A strong brand almost instantly makes people think of its colors, logo, and style. As a key aspect of branding, graphic design trends help develop brand identity and connect with customers on a deeper level.

Especially with the emergence of artificial intelligence, the graphic design scene is changing. Yet, the human touch and authenticity remain as important as ever. At Business2Community, we’ve gathered industry research reports and articles to provide a curated list of statistics, expert insights, and graphic design trends in 2024.

  • Graphic design was the most in-demand creative skill in 2023.
  • 90% of branding professionals used Adobe tools in 2023.
  • Besides Adobe, Canva, Figma, Procreate, Corel, Webflow, Sketch, and Affinity were among the popular graphic design tools.
  • 70.4% of design professionals said they wanted to integrate AI tools like ChatGPT, Adobe, and Midjourney into their work.
  • 61% of non-design roles required applicants to have various design skills, including creating graphics, GIFs, or presentations.
  • There was a 104% increase in the number of people listing Canva as a skill on their LinkedIn profiles in the 12 months to April 2023.

Freelance marketplace platform Upwork identified graphic design as the most in-demand creative skill for 2023. With a market size of $16.6 billion, the graphic design industry is booming with new design tools, AI technologies, and trends.

1. Top Graphic Design Tools

In 2023, Adobe products led the graphic design market, with Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator ranking as the top three tools that dominate the market. Canva, SketchUp, CorelDRAW, Cinema 4D, Adobe Lightroom, OmniGraffle, and QuarkXPress had the next biggest shares in the market, respectively.
Horizontal bar graph from Statista showing the market share of business graphics software vendors

A survey by the branding agency JUST Creative also reported that Adobe Creative Suite was the most popular design tool. According to the survey, 90% of branding professionals used Adobe tools. Besides Adobe, the other preferred tools were:

  • Canva
  • Figma
  • Procreate
  • Corel
  • Webflow
  • Sketch
  • Affinity

2. AI in Design

In graphic design, artificial intelligence refers to the use of generative AI or AI-assisted design or text-to-image tools such as Adobe Firefly, DALL-E 2, and Runway. “If late 2022 was defined by the emergence of AI in art and design, I think we’re really on the edge of a design tool nirvana,” said Nick Hill of Re Design.

Hill also stated that AI-assisted tools have made it possible for tasks that used to take hours to be completed in just a matter of minutes. In 2021, over 17% of graphic designers spent more than 20 hours per week producing visual content, while 14.9% spent between 10 and 15 hours, and 19.6% spent between 5 and 10 hours.

Venngage pie chart showing how much time designers spend producing visual content

Branding industry professionals also embraced AI in 2023. In JUST Creative’s survey, 70.4% of respondents said they wanted to work with AI tools like ChatGPT, Adobe, and Midjourney. Thanks to these tools, designers can automate repetitive tasks, streamline their work, and generate ideas.

In addition to saving time and automating tasks, AI can help with creative tasks such as image generation. Below is an image created by the AI image generator DALL-E 3, based on a text-based prompt. DALLE-3 is able to generate not only images but also words.

DALL-E's illustration to a prompt

3. Design Literacy

With the advent of social media, the demand for visual content increased. As a result, design literacy has become an important skill in the job market.

And not only for graphic designers.

In fact, 61% of non-design roles require applicants to have various design skills, such as creating graphics, GIFs, and presentations.

Hybrid or remote teams also benefit from design literacy skills. In Canva’s Visual Economy Report, 90% of global business leaders said that they use digital whiteboards at least once a week. In addition to this, 89% think that visual communication helps connect remote teams and 85% said that they carry more authority than other communication methods.

Using design tools and improving employees’ design literacy help companies save money and increase productivity. The design software company Canva commissioned Forrester to analyze how teams benefit from Canva for Teams, Canva’s visual collaboration work suite. The study found that Canva for Teams has helped companies boost ROI by 438%, realize benefits of $1.7 million over three years, and increase employee productivity by 26%.

Canva for Teams study findings showing the efficiency of Canva for teams

Font technology company Monotype partnered with the applied neuroscience company Neurons to understand how fonts drive emotions. As a part of the study, respondents were shown some classical brand values, such as innovation, trust, and quality, written in different fonts.

The font type affected how people felt about the brand value, suggesting that different fonts changed the way people trusted, liked, and remembered the brand.

Monotype's graph showing how people feel toward brand values and how font types affect this

In its annual Type Trends report, Monotype analyzed upcoming graphic design fonts in 2023. According to the report, here are some key styles for letters and fonts:

  • Curly, swirling letters
  • Playful, comic book-style fonts
  • Creating visual tension through sharp fonts
  • High-tech vibes and pixelated fonts
  • Inflated letters with a large volume
  • Illustrations evoking motion instead of static images
  • 3D modeling

Here is a visual illustration of the top 10 trending graphics and fonts according to Monotype’s report:

Trending fonts for 2023

Pantone’s pick of top ten colors for 2024 reflected feelings of nostalgia, positivity, and innovation.

“Colors for NYFW Spring 2024 introduce a new interpretation of current times as memories of the past and a glimpse of the future bring hope for the present,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of Pantone.

