and minimal product offerings, but with customization, will also be big, such as consumer product companies minimizing and simplifying the products they offer with fewer pricing tiers, options and variations. To accompany these changes, top-level products will come with on-demand customization and personalization options. 

Design minimalism will shift toward warm and cozy, with interactive design’s white and light luxury brand color palette going warm and friendlier. Beige, sage and pale yellow will show up more frequently.

Disappearing design trends:
Generification of logos and brands are on the way out. It didn’t start with Google’s Material Design system, but it deeply influenced so many designers to strip things down to their bare essentials. Then, it went a few steps further. Now brands like Burberry end up with minimal slab- and sans-serif logos built from off-the-shelf fonts. These design systems are so minimal and utilitarian the ownability of their look and feel is gone. The next year is an opportunity for brands to be truly authentic and allow the history and narrative to be a living part of their stories and visuals. This can’t be done when design systems look like a template.

Wasteful and paper-heavy direct mail will be ditched. In the days of climate change awareness, it’s surprising companies aren’t spending more time on smart messaging and campaign creative and less on paper-heavy, direct-mail initiatives. 


Ethan Nguyen, Senior Art Director

Big design trends:
Tasteful use of depth and textures will dominate the graphic landscape as designers diametrically react to the past few years of minimal flat design, and seek to replicate more of the natural tactile world.

Disappearing design trends:
The overuse of trendy techniques, such as line graphics or over-embellishments, to mask the lack of a conceptual idea is on the way out. The saturation of this type of design will make people crave more thoughtful and intentional visual communications. 


Katie Larosa, Designer

Big design trends:
There’s been a trend to break the rules that, as designers, we never thought you could break. We’ll see more bold, decorative typography that pushes conventional boundaries, and some “bad” design done on purpose.

Disappearing design trends:
While minimalism can serve its purpose, more options are coming onto the scene. Similarly, sans-serif fonts aren’t the only choice anymore. Things are a little more colorful and interesting, which is maybe a reaction to several years of simplicity and minimalism.


Paul Levy, Designer

Big design trends:
The ubiquity of flat design will continue to grow. Flat design started as a backlash to overly complicated Flash-based sites with their often absurd animations and long load times. Flat design relies on primary colors, simple, intuitive two-dimensional illustrations and easy-to-read type. Ideally, it allows users to quickly interact with and find content they’re looking for. While it owes its origins to the digital realm, many of its principles have started to influence the printed medium as well. Most content is now broken into a more user-friendly hierarchy, ideally making content relevant to the reader easier to find. As designers, we often forget that our primary function is communication. Flat design, along with the evolving discipline of UX design, gives designers a powerful tool to help people easily navigate content.

Disappearing design trends:
Ironically, I see a growing backlash against the overuse of icons in design. Like flat design, icons owe their origin (or at least, ubiquity) to the digital world. Often used in place of descriptive copy, it’s easy to see how iconography has become increasingly common in our digital lives. Thanks to Apple (and lest we mention emojis), almost all instructive copy has been replaced with iconography. You can easily see the value of employing symbols over words when a website has limited real estate to work with and a need for quick navigation. While iconography can help make dry, statistics-based content more engaging, it can also clutter design and make simple content more confusing.

Post Date
December 11, 2019
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