Top 10 Design Trends

Top 10 Design Trends

At Norr and Echo, we like to stay on top of what’s happening in the digital and design world. We’d like to share with you our findings and insights for the upcoming year. From futuristic media to a 50s throwback, our list comprises of all aspects of design, including colours, typography, illustrations and more. We hope to inspire your brand goals as a business leader and challenge your work as a designer. Let’s hop right into the top 10 design trends of 2020!

Summary: The Top 10 Design Trends

  • Futuristic Cyberpunk
  • Bauhaus vs Brutalism
  • Monochrome and Muted Colours
  • Bold Typography
  • Illustrations – Isometric and Line
  • Mixed Media
  • Modernized Retro
  • Fluid vs Geometric Shapes
  • Textured 3D Design
  • Motion Design & Short Videos

1. Futuristic Cyberpunk

Our number one trend may seem slightly out of this world, and perhaps that’s exactly what it is. Think of neon colours, metallic textures, dystopian vibes and abstract designs and you get an interesting combination of cyberpunk with futuristic elements. With technology changing by the minute, and Augmented Reality becoming increasingly common among the masses, it’s no surprise that design has taken on the inspiration with a technical vibe, with the inclusion of robotics, mathematical and planetary imagery.

This is the opportunity to fantasise about what the world could look like, whilst twisting and turning it into a collage of futuristic and celestial compounds. Add scribbles and bold colours, and you’ve got yourself an “out-of-this-world” experience, figuratively speaking.

2. Bauhaus vs Brutalism Design Trends

While both Bauhaus and Brutalism initially emerged as architectural types back in the day, both styles have been adapted into the digital and graphic design world. As polar opposites, Bauhaus is understated, relying on minimalism at its finest.

Brutalism Trend Website Design

Alternatively, brutalism is the exact opposite, encompassing a brutal, unpolished look as raw as they come. Brutalism challenges designers to create bold visuals that perhaps don’t typically make “sense”.

3. Monochrome and Muted Colours

In contrast to 2016’s Pantone Colour featuring the duo blue and pink, 2020 has taken its own spin on colours. We have been seeing the minimalism design trends of using black and white across websites and graphic design over the years. This year, the monochrome trend remains, but with an even simpler tone. This trend features the addition of colour; designs based on various shades and hues of one bold colour. This trend can be used anywhere, from product design to website UX and beyond.

muted colours

Along with the monochrome trend, muted colours have made a comeback. Perhaps these colours have been influenced directly by the Modernised Retro trend mentioned further down below. Soft, muted colours that are earthy and organic, make a statement among the bold, contrasting colours seen online.

Muted Colours Website

4. Bold Typography

While many may assume that design only includes colour and shapes, they couldn’t be more wrong. Design is a broad term to begin with, but when talking about the top design trends, we can’t exclude typography. This year’s trend is BIGGER AND BOLDER! Literally.

Large monograms, and text cut-off or with reflective effects, have been trending across digital platforms on websites and social media. These effects don’t stop there. Designers are using the large typography to add additional decorative designs around the letters and words. This trend in 2020 will be seen both online and offline, including packaging, business cards, posters and fashion.

5. Illustrations – Isometric and Line

Illustrations have been used for decades in various forms; however, their goal is to present information in a visual format. Conveying the right message to the right audience has always been at the forefront of any designer. We’re seeing a number of companies in Malta using customised illustrations across their social media platforms. Being in possession of a specific illustrative style has been an important step for brands and their image.

isometric design trend

When talking about isometric design, we’re essentially talking about a mid-way ground between 2D illustration and 3D design. In fact, they are commonly known as 3D illustrations. With the addition of highlights and shadows and specific angling, isometric designs provide a realistic effect. They may be used on websites, social media content, info-graphics, and even presentations.

In comparison to isometric illustrations, another trend that is currently peaking is line illustration. The most simplified designs allow designers to convey a message clearly without the distraction of details. These designs may take the form of hand-drawings, outlined shapes and possibly, sketches.

line illustration

6. Mixed Media Compositions


Copy, paste and overlay – that’s the motto for mixed media compositions. Combining illustrations, geometric shapes and photography is a trend many are adopting. This trend has long been experimented with however, this year we’ll be seeing the inclusion of 3D design and typography too. This approach can be used for team photos on websites, product illustrations and as interactive landing pages on websites. 

7. Modernized Retro Trend

Oh My Retro! Muted colours and curve-infused typefaces – you know Retro when you see it. A major throwback to the vintage 1950s, this design trend gives praise to a very specific type of graphic design. In 2020, we’ll be seeing it across all types of designs including in 3D animations, illustrations, typography, architecture and fashion.

8. Fluid vs Geometric Shapes

Design is all about lines and curves, and the development of this basic rule has arrived at geometric shapes. Using inspiration from mathematics, science and astronomy, geometric shapes can be found in all forms of basic shapes. Triangles, squares and rectangles are just some that can be used. In addition, while these shapes may be simple, they take a lot of effort and precision to be placed. Specific angles, rotations and distancing are all important factors to consider to give the right brand message.

On the contrary, fluid shapes are the opposite, taking on the shape and texture of liquid forms in motion. When used in conjunction, they offer a dual effect of harsh and soft dimensions. Different opacity and colour gradients may be used for an additional punch.

9. Textured 3D Design

Textures have long been an interest in the design field with variations of velvet, metallic, marble and felt materials. Over the past couple of years this was seen in logo design, social media content and product packaging, amongst others. Interestingly enough, the use of texture in design has evolved and developed into increasingly realistic elements, specifically in 3D design.

Textured 3d design

The introduction of zero gravity 3D design with texture has, in addition, provided a creative illusion through the use of organic and abstract shapes. These shapes float with their textures moving along with them. When in motion, it provides an interesting effect; a balance between the realistic and imaginary world. This can be seen when imaginary characters and abstract objects feature textures of fur, plastic, glass, metal and liquid.

10. Motion Design & Short Videos

Following textured 3D design, along with its new zero gravity trend, we’ve now reached motion design.

the maker creative type

This year, designers are reaching new heights in their work. With the concoction of illustration, textures, fluid and geometric shapes, 3D design, and video, we find ourselves inspired by organic forms and nature. Slow-moving shapes with realistic textures truly captivate and engage audiences on websites and social media.

Additionally, GIFs and TikTok videos are nowhere to being done. In fact, short videos are trending more than ever across social media platforms, and could also be used on websites if placed strategically, with a goal in mind. With research stating that it takes approximately 10-15 seconds to make an impression on a user, these short videos can definitely yield results to prospective clients. Digital Marketing has never been as necessary as now. Short videos can be used to spread brand awareness, convert clients, increase engagement and share information.

The 2020 Design Trends Finale

We hope this list of the top 10 design trends in 2020 can arouse some inspiration within you. Whether you’re seeking to use these options in your own content, or simply want to update yourself on what’s going on, know that your options are limitless. Trends are here as a guideline, but never as a box to confine to. Experimenting and learning something new every day will always be our top priority. Which design trends are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Thanks and credit goes to the following websites for the images and trend forecasting:
depositphotos, siteinspire, fjord, adobe create, behance, unsplash, rawpixel, brutalistwebsites