Graphic design trends in 2018

Tue 1 Dec 2020

Keeping on top of creative trends plays an important role in the life of a graphic designer. Here are some of this year’s top design trends that every aspiring designer should know about.

Colour gradients

Instagram’s warm gradient logo drew mixed reactions when it was unveiled in 2016, but it turns out that the company was on the cusp of a big re-emerging trend. After a decade of flat design, gradients have made a comeback as a flat design enhancement (part of the evolution into Flat 2.0). With several industry leaders (including Skype, Spotify, and Stripe) incorporating gradients into their corporate branding, colour transitions are now a popular way of adding vibrancy to UI and backgrounds.

Flat design 2.0

Around 2007, designers began to reject all things 3D and shifted to the minimalist world of flat design. Characterised by an absence of raised, hollow, and sunken elements (to show users what is clickable onscreen), flat design embraced a clean, minimalist look that decluttered screens but were often not very user friendly. Flat 2.0 is addressing these issues, adding back highlights, drop shadows, and subtle raised elements for a better user experience.

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Responsive logos

Traditionally, designers for corporate brands have been forbidden to change company logos in any way, shape, or form, but with the advent of hundreds of different mobile devices, corporations are finally adapting to the digital era. High-profile brands are increasingly simplifying their logos so that they work effectively across websites, apps, social media channels, and in print, by reducing detail, limiting colour, flattening gradients, and stripping out unnecessary details. The concept is moving branding away from fixed logo guidelines to a more fluid set of design standards.

Creative typography

Designers are letting their imaginations run wild this year with new and creative forms of typography. Big, bold fonts, artistic effects(such as fragmentation and distortion), the use of geometry, and interactive typefaces that react to mouse cursors are all proving popular in 2018.


With an increased focus on improving user experience, microinteractions (tiny animations that help users perform tasks or communicate feedback) are small changes that are making a big impact. Microinteractions can take many forms, including fading effects to show or hide page elements, changes to the depth of the page, or bouncing effects when the user clicks on a button. Facebook has successfully utilised microinteractions to add an element of fun to its app, enabling users to hold down the Like button for longer to increase the size of the stamp.

Interested in pursuing a career in graphic design? Earning an MA in Graphic Design from Falmouth University’s Flexible Learning programme can help you stay on top of current design trends and kick start your career. For more information, visit our course page.

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