Join us on a voyage through time, as we explore the hottest graphic design trends over the years and show you how tapping into the latest ones can help you supersede your competitors in 2023.

It comes as no surprise that graphic design trends are ever-changing and diversifying when the words graphic and design were first combined and published together in 1922.

The reason why the art of graphic design and the role of a graphic designer is still important is down to the impact it can have on your brand.

According to Adobe, design-led companies “attain more satisfied and loyal customers, competitive advantages, and greater market share.”

And for small businesses, this design-first mentality could change the game completely and differentiate them from the rest of the pack. The question is, where do you start?

To help you feel inspired, we’ve rummaged through the history books to explore the graphic design trends through the decades and looked into our crystal ball to predict the latest ones for the year ahead.

Graphic design trends over the years

Trends come and go. Some appear and are here to stay while some emerge and fail to hit the mark.

Thanks to the rapid development of technology over the years, the graphic design world has boomed and taken the business and branding world by storm.

These advances have taken trends from one level to the next.


Let’s jump back to the ‘80s when George Michael was serenading us with Careless Whispers and new technology influenced the birth of design styles still seen and used today.

A popular modern graphic design style boomed in the ‘80s, with clean, slick and sans serif font aesthetics at the forefront. This style was labelled ‘80s Deco.

The ‘80s birthed an abundance of trends of great variety:

• Loud pop colours/neons

• Neon Noir ‘80s staple (just picture the movie posters with palm trees, sports cars and sunsets).

Memphis-Milano styling

• Tropical EVERYTHING!

• Scientific aesthetic

To sum up graphic design in the ‘80s, two words come to mind, modern and cool. Distinct styles came to life and designers are still referencing the popular trends of the ‘80s. It just goes to show, a classic is timeless. Kind of like George Michael.


The ‘90s were full of fun and flavour in the world of graphic design with the dawn of the internet. The diverse nature of popular culture taking us from happy hardcore and Britpop to CGI-led films like Jurassic Park was very much reflected in graphic design.

New and emerging digital tools took pen and paper away and revolutionised 1990s graphic design trends.

So, when it comes to your web design, what someone struggles to read, understand, or identify will likely translate as bad SEO. This can include anything from keyword stuffing spoiling the flow of a sentence to poor pixelation ruining the clarity of an image.

The launch of Adobe in 1990 encouraged slick, more professional-grade designs to come to life.

The heavy influence of fashion wormed its way into graphic design with bold vibrant colours and the abandonment of classic design rules that came before.

The biggest ‘90s graphic design trends included:

• Rave style

• Grunge

• ‘90s pop culture

• Retro styling (after all, Comic Sans was released in 1994.)

The ‘90s was a time of experimentation for graphic design. Classic rules were ditched, and new trends were born.


The 21st century was a pivotal time for the world of graphic design. Technology was advancing fast, and the capabilities of design excelled.

The 2000s aesthetic was born, and the Y2K label was established with memorable characteristics:

• Gradients

• Lens flares

• Glitter text effects

• 3D text

• Bold, chunky fonts

Although the trends in the ‘80s and ‘90s were crucial for the shaping of graphic design, the 2000s and the rise in popular tech was a true moment of evolution. It was also a time when an iPod mini was the coolest bit of kit on the market, and Myspace was the place to be in the social realm. (How times have changed.)


A lot can happen in one decade. (Just look at the fleeting careers of Damien Rice and Daniel Bedingfield.)

With the digital sphere continually progressing throughout the 21st century, the creation of apps and smart devices led the way for visual designs.

The need for simplicity saw the creation of a popular trend, ‘flat designs,’ with brands like Windows launching flat interfaces on laptops, with Apple closely following. Leaving skeuomorphism waiting in the shadows.

The advancements in technology created trends that had not been seen before. Whilst also seeing the progression of some old trends. Including:

• Animated and interactive branding

• Re-branding

• Reappearance of Memphis

Much like in the 2000s, technology transformed graphic design in 2010. Graphic design expanded to a more interactive approach, and brands were re-branding to keep up with the advancements.

