Creating a design that both stands out and is visually pleasing to the eye doesn't have to be an impossible task. Implementing popular and modern graphic design trends can bring your design projects to the next level.

Whether you are working on a project for web design or print, don’t be afraid to experiment with these modern graphic design trends, after all, fortune favors the bold, unusual, and unexpected. Rules were meant to be broken, especially in design. Push the limits and use these trends in ways you haven’t before.

1. Vivid Hues

“One of the best places to take a risk is in the colors you use,” says blogger Ryan McCready. If you want to make a statement, do so with color—the bolder, the better. Adding pops of bright colors will give your design an element that will help you grab the attention of your audience and stand out from competitors.

Photo by JOSHUA COLLEMAN on Unsplash

2. Retro Vibes

A few years back, “Mad Men” ushered in a retro craze with a distinctly ’50s and ’60s sensibility. With modern graphic design trends, however, retro is defined a little differently: As millennials continue to grow into their careers, the ’80s and ‘90s inspired designs dominate (referencing the decade's millennials came of age). It’s all about evoking feelings of nostalgia with this trend.

Photo by Brianna Santellan on Unsplash

3. Hand-Drawn Illustrations

Nowadays, anyone can access stock photography—and many do. Therefore, companies seek out original art to stand out, and you can’t get more original, creative, or authentic than hand-drawn illustrations. Go one better and incorporate other new graphic design trends into your illustrations like a drawing that’s ’80s-inspired or done in a bold hue.

Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

4. Futuristic Effects

It looks like there’s a mistake, but it’s totally intentional—that’s the futuristic glitch effect in a nutshell. Geometric shapes and futuristic colors are all the rage these days. Don’t shy away from embracing flaws, like a slightly out-of-focus frame, a smear of ink, or an overexposed image. Adding these effects to your work signals your willingness to take risks as a designer.

Photo by Corey Motta on Unsplash

5. Genuine Stock Photos

Similar to futuristic effects, using genuine photography indicates an aversion to things being too perfect and stages. You may have killer Photoshop skills but with this modern graphic design trend, you might not want to use them. Authentic photos convey real candid moments and untouched people. Graphic design projects with authentic photos embrace real life in its many forms.

Photo by Xandro Vandewalle on Unsplash

3D Effects

We weren’t kidding when we said retro vibes are all the rage in modern graphic design trends. 3D has grown in popularity, especially 3D still lifes that incorporate logos and/or product placements, 3D modeling in type design, one-color 3D design print ads, and 3D designs that strongly utilize bold color or metallics. Depending on your brand voice, consider a logo design utilizing these modern trends.

Photo by Nikhil Mitra on Unsplash

7. Duotones

Sometimes less is more. Two colors, aka duotones, whether complementary or contrasting, can be major attention grabbers. Forgo your average gradient background and experiment with different combinations of duotones.

Photo by Matias Wong on Unsplash

8. Creative Typographic Focal Points

Bold typographic projects innovation, strength, and individuality. Get creative and design compelling visuals utilizing aesthetically pleasing typography, unusual fonts, objects as type, the possibilities are endless. Crop the type. Hand-draw the type. Add 3D effects to your type. You can let your imagination run wild in your design work as long as the message you want to convey doesn’t get lost.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

9. Negative Space

As graphic designers, we know that negative space, or the empty and open space around the focal point, is known to attract attention. When you use negative space, you give the viewer permission to pay full attention to the presentation at hand. Whether used with images, typography, or both, negative space has always conveyed a timeless and minimal look and feel. This is a look that is both currently on trend and won’t look outdated in a few months.

Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

10. Flat Design

If you’re over 3D effects, you’re in luck: flat design is also a modern graphic design trend in 2018. Flat design eschews layering, shadow, multiple tones, and other adornments, fully embracing the limitations of 2D with clean lines, single hues, and a straightforward style.


The most important thing to remember when designing is to stay true to your brand voice. The design works best with your own unique spin. Play around, see what inspires you, and learn which new graphic design trends resonate with your audience. Whether you’re creating business cards for a client or just experimenting, see what unexpected creations can result from the latest design trends. You could give your brand identity a major revamp if you follow popular modern graphic design trends.

Author Bio

Jackie Vlahos is the content specialist at Printi. She’s an expert in design and marketing and is a member of the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors. Jackie is also a photographer, pizza lover, and coffee enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter @jackievlahos_.