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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

19 Eye-Catching Graphic Design Trends for 2018


Graphic design seems to be a skillset that will never go out of demand and is increasingly becoming a learnable field by the technically untrained designer. From small business owners to authors, more and more entrepreneurs are turning to graphic design as a way of learning a new skill for their personal edification, or to save costs in their business. Here are 19 trends that were huge this year, and show no signs of stopping going into 2019:

Creative typography

When it comes to branding or titling, one of the first things to meet the eye is the message. What is a brand, a title, or an advertisement saying? This year, graphic designers took this to a new level by getting creative with typography and fonts. Some trends showed creative effects, like pouring paint over letters, words that look like bent silverware, dual color schemes, and more. Additionally, cropped typography, where certain parts of letters are erased but the word remains readable and clear, remained popular. Book covers seemed to favor chaotic typography, where letters were misaligned or manipulated into arcs or curves or other strange shapes.

Negative space

This is a popular trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Simply, an empty space in a design that forms a certain shape is considered a negative space design. Designs of a wide variety utilize this popular graphic design technique, as it's versatile, endlessly creative, and frankly, super cool to look at. Along with negative space designs, an emerging and increasingly popular trend is negative space typography. Reference the covers for A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald or Mamita by Inez van Oort and Mirjam Bleeker.

Double exposure

What's better than one awesome image? How about two? Double exposure is not a new technique in photography, film, or graphic design, but has ebbed and flowed in popularity over the years. Luckily, it's flowing again, and designers are creating ultra-cool images using this technique, which is simply combining two exposures of an image or images, and creating a single image from them. Check out this example.


An easy way to brush up a photo or logo is the relatively simple technique of duotone, where the image has just two predominant colors. A red or blue color is overlaid on a grayscale image to produce this effect.

Double exposure duotone

Combining the two aforementioned techniques into one produces an uber-modern, futuristic effect. Two images, either the same one doubled or two different images are layered in monochrome colors. The resulting effects are striking, especially when combined with one of the typography trends mentioned above. The poster for the film Flatliners makes excellent use of this.

Double light

In the same vein as double the pleasure, double the fun, double light has been trending heavily. Color channels are split around a single image and layered together to create a modern, trendy, retro feel to a photo. This lends itself well to fashion. Band photos are known to make use of this technique, also. With the right color scheme, it works well to create an interesting sci-fi feel to an image, too.

Glitch effect

Do you remember back in the day when TV sets (yeah, sets) had little antennas on them, and when they got disturbed or so much as one drop of rain fell from the sky, the picture would go glitchy and weird? That has translated into some of the most interesting graphic design effects on this trends list. With the advent of digital images, this effect is no longer an annoyance, but something that can create a truly interesting piece of art.

Ruined effect

Another effect that creates a disturbance in an image is the ruined effect. This particular technique creates some of the most interesting and unique images you can find today. Splashing, tearing, slashing, breaking, layering—it's all fair game with this technique. And if you can layer in different textures, colors, and patterns, even better. Photos can look like cut-out collages of the nineties. You remember your dream board, don't you?

One-color 3D design

What good is design technology without making use of 3D effects? The one-color 3D design technique uses the same color as the featured image in the background. Sounds plain, but it actually helps enhance the featured image and makes it pop. Dimension, shadow, and texture all help to create the separation of the image from the background, and done masterfully, creates a pleasing, eye-catching image that works well with advertisement.

Colorful 3D substance

One of the top crazes in the graphic design field is combining bright colors and textures in a 3D environment. Images take on new dimension, texture, and shape in unique and utterly beautiful ways. This technique lends itself well to just about any feasible concept—movie posters, book covers, science imagery, food, and especially art.

Digital handwork

This seems like a step backward as far as design advancements go, but combining digital graphic design technology is actually an on-the-rise trend. Where Photoshop paintbrushes once took center stage, hand drawings can now be converted to a digital space, where unique effects—such as the ones on this list—can be added for extra artistic enhancements.

Illustrations and digital drawing

Specifically, layering an illustration over or under an image. Remember that 1980s music video "Take On Me" by A-Ha, where the animated guy followed the real woman? Back then, everyone's minds were blown at the combination of the real and the animated, but now, the two worlds are meeting more often than ever, and in far more lush colors and settings than just black and white.

Bright color gradient

Color gradients aren't necessarily anything new, but they remain a popular technique used widely in graphic design. Depending on the color scheme, different moods can be created—dark, childlike, ethereal. Two-tone gradients are also growing increasingly popular.

Metallic elements

Nothing says luxe like a bit of gold! Or silver, or bronze, or rose gold. When added to regular photos or images, metallic elements add a certain pop that results in, at least, a beautiful image, or, at best, a stunning, jaw-dropping visual. The light-reflective metallic adds dimension to any image. This technique can be used in successful combination with most of the other techniques on this list to create a unique image.


The adage "less is more" applies here. Though trends tend to favor fancy graphics, clever design tricks, and eye-popping colors, it's rare that anything beats good, old-fashioned minimalism. This is especially useful with sales—advertisements, book covers, posters. Minimal designs get the message across quickly, with stark colors, clean lines, plenty of white space and a minimum of text. Clean, concise, and clear will always rise above complex graphics and loud colors.


There was a time when words weren't enough to convey feelings—we needed emoticons. Then emoticons evolved into emojis. Then the advent of memes exploded, combining image and text for a variety of situations and moments. Then, the moving meme, or GIF, emerged. GIFs, or rather, the concept behind them, can lend itself in a fresh and innovative way to logos, branding, and other design concepts to be used on a variety of platforms like websites, social media, newsletters, and more. Check out this site on how to animate the Google logo.


If the name of this design technique sounds imposing, its images are, too. It's basically exactly what it sounds like—bold, simple colors, straightforward typeface, low effects, in-your-face messaging. It's the antithesis to the artistry that automatically accompanies the phrase "graphic design," but that doesn't mean it's any less effect. Like minimalism, the "less is more" ideal applies here, too, and while a bit riskier than minimalism—some viewers and consumers may be turned off by the colors and typeface—it's no less effective. It's been called the "punk rock" of the web, and it might just be the punk rock of graphic design, too.

3D still lifes

The use of 3D has grown over the last few years, and designers are finding new and innovative ways to harness this effect. One such way also happens to be one of the coolest graphic design trends, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Textures, effects, and depth all contribute to incredible images that make the viewer think it had to be a photo taken in real life. The possibilities with this technique are endless, and can be used for a variety of concepts. It seems to work especially well with fashion and home décor/design. It can also make for a stunning visual piece for your apartment wall, too. Have a look at some awesome renditions here.

Isometric projection

For super-cool, futuristic effects, isometric projection is a technique quickly growing in popularity. It presents 3D objects in 2D, and when combined with gradient colors, bright colors, and different uses of filters and hue/saturation to create depth, the results are often breathtaking. Used across photography, digital design, illustration, and more, the effect of the images can vary, but the results are the same—evocative and awesome to look at.

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