Top 10 Post-Covid Design Trends

Design trends are often dictated by what we experience in the world around us. Slowly transitioning into a post-pandemic world, we currently see (and will continue to see) a rise in design trends that help us to counteract pandemic-related isolation and anxiety. These trends will likely stick around for some time and into the future. Below is a list of the top 10 post-Covid design trends in graphic design.

1. Friendly, playful, optimistic design

After a year of constant bombardment of bad news and negative imagery, people crave design that makes them feel happy. Colorful, vibrant, uplifting and even humorous design is relevant today in an effort to lighten the mood that Covid, social inequity and politics soured for everyone. There is a general desire to feel uplifted, and design is rapidly trending in that direction.

acrylic packaging on paint bottle; pink wrapping, white bottle
Sujin Her

colorful posters of veganville and be kind to every kind; vegan for the planet

woop tablets in light blue packaging and smiling sun imagery

2. Focus on sustainability and the environment with nature-inspired design

With Covid forcing the world into a lockdown, a newfound appreciation of nature and the outdoors emerged. People began taking more walks, riding bikes and gathering outside to feel a sense of socially distanced freedom from the monotony of being at home. Because of this, we see more nature-inspired color palettes and organic shapes, lots of hand-drawn illustrations and DIY techniques that emulate and appreciate the outdoor experience.

minuka brand packaging Watercolor Illustrations for packaging by Daria Vinokurova
Watercolor illustrations for packaging

Crunch Granola

Bantu Vegan

3. Nostalgia – Retro vibe

The stress of the year sparked an appreciation for the past for many people and a desire to reflect on pre-pandemic times. As people started reminiscing about the “good times,” they looked to the past to find a sense of peace and comfort. There’s been, as a result, an uptick in graphics that offer a sense of nostalgia. Retro typefaces and color palettes, funky and fun illustrations and patterns that hark back to a time where things seemed simpler are once again significant.

Women’s International Day sticker set

strongbow soda; cola; pop; with colorful wrapping
Strongbow Cider

4. Authenticity and honesty

Between political unrest and the pandemic, we’ve witnessed a flood of misinformation and sensationalization. Also, for many, tragedy, job loss and more have been at the forefronts of everyday life. People are seeking a sense of truth and authenticity – brands that they can relate to. And brands that care about the issues people face on a regular basis. A lack of perfectionism and a trend towards raw, real graphics emerged, with meaningful and socially aware messaging and branding that feature real people with real problems.

HON Her Online Network Design appearing on cell phone screens
HON Her Online Network Design

wits packaging for skin and body care; paper products styled on rocks

human poster series with simple and dark colors and font
Reflective Posters

5. Sense of community

This past year has reminded everyone how important it is to connect with others. When the world suffers together, people tend to have a desire to relate to others. From videos set in Italy early last year of neighbors playing music on their balconies, to the peaceful protests in response to racial inequity, strangers and friends banded together to combat the loneliness and negativity of the times. This trend is very visible in the last year.

Toy Faces Library of diverse people in 3D
Toy Faces Library

uber womens safety guidelines; graphics of women illustrations stacked
Illustration for Uber

three bueno chao cans in symmetrical pattern
Bueno Chao

6. Artful typography

As with the general desire for more optimistic design, trends today use fun, playful and expressive typography, bringing in colorful and spirited shapes and textures to create custom letterforms. Typography with personality and unique characters is another way to express a desire for freedom. The minimal sans serif fonts that were trending in the past now seem cold and rigid in a time where people crave warmth, authenticity, personality and connection.

Ragtag imagery that is colorful, funky and uses artful typography

colorful artwork that reads touchy feely
Fuman Studio

block letters that read everything in its place
Everything in its place

7. Use of symbols and symbolism

Another trend is the revival of symbols and heavy symbolism in design. Symbols carry a certain sense of mystery and mysticism. There is something magical and powerful about the use of symbols, which could have a variety of meanings, from acting like a good luck charm or talisman to ward off negativity, to creating a feeling of connectivity and oneness, all of which make sense in response to the current state of affairs in the world.

luz reiki healing imagery

deep river celestial soaps

the lost explorer mezcal glass bottles and red lids
The Lost Explorer Mezcal

beauty bottles and containers aesthetically laid out
Manaya Organic Beauty Brand

8. 3D renderings and graphics

3D renderings, a rising trend over the last couple of years, is even more popular now since the last year limited face-to-face contact. People are expressing themselves and communicating with others through 3D renderings as opposed to photography more and more each day. Additionally, 3D renderings allow designers to create life-like graphics that blur the line of digital and physical and combine illustrative and photographic elements to create whimsical imagery – another new trend.

keep your data safe language with a colorful, neon pink and purple lock that is open
3D Icons

Instagram 3D colorful cartoon and nature inspired imagery on a fake phone for display

9. Asymmetry and fluid design

Another design trend that was born from the oppressive and restrictive pandemic environment is design that breaks free from “the grid.” People being confined to their homes and limited in mobility created a longing for freedom, which influenced design in the emergence of asymmetrical and fluid graphics. Organic shapes and overlays that float around, breaking out of alignment, give a sense of playfulness and excitement, which we all have been lacking lately.

core and rind jars of sauces
Core & Rind

cyber punk collage; young woman with cowgirl hat
Cyber punk imagery

sassa soda brand; three cans in bright colors

10. Metallics

Incorporating metallics in design is an easy way to make something feel upscale and luxurious. In a world where people have shifted to living in their pajamas or yoga pants, missing out on getting to dress up, go out and appreciate finer things, adding some glimmer and shimmer feels high-end and like an escape from reality.

Sikich Annual Report
Sikich Annual Report

Yalla Desserts
Yalla Desserts

Luca Late Harvest Wine; metallic sticker
Luca Late Harvest

metallic colors on a life preserve ring

Graphic design is a reflection of what we see around us – a visual way to interpret the thoughts and feelings that we, collectively as a society, are experiencing. Design helps us process our feelings and give a voice to those feelings, and hopefully make life a bit more enjoyable and manageable. These trends in particular have a sense of freedom and optimism, filling in the gaps that have been caused by a year of stress, isolation and loss. As the world continues to improve and we move out of this pandemic crisis, design will continue to evolve, and new trends will emerge to continue to give people a sense of hope as we process the world around us.

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