Graphic design trends shift like clouds on the breeze, like sunshine on the waves.
Great designs comment on the world we’re living. They also communicate what is unique and special about a brand. Graphic design trends are always changing because time never stands still.
Designer Neville Brody talks about the constantly-shifting field of digital graphic design.
“Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries.”
A designer’s job is never done. There’s always a new logo that needs to be designed or a new letterhead to be rolled out.
It’s important to look at graphic design examples as often as possible. Seeing inspirational graphic design ideas gives us an insight into current tastes and trends as well as cultural thoughts and imperatives.
Here are a few of our favorite graphic design examples to sharpen your nib and whet your tablet!
Great Graphic Design Examples
Like every kind of visual branding, what constitutes a brilliant graphic design example will vary from person to person. There are certain universal design guidelines, however. There are also infamous, influential designs that are hard to argue or ignore.
Milton Glaser – I Heart NY
If we’re going to look at great graphic design examples, we might as well start with the graphic design icon Milton Glaser. Few works of visual art are as immediately recognizable and memorable as Milton Glaser’s iconic “I Heart New York” design from 1977.
Glaser was commissioned to create a love letter to New York. It was based on a saying created by the advertising firm Wells Rich Greene. It’s a wonderful example of getting right to the point with a no-frills minimalist graphic design.
It’s also a good example of “working for exposure.” Milton Glaser created this design for free, expecting the design to last all of two weeks. Little did he realize it would become one of the most recognizable, longest-lasting icons of all time.
It’s also an example of why you should follow your instincts, as a designer. Milton Glaser drew this minimalist graphic design icon on the back of an envelope. All too often, your first thought is your best thought, especially when you’ve been looking at inspiring graphic design examples!
“Graphic Design Inspiration” On Pinterest
Next, we turn from the most well-known graphic design example of all time to some of the most overlooked. High-profile, expensive graphic design campaigns will always be a source of design inspiration, but you should never stop there. Even personal archives like Pinterest are overflowing with inspiring graphic design examples.
Spend some time browsing the phrase ‘Graphic Design Inspiration‘ on Pinterest. You’ll find plenty of resources and advice from professional designers.
More importantly, you’ll see what design lovers and enthusiasts are posting about. This gives you an even better understanding of current graphic design tastes and trends. This will help your graphic design be entirely fresh and current.
The earliest days of digital graphic design were an explosion of ideas, styles, and aesthetics. It’s the visual branding version of a Michael Bay film, with so many ideas in a fraction of a second it’s impossible to focus on a particular theme.
There’s been a seismic shift in graphic design as designers are refining their approach to digital tools and becoming masters of delivering branded visual content. Subtlety is back, in a big way, as we can see from the work of W + K Amersterdam’s for Scotland’s women soccer team Moonpig rebranding.
This simple redesign does more with color and typography than a cartoon mascot or animated GIFs ever could. It communicates what is unique about Moonpig without shouting in your face. It makes you want to lean in and learn more.
Minimalist graphic design icons like this Moonpig graphic design example show us that less is often more. This is going to be increasingly true as more brands continue to struggle to get seen and heard in crowded digital marketplaces.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll be designing for only one platform or medium in 2018, especially if you work on the Internet in any capacity. Instead, your visual assets will likely be used across a dizzying array of different digital platforms and devices.
You cannot let the social media networks optimize your content for you. Twitter and Facebook will chop and crop the sides of your photos. Instagram reduces everything to a simple square.
Poorly-configured graphics are always a no-no when you’re creating a visual brand. They can be the kiss of death for visual-heavy networks like Instagram.
Take some time to learn the dimensions of the standard visual real estate. These include banners and header images. Create templates for the networks you’ll be using most often and use them to create cohesive branded content.
Pro Tip: The standard size for an Instagram image is 640 x 640.
True design obsessives wait with bated for the announcement of the Pantone Color Of The Year. Few graphic design examples are influential or as telling as the Color Of The Year. It’s a window into where designers’ heads are at as well as the most influential cultural ideas of the moment.
This year, designers are emphasizing innovation and imagination, which is captured in the vibrant UltraViolet. Look at the prevalence of light purple in the visual branding for Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time, and you’ll get a sense of how prescient Pantone is.
Last year’s Greenery illustrated environmental concerns and a longing for a return to simpler times. 2016’s dualistic Rose Quartz and Serenity were the perfect embodiment of that year’s redefinition of sexuality and gender.
Looking at graphic design examples keeps you abreast of the movers and the shakers in the industry. It also makes creating relevant, timely graphic design as instinctual as breathing.
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