7 Illustration & design trends to follow in 2020


1. Character Design:

Our worst nightmares are coming true. The Fortnite generation is getting older. Avatars and game characters have been the norm in their life. Now they are older and brands are looking for ways to reach them and get them interested in their products. Hate drawing hands? Do you actively avoid drawing faces? Too bad because there’s no getting around this one. Learning how to draw characters and apply them to a brand is becoming necessary. Filled with emotion and a story the industry is looking to character illustration now more than ever.




work by bangsangho


2. Discreet Outlined Flat Illustrations:

Flat illustrations are nothing new but now Illustrators are adding a small black line to every object. Absurd right? Well, actually the result is pretty cool. Discreetly outlined illustrations give off an edgier modern feel to them while still seeming handcrafted. Don’t be afraid to use different colors other than black though! If you are interested in learning more about this check out bangsangho on Behance it's pretty incredible.




work by mazakii


3. Isometric:

With the rise of cryptocurrency a few years ago these types of illustrations were really popular. Fast forward a few years and they are still here and not going away anytime soon. The reason they are so popular is that companies can latch onto stuff like this because it gives them a way to explain a complex product/process in an easy, and visual way. I have tried to create Isometric illustrations and let me tell you, it’s hard. For those of you who want to venture out and try it here is a guide to help you get started.




work by Miagui


4. 3D Illustrations:

These things are great. Brands search for people that can create shit like this because it offers a more realistic image than flat illustration. Designers that are 3D modelers use programs like Maya, Mudbox, and Cinema 4D. If you want to create more organic characters and depth then Z-Brush is where it's at. I took an independent study course in college to try and master Z-Brush and loved it. If you just want to just get your feet wet then use Blender (it's free!) But if you are anywhere serious about 3D modeling then I would recommend investing in one of the other programs. Your portfolio will thank you.




work by Marianna Tomaselli


5. Flat Gradients and textures:

Textures and Illustrations go together like burgers and fries. It’s so easy to find textures, pre-made brush strokes, and grainy patterns online. Just adding a little bit to your work makes it feel more tactile and comes across more handmade and warm. Mix those textures with flat gradients and you have an end result that will give you all the warm fuzzy feelings. To get you started here is one of my favorite brush sets for Procreate that gives you that textured result.




work by bbdoukraine


6. Illustration with Photography:

This trend hit big in 2019 and is still steamrolling itself through brands. The advent of the creative cloud has allowed this practice to flourish. The ability to seamlessly work between Illustrator and Photoshop using smart objects and your CC Library is awesome. It only takes a little bit of core illustration knowledge and a vast amount of creativity. With the mixture of photos and illustrations, there’s a whole lot of ways it can go wrong - but when it goes right it’s glorious.




work by milakat


7. Hand Drawn Illustrations:

This is a no-brainer. The need for brands to connect on a personal level by creating original content is always going to be there. More and more companies and agencies will seek out talent that can create shit with their hands and not with the computer. BUT the ability to still bring together traditional and digital is also something that will always be trendy and desired. So don't be packing up your pencils and paints anytime soon. Programs like CorelDraw and Procreate are great tools that blend the two practices.





I think after writing this I'm going to have to get back into 3D modeling.

How about you - What are you going to try this year?


What's your favorite trend?

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