2020’s Emerging Design Trends

Two developers collaborating together.

Articulating ideas in a dynamic, powerful visual format is often a challenging journey for both creators and users. Whether it’s overcoming shorter attention spans of younger generations or untangling hidden symbolism represented through brand features, pinpointing an exact “science” behind the compelling graphic design is a tricky puzzle to solve.

Despite this complexity, brilliant concepts will emerge.

What brings hope and optimism is the ascension of Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) to greater heights seemingly by the year. With its revenues surging by almost 25% in fiscal 2019, and stock value rising by over 45% in that same span, Adobe’s creative enterprise software solutions continue to be a force in transforming design possibilities. CEO Shantanu Narayen cited an “explosion in creativity across the globe” as a primary indicator of the company’s growth. Adobe’s jaw-dropping momentum is tangible proof of modern design’s limitless ceiling.

With Adobe’s renaissance hinting at even more design potential on the horizon, these trends are worth monitoring as the new decade materializes.


The profound impact of minimalist design has certainly been felt regardless of era, but the trend will especially loom large in the 2020s too. Minimalism is all about stripping a product or subject down to bare necessities, showcasing only its core elements. The practice intends to emphasize the functionality of products or services while also elevating aesthetics. Less is more, and the user will resonate.

No one has accentuated the popularity of minimalism quite like fashion kingpin Virgil Abloh (Artistic Director at Louis Vuitton Men’s), whose “Off-White™️” brand exists at the intersection of minimalism and glamour, taking the design (and fashion) world by storm in just a short period of time. Abloh has leveraged the influence of “Off-White™️,” which spawned in 2012 and has amassed over 9 million Instagram followers, to engineer several high-profile product collaborations with brands including Nike, IKEA and Evian.

Although rooted in fundamentals and basics, minimalism is a larger-than-life design practice that’s taking iconic global brands and consumers along for the ride.

Futuristic Color Schemes

Because of the aforementioned diminishing attention spans of younger audiences, brands and creators will rely on brighter, bolder color features that more meaningfully differentiate products or services and have a propensity to generate palpable recall from users. Futuristic color schemes are meant to energize users through the creation of surreal visual experiences that make an immediate impression on the eyes. This design trend has been heavily pioneered by the late great Andy Warhol, an early adopter of non-traditional color palettes, particularly in the late 1960s.

Lollapalooza’s brand identity and marketing/promotional strategy, now a global phenomenon, has long been characterized by radiant color schemes that are uniquely memorable to its audience. As the 2020s pave way for even more challenger brands in retail or entertainment categories, it’s important for designers to recognize the advantages of futuristic color schemes that immediately capture attention.

Street Art Styles

Inspired by talented, internationally-acclaimed artists like Banksy and carefully finessed by renowned global brands, street art design styles are taking off with a bang. There are even generational street art heavyweights finally earning the praise they deserve in 2020. The accessibility of this style can be attributed to design programs like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, which allow street art techniques to be easily adopted by both beginners and experts.

Like minimalism, street art also has deep creative ties to the world of fashion and merchandise, evident (and vibrant) in the beloved Blue The Great’s coming-of-age collaboration with streetwear powerhouse The Hundreds. Users are gravitating toward its retro appeal, and the style is bringing life to new possibilities for designers, some of whom wish to reflect cultural snapshots in a way that’s abstract but closely mirroring reality. The subsequent storytelling is formidable.

The modern design landscape is as fluid as it is innovative, demanding adaptability to best practices in the space. Because strong design serves as a springboard for marketing & promotional success, relevant strategies should be prioritized with 2020 ushering in a new era of creative latitude. The results should be timeless with the ability to transcend generations. These aforementioned trends will define the new decade and, perhaps, beyond.