Pantone's 2024 trending colors

For graphic design and creative color trends, Adobe conducted research using its global network as well as internal and external data. Here are the resulting trends:

  • Color-changing surfaces as a way of exploring spirituality and escapism.
  • Rainbow-fueled color palettes to bring out one’s inner child.
  • 90’s color patterns with vibrant text illustrations.

6. Hyper-reality

“3D OOH (out-of-home) billboards offer hyper-realistic and immersive brand experiences, blurring the lines between technology and reality,” said Holly Karlsson, creative director of Bulletproof. She also pointed out that designers should embrace evolving mediums such as Al image generation and machine learning.

As an example, Karlsson pointed out the works of Refik Anadol, who has been creating AI art since 2016. “I’m never inspired by the idea of mimicking reality,” said Anadol in an interview with the architecture and design magazine Deezen. “Like, if AI can do realistic things, it doesn’t inspire me to be honest.”

7. Y2K Design and Retro

Y2K stands for Year 2000. The hashtag #y2kfashion has seen over 2.4B views on TikTok. Besides the 2000s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s colors and geometric shapes have also been trending among designers.

Adobe image combining 90s color trends and y2k

Retrofuturism was another trend that brought retro designs and technological advancements together.

Web3, AI-generated and 3D art have also lent to nostalgia-driven typefaces, dynamic retro color swatches, and the ability to honor previous modes of graphic production with seeming authenticity and ease,” said Andenew Ayele, associate creative director at ThoughtMatter, about retrofuturism.

8. 3D Design

Canva’s 2023 Design Trends Forecast identified expressive 3D designs as a trend that pushes the limits of traditional graphic design. In the image below, the words “create” and “joy” use 3D fonts while the rest of the text is written in a 2D font.

Canva image saying "create beautiful things that bring others joy" featuring 3D elements

Has 3D modeling and animation become graphic design?” asked Monotype’s 2023 Type Trends report. According to the report, the rise of 3D modeling could be due to the fact that graphic designers have access to better tools and more advanced technical skills compared to previous decades.

Mastering 3D techniques and adding volume to designs are especially important for emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

9. Maximalism

According to Canva, pastel maximalism featuring vibrant color palettes, layered images, and blurred gradients is one of the trends of 2024. The image below features the same text as the 3D example above with a pastel maximalist style.

Canva image saying "today I will create beautiful things that bring others joy" featuring a pastel maximalist style

Katie Klencheski, founder and creative director of SMAKK, thinks that the shift from Millennials to Gen Z has had an effect on this trend. “Millennials were all about minimalism, but the design trends that define Gen Z are pure chaos theory meets maximalism,” she said.

The Future of Graphic Design

AI Will Not Replace Designers

“The invention of the digital camera meant more people could take photos, but it didn’t replace the need for professional photographers,” said Ashley Still, Adobe’s senior vice president of digital media when she was asked if AI will replace graphic designers. According to Still, AI will take over some routine tasks, such as creating different file formats for an image.

As for generative AI, companies will still need designers to guide AI as they know how to create the right prompts. “Designers will always get better results using image generation than your average Joe because they understand how to construct an idea, even if it’s through text prompts,” added Still.

Authenticity Will Be Even More Important

With the rise of AI in design, authenticity will set designers apart. In JUST Creative’s branding survey, 74% of respondents considered authenticity to be the most important factor in the future of branding.

Horizontal bar graph showing what branding professionals think is the most important factor for the future of the industry

In his interview with Deezen, new media artist Refik Anadol highlighted the importance of emotions. “A deep understanding of humanity is way more complex than any algorithm. I don’t believe in reducing this to a bunch of algorithms or papers,” he said.

AI-Powered Tools and Design Tools Will Increase

While AI won’t replace graphic designers, it will change the way they work. “AI is an obvious threat to many industries, including the creative sector – embrace the tools or get left behind is my philosophy,” are the words of a JUST Design survey respondent. Besides generative AI tools like ChatGPT, branding professionals used many AI design tools, including Adobe, Midjourney, and Figma.

Pie chart showing what AI tools branding professionals use

Graphic design tools affect employees working outside the design industry since non-design employees also need to have design-related tasks. For example, in major companies like LEGO, TikTok, and Amazon, design skills are required for non-design roles. Canva’s Visual Economy Report 2023 stated that there was a 104% increase in the number of people listing Canva as a skill on their LinkedIn profiles in the 12 months to April 2023.

However, more than half of business leaders in Canva’s Visual Economy Report stated that they find their company’s visual design platforms too complex. Given the importance of design in non-design roles, AI and user-friendly design tools will become more and more prevalent.

Bar graph showing what business leaders think of visual design platforms' difficulty
Digital Transformation Will Continue

While technology makes designers’ jobs easier, 38.6% of branding professionals are concerned that they might challenge traditional design services, requiring designers to continuously upgrade their services and skills.

Besides AI, AR and VR will continue making their way to graphic design as well. According to Tamara McLean, a UW–Madison instructor and graphic design graduate student, AR is the future of graphic design.

In 2023, McLean proposed a four-week summer course to introduce AR to graphic design students. Her course covers the history and best practices of AR experiences for mobile devices.

McLean’s 2023 work “Landed” brings together AR and graphic design:

3 mobile phones showing Tamara McLean's Landed 2023FAQ

What is the future of design in 2024?

Is graphic design still relevant in 2024?

Where will graphic design be in 10 years?