A trend is a general term used for things, habits, styles, and movements that are popular at a certain point in time. It’s the direction in which something is developing towards or what the current preference is. In the world of design, trends come and go, but once in a while, something truly unexpected comes along. Following our previous articles Exciting Branding & Packaging Design Trends We’re Expecting To See On The Rise In 2023 and The Most Weird & Wonderful Typography Trends We’re Expecting To Take Off This Year in which we predict the up-and-coming trends in branding, packaging, and typography, we’re now we’re turning out telescopes towards illustration, and the trending styles we’re expecting to see on the rise in 2023 – some of which might be already familiar from the past, but others, surprisingly new and unexpected.
What we’re expecting to see growing in popularity this year is some of the more unique, niche illustration styles. The long-lasting era of flat design is showing signs of slowing down and being overtaken by a number of smaller genres that add character and diversity to the field. Among the growing trends we’re seeing are Mysticism, Risograph & Grainy Textures, Retro Line-Art, Metaverse & AI-inspired, and Rebellious Punk, for which you can see examples below.
As the world around us seems to take a turn to crazier each year, we’re seeking more grounding experiences in our everyday lives. Interest in astrology and spiritual themes is on the rise, and along comes the visual world of mysticism and the iconography to match it. Symbolism, sacred geometry, celestial themes, and botanical drawings, matched with earthy, muted tones, round and soft forms, and stylized typography, characterize this trend to the tee.
Risograph & Grainy Textures
The risograph printing technique developed in Japan back in the ’80s is known for its very unique look of lightly grainy texture and unintentional double exposure. Now, this look is being replicated in digital editing software as its vintage feel gives depth and character to more modern and minimal illustrations. It’s comparable to the early filters used in Instagram which mimicked the style of polaroids, but this time, we’re imitating printing visuals from the past. It’s the endless cycle between analog and digital.
Line-art illustrations have been popular for a few years now, but the trend seems to be more resilient than most. We’re anticipating for line art to go through a shapeshifting period, rather than simply dwindling, as the commonly seen minimal botanical themes and motifs are being superseded by new themes, which are more comical, hand-drawn, and detailed than previously. Almost doodle-like, line-art minimalism feels fresh again.
Metaverse & AI-Inspired
You can say and think what you want about the development and growth of AI technologies, but the visual world of surrealism that comes with it is intriguing, and a welcome new trend in our world. The digital world mixing with our own creates endless possibilities, as it combines the familiar with the imaginary. Airbrushed textures, rendered 3D characters, and simulated landscapes – give birth to a new kind of psychedelia that can only be created in illustration.
Punk is all about rebellious spirit and anti-establishment, as it was born outside the mainstream on the fringes of society. So the growing trend of the visual style, especially in marketing materials such as branding and packaging, feels like somewhat of an oxymoron. But if we can get over that little hiccup, it’s easy to understand its popularity as its trademark DIY feel that combines various techniques, styles, fonts, and visuals offers a burst of energy – even in it’s most messy form.