Graphic Design Trends for 2019

As one year ends and another begins, the PicMonkey design team gets together and discusses current trends in graphic design. We look at what’s new, what’s making a comeback, and what has staying power from the previous year, all with the goal of staying fresh and innovative. Here are a few of the trends we’re excited about for 2019:

Deep flat

We’re seeing the continued evolution of flat design to include some depth and shadows. Some folks see that as a little oxymoronic, and that’s given birth to some new names for the revised design, like deep flat, flat 2.0, or semi-flat. Whatever people are calling it, the design retains the simple, minimalist vibe while including some enhancements to add dimension and improve usability.

Tip: Adding subtle drop shadows can give flat designs a boost while retaining their clean presentation.

Vivid colors

The bolder the better this year. Combinations of vivid neon colors combined with gradients were big graphic design trends in 2018, and we’re seeing no signs of slowing down in 2019. Look for extreme contrasts in colors and tones, as well as  complex gradients with more colors and varied transitions.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to put two bright colors next to each other. You can also add a less-saturated color to pop out your brights.


Swirls, drips, and streaks — we’re excited to see liquid imagery on our radar for 2019. Lots of options here — a gentle flowing design can imply fun or relaxation, while a dripping, melting image might be scary or unsettling. Drip effects look like they could be a continuation of last year’s glitch or ruined trend.

Tip: Use the Sculpt tool (Touch up > Sculpt) to get this look. Select the layer you want to apply it to, in the Layers palette, click the Nudge button in the Sculpt tool, then drag your mouse where you want it to be drip-ified.It takes some practice, but the results can be worth the effort.

Maximum typography

We’re seeing a few impressive typography trends in 2019, some subtle and some TOTALLY NOT SUBTLE. The idea behind maximum typography is to create strong focal points with text. Large fonts, contrasting colors, and short phrases all contribute to this eye-catching, impactful trend. Look for orientation to play a part, too — vertical and horizontal will be joined by diagonal and scattered.

Tip: Glue your Caps Lock key in the button-down position for this one. Lower case is definitely sitting this trend out.

Strokes, stains, spots, and doodles

One trend we’re happy to see making a comeback is hand-drawn splotches of color. It’s clearly a nod to some of the pop art of the 1980s without being quite so overpoweringly 80s. Combining spots and doodles with photography can create a playful look that enhances the more realistic images.

Tip: Take a look at PicMonkey’s artsy blobs (Graphics > Design > Artsy Blobs) to get started. You can easily manipulate them to be the right color, size, and orientation for your design.

Free-form collage

A trend closely related to the strokes, stains, spots, and doodles above is the free-form collage, which combines photos, vector graphics, and other images. What excites us about these combinations is the way they stretch the boundaries of how people define “collage,” taking it from something like a digital representation of a scrapbook and letting you experiment with more surreal design.

Tip: Learn how to make free-form collages in our handy dandy collage tutorial. The designs above were made with masking, background erasing, graphics, text, layering, and effects.


Another trend we see when looking back to the future is geometric futurism. Taking hints from modernist movements like the Memphis group and Bauhaus and adding geometric shapes for emphasis, this look evokes a playful and creative quality in your designs.

Tip: Take a look at PicMonkey’s Graphics tab for a slew of geometric shapes. You can easily change their color and size to fit your design.

Broken grid layouts

This broken grid trend is inspiring a lot of designers. It’s been described as “thoughtful disarray,” and it relies on asymmetry for its unique look. Taking things out of the grid gives designs more of a living, moving feel. More importantly for business, it creates a custom-made look, giving smaller, lesser-known brands a way to stand out.

Tip: Use layers to arrange elements and create depth. While the example above has the text in the top layer, you can also move parts of the text further down in the design, drawing emphasis to specific images.

Illustrations over photos

This trend seems like it was made just for PicMonkey, so naturally, we like it a lot. Sure, some of the buzz around this comes from people drawing on Instagram and Snapchat posts, but more and more folks are dropping graphics onto their photos. We have thousands of graphics made just for that purpose. Thousands. You’re sure to find something that fits your design. And we’re always making more.

Tip: Find a myriad of illustrations, vector graphics, and designs to drop on top of your images in the Graphics tab of PicMonkey. We’ve got thousands of them, and you can customize until the cows come home. Start by sprucing up your YouTube Channel with design templates.

If you’re ready for more luscious design predictions, peep our Typography Design Trends for 2019.

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Crystal Goade Lee

Crystal Goade is the Creative Director at PicMonkey where she leads a team of super talented visual designers and is responsible for overseeing the photo-rich design aesthetic of the company and its products. Crystal’s years of agency and international work experience bring an informed, cosmopolitan design sense to PicMonkey, always keeping the company on the edge of current design trends.