Graphic design trends in 2022

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Graphic design trends in 2022

Graphic design trends in 2022

2022 in design terms is going to be like your favorite classic jumper which goes with anything, paired with innovative new ways of wearing it.

We are going to see a return of classic styles brought to us in innovative ways, comfortable, but unknown at the same time. 

The design I expect you to see will feel nostalgic and yet oddly fresh. Glenn Romanelli from Lighthaus Design described the upcoming trends as “the past reimagined for the future.” And I would agree with that.

What we are expecting to see emerge this year is design which grabs your attention, asks for you to take an action and participate, rather than just being a spectator. Think of UX design (which we have talked about it our previous blog here) where the design unfolds as the user gets involved.

5 trends to watch for in 2022:

Motion graphics

Animation and motion graphics have become powerful tools for creative advertising and marketing. They shape whole new ways to present products and services in the modern digital space.

And they’re everywhere, adverts on TV, websites, ads before whatever you’re trying to watch on YouTube. I just saw a fantastic piece of motion graphics on an Airbnb ad on YouTube advertising looking for a cleaner and having the message rubbed out by a sponge. It was interesting enough to grab my attention during the five seconds it appeared for before I could ‘skip it’ to get to what I really wanted to see. It was memorable. I can still remember the message and the brand. It will have seeped in. 

Macrobond website designed by SmallGiants Agency.

SmallGiants executed motion animation when we ‘reimagined’ the Macrobond website.

As soon as the page loads, you’ll see the logo replicated and formed by using motion graphics before the slider changes to a new key strategic message and animated visuals. At the very least, the user will stick around to view these animations, drawn in by the deliberate slow change, shifting shapes and subliminal company messaging.

Back to the 1990s

Many creatives are forecasting a 90s revival in 2022. For a start, emerging and now very successful creatives will have grown up in the 90s, being influenced by everything this decade had to throw at us, from music, movies, TV shows to art and design from this decade.

Think of iconic album artworks, 90s Chanel on the catwalk, incredible fashion trends and advertising campaigns like Kate Moss for Calvin Klein underwear and the unforgettable brooding Levi’s commercials.
In the 90s fashion and music were joined together. You can’t think of the 90s without thinking of grunge, the music shaped the fashion, brands, and aesthetics everywhere. Magazines which were popular in the 90s, Dazed, NME etc. epitomized the style in their spreads. 

The 90s was a very culturally diverse decade. Movements at this time were strong in their looks and in the way they influenced everything around them. Think of grunge and Britpop for example – both had very individual looks and appeal and many trends across this decade influenced each other. 

We can expect to see design travel back to the future and feature plenty of 90s throwbacks in 2022. All the chaos and uncertainty of ‘the pandemic years’, has moved design in many unexpected directions, and nostalgia has played a prominent part. Experimentation and inspiration from design styles across history are being used to visually shape 2022.

As well as many current big-name designers growing up in the 90s. There is a cultural leaning towards nostalgia, simpler times, and some fun after the difficult few years the world has faced.

Credit: Aura

A great example is the software Aura, an effects template which designers can use to create wonderfully 90s images and motion graphics. 

3D design

3D design has been around for some time and is still evolving. This year, coupled with the idea of throwbacks and nostalgia, I anticipate seeing a bit of a mashup between 2D/3D design. Illustration and typography will be getting the 3D treatment so we can imagine seeing fonts with a twist, 3D characters, and even some psychedelic and holographic designs.

Credit: A word, a week 2021 edition by Vince Raineri

Drawing and typography which moves will see blurring between 2D and 3D. This animation from Vince Raineri’s “A word, a week” contribution is a great example.  

Masterpicks is another wonderful example of this where you can see samples of the work of Alex Lopez, an art director 3D illustrator based in Madrid. Alex uses “geometrical shapes and isometrical perspectives,” and his main goal is to create “very graphic images where colors, lights and shadows have the main prominence.”


If minimalism is all about getting rid of excess items and using only the things you need, then Maximalism is more about design and features bold colors, shapes, tones, and textures. It’s a reaction against minimalism and leaves very little white space. 

Which also goes hand in hand with some of the bright repetitive design pattens we saw in the 90s. Think of interior design moving on from a grey minimalist color pallet, to an anything goes one. 

Bright, clashing colors, wallpaper where every inch is filled with bright, repetitive patterns, with art hung on top for good measure. Think thrilling visual experiences which ignite the senses.

Credit: Posters collection / Vol. 1: Lyrics & Chaos by Celeste Caiello

Some wonderful poster examples by Celeste Caiello, show Maximalism at its finest. The attention-grabbing images feature bright and bold colors, distorted shapes, and aggressive tones and textures. You can see some examples here.

Vibrant and playful typography

Colors and vibrancy will also play a strong role within the typographic trends for 2022. This is partially due to globalization. As the world becomes more global and online, we can no longer always rely on language to convey meaning from culture to culture. Many designers see this not as a setback, but as an opportunity use shapes and colours as a playful way to convey meaning that is globally understood by differing and diverse cultures. 

Spotify's 2021 wrapped campaign, which went viral at the end of 2021 is a great example of playful typography with inverted numbers.

Credit: Lettering Series XLII by Rafael Serra 

Designer Rafael Serra aka FAEL also has an ‘ongoing lettering series’ project in which he plays with well-known brands lettering to create his own ingenious versions. See more here.

The trend for motion design I discussed above will also influence typefaces in 2022. We should see lettering that creates forms that are expressive in and of themselves and aren’t as easy to read as we are used to. 

How to bring the 2022 trends to your own brand

Credit: Yamauchi No.10 Family Office

It’s important to be mindful of what’s current and culturally relevant as well as looking for ways to incorporate fresh and modern elements.  For some brands a louder, bolder, more playful design will be natural, the perfect representation of who they are. The Yamauchi Family office for example might manage more than £649mn, their website is however a lush maximalist experience complete with animation, sound and colour. A perfect fit for an investment firm created by a descendant of Nintendo founder Fusajiro Yamauchi and aiming to represent his unique creativity and a pioneering mindset.

But your choices have to be true to your business identity and brand message. Trends can come and go as well as return in cycles – as we’ve seen it with the 90’s nostalgia elements. Don’t suddenly veer away completely from what feels comfortable and right for your organization and what reflects the deeper brand values and mission.

Even if your brand has a more classic persona, there are always times and ways in which you can be more playful and bring the current into your design. Experiments with design trends will be safer on platforms and projects that are more ephemeral: social media posts and short campaigns can have their own visual identity or adopt fresh design elements from trends – but won’t stick around forever.

It is equally possible to not fully emulate fashions but to only give a subtle nod. Motion graphics but with your normal brand colours or well considered, sparing use of a vibrant font to highlight important news on your site can make design feel up to date and relevant. 

Inés O’Brien
Brand Design Lead