Graphic Design Trends to Avoid: 6 Cautionary Tips

Posted on December 12, 2022 | Updated on May 9, 2023

One of the essential parts of a great graphic design is keeping things timeless. Many brands will update their logos to keep up with modern trends, which can help their visual appeal, but can receive backlash from their consumers. People don’t like change, so coming up with an excellent design from the get-go could help business. However, doing so entails knowing the graphic design trends to avoid.

What’s popular will naturally influence many people — after all, humans are incredibly social creatures. Companies also want to keep up with the styles of the younger generations. But these well-known design elements can either cause a design to age quickly or impact its lasting potential. Here are six current aspects graphic designers may want to pass up on their next project.

1. Bright Colors

Some brands may want to stand out from the potentially plainer tones of their competitors. Neutral colors are seemingly permanent aspects of interior design, which also makes them popular for graphics. Because of this, it may seem tempting to create a bold and flashy piece to stand out from the others. But, this can have some ramifications.

Bright colors are very striking to the eye. Some people might find looking at a design with many such tones too uncomfortable to look at. Additionally, it could turn off an older audience who is looking for a more mature brand. Overall, using more saturated hues could alienate multiple demographics of possible consumers.

Graphic designers may also find the colors clash with the text. Any piece that needs to convey information doesn’t mesh well with bright shades because the brain struggles to process the text and bold tones. Therefore, including a lot of bright colors isn’t often the best practice. Instead, try sticking to a cohesive palette and having a decent amount of white space.

2. Intricate Designs

A goal every business wants to accomplish is to be unique. Therefore, many want very detailed designs so they’ll be more memorable to the public. While maximalism is not a new idea, it has become very popular with Generation Z during the COVID-19 pandemic. Intricate logos on informational websites and graphics can be very eye-catching, but often for the wrong reasons.

Having a piece with too many elements can be incredibly distracting. Readers don’t know where to look, making them miss what they were supposed to take in most of the time. They may remember the design, but probably only because it overwhelmed their senses so much that it was striking. Much like bright colors, a detailed and busy project can cause specific audiences to become uninterested in a brand.

Intricate designs also don’t come off as sophisticated as less-cluttered designs. The lack of organization can make people lose focus on the details of what they’re looking at. A company will want to have a piece that is both unique and pleasing to the eye. During the creative process, having multiple people look at a design and ask what they took away from it could be helpful.

3. Multiple Typographies

Having various fonts on a design can be one way to create a hierarchy of information. By choosing a few different ones for different text, the brain separates what it’s reading. Doing so could help people distinguish the material they’re seeing, but it could also have some adverse effects on readability.

Like with intricate designs, having varied typography can quickly become far too chaotic. Someone looking at the piece or website will likely find all the fonts confusing to look at. Random elements could seem more important than others and easily confuse the message. Overall, using a bunch of fonts can weaken a business’ message rather than strengthen it.

All the brain power required to read the typographies makes people less able to process what they’re reading. Luckily, there’s an easy way to remedy this graphic design trend to avoid. Instead of choosing multiple typographies, stick to two — possibly three, but this may be pushing it — to differentiate between headlines and body text.

4. Asymmetrical Layouts

Having an unbalanced design can be very appealing, but only in the right situations. These can be very eye catching because they break the rules. People expect symmetry, so shaking up the status quo can be enticing. But they’re best used in certain circumstances.

Because asymmetrical layouts are visual heavy, they draw the focus to the design and not the content. For brands that are trying to convey something important, eliminating balance can confuse their message. It also makes consumers come to expect the asymmetry, which could quickly become overdone and tacky.

They may also not work well for website design. People want to find information quickly on the internet and a fancy layout may make them skip to a more straightforward page. The best way to use asymmetrical design is with more visual-focused brands. Additionally, using them sparingly can create an exciting yet balanced project.

5. Calligraphy Fonts

In today’s hectic world, many people are seeking comfort. Handwritten calligraphy fonts offer a sense of hominess and humanity that is usually missing from larger companies. Thus, they have become trendy for graphic designs in artwork, social media posts, home decor and small businesses. But it’s essential to use a discerning eye when choosing these fonts.

Calligraphy fonts can be very hard to read. Right now, just 21 American school curriculums require teaching cursive, making the writing style a fading art. Because of this, fewer people know how to even read cursive. Also, some types can be hard to read for even those who write cursive.

Certain types of handwritten calligraphy fonts are too artistic for easy reading. They may also write letters incorrectly, which can lead to some funny misreadings by people who don’t know what it’s supposed to say. Like with intricate designs, asking a few others to take a look at the project can ensure it’s easy to comprehend and process.

6. Gradients

Apps like Tinder and Instagram have popularized gradients. They let brands utilize multiple colors without being too distracting. These designs also tend to be softer, allowing businesses to still use bold colors without being too abrasive. But they, too, require a gentle hand to incorporate properly.

A piece can get extremely busy when a designer uses gradients with multiple typeface elements. Once again, these distract the reader and force them to analyze what they’re looking at rather than read it. Gradients can be very tasteful, but they can be quite disruptive as well.

When graphic designers want to use a gradient, they should do so with plainer design elements. Combining multiple colors, less-artistic font and white space helps the piece remain beautiful and readable. Balance is key, so going the opposite way and using a fainter gradient to account for bolder typography and art is also best practice.

Keep an Eye on These Graphic Design Trends to Avoid

Creating timeless designs is a vital part of being a graphic designer. Those who can make projects that are gorgeous and fully convey the brand’s message may likely find more work from clients. In order to do so, remember these six graphic design trends to avoid and consider incorporating them with caution.

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