Graphic Design Trends of 2014

Posted by Olivia dela Rosa on October 06, 2014

If you are on social media these days – and honestly, which any self-respecting person with Internet access is not – then you would be getting a feel for what the current trends are in the graphic design industry. These trends translate to all media types, across web to fashion, even to industrial design. The influence of graphic design caters to a varied audience, expanding its impact not only to the creatives and enthusiasts but to the working class as well.

For 2014, design experts took some time to sit down, get the charts and list down the designs that truly appealed to us on and off-screen. By experts, we really mean is a graphic design and digital media blog, and it made a list of the graphic designs that are making the rounds this year through the help of trend forecast company Stylesight. We have also included our own entries to the list, from observing popular patterns and prints going on around the Web and on print. With that, let us break down that list.

Paisley Pop

The crooked teardrop pattern can be traced back to India and became more prominent during the ‘60s. According to Stylesight, paisley prints are often used as design inspirations this year. Taking cue from leading textile and surface design show Indigo, this trend translated across various design mediums, revolutionized by the studios with bold key lines, bright pops, gradients of colors and oversized scales. With all its variants, paisley print has been used as a connotation not only of ethnicity but also of Victorian opulence as well as gang affiliation and rebellion. 

Sightings according to Stylesight: 

paisley print example

“Sweet Hair Poster Show” poster by graphic designer Chelsea Brink and Jessica Hall Burns

paisley print iPhone case

Modern paisley motif iPhone 5 cover found on Zazzle

paisley print palazzo pants

Paisley printed palazzo pants by Flying Tomato


Pink paisley fabric

Pink paisley fabric by Timeless Treasures via Etsy

Other sightings: 

paisley print vans authentic sneaker

Vans Authentic Sneaker

paisley sacai jacket

Sacai jacket during Paris Fashion Week

Photographic Finish Packaging

Full color photographic prints are what define this trend and are mostly used in product packaging design. According to Stylesight, photographic packaging makes for high visual interest and impact on shelves. The borderless print design fills the whole packaging, giving a sense of transparency as to what the product is trying to offer. The vibrant hues also makes the packaging stand out from the rest, giving it a distinctive look.

Sightings according to Stylesight: 

van der hoog packaging

Dutch cosmetics brand, Dr. van der Hoog designed by nu:amsterdam

koggi packaging by luko designs

Koggi packaging designed by Luko Designs

colores santos packaging by ancla studio

Colores Santos packaging designed by Ancla Studio

Other sightings: 

R+Co haircare packaging design

R+Co. haircare products 

limited edition Coca Cola in Brazil

Limited edition Coca Cola products in Brazil

Cava sparkling wine

Cava Sparkling Wine

Vita Premium Juices packaging design

Vita Premium Juices 

Superfoods collection packaging

Superfoods collection

Pixel Play

Also referred to as 8-bit design or analog art, pixel art is sometimes used to embody nostalgia, giving reference to old videogames that we used to play, but has then been translated and integrated into modern designs.

Sightings according to Stylesight: 

The Basics designed by Mouse Graphics

The Basics cleansing foam packaging designed by Mouse Graphics

OLEX branding by Lemongraphic

OLEX personal branding by Lemongraphic

Pixelate poster by Matthew Lew

Pixelate exhibition poster designed by graphic designer Matthew Lew

Snoopy T-Shirt design Urban Outfitters

Pixelated Snoopey tee by Junk Food via Urban Outfitters

Pixels wine by Jordan Jelev

Pixels wine packaging designed by Jordan Jelev of the Labelmaker

Other sightings: 

Lego Pixel Design

This not-exactly pixel play take on Mona Lisa by Lego

Braun poster by Lundgren Lindqvist

Braun poster by Lundgren + Lindqvist

Library of Flowers packaging

Library of Flowers

Pixel Nostalgia by Boo

8-bit Pixel Nostalgia by Boo!

