2018 Design Trends

Most Notable Social Media Design Trends in 2018

Last updated on: 2019


Creativity is at an all-time high in the world of social media and brands are bringing their A-game when it comes to their social media marketing. With the ever-evolving algorithms on major platforms, it’s important to make sure your brand stays prominent in your consumers feed.

Keeping tabs on popular trends allows you to not only stay current but to also see where the opportunity is for innovation as well. Here are a few of the most popular design trends we saw on social media in 2018 and which trends are expected to carry through to the new year.

What were some of the most notable design trends in social media in 2018?

1. Gradients, Gradients, Gradients

Flashback to the 90’s – gradients are back and they are here to stay! Instagram’s bold move to rebrand their logo to incorporate a rainbow-like gradient in 2016 (which at first had a lot of negative feedback) was actually a kickstarter for the gradient comeback.

Originally, gradients were just a way of sprucing up titles in Microsoft Word and showing off the cool “tricks” our computers could do. Fast forward to 2018, gradients are now being used in a much more subtle and sophisticated manner. Gradients provide a sense of depth and dimension so with the rise in 3D animation creations, this trend is only expected to grow in popularity!

Gradient Social Media Design Trends
Brands like Spotify have mastered the use of duo tone gradients across their platform. This style is desirable for those looking to elevate their graphics and one to look out for in 2019.

Spotify Gradients Design Trends
2. Animation & Motion Graphics

Many of us remember animated graphics from the past in terrible quality and tacky design. Thanks to years of technological advances, higher resolutions and faster loading times – they are back and better than ever!

From stop motions to cinemagraphs to simple animations, brands are experimenting more and taking their content to the next level with the added interest of movement. Animation and video are predicted to take over the world of social media design in 2019.

3. Unique Typography

Brands are pushing the boundaries of typography as a design element, playing with negative space, messing with textures and interacting with imagery. Due to the universal usage of minimalistic sans serif fonts like Helvetica, brands are starting to feel the need to stand out from the rest, so don’t be surprised if you start to see more stylized fonts in 2019.

Typography Social Media Design Trends
4. Illustrations

Another design trend that has made its way to your feed this year is customized illustrations. Mainly hand drawn and vector illustrations both on their own and on top of photographs. It adds personality to a graphic and detail to an otherwise straightforward image. Below you can see how big brands like Starbucks and Converse are utilizing this design technique in completely different ways!

Illustrations Social Media Design Trends
5. Instagram Grid Designs

With the rise in popularity of cohesive feeds, brands are seeing opportunity to spread their content across more than one post at a time. Leaving pieces of an image or design within individual posts, the user is forced to click on the brand profile in order to see the bigger picture at hand. This allows for brands to hone in on details within imagery, bring focus and attention to a particular launch or promotion and ultimately elevate their feed. As you can see below in the examples from brands like Lancome and KKW Beauty – this trend can be used in so many different ways. Ranging from 2 to 9+ posts, the possibilities are endless!

Instagram Grids Social Media Design Trends

6. Layering Up

Big name brands are starting to layer their content by stacking and cropping images, breaking borders, adding textures and overlaying design elements to give their feed an artistic edge. Brands like YSL Beauty and Levi’s are really elevating their content this year with this trend, creating depth and setting the tone for a more artistic social media future in 2019.

YSL Layered Images Instagram Design Trends
Social media designers have really out-done themselves this year and 2019 is sure to bring even more creativity and innovation to the table!

Curious how to stay current and get ahead of the curve in graphic design trends in social media?

Most graphic design trends stem from fashion and interior design, so check out what’s flourishing in those industries for hints into what consumers will likely crave and gravitate towards throughout the year. You can also look to Adobe, who has been instrumental in shaping the design world and the Pantone Color Institute, the experts at color trend forecasts with their Color of the Year features and predictions.

Which design trend are you most excited to see in 2019? Let us know in the comments below!

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