Roll into the 20’s with these key illustration trends

As the old adage goes, the only thing constant is change. Design and illustration trends are constantly evolving, and every era can be identified by its most used fonts, graphic designs, decor, and illustration styles. Some styles that reigned supreme in 2008 might look woefully dated in 2020, which is why keeping up with trends is key for remaining current.

Increasingly, businesses rely on their visual identity to sell more products and to create brand affinity. Brands use imagery to spark emotion, and illustrations are perhaps one of the best art forms to evoke feeling in among their audience. In order for brands, organizations, and publishers to make as much impact as they can, they must take note of current illustration trends – a simple image or motion graphic could make all the difference in the world.

Illustrations along with other visuals are crucial for brand identity and user experience. Here are some of the illustration styles that will be likely define what 2020 looks like.


Okay, maximalism a somewhat unofficial term. Call it detailed, ornate, or intricate; anything but minimal. The minimalist aesthetic monopolized the 2010’s, and while it absolutely still has its place, the 2020’s will be influenced by the 1920’s with more ornate and detailed illustrations. Improved technology is also helping illustrators create highly-detailed and realistic imagery that will be rich and interesting to look at. Illustrations may still have a clean feel, but with more luxurious flourishes.

Beauty is in the details. Expect to see more intricate designs in 2020, and some art decor revival.

Illustration/JiYeun Kang

Vintage styles

While technology is enabling futuristic 3D illustrations and eye-catching motion graphics, people still respond well to styles from bygone decades. Hand-drawn illustrations provide an authentic feel, and certain vintage styles provide a sense of nostalgia that will still be relevant in 2020. Our lives might be high-tech, but our eyes still light up to styles that evoke a romanticized past. 

Illustration/ Miguel Monkc


Motion graphics 

Advertisers and other media will be stepping up their illustration game in 2020 with animated illustration – or motion graphics. Animation breathes life into illustrations – giving them more impact and often, more personality. An increasing number of illustrators are becoming skilled in animation because of the insatiable need for new, exciting gifs and other kinds of moving images that liven up our digital lives.

A motion graphics artist may animate characters, shapes, text, or even simple lines; the technology behind creating seamless movements is becoming more sophisticated every year.

In this new decade, animated illustrations will combine with filmed video and even photography for a captivating visual experience. 

Caption: Hailing from Barcelona, The Others Studio combine motion graphics with other media in ultra progressive ways.


Gradient tones

Often called “colour transitions”, a gradient is the fade from one colour to another, giving a sunset-like, hazy kind of effect. Gradients have been widely used by illustrators and designers over the past few years, and the trend doesn’t seem to be waning. Going into the 2020’s, gradient tones will be used in new ways to make logos, illustrations, and packaging more interesting. Even various elements as part of UX designs will use gradients for an appealing user experience.

Kotynski’s beautiful use of gradient colour. 


Illustrations that challenge gender/racial stereotypes

Any organization or business that wants to succeed in today’s society must absolutely promote gender equality and diversity in its marketing. Illustrations are a fantastic medium to communicate a company’s progressive values, particularly when it comes to race and gender. Illustrations have the ability to depict gender-neutral or race-ambiguous people in beautiful ways. Illustrators can help brands convey their inclusive values by creating characters that perfectly espouse the company ethos. By creating art that is both aesthetically pleasing and all-inclusive, companies can avoid alienating a potential target market, as well as appear forward-thinking. In 2020, expect marketers to portray a variety of races and body types with illustrations.

With illustration, entire worlds can be imagined – idealistic worlds where are all shapes, sizes, ages, and races are equal. 

Illustration/ Mai Ly Degnan


We’re officially in the roaring 20’s again, and we can hope this decade will be roaring with spectacular designs! What we know for sure: There’s no end to creativity and innovation in the arts. Our eyes are constantly thirsty for novelty, and creativity is a well that never seems to run dry.