Visual Trends in 2021

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Visual Trends in 2021

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Visual Trends in 2021 

By: Megan Bergeson 

Staying current with visual trends is vital in any online presence. 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, personally and professionally.

A few visual trends have emerged from this painful year: the theme of comfort, togetherness, love, helpfulness, and hope.

Not staying up to date with these trends can hurt the overall image of your business. Your visuals should be what your audience wants to see and what they care about.  

 In 2021, brand and content creators alike are challenged to tap into the insights of consumer’s needs and priorities using authentic photography, short videos, and cheer-up content.

So let’s take a look at some of the visual trends arising in 2021.  

  • Coming Together 
  • Symbols of Optimism 
  • Mood-Boosting Color 
  • Comfort Zone 
  • Breath of Fresh Air 
  • Socially Conscious 
  • Sustainability 
  • Surrealism 
  • Retro Design 
  • Authentic Representation 

You don’t have to be a professional designer to implement these trends.

They can be used to spruce up your website, create new social content, or as part of your whole brand.  


Coming Together 

After the year we had in 2020, it’s no wonder design trends are leaning towards togetherness.

One thing we have gained from 2020 is the knowledge of how important our local community and the community of humankind as a whole are.

Human-centered design is going to be a massive trend in 2021. Brands are trying to connect with people through strength and empathy.

This shows customers you care, and everyone is fighting the same battle.

Togetherness can be demonstrated with an authentic photo, a heartfelt story, or a democratized campaign.  

By using this trend, you can tug at the heartstrings of your audience and create a hopeful outlook.  


Symbols of Optimism 

Optimism is another visual trend coming off the ever so tragic year of 2020.

Brands have been using small symbols of hope to create an optimistic outlook for the new year.

People are pining for their lives to be freer, from the Covid restrictions to the new political era.

Including these symbols is a simple way for the audience to know that they are not alone in their experience and to give them an optimistic visual reassurance.  


Mood-Boosting Color 

The power of color in relation to moods is not new but is certainly needed right now. Colors can have a significant impact on the feeling of the viewers.

Bright, more saturated colors are trending right now based on their happy psychological effect on the viewer. It makes them feel more awake and alive.

Bright, mood-boosting colors can grab the attention of your audience in a fun, light way.

Using these bright colors can have a playful effect and reiterate your brand’s ability to add more fun and light to their lives.  


Comfort Zone 

The theme of this year seems to be happiness.

What makes a person happier than when they are in their comfort zone?

The home has become the central base for family, work, hobbies, learning, and social life due to the pandemic.

Visuals of pleasant places can boost their mood effectively, such as a cozy fire, a hug from a family member, or a long-distance chat with an old friend.

Brands can use this home-based trend to show their products creating happiness in the home.  


 Breath of Fresh Air 

After the terror of 2020, we can all feel at ease in the outdoors.

You might not even have to wear a mask. Consumers have spent most of the past year cooped up and get a sense of relief from the freedom of the outdoors.

Visuals expressing a wide-open space, fresh air, and adventure in nature are becoming more and more popular.

Visuals with fresh, nature-inspired palettes and every shade of green captivate viewers with imagery of the outdoors.  


 Socially Conscious 

So much has been happening socially this past year, from

Black Lives Matter to pandemic preparedness to healthcare and environmentalism.

With all this conflict, there is hope that everyone will play their part. It’s no wonder these issues are making their way into the design in 2021.  

Design and culture are integrated if we hope for a better future.

Let’s visualize it. Socially, we yearn to relate to, rely on, turn to and depend on each other.

Taking a stand on these issues will humanize and give voice to your brand. Being indifferent can be seen as unempathetic.

Staying socially conscious will attract viewers who have common views and invoke them to share.  



The idea of living a more sustainable life has been an idea that has grown steadily over the last ten years.

After 2020, many of us have seen changes with more time spent in wide-open spaces and limited travel.

Taking the time to realize the possibility of it all started to make it seem achievable.  

We all want to do our part for the environment and reduce our carbon footprint.

Consumers are now more mindful than ever about the impact their spending has on the environment.

Sustainability is a trend seen in a lot of packaging designs.

Some labels may include “made from recycled materials,” “100% plastic-free,” or “eco-friendly.”

Overall, do your part to make your brand stand out as sustainable because this trend is not going anywhere! 



Considering how unreal the year 2020 has been, it’s no surprise surrealism has worked its way into these trends.

Everyday life can be pretty mixed up, messed up, and unhinged.

Imagery that plays off of that can let the viewer explore and bend the edges of reality.  

Surrealism lets the viewer take a break from constantly trying to make sense of the world.

It allows their imagination to wonder and evokes creativity that they may have forgotten about.  


 Retro Design 

Guess what’s back again? Retro style seems to come and go, but in 2021, it’s here to stay.

After 2020, we are taking a look back at simpler times.

Nostalgia has a heartwarming way of grabbing the viewer’s attention.

Bright color palettes and retro fonts are being used in designs more and more to show optimism.

Vintage visuals bring feelings of comfort mixed with feelings of progressing forward in the future.  


Authentic Representation 

 Every company should strive to be authentic in its branding and representation.

Full transparency in its purpose, beliefs, and values is the best policy for visual representation.

Brands are pushing boundaries in 2021 when it comes to creating authentic, meaningful, and powerful content.

This ties into being socially-conscious with designs by making content more diverse and including all identities and imperfections.

We have seen a trend in ditching photoshopped models in favor of authentic and diverse people and illustrations.  

 The use of all of these 2021 visual trends can go a long way in your design, whether it’s creating a new graphic for social media, enhancing imagery on your website, or developing a new marketing campaign.

Lastly, here are a few things to remember for 2021: be authentic, be bold, be social, and be positive!  

 Sources: 99Designs, Hubspot, Google 


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