The future is here: Our 2020 design trend predictions
By Tobias van Schneider Published December 23, 2019
The year 2020 is big. We are sending a robot to Mars in 2020. In science fiction works and other media, the year 2020 is the future. If films and novels are accurate, we should either be using hovercraft or witnessing the apocalypse by next year.
In our eagerness to experience the future, we thought we’d take a look at design trends for 2020. Here’s what we see ahead.
Skeuomorphism is back, baby
Designers this far into the future are nostalgic for the good old days, back when people used things like “knobs” and “levers” and couldn’t control everything with a mono-syllabic word uttered to their virtual home assistant. Dig up those Winamp skins from your hard drive because skeuomorphism is officially in again.
Flat design is finally out
In a technologically-advanced world where humans can see in several dimensions, flat design is, well, boring as hell. Minimalism is finally dead for good – at least until 2021 when it’s back again.
"It appears gradients are back every year, and next year is no exception."
Gradients, gradients, gradients
Gradients are back in 2020. They were also back in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and all of the 90s. It appears gradients are back every year, and next year is no exception. Please note that gradients should be drawn at a controversial 52° degree angle in 2020. The reasoning will surely be clear once we enter the next decade.
Two words: Stock photos
In the years leading up to 2020, startups used illustrations to market their product so heavily, we will now see a backlash. Instead, companies are promoting their products with stock photos. Considering the vast technological advancements in 2020, suited folks huddled around "water coolers" and speaking into "Bluetooth headsets" have a refreshingly human warmth about them.
"We looked into our crystal ball and saw UX design is already happening now, so it could also be a big thing in 2020."
Strong opinions about design tools
As you might have predicted yourself, designers will continue to argue about which design tools are better for drawing their rectangles. But in 2020, a new breed of designers will get ahead by opting out of the conversation and designing instead.
Every designer is a UX designer
We looked into our crystal ball and saw UX design is already happening now, so it could also be a big thing in 2020. If you're not already calling yourself a UX designer, this will change in the new year.
A cultural tradition dating back to 700 B.C., storytelling is all the rage is 2020. In 2020 designers will be telling stories, crafting stories and creating impactful stories because storytelling is here to stay probably forever, and especially in 2020.
Don't worry. We will still use Helvetica next year.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the author of this blog, nice to meet you!