What We Learned from the Graphic Design Trends – Tips, Tricks & More

With the average company now spending around $75,000 a year on digital marketing, graphic design budgets are climbing higher and higher.

However, if you don’t know what you’re doing with that money, you could blow your cash on a design that’s stuck in all the wrong trends. Make sure you know what your design should have improved on from the graphic design trends of 2018.

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What We Learned from the Graphic Design Trends

Here are five things that you should have learned.

1. Responsive Matters

In the last decade, everyone seems to have a plan for responsive design. Just a few years ago, mobile browsing finally surpassed desktop browsing numbers, meaning that the future is now. We need to have responsive logos to fit any kind of screen, which has changed how logos look.

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We saw lots of companies of every size rolling out new logos for different screen sizes. Usability is changing as well as how things are expected to look.


Designers and developers have been experimenting with how to make designs for every kind of device. Rather than one-size-fits-all solutions, companies have sites that are optimized for mobile and separate sites for desktops.


This has also meant that logos have needed to adapt.

While once the idea of altering logos to meet user needs seemed absurd, it’s now part of the design discourse. If you want to have a logo for an app, it has strict requirements for how it has to look.

That means that every major company now has two logos — a perfectly square one and one that works as a header for their website.

The biggest brands in the world are still catching up with responsive logos, but one way to stay ahead is to build yours now.

2. Gradients Are Tried and True

If you look at the early internet of the 1990s, you saw gradients galore. Gradients used to reign supreme across the internet.

They defined website buttons, made Powerpoint presentations look good, and beefed up headers. After a while, they got a little bit overused and were long overdue for a break.

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Flat Gradients

Then just a few years ago, they started to come back in tandem with flat design. While they’re usually based on contrasting elements, not just flat gradients, they work powerfully as you scroll through a website. Even though they’re now more often called “color transitions,” the song remains the same.

Color Transitions

You can find color transitions on iOS to help separate elements or on apps to create defined spaces. Vibrant, smooth, and flat designs are the typical standard of industry leaders like Instagram and most iOS applications.

Working within strict and more minimal design aesthetics, gradients have a lot of power. When most everything on the page is solid, a gradient holds a lot of power in separating space.

3. Slim Is In

While everyone is looking for more depth on their pages, the way it’s happening is through a flat style of design.

Two-Dimensional Style

As you scroll through modern sites and apps, you’ll notice that there’s lots of implied space that creates a visual hierarchy. This strange two-dimensional style is best displayed by elements that seem to float over other elements, separating the space.


Using shadows as an enhancement to UI in the last year, it’s become a serious trend. Shadows are large and soft, giving you the feeling of moving from one section of a site, app, or text to another. This gives your brain time and space to adjust and allows for more dynamism on a small screen.

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Semi-flat Design

While it’s not for everyone, it fits with the newfound simplicity of the latest in graphic design trends. Even static images and logos are using shadows to increase the effect. This new semi-flat design movement isn’t going anywhere and neither is the implied depth afforded by shadows.

In more unique designs, subtle shadows lend more attention to the most important design elements. They highlight without all the pomp of bright yellow flashing or extreme color changes of the past.

4. Let The Colors Clash

In print design, album covers, fine artists, and experimental designers all played with halftone printing. By placing one halftone printed image over another contrasting color, you end up with contrasting colors that vibrate. While complementary colors have always been the safe choice for design, there’s now room for contrast.

Duotones and Halftones

On a small screen, those implied or fake duotones carry a lot of weight. You can find the perfect halftones to contrast without having to spend too much time cleaning or reprinting silk screens.


If you look at some of the latest ad designs for Spotify, especially those throughout 2018, you’ll find lots of examples. By putting contrasting colors together, companies are exploring totally new territory or showing off new products.

With a limited color palette, they communicate a lot. Contrast is jarring but the right two tones together can capture a reader’s attention.

5. Go Neon, Get Attention

If you look at the graphic design trends of the last couple of years, you see a lot more examples of brand identities from another era. Whether it’s the number of remakes from the ’80s and ’90s, or new ideas couched in that aesthetic a la Stranger Things, the era has returned.

Ultra-Flat Design

There are lots of pretty pastels and loud electric hues that are invading the color schemes of graphics today. With the ultra-flat design, they create space with the tension between colors.


You’ll also see a lot more abstract or geometric patterns that have moved from the edge of design over to popular mainstream design.

Check out what’s happening with this web design firm for more examples of how to use colors.


If you look at all the graphic design trends, they have had an impact like no other year. The way that we use the internet and the way our devices interface will never be the same.

For a few tips on how to improve your website, check out our latest guide.

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