It's always interesting to compare the many visual trend forecasts that emerge at the start of the year, and 2024 is no different. Today is the turn of Freepik, an online library for audio-visual resources. It's picked out 15 trends it expects to see a lot of in visual design this year.
From glassmorphism to neo brutalism and, er, 'groovy cartoons', there are some intriguing forecasts, including some that we haven't seen in other reports (see our own round ups of graphic design trends, typography trends and illustration trends for 2024). Here we'll look at some of the highlights.
1. Liquid and iridescent 3D
This one should be no surprise since we've seen plenty of examples, and it features in many trend reports. In fact, several visual trend forecasts in Freepik's report involve clean and shiny 3D elements, from liquid 3D texts to glowing 3D objects. The platform says that while 2023 witnessed the growing popularity of the 3D effect in Adobe Illustrator, 2024 will see 3D will appear in "innovative expressions across different formats", from objects to textures and typography.
Liquid 3D fonts adds dynamic elements to textual components, while the 3D glow trend combines three-dimensional shapes with lighting effects that add a sense of depth and brightness to images or designs. 3D is also expected to appear in abstract compositions that incorporate holographics or iridescence to create a sense of movement and dynamism.
The report predicts that this year will see a consolidation of trends that began to emerge in 2023, such as the Y2K chrome look and versatile glassmorphism, which involves translucent frosted glass-like elements allowing multi-layered designs. The latter, which is becoming particularly popular in UI design for apps, is useful as well as looking nice and airy since the sleek minimalism can be used to add create hierarchy.
3. Grainy gradients
Gradients are back, who would have thought? No, I know that gradients have been back forever, but here we have a variation: grainy gradients. These can create a retro and organic feel the gives a sense of depth and dimension (and could be a nice antidote to all the overly digital-looking images we're seeing courtesy of AI.
4. Old engraving
One visual trend prediction that we haven't seen specifically highlighted in other reports is the return of an old engraving look. The report says the "timeless elegance of curved lines, organic motifs and fine engravings introduces a nostalgic charm into this year’s design ethos." This can also be cross-related to a trend to focus on florals and botanicals, which is also highlighted in the report. And like those grainy gradients, it can also inject a welcome dose of something that feels more organic and handcrafted.
5. 'Groovy' cartoons
As well as collages, another blast from the past that Freepik is seeing is the use of what it calls 'groovy cartoons', an eclectic mix of playful storytelling, vibrant colors, black-and-white contrasts and kawaii pastels. I don't know about you. The example image above looks to me like the record cover for a British rave track from 1991, but I'm totally here for it.
We've seen this also referred to as neubrutalism, and we've had neo everything else, so why not? There's a lot of playfulness here too, with it being a very cosy, vibrant take on the composition principles of the 1950s movement. Think unique typography, solid colours and bold strokes and shadows.
7. Peach fuzz
No, this isn't about body hair. Peach fuzz is the Pantone colour of the year, if you didn't know. It's a bit lighter than peach, really, but it's a more pleasant-sounding name than 'raw poultry'. The visual trends report expects to see a whole bunch of peach fuzz, which it says will "coexist harmoniously with vibrant and bright color palettes, creating powerful combinations that breathe life into bold and cheerful compositions."