We’re already past halfway through 2022 but that does not mean it’s too late to create new product designs and jump on some trends that can potentially boost not just your sales, but also your social media strategy.
To help you out, we scoured the internet for the latest graphic design trends this 2022 which you can use both for your print-on-demand products and IG or FB content. And without further ado, here are over 10 design or art trends that have been dominating our feeds and timelines this year:
A Blast from the Past
Nostalgia has always been a powerful emotion and with the current state of the world, more people are hankering for the good old days. This is evident in the resurgence of outfits with vintage-inspired designs, homey interiors with antique furniture, and in the graphic design industry—a return to some of the aesthetics of the 90s and early 2000s.
And two of today’s most popular design trends that ultimately scream #ThrowBack are:
The Return of Y2K Aesthetic
Aside from all the nostalgic TikTok videos and fashion trends, the Y2K aesthetic is also making a comeback in the graphic design industry. This aesthetic is characterized by its use of bright colors like bubblegum pink, gradients, geometric shapes, and images of items we’ve loved from the early 2000s such as flip phones, CDs, butterfly clips, digital cameras, and more.
If you’re thinking of using this aesthetic for your POD products, you can best showcase your Y2K art with items like phone cases, tote bags, notebooks, and clothes like cropped and off-shoulder tops which were popular during that time.
80s to 90s Vibes
Of course, the 80s to 90s vibes are also back with a vengeance. This is evident in the popularity of shows like Netflix’s Stranger Things and in the fashion trends we’ve seen on celebrities and influencers.
When it comes to graphic designs, the 80s and 90s vibes are shown especially through the use of risograph art style and Memphis designs. The former is more popularly used for album and gig posters because of its screen printing-like appearance. Meanwhile, the Memphis style is more characterized by the use of geometric patterns and colors, often in a contrasting manner.
Both aesthetics can be used for a variety of print on demand products such as shirts, posters, and even blankets or pillow covers. If you’re catering to a younger audience, you can also use these designs for creating aesthetic lockscreens or wallpapers which would remind them of your brand and products every time they look at their phone.
Playful and Whimsical Designs
Another popular aesthetic that’s been making the rounds lately is the playful and whimsical design. This is characterized by the use of light colors, soft gradients, and dreamy landscapes. Often, these designs also make use of adorable creatures like unicorns, mermaids, and fairies.
Of course, the holo or holographic design trend is still going strong and shows no signs of slowing down. This aesthetic makes use of iridescent colors and holographic effects to create an otherworldly look.
Aside from social media content, this design can also be perfect for your web pages such as your home page or product pages. This can help add a touch of fun and playfulness to your site while still maintaining a certain level of sophistication.
If you love to incorporate texts or quotes in your shirt or other merch designs, then the typography-focused design trend is perfect for you. This aesthetic makes use of different fonts and typefaces to create interesting and eye-catching designs. Many graphic artists nowadays also add a playful spin to their typography-focused designs by making the first letter of each word larger than the rest or by replacing some letters with relevant icons or elements.
The Fusion of 2D and 3D
Combining 2D and 3D art has also become a popular design trend in recent years. This is done by adding a third dimension to traditionally flat illustrations or by simply putting together two separate pieces of 2D and 3D art. This fusion can add an interesting and unexpected twist to your designs, making them more eye-catching and attention-grabbing.
Designs that follow this trend are often used in posters and Canva slides or presentations but they can also be perfect for your digital pubmats, cover photo or banners, and even your website’s header image.
Class and Minimalist Designs
While the more colorful and lively designs are certainly having their moment, that doesn’t mean that the classic and minimalist designs have fallen out of favor. In fact, many graphic artists have been creating stunning minimalist designs that still manage to capture attention and interest.
Also a blast from the past, art deco designs have been making a comeback in recent years. This design style is characterized by its use of geometric shapes and patterns that create a sense of movement. Art deco designs often make use of bold colors and can be used to create both vintage-inspired and modern-looking designs.