Recent graphic design trends

In more recent times, graphic design has continued to evolve beyond recognition. In 2022 alone, the graphic design industry was worth $43.4 billion globally, which signifies the sheer scale of its use and importance. And it’s hardly surprising when you look at the possibilities of graphic design for small businesses.

Here is a quick list of some stand-out hits with click-through examples:

Basic geometry

3D graphic design

Retro illustrations (bringing back that 70s and 80s nostalgia)!

Over-simplified and stylized characters

Pop art colour palette

Cartoon illustrations

The biggest graphic design trends of 2022 have brought a fresh and exciting range of styles and creativity. 2023 has a lot to follow!

2023 graphic design trends you must bookmark

Where does this leave us in 2023?

As expected, 2023 graphic design trends are looking to excel, with futuristic trends pushing to the forefront.

Like most things, graphic design trends are influenced by the change in technology and the cultural context of society.

Nevertheless, 2023 predictions are varied and follow-on from the popular graphic design trends over the years.

5 biggest graphic design trends in 2023


If you’re into your zodiac signs, then you’re going to love this 2023 graphic design trend.

Mysticism, in design terms, involves iconography relating to astrology and divination. There seems to be a real shift over the years, with more and more people feeling drawn to popular symbolism like zodiac signs, lotus flowers and hallowed geometry.

It’s a fantastic way to create mystery in your designs and link the natural and cosmic worlds with a deeper meaning.

Retro line art

In 2023, many graphic designers are seeing the value in quirky and amusing illustrations. This graphic design trend pays homage to the yesteryears when we used felt tips to draw things.

There’s a humble and simple vibe to retro line art, which enables big and small businesses to give their brand a real personality and tap into the power of nostalgic marketing.

Mixed dimension

It’s like watching an episode of Doctor Who or deciphering the Marvel multiverse! As we spend more time in online spaces, it’s becoming increasingly harder to distinguish between virtual and physical.

As a 2023 graphic design trend, mixed dimension fuses the power of real-life pictures and digital illustrations to add contrast and impact. For graphic designers, it’s a perfect opportunity to push the boundaries of creativity.

Airbrush surrealism

Airbrush surrealism combines the unexpected pairing of 80s airbrush techniques and strange mythical imagery. The result is like a celebration of an old Bowie or Pink Floyd album cover, but with a softer glow, purposeful haze and alluring feel. You have to see it to believe it.

Abstract gradients

Airbrush surrealism combines the unexpected pairing of 80s airbrush techniques and strange mythical imagery. The result is like a celebration of an old Bowie or Pink Floyd album cover, but with a softer glow, purposeful haze and alluring feel. You have to see it to believe it.

Something is captivating about the loud edges, soft colours and abstract gradients, which can be a real touch of genius on printed design or website design.

Putting the 2023 graphic design trends into motion

The variety among our predicted top five trends is impressive.

The expected popular return of retro line art and the development of techniques, such as airbrush surrealism, will make for some eye-catching content in the world of design.

In a time where small businesses are continually appearing, graphic design builds brand recognition and acts as a visual language to your customers.

A good design can be the one thing that beats the competition in a crowded market.

Despite the trends chopping and changing from year to year, graphic design shapes and builds your business and gives it a specific, lasting message. It will always be prevalent and play a key role in people’s lives, sometimes without them even noticing.

If you’re keen to implement some of these 2023 graphic design trends, it might be time to speak to a leading design agency in Worcestershire.

At Design in the Shires, we help small businesses stand out with signature branding and a winning online presence. Our portfolio of work covers a range of industries with design expertise applied to each brand.

We create captivating websites that inspire with design. But most importantly, we drive organic traffic to purchase your products and services and generate a quick ROI.

Speak to our team to learn more about our graphic design and branding services.

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