Top Ten Design Trends During COVID-19 – Impact on Branding & Advertising for 2020

Impact on Branding & Advertising for 2020

2020 has been a roller coaster so far with brands pivoting to stay relevant during the global pandemic of COVID-19. We’ve seen several design trends emerge as companies adapt to the new normal. We don’t recommend chasing a trend for the sake of being trendy. However, staying current is helpful for inspiration and positioning your brand.

Trend 1. Relatable Imagery

People may be tired of the phrase “we’re all in this together” but commercials featuring real employees shot with lower production values have been a necessary tactic during the pandemic. But “Authentic” remains a buzzword for a reason. Prim and proper is out. Real and unpolished is in. Highly art-directed layouts have given way to photos that feel candid. Many brands are doubling down on letting influencers and real customers take the reins on imagery. For example, online boutique Balenciaga fills their Instagram feed with real people wearing their clothing in creative poses.

Trend 2. The use of 3D Renders & Art

Doing a product photoshoot is no longer an automatic assumption. New programs and technology keep advancing, so featuring 3D renders is continuing to increase in popularity as more designers explore the capabilities to create realistic mockups—not only for product design but also use in social media and ads. These tools are being pushed in fun and exciting ways.

Trend 3. Neon

When times feel dark, the bright feel of neon can provide a vivid contrast. The resurgence of neon signs as an art form in their own right is also an influence on this lettering trend.

Trend 4. Monochrome

Images executed in varying tones of only one color are an eye-catching way to feature brand colors. The technique is also useful for making stock photos feel more ownable—a necessity when photoshoots aren’t possible.

Trend 5. Artful Typography

Custom type and hand lettering were a trend last year and continue to increase in popularity in 2020. A recent evolution is the use of shapes, colors, and textures to create completely custom letterforms.

Trend 6. Line Art

This clean and simple look can be deceivingly difficult to execute. Expressing complex shapes or images as line work creates a modern feel. A monoline drawing is even more of a challenge but the organic vibe is worth the effort.

Trend 7. Collaging graphics and imagery

Mixing and matching photos, illustrations, and other graphic elements add flair with a handcrafted feel.

Trend 8. Shiny Metal

Packaging, identity, and wayfinding are rich with metallic finishes. When using these materials, clean designs work best since the eye is drawn to the sheen of the metal. Gold is a popular choice as it exudes luxury and class in a world craving stability.

Trend 9. Gradients & Fluid Design

Gradients used to be a huge no-no back in the day when production limitations dictated design choices. But with today’s printing capabilities and digital-first mindset, these trip-tastic techniques continue to rise in popularity.

Trend 10. Asymmetry

Ditch the grid. Layouts that are not symmetrical have always stood out in print. Since web design heavily relies on a grid as the base, too many sites feel cookie-cutter. Having elements that break that grid make your site more intriguing. The effect makes your brand more dynamic and keeps people scrolling.