This type of design can look great especially on minimalist yet stylish products such as tees with a short and simple quote or message. You can also use this for your home and living products like wine holders and coasters.
Of course when talking about minimalist designs, we can’t forget about the Japanese-inspired aesthetic. This is characterized by the use of clean lines and simple shapes that create a sense of tranquility. Often, Japanese-inspired designs make use of natural elements like bamboo or cherry blossoms, along with bright yet subtly sophisticated colors.
This type of design can look great on a wide range of products but is especially perfect for your travel-related items such as passport holders, luggage tags, and of course, canvas tote bags.
Nudes and Neutrals
Nudes and neutrals are also not going anywhere anytime soon. Designs that make use of these colors along with subtle and sophisticated patterns are still popular especially amongst content creators and online sellers in the beauty, skincare, and lifestyle niches.
This type of design can be perfect for your social media posts and even for your website’s banners or ads. You can also use this for your packaging design if you want to give off a more premium and high-end look.
Designs of the Anti-design
Of course, there’s always the opposite of popular design trends and that’s what the “anti-design” is all about. This trend is characterized by its raw, unfinished, and almost chaotic look. This type of design is often used to make a statement or to create a sense of rebellion. You’ll often see this type of design on web pages and digital posters that look like collages or scrapbook pages with mismatched fonts and images.
This trend can be perfect for your edgier products such as statement shirts, pins, and patches. Plus, they can also be used for your digital content like IG mood boards or Pinterest pins.
How to Find the Right Design Trend for Your Brand
Alright, that’s quite a lot of design trends to choose from. So how do you now know which ones will work best for your brand? Well, here are few things you might want to consider doing:
Get to Know Your Current Audience Better
While you’ve known your target market right from day one, it wouldn’t hurt to get to know them even more and do a little “vibe check”. After all, your target market might have changed or shifted a little over time and you want to make sure that your designs still appeal to them.
You can do this by conducting surveys, sending out questionnaires, or simply interacting with them more on social media. Aside from their basic demographics, you should also find out more about their interests by looking into the content they consume, the brands they follow, and the people they look up to.
Define Your Purpose and Tones
Before picking a certain design trend, determine the purpose of the content or product first. Are you trying to promote a new product? Are you trying to increase brand awareness? Or are you simply trying to show off your brand’s personality? Once you’ve determined the purpose, you can then start to narrow down your design options.
And of course, don’t forget to also consider the tone of your designs. Do you want something that’s light and fun? Or do you prefer something that’s more serious and down to business?
Look for Trends That Compliment Your Aesthetic
Every brand has a specific look and feel its supporters can easily recognize. And while it’s great to refresh or update your designs from time to time, you still want to make sure that it compliments your brand’s overall aesthetic so you won’t lose your identity.
When in doubt, always go back to your brand’s core values and mission statement. These can help guide you in making sure that your designs align with what your brand is all about.
Choose a Flexible Trend That You Can Grow With
The sad truth is, design trends come and go. So if you want to make sure that your designs don’t become outdated too quickly, it’s always best to choose something that’s more timeless and flexible.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you should play it safe and go with designs that are too boring or generic. Just find a happy medium between something that’s trendy and something that’s too out-there. You can also launch limited edition products with more daring designs to test the waters first before fully committing to a new trend.
Of course, before you introduce any new design to your audience, you first need to create mockups or prototypes. This will give you a better idea of how the design will look like in real life and also help you spot any potential problems that need to be fixed.
You can do this by using our very own free mockup generator and ordering samples for yourself or for your team. This way, you can see for yourself if the design trend is really worth pursuing or if you need to go back to the drawing board.
Ready to Refresh Your Brand for 2022?
Having to constantly come up with new designs is a never-ending challenge, especially for print-on-demand businesses. But if you approach it the right way, it can also be a fun and exciting process that allows you to get creative and experiment with different looks.
Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas on which design trends you might want to try out for your new products and social media content this 2022! For more design inspos, online marketing tips, and other POD-related content, just subscribe to our newsletter or check out the Awkward Styles blog.