2021 Design Trends

Green and blue shapes moving on top of a yellow and pink background

Are you even a creative firm if you don’t write about design trends for the year? This past year has inspired some pretty cool trends for us creatives. We’re talking sustainability and representation, thrown in with a bit of nostalgia.


It’s all about earth tones, texture, sustainability and embracing organic. It seems 2021 has led humans to finally put a focus on our environment. Brands are putting this trend into action with a focus on positive packaging and messaging to support this big ‘ol planet we live on. What a concept.

According to Creative Boom, this trend is visually represented through tasteful textures that mimic hand-print techniques, grain, brush strokes and organic shapes. All of this is intended to connect the person who created the design with the person who views it.

Envato points out that nature has been a source of inspiration for designers and artists for centuries. Deeply rooted in our strong connection with the world around us, the organic design trend is all about using natural, tactile elements to evoke the feeling, sight, and sound of being immersed in nature.

Anyone else feeling inspired to go stare at some trees?

Diversity and representation

2020 represented some of the best and worst times in our nation—ranging from an earth-shaking pandemic and violence against Black individuals to greater mental health awareness, LGBTQIA+ advocacy, feminism, body positivity and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

As marketers and designers, we have an opportunity to do better, whether that means being conscious in our efforts to represent people of all races, backgrounds, body types, religious beliefs and sexual orientations or taking a firm stance on social issues. 

(Aim for C. All of the above.)

We will begin to see this play out through illustrations, photography and more.

As we roll into June, Pride Month, you’ll see brands embrace this trend as they attempt to show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community. We say “attempt” because, quite frankly, it’s in poor taste to simply change your logo to rainbow to showcase your support when there are many, far more impactful ways to do so. 

Taking mom jeans to a new level

We are seeing this trend play out in real life with the return of mom jeans, crop tops, white tennis shoes and more. We are truly being haunted by our past.

Fortunately for us, retro or nostalgia design focuses on taking things we already know and love (not mom jeans) and using the familiarity of the old to sell the innovation of the new. We’ll take this trend by decade to illustrate what we mean.

  • The 60s – grainy colors, heavy lines, modern pop art, psychedelic aesthetic
  • The 70s – bold colors, free-form typography
  • The 80s – neon, cyberpunk
  • The 90s – grunge, rave, cartoons and iconic pop culture.

In conclusion, just say no to the mom jeans.

These are just a few of the trends we’re seeing, and whenever relevant to our work, you’ll see these reflected in the designs we create for our clients.

Ready to embrace the trends? Get a hold of us.

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