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Trending Illustration Styles for 2021: Reflecting The Epoch

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The illustration is a creative medium that reflects social trends. Recent events and movements have found their reflection in digital illustration trends 2021. Let’s watch them.

Illustration by Divin Creador

The world has been shaken by social, economic, and environmental challenges. Moving forward into 2021, people expect to live sunnier lives and breathe more freely this year. Are digital and social distancing restrictions going to remain in the past? We don’t know yet, but we know for sure that we need to provide our support to the community by the means we have. I see digital illustration and graphic design as a great way to empower people and inspire them to continue moving forward through the challenges to the future.

Beautiful illustrations breathing with calmness and tranquility. Fantasy backgrounds with futuristic motifs reflecting the upcoming days. Illustrations and scenes inspired by social trends and activism 2.0. Optical illusions alluring the eye. The current work from home and reimagined retro. All these illustration trends are expected to dominate the digital landscape this year.

Optical illusions integrated into illustrations

We anticipate psychedelic, minimalist and mind-bending patterns integrated into modern-day logos, illustrations and animations. Optical illusions will become a part of website illustrations and app designs. The goal? It might be sparking fun and joy over digital backgrounds and pushing the boundaries of our imagination. This trend can inspire us to think outside the box and recognize the hidden meaning of things.

Illustration by Nikola Simic
Illustration by Cameron Brinson
Illustration by Divin Creador

Futuristic backgrounds and fictional motifs

Society is now more conscious of the future than before. Many of us like to see its reflections and manifestations in their daily life and their digital life, in particular. Fantasy backgrounds, futuristic interiors, and abstract compositions — there are many ways to speak about the future and inspire humankind to make the right everyday decisions that define it. We expect digital products to be presented in fantasy settings that mimic gaming and virtual reality that often depict this world’s possible future.

Illustration by ranganath krishnamani
Illustration by Anton Fritsler (kit8)
Illustration by Pixel Point
Illustration by Lily for Fireart Studio

Activism 2.0. Inspiring “sustainable” thinking

From social diversity, inclusion and environmentalism to Black Lives Matter — a previous year was a boom of social movements, and they seem to continue gaining momentum in 2021. Modern digital illustration reflects these social movements, moods and tendencies. We can see more images that depict social diversity, motivate people to make environmentally friendly choices, be more empathic toward others, and care about social groups whose needs have been ignored before. The power of the individual is being revealed even more.

Illustration by Elise Granados
Illustration by Juan Dellacha

Reimagined retro

Styles trending in the past are back to the future. The digital design trends and innovations have massively influenced what we name ‘retro,’ and we can see these changes reflected in today’s illustration. The vintage-inspired design always seems to have a place in graphic design. Bringing the feeling of warmth and sweet nostalgia, reimagined retro deploys in contemporary digital illustration in a more polished form.

Aesthetics of The Past Reacts to Modern Digital Turmoil: Extraordinary Graphic Design Trends

Illustration by MUTI
Illustration by Pavlov Visuals
Illustration by Magda for Fireart Studio

Images breathing with tranquility

The peace of mind — this emotional state is what the majority lacks and strives for. We are much what surrounds us: the things, the people, the occupation… We live mostly in the digital world today, so why not create a more pleasant environment for everyone and set the harmonious atmosphere there by using digital illustrations that express tranquility? Does a small website illustration seem insignificant detail? Maybe. But it’s often the details that shape our lives.

Illustration by Magda for Fireart Studio
Illustration by Maya Nguen for Fireart Studio
Illustration created for the game TOHU by DAN Gartman for Fireart Studio

Work from home

The stay-at-home lifestyle started during the COVID lockdown has naturally given birth to another trend and reality — work from home. This motive penetrates web design since many companies are willing to share how their teams effectively collaborate in the online mode while working from home. A website is one of the best places to tell about your team and share your daily corporate life, which has become entirely remote and digital today. “Work-from-home” website illustrations can help brands bring some fun and workspace inspiration for their customers. It is one of the most impactful trends in digital illustration.

Illustration trends 2021 * Best illustrations | Fireart

Illustration by tubik.arts
Illustration by Sofy Dubinska

Bringing inspiration through the medium of illustration

Digital illustration is going to add more freshness, vigor and art to the digital environment. Creating the illustration for a single brand means contributing to building a more creative and beautiful space for everyone who interacts with it in the online world. I sincerely hope that these illustration styles will bring some inspiration for you and help restart your creative engine to produce new, impactful and fascinating digital masterpieces for the world to see, enjoy, and motivate to live a better life.


Trending Illustration Styles for 2021: Reflecting The Epoch was originally published in Muzli – Design Inspiration on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.