Each year, we speak to the global community of freelance creators working on 99designs by Vista to get their predictions for the design trends set to dominate in the year to come.
And as we set our hopeful sights on 2022 for the fresh start that this year perhaps didn’t quite deliver, our collective pent up creative energy is starting to unleash interesting ways.
While some of us have searched for comfort in the pre-pandemic past, others have sought out experimentation, adventure and rebellion. As a result, the design trends shaping up to be influential in 2022 are a complementary marriage of the old and the new, the familiar and the unknown.
Making the past the future
While the 80s have certainly had their time in the sun (again) in recent years, the retro revival has now firmly entered the next decade. 90s nostalgia is well and truly back, delivering a sense of comfort and familiarity with bright colors and busy patterns, classic emojis and dated internet frames reminiscent of an era dominated by a young cyber culture. These nostalgic design elements are playful, simple and reminiscent of childhood memories that subconsciously alleviate some of the heaviness and overwhelm of the last year.Credit: Iconic Graphics on 99designs by Vista
And that’s not the only early millennium style we’re seeing taking hold. You may recall pre-2000, that the world was concerned that it was doomed to be destroyed by technology when the clock struck 12:00am on 1 January 2000. When that proved to not be the case, design reflected the optimism that anything is possible and once again, this hopefulness for what lays ahead has seen the Y2K aesthetic hurtle back into popular culture. Using unpolished interfaces, low poly CGI, bubblegum pinks, blue and iridescent colors, just like the back of old CD-roms, these kitschy designs are full of endearing and innocent nostalgia.
By TikaDesign on 99designs by Vista
But these old-school-cool vibes aren’t the only trends coming back from the early internet age. The ‘Frasurbane’ style, named after the 90’s American sitcom Frasier and the word “urbane”, is 2022’s version of minimalism, featuring muted colors, carefully arranged design elements and simple, sophisticated serifs. It may be less visually exciting or in-you-face than other styles of its time, but when done right, it feels endearing and sophisticated, striving to be both adult and maintaining an element of youthfulness.
Image credit: Terrapi
Finding light at the end of the tunnel
To combat the dreariness of 2021, graphic designers are increasingly inserting brightness and their own personality into their work. In 2022, we’ll see that manifesting in bright rounded graphics and bubble-like lettering, inflated with elongated forms and psychedelic colors to create designs that are friendly and joyful. Irrepressibly positive, circular shapes are effective methods of conveying friendliness and this extreme bubble design trend manages to feel mature with a hint of childishness – just the kind of vitality-infused fun most of us need right now.
Credit: sasha a. on 99designs by Vista
Also capturing that child-like essence, we’re seeing an increasing number of designs featuring hand-drawn style doodles giving an uninhibited glimpse into the abstract mindscape of the designer. Daydream …….