3 Graphic Design Trends That Will Dominate 2021 +Infographic

With so many large scale changes in the world over the past year, brands haven’t been able to take many design risks this year. They also have to do a lot more with less this year.

So I believe they are going to really rely on old favorites like muted color palettes, serif fonts, and simple data visualizations for clear communication.

Things that invoke a sense of calm, understanding, and positivity in an ultra chaotic world.

Bold colors, brash fonts, and in your face marketing isn’t going to work now and into the future.

What graphic design trends will dominate in 2021? Check out some of our biggest graphic design trends below.


1. Muted Color Palettes

Muted color palettes really took over the graphic design world last year, and show no sign of stopping anytime soon.

I try to use them in my graphic design work for Venngage as much as possible:

Muted colors examples from Venngage


If you’re not really familiar with muted colors, they are basically vivid colors that have had their edge taken off with an infusion of black, white, or a complementary color.



After years of bold and bright colors, people seem to want something a little more relaxed and understated.

Especially with so many negative, confusing and loud messages we have all been receiving over the last year or so.

Muted colors feel safe and secure, even nostalgic.

One brand that used muted colors exceptionally well last year was LinkedIn, and they have continued to do so.

LinkedIn Muted colors designs


However, unlike last year, the messaging and visuals had to change a bit to fit the current climate.

It has to be difficult to be a networking platform in the middle of record unemployment, with a long economic recovery ahead.

Luckily, their social media graphics, landing pages, and other design assets feel genuine and comfortable because of those muted colors.


LinkedIn Landing Pages with Muted Colors


In addition to making a graphic feel more authentic, muted colors also feel very natural and organic.


With health and wellness being a topic on most people’s minds, I think that organic muted colors are going to be used by a lot of consumer brands going forward.


Unlike some fast shifting graphic design trends, I have seen that color palettes usually take at least 3 or 4 years to become overused and not trendy.

So don’t be scared to swap your color palette to something more muted, or better yet, use your brand colors as a jumping off point and create a few secondary color palettes that you can use in your visual content.


2. Geometric Shapes Everywhere

One thing that really surprised me this year was that a ton of brands have started using geometric shapes in their designs.

Last year there were a plethora of designers using flowing and abstract shapes in their designs:

Zendesk designs with geometric shapes


But those have been replaced with pretty rigid, hard-edged geometric shapes.


Not that I’m complaining–geometric shapes are a lot easier to create and use!

If you look at some of the other graphic design trends this year, the shift actually makes a lot more sense.

When you use these geometric shapes, like below, it can add order, consistency and structure to a visual:

Zendesk designs with geometric shapes


Zendesk has been using geometric shapes all over their design assets It has almost become a recognizable part of their brand.


While the images they use may not always be consistent in style, they all feel consistent because of the similar geometric shapes.


The right amount of contrast, like between a soft muted color palette and hard geometric shapes, can make a visual very eye-catching.

I think if they would have used some abstract shapes or patterns, the graphics would feel too casual.

Last but not least, you can simply use geometric shapes this year to add some texture and depth to your graphics:

Reach designs with geometric shapes


The right amount of contrast, like between a soft muted color palette and hard geometric shapes, can make a visual very eye-catching.

I think if they would have used some abstract shapes or patterns, the graphics would feel too casual.


Last but not least, you can simply use geometric shapes this year to add some texture and depth to your graphics:

Wrike designs with geometric shapes


3. Flat Icons & Illustrations

Like I said above, graphic design trends are pretty cyclical. After a while, something will go from trendy to overplayed and then back to being trendy again.

After writing about flat icons in the first edition of this article almost 5 years ago, I have seen this trend come full circle.

For example, this is what Mailchimp was using back in 2015:

Mailchimp flat icons designs


Which doesn’t look too different from some of the other visuals being shared and created almost 5 years later!



This isn’t a bad thing–I just wanted to illustrate how design trends come and go.

Now if you’re creating a ton of visual content, these flat icons are ideal because they can be adapted for a lot of different graphics like social media visuals, infographics, or presentations.


Check out all the different icons that were used in the graphics below from Adjust. They all feel like they belong to a singular brand:


Adjust designs with branded flat icons


These flat icons can also be consumed very quickly. For example you can probably guess that the top left image has to deal with fitness and the bottom left with news.

Even if you saw those visuals without any context or text, you could still understand what the designer was trying to say.


Icons can be a powerful tool for visual communication. With a few icons, you can tell a simple visual story that will give a lot more context to your social media post, blog post, infographic, or video.

There are a few ways that you can use flat icons this year to upgrade your visuals. One of the easiest is to use a single icon like in these social media visuals from Databox:


Databox branded flat icons


Or you can use multiple flat icons to create a more complex graphic like Sprout Social has done below:


Sprout Social branded flat icons


We take this approach sometimes when creating our own blog headers and infographics:



Check out the ultimate Venngage Infographic 2021 design trends:

News taken from www.venngage.com

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