Analog Digital by Evelin Kasikov

Analog/Digital by Evelin Kasikov

Jamie Lidell album

Jamie Lidell’s self-titled album

K-Pop Craze

There’s no denying that K-Pop design is eye-catching, what with its attention-grabbing layering of prints, quirky illustrations and sketches or use of large typefaces over contrasting background. Add to that how Korean fashion has evolved over the years and has become an influence in the global fashion scene. There is both sophistication and all things cute over their style, which has later on translated into graphic design as well. According to Stylesight’s report, the design elements that stood out from this trend are kitsch hearts, stars and comic book motifs, as well as “bubblegum hues” and pastel shades.

Sightings according to Stylesight:

ZING packaging by Tiffany Matthews

ICMAD award-winning “Zing!” packaging design concept by FIDM Graphic Design Student Tiffany Matthews

Other sightings:

KPop shoes by aqueerpanic

Custom-made Kpop shoes by aqueerpanic


Flat Design

Flat design, more apparent in desktop and mobile UI, became big this year thanks to Apple’s adaptation of the style to their software update (which originally appeared in 2013 during the iOS 7 launch). This has been one of the best design innovation especially in mobile because it removes unnecessary pixels from being used, minimizing distractions and allowing the viewer to focus only on the program’s core functionality. From then on, others have followed through, as seen mostly in beta startup applications and websites or blogs that go for minimalistic themes. 

Agigen website

Dropboz Guide site

Dropbox Guide site

Lees Ferry website

Lees Ferry website

Adventure website

Adventure website

Live Life Outside website

Live Life Outside website

Favoricity website concept

Favoricity concept

Period Tracker app on iOS

Period Tracker app on iOS

Beautified app

Beautified app

Discoveroom app

Tenki Weather 2.0 Project

Calligraphy/Brushed Type

As we are growing along with this digital trend, we cultivate a desire to communicate in the most authentic manner. We miss those handwritten letters as they are replaced with emails and instant messages. We appreciate handwritten things because they are carefully made, and the emphasis for written communication has never been more apparent than today. Handwritten and brushed typefaces are now popular, making it to catalogs, postcards, posters and even magazine covers. This trend is embraced by all sorts of media - and all for good reasons.



Femme Natural Boost packaging

Femme Natural boost packaging

Creative Confidence book cover

Creative Confidence book

YAY Festival poster

YAY Festival

Nature Girl Lavender Mist by Urban Outfitters

Nature Girl Lavender Mist from Urban Outfitters

wedding invitation calligraphy

Wedding invitation

Milk for iPad by Natasha Mead

Milk by Natasha Mead on iPad

All Geometric

Designers are keen on experimenting with geometric prints, mainly because of its simple and no-fuss design. There are countless ways to work with this print and it can be used across different platforms. The print has been around for a while, seeking its history among the ancient Greeks to the Islamic periods. Up until now, geometric patterns bring the right amount of clarity and class to any design with its straight lines, color blocking and minimalistic approach.

paper art installation by Matthew Shlian

Paper installation by Matthew Shlian

Trig concept and branding on Behance

Trig on Behance

Dry Rose Cider packaging design

Dry Rose Cider packaging

Ice Cream by Wayne Spiegel

Ice Cream by Wayne Spiegel

Bellopop matchboxes on Etsy

Bellopop matchboxes on Etsy

Conform to the Form bag by Man Farin

Conform to the Form bag by Man Farin

paper-based 3D infographic

Paper-based 3D infographic DIY project

wedding invitation by 33WestDesign Etsy

Wedding invitation by 33WestDesign via Etsy

autumnal illustrations by Markovka from Behance

Autumnal illustrations by Markovka via Behance

Because designers keep on innovating and pushing the boundaries in terms of designs, it would not be surprising to see any of these trends again in the future. Most probably it's still going to be a mixture of the past and the present, just like this year's list. We are all influenced by many things around us, and these design trends are just a reflection of those influences. 

What do you think about this list? Share us your thoughts and comments on the box below!

About the Author

Olivia dela RosaOlivia dela Rosa
Freelance writer and editor since 2011. Major design enthusiast. Resident writer and trendhunter for Printingdeals.


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