It’s Not Just a Phase: The Cultural Context Behind Three 2024 Graphic Design Trends

“It’s insightful to try and understand where trends—whether found in graphic design or elsewhere—come from and why they have such a hold on people, rather than brush them off as silly fads.”
Amelia Gray

In my research to write this post, I googled “Easter design inspiration.” 

Yet, instead of finding either design or inspiration, I was met with a never-ending deluge of stock photos of Easter eggs. (Frankly, it’s a little overwhelming to think about the number of easter egg photoshoots that must have taken place, but I’ll save that for another day.)

All that aside, if you’re a church leader or communications team looking for Easter design inspiration, these 2024 graphic design trends are a great place to start. 

 

Why 2024 graphic design trends might be more valuable than you think

Last year, I wrote a post on the Amenable blog for church leaders or communications teams who were looking for design inspiration for the Easter season. The post got some good engagement and I’m glad it was helpful. But this year, I wanted to dig a little deeper into a few trends and think about them through a different lens. 

The truth is, I think the word “trend” sends us in different directions, based on who we are. If you’re a marketer or a designer, you might depend on “trends” as key knowledge that serves as insider intel on how people think and behave. If you’re a church leader, you might get nervous about trends, not wanting to fly too close to “relevance” in place of faithfulness to your message. If you’re me, the word “trend” probably just overwhelms you with gratitude that the fashion choices of your middle school days have passed away. 

Regardless of your initial reaction, I think it’s insightful to try and understand where trends—whether found in graphic design or elsewhere—come from and why they have such a hold on people, rather than brush them off as silly fads. 

With that, here are three 2024 graphic design trends you might see in the wild this year.

 

2024 Graphic Design Trends

2024 graphic design trends

1. People-centered artistry

An increased desire for authenticity is nothing new, but, likely as a response to the avalanche of automation and artificial intelligence, we crave even more than authenticity—we want artistry. 

Automation and technology have made our world—and our selves—more productive. Through them, we’ve seemingly banished some of our human limitations to a dark closet somewhere. But does productivity make us better?

Think about your favorite examples of great fine art. One of mine is the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck. It’s an unquestionably complex oil painting that depicts Christ as a sacrificial lamb, flooded with exorbitant details across multiple scenes—upside-down words, St. John with a cup full of snakes, and even a choir of angels, each with a different crown. Even to those who might pass by its beauty as too medieval, there’s no question that it’s impressive nonetheless. 

If I printed a picture of the Ghent Altarpiece, it wouldn’t hold the same value. Sure the colors, themes, and iconography might still be present, but my printed version would be a far cry from artistry. We don’t just want artistic concepts—we want art itself. 

This trend towards people-centered artistry is likely so popular because it brings a human touch to a field that—at least in the past few decades—has been presented as manufactured. Maybe it’s because the behind-the-scenes videos and blooper reels make us feel connected, as if we can all be insiders. “Down with your stock photography and sterile minimalism,” the people cry. 

All that to say, you can expect to see more hand lettering, custom icons, and uneven texturing in graphic design trends for 2024. Whether through doodles, spontaneous elements, or personal photos, people are being drawn to graphic design that doesn’t hide the mess. 

P.S. This cycle of impressive innovation, followed by a dramatic return to the arts is nothing new. Personally, my favorite of these trends was the Arts and Crafts movement that came after a lot of heavy industrialization. 

 

2024 graphic design trends

2. Neo-Mixed Media

Mixed media is nothing new. 

Simply put, it refers to a combination of media to create something altogether different than the sum of its parts. (I’m a firm believer that there is no clearer example to support this idea than the synesthesia scenes from the culinary and cinematic masterpiece, Ratatouille.) There are other examples of simple combinations too—the Latin alphabet, the recent rise of fusion food, third-way politics, jazz music.

These days, we’re mixing and matching all over the place. With each iteration, the effects are exponential, most recently leading to the rise of the multiverse, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Things that used to be distinct are blurred. 

Reflected in the design front, it’s more and more common to combine not only simple elements (think, photo + text), but to combine multiple asset types, genres, media, and even dimensions. Animation is leading the way for intensely sensory experiences that jump off the page and blur the lines between design and reality. Practically speaking, this design trend is all about motion. Whether we’re stretching one genre or style to another or more literally, portraying physical movement through animation, we’re on the move. 

 

2024 graphic design trends

3. Nostalgic Warmth

Whether seen in graphic design, interior design, technology, fashion, or the American obsession with thrifting, our culture is celebrating and venerating our experienced history. Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past, claims we’re taking it to a new level, saying, “There has never been a society in human history so obsessed with the cultural artifacts of its own immediate past.” 

Because of nostalgia, the world of graphic design celebrates popular and iconic styles from the 1950’s onward. Whether bubbly, energetic typefaces, a rebirth of film photography, “worn-out” textures, or retro color palettes, this trend is quite broad as it doesn’t focus on one style of design. 

The trend toward nostalgia, however, isn’t as simple as it sounds. We like the idea of the past, yet want it on our own terms. We can’t shake our cultural addiction to progress, so we take nostalgic elements we like and merge them with futuristic concepts, resulting in Retrofuturism. 

In a strictly religious sense, Easter is tied to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. However, from a cultural standpoint, once solely religious celebrations (like Christmas and Easter) are also deeply intertwined with a sense of nostalgia for one reason or another. Considering the way that design is a reflection of and a response to what is happening in the culture it exists in, prioritizing nostalgic design elements through Easter communications is one way to connect on a deeper level with those whose experience of Easter is deeply nostalgic. 

Let’s talk about 2024 graphic design trends (or your own theories on why they’re such a big deal right now)! Connect with us at hello@weareamenable.com

 

P.S. Want to read more on the relationship between the rise of nostalgia and our cultural moment? For more examples, I’d recommend Why Are We So Obsessed with Nostalgia? by John O’Connor and for a piece that addresses the historical complexity of nostalgia, check out Monotype’s Everything old is new again: a deeper look at nostalgia in design.

Amelia Gray
Amenable Alumna
Amelia loves connecting with people through language by finding the right word for the right moment. She hopes that sharing her creative process will help other people be confident in their own. In her spare time, you can find her birdwatching or developing her Spanish.
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