by Caitlin Collins, Head of Communications & Brand Marketing at 99designs by Vista
If you’re an entrepreneur launching a brand in 2023, taking inspiration from trending designs is a great place to start. Not only to ensure that your business branding is looking up to date, but also because design trends are often a reflection of wider societal shifts – and it’s safe to say the last few years have brought us many of these.
These changes and challenges have a huge impact on consumer sentiment, and tapping into visual trends is an effective way to communicate that you understand this and are willing to meet customers where their needs and tastes are currently at.
Whether it’s a new business or product you’re taking to market, or refreshing an existing brand, here’s four graphic design trends you can tap into to meet and exceed customers expectations in 2023.
No longer confined to the back pages of magazines, astrology and mysticism are having a moment in 2023. It feels unsurprising in a world still very much in flux that many people (particularly younger generations) are feeling a sense of uncertainty and lack of control, leading them to look to higher powers for guidance and escapism from current events.
This trend leans heavily on esoteric symbolism, including zodiac signs, stars, moons, sacred geometry, tarot cards and all-seeing eyes. Delicate line work paired with soft, muted colors create gentle and calming brand design that consumers can find comfort in.
While horoscopes and spirituality might not be your thing personally, there’s power in these mystical and mythological aesthetics in 2023. Perfect for social media campaigns, or limited edition product packaging, this is a great trend to personalize your branding to your customers and show that you ‘get’ them and their experiences.
2. Retro line art.
You may already be familiar with this design trend as it has been growing rapidly in popularity over the last few months. But in 2023, expect to see cheerful and playful retro line art popping up everywhere.
The power of these marker pen-style illustrations lies in their nostalgic feel. Cheeky, rubber hose characters paired with bubble fonts and oval and starburst sticker motifs remind many of us of vintage magazine ads and comics.
Humor is a time-old coping mechanism to challenging times and these humorous and quirky designs are perfect for lighthearted projects such as a limited edition merch or product range to offer your customers some much-needed comic relief. Additionally, bringing that charm and charisma front and center of your branding can really strengthen your brand’s personality.
3. Folk Botanical.
Nature always crops up on our design trends lists in one form or other – and for good reason. Getting out into nature offers us escapism and calming, grounding experiences. Given the trials of the last few years, now is the perfect time to infuse this into your branding if you’re seeking to offer the same sense of reprieve to your customers.
In 2023, nature is being expressed through the doodles, rough textures and unexpected coloring of the folk botanical trend. These designs reject the precision of digital vector art and reinterpret natural themes into more unexpected and playful illustrated patterns, giving digital art work a hand-drawn and hand-made look and feel, rather than appearing too polished.
As this style works well as full bleed pattern illustrations, it is the perfect choice for packaging design and great for positioning your brand as down to earth and welcoming.
4. Mixed dimension.
If you have an existing brand that you love but want to add something fresh to in 2023, mixed dimension is the perfect trend for you. Rather than completely overhauling your visual brand, this style enables you to take existing assets and apply an illustrated layer to bring them to life.
Perfect for limited edition products or marketing and social media campaigns, simply add swashes of color to lifestyle photography to infuse some personality, or animate doodles and patterns on product photography to call out new or important features.
Leveraging creative trends is a great way to reinvigorate your brand but it’s vital to maintain consistency with your existing design work to ensure customers continue to recognize and trust you. Working with your current color palette will help you stay closely aligned with your visual brand, while still bringing a little joy and fun with this trend-forward spin.
While design trends can serve as great inspiration when you’re at the start of your branding journey, they aren’t meant to be prescriptive: the last thing we need is more rules! Whether you choose to go all in one style, or leverage certain elements, applying them thoughtfully and in consideration of your overarching brand personality and mission is the best way to ensure you stay true to who you are as a business, whilst getting the most value out of keeping up with the visual times.
Caitlin Collins is Head of Communications and Brand Marketing at 99designs by Vista, the global creative platform that makes it easy for small businesses to work with professional freelance designers and bring their brands to life. Having worked with startups and scale-ups from all around the world, she is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small businesses shape and share their stories.