We are now right in the middle of the year 2020. A year nearly all of us wouldn’t have expected to play out as it has, with COVID-19 at the centre of everything happening not only in the UK but around the world. As Head of Design here at Castle, I want to discuss how projected graphic design trends for 2020 may have shifted and changed throughout the pandemic, and whether we have seen an influence from COVID-19 or any other factors that are changing the way we graphic design in 2020.

Have graphic design trends in 2020 shifted?


Colour plays such an important factor within any design. Whether it be a re-branding project, a new advertising campaign, or an individual piece of graphic design. So much so, Pantone has released a colour of the year, every year since 2000. The colour of the year has gained popularity over the 20-year period but has also opened up a lot of discussion surrounding the choices, and how these are made. I mean, no one truly knows the answer to how they arrive at a particular colour in a palette, of which Pantone claims to have 1,867. How they arrive at a colour each year that is supposed to feature heavily in every designer’s colour palette is somewhat of a mystery to me.

This year’s colour is Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue. Pantone claim this colour instils calm, confidence, and connection, and also highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation.

A various array of colour pallets

I wonder with what has happened so far this year, whether it could well be seen as an ideal colour to represent the year 2020. With people wanting a more stable and dependable foundation and environment, in the midst of the current situation. I do, however, believe that most people will not relate to Pantone’s colour of the year as the colour they remember from 2020.

I think other colour palettes will be more vivid in most people’s memory when they think of 2020. For example, Government COVID-19 campaigns with the colour palette of yellow, red, black and yellow, green, black. Also the colour black, which has become incredibly significant in recent months due to the Black Lives Matter movement, especially with the social campaign of #BlackoutTuesday, where many people, businesses, and brands posted a black square of colour on their social channels instead of their usual posts as an opportunity to reflect on racism and the effects of racism on society. These colour palettes are arguably more important and relevant in 2020 than Pantone’s vision of classic blue, leading to the question; how do graphic design trends begin and can they ever be pre-envisaged?

Graphic design Branding

Whilst a look into the future of branding, it is a very broad minefield and covers so many aspects. I could not begin to define what this year’s branding trends could hold. Instead, we should look at external factors that may influence the graphic design trends of such brands and the tone of voice of that particular brand, with consideration to their overall narrative and need to continually develop and adapt to ever-changing situations, conversations, and market placement. For example, the movement towards a greener planet, with renewable energy and an overall need for change in terms of global warming, will have more of an impact on a company’s brand voice rather than one particular graphic design trend. I believe it is the external factors that will change a brand’s voice, and in turn, affect the design approach.

We have also seen a need for brands to be much more flexible and responsive due to the amount of different channels brands are now able to advertise through in 2020. The explosion of social media and video marketing has seen a huge shift in traditional adverting methods and brand building.

Now more than ever, people want a narrative, a story. We saw this introduced most prominently in the John Lewis Christmas adverts. They have excelled at this type of brand narrative over the years. With video content being so accessible in 2020, this type of branding and advertising will only become more prominent. Once again branding and advertising will be driven by factors, discussions, and issues in society. A modern brand needs to be able to manage these changes. It can only do so with a full understanding of their guidelines and responsive graphic design in mind.



A look into the trends of typography is very subjective. I believe it is completely dependent on the specific campaign it will be used in. I see typography to be a bit like fashion. Trends and styles get recycled as they come and go. I believe typography is similar because in the past 3-4 years we have seen a surge in bold, blocky typefaces with crisp edging. Certainly, in 2020, we are beginning to see a rise in the medium to bold sans serif fonts being used as titles, accompanied by a sans serif body copy. This will probably be popular over the next couple of years, and then there will be a shift to a new composition of fonts. This will then, in time, come around full-circle at some point, as it does with fashion.

Can we predict graphic design trends?

Can we predict graphic design trends? One thing is for sure, nobody has a crystal ball for graphic design. The key to great graphic design is constantly keeping up to date with what is going on around us. You should also keep checking out the latest companies that have re-branded. Look out for the latest marketing campaigns and analyse and assess them.

Never sit still. Graphic design is constantly moving and as a designer, you need to be aware of the latest design waves. It is important in order to be able to produce a piece to the best of your ability. Of course, graphic design is very subjective, and it is a skill being able to balance the latest graphic design trends, ideas, and concepts along with the client’s expectations. But the more knowledge and inspiration you take in and have around you, the better the results will be. They should fit seamlessly into the campaign and/or brand you are working with.

Thanks for reading!

Peter Richardson

Head of Design, Castle

Are you looking for an experienced graphic designer to create vibrant and on-trend artwork for your business? Are you a new business looking to develop your own brand identity? Or are you a more established business looking for a complete rebrand to take it to a whole new level? Whether you require printed materials, merchandise, digital designs, or presentations and videos, our graphic designers can help. To find out more, visit our design page, or contact us on 0151 372 1234 or info@castle.co.uk.