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Why Design Trends Are Important

Design trends are something that reflects the world currently. You can look back at each decade – the 70s, 80s, 90s, and spot the trends in everything – music, design, visuals, colours, fonts. Design touches every aspect of our lives, whether it's product design, interior design, graphic design – everything we interact with is first an idea.

Looking at design trends helps us understand what is going on in the time we're living in and what has come before, and they can also help us predict what is to come.

Usually, at the end of a year, there are a lot of lists published around the latest design trends for the upcoming new year.

Color Trends

A few sites have picked calm, cool colors as the hot color choices of 2022.

Pantone – Color of the Year

You can't discuss color trends without talking about Pantone. They are the leading authority on all things color, and they started issuing a color of the year in 2000. This year's color is Very Peri, a type of periwinkle blue. Pantone provides an excellent overview of the selected color and other interesting information.

The great thing about Pantone is they also show what colors you can mix it with and provide pallets. Download the pallets from Pantone Connect. If you use Adobe design programs, you will find the Pantone color library built-in.


Shutterstock is a stock site used by designers around the world. They publish a list of color trends based on designer purchases every year. It's pretty cool, as they use an AI and go through "billions of bits of data" to show what colors the design world is using. In addition, their methodology makes it unbiased, as it's just collecting information from images purchased on their site.

For 2022, they are predicting some calmer, soothing colors will take center stage – calming coral, velvet violet, pacific pink, and green, to name a few. In 2021 Shutterstock's AI system found green dominated click-through rates and conversions. It's insights like these that make Shutterstock's trend lists more substantial and relevant.

Also worth noting, Shutterstock highlights the top color in countries worldwide as a part of this list, so check and see what is trending in other regions.

Font Trends

This year, I see several font trends, including Serif fonts, large typography, flexible typography, text with gradients, transparent text, outline text, and mixed-width. Great sites to check out for fonts - MyFontsDesign Shack, and Shutterstock.

Shutterstock provides a Font Trends list. Although not generated by their AI but rather by a team of designers, it's still a great list to compare with other font trend lists around.

font design comparison
Visual comparison of serif and sans-serif fonts

Serif Fonts - Many trend lists are predicting serif fonts are making a comeback. But, of course, sans-Serif fonts have been the norm for a while now, prevalent in mobile apps and websites. So seeing some simpler, less ornate, serif fonts is no real surprise.

Large Typography - In this situation, bigger is better! Extremely large typefaces are grabbing attention and creating a wow factor. But, of course, how big it is will depend on where you are using it.

Flexible Typography - Using flexible typography allows designers to play with individual letter height and width. Late 19th century's gothic typefaces inspire it.

Text with Gradients - A gradient is a progression of colors. It allows designers to create a unique look and feel. Combine your fonts with a gradient to grab attention.

Transparent Text - Allow your background images to show through by using transparent text. With this style, you should surround the text with a block of solid color to show the letters.

outline text design example
Example of outline text

Outline Text - This is typically used with Sans Serif fonts and paired with all caps. Draw attention to specific words by pairing outline text with solid lettering.

Mixed-width - One new typography trend many people highlight this year is mixed-width type. Mixed width type is just what it sounds – typography where the width and even height of the letters are mixed. Mixed width fonts allow designers to set the height and width of each letter. By some examples, you can see that it's a very distinctive look that stands out.

Design trends

Now let's look at overall design trends. What kinds of things are people predicting will be in demand in 2022? We've looked through the lists and pulled what we thought would be most applicable to digital signs.


Motion seems to be the most significant trend, and rightfully so. More and more, content is being viewed on a digital platform, whether it's a phone, tablet, or digital sign. Additionally, online platforms are making it easier for people to create videos.

In this day and age, where practically everyone can view a video at any time, static images can't compete. Motion draws people's eyes to your screen and content. On digital signage, subtle movement can have a huge impact.

Consider incorporating semi-transparent text or a logo over the top of your video to grab attention subtly. Also, play around with zoom effects.

The 90s

Yes, the 90s appear to be back, from symbols and icons to colors. Minimalist design was popular when mobile apps first came out in the early 2000s, but now color and complex imagery are being used.

With so much design focused on mobile apps in the last decade – which also brought some rather strict conventions around usability – it's refreshing to see the 90s design ethos becoming popular again.

90s visual design elements
90s visual design elements

Organic shapes

Go back to the basics and nature with organic shapes and neutral colors. Instead of precise lines and geometric shapes, consider using curvy lines to give your visuals a more natural and organic feel. Geometric shapes have a very rigid look and feel, impacting how your audience perceives your business. In comparison, organic shapes in the visuals on your digital screen could allow you to create a more open and inviting environment.