Last updated on August 4th, 2020
Illustrations are now increasingly being used in promoting brands. Many brands have resorted in recreating their visual identities through illustration to catch the audience’s attention. Many illustration trends, therefore, have emerged in recent years to make brands and stories stand out. But some of the trends are the most sought-after to give illustrations a trendy look. In this article, we present top 10 killer illustration styles that you must follow.
The illustration is amongst the most attractive pieces of creative work. The artists give a human touch to the visuals that can be appealing to the audience. This is the chief reason that most brands today use illustrations to create various visuals for brand promotion.
What is illustration?
An illustration can be described as a visual explanation of a concept. So, when a book cover has an illustration, it indicates the relatable content inside. Similarly, published media such as magazines, posters, flyers, video games, animations, films, and teaching materials use illustrations to convey a story and process to the viewers.
We can say that illustrations are the imagery that an artist produces. In this way, illustration supports other mediums such as books, magazines, and articles to help viewers visualize text.
Types of Illustrations
There are mainly two types of illustrations. First, there is a set of conventional illustration types. These include illustrations using pencil, woodcutting, charcoal, lithography, watercolor, acrylics, collage, and pen and ink.
The new category is that of modern illustrations, based on new technologies. Many illustrators use graphics tablets these days to draw illustrations using the tablet’s pen and surface. They use software such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Inkscape, Artage, etc. to create illustrations using digital drawing tools. So, we can say that freehand digital illustrations and vector graphics are the two modern illustration types.
However, a work of illustration makes its desirable impact only when it is trendy. Viewers can instantly relate to a trendy creative piece. Therefore, an artist should consider the ongoing illustration trends and explore them to create some outstanding contemporary works. Such trends can help you to learn something new and pivot yourself from newbie to professional illustrator as well.
Here Are The Top Illustration Trends That Artists Should Think Of To Create Unique Visuals
01. Line Art
Line art has fast caught the attention of illustration artists. It is now one of the most sought-after illustration trends for depicting sophistication and sleek look. Previously, before entering the illustration world, line art was predominantly used to outline graphics and typography. But, now the artists are using the characteristics of line art in the line illustrations.
A major characteristic of a line is that it is very expressive due to multiple lines. You can tell a story through these lines. If you can use strokes of varying weights, line illustration becomes even more impressive. With sharp edges and round corners, the line art has a mesmerizing effect on viewers. This is the reason that many brands prefer creating their visuals in lines.
One of the main reasons for line art picking up with illustrators is that lines go well with the other trends of minimalism. Since the illustration looks clean and elegant with just one line element, illustration can use lines as part of their minimalistic approach to creating visual brand identities. Know that line art is also one of the major graphic design trends.
02. Broken Proportions
When it comes to digital illustration, the broken proportions trend will continue to be a favorite of the artists. These illustration trends started last year and still hold its grip firmly with the illustrators preferring broken proportions style for exaggerating the figures so that visuals can look original. Many brands have expressed their desire to create their visuals in broken proportions style. However, the artist still has to ensure some harmony in the illustrated figures.
This visual hyperbole style uses exaggerated body parts to create artworks. This trend is now an integral part of the digital art world.
Surrealism was an art movement of significant value in the past. It was started by Salvador Dali and included the works of Rene Magritte. Under this type of art, uncommon imagery is juxtaposed in creating bizarre visuals that look dreamlike. Now the surrealistic style is picking up in modern-day use of illustration as well.
The artists are integrating the surrealism elements into illustrations and branding. They use this style to create something out-of-the-box and specific.
04. Geometric Motifs
Geometric shapes and patterns have always been attractive to viewers. Today, various geometrical shapes have become an integral part of digital art and branding. Because of this creative combination, artists are able to create lively patterns. Geometric shapes are also effective in creating moods and different backgrounds.
We can notice geometric patterns everywhere in illustrations. These patterns come in varied shapes such as soft organic forms, mathematically correct shapes, grids. One of the reasons for these patterns and illustration trends are still followed in 2020 is that they look harmonious. The illustrators can use the patterns in both complex and minimalist compositions.
When used in abstract illustrations, geometric designs have multiple colors that can be a gradient, monochrome, bright, and flat. You can also find many abstract illustrations with geometrical shapes with a muted color palette and earthy colors.
05. Restricted Color Palette
Another illustration trend that continues in 2020 is the use of a limited color palette. While color evokes emotions and is the most expressive factor of illustration and graphic design, most illustrators prefer a limited color choice. They even prefer a monochromatic palette.
So, the illustrators are exploring the range of expressiveness of a few colors. They love to play around the same color palette and do something unique within that range.
06. Experimenting With Textures
More illustrators are experimenting with textures, which is one of the illustration trends that you will notice very often. They do not intend to reflect reality but want to add some sense of familiarity to the illustration. It is by adding some texture that they can make their works look familiar to the viewers. The texture is also a way to establish a connection with the illustration. Graphic designers also use texture to give personality to a design.
The use of textures has also increased due to the easy availability of design software, which helps add different textures to illustrations. This has given rise to experimenting with realistic and other types of textures in illustrations.
07. The Use of Animation Elements
Since the competition to capture the viewers’ attention is increasing, illustrations are becoming interactive. It is because of the GIF that many illustrations now have moving images. As a result, there are hypnotic loops, bright and bold patterns.
Many creative technologies also are helpful in enabling digital animation in illustrations. You can see some magazine covers with interactive illustrations with sound and movement through a mobile phone camera lens.
08. Details in Illustrations
Details and realism seem to have made a comeback into illustration after minimalism dominated most of the past decade. A reason for the lack of details in designs and illustrations previously was that designers wanted to ensure better visibility on mobile devices. But with the improvements in technology, the use of details has come back as one of the major illustration trends.
Today, everyone has devices that have a high definition screen, which allows for more details and sensorial experience and more engagement. With the improvements in software and hardware, the line between hand-drawn and digital illustration has also blurred. As a result, we have many crafted illustrations with a lot of details. This also helps in storytelling.
Another big trend that is making rounds still in 2020 is the use of gradients. This trend has continued for years now, but illustrators and designers are fond of it for some more sophisticated expression. Illustrators are using gradients even more to create charming and gradient illustrations. They use this technique to evoke a wide range of moods, euphoria, and brooding menace.
Gradients are popular with illustrators and artists also to add some atmospheric depth to work. It also creates the original style.
10. 3D Art and Animation
Once illustrations were just 2D flat images. But that is changing now. Illustrators are now going for 3D illustrations that have mass and volume. The artists are introducing 3D to illustrations. By adding the dimension of depth to an illustration, they are giving viewers and new experiences.
To achieve the 3D effect in illustrations, the artists use simple geometric shapes, light, textures, and colors skillfully. So, this graphic trend in volume is picking up with the artists as they want to give a realistic feel to the illustrations.
These are the major illustration trends that most artists are following today to create a style and stand out. It would help if you tried to create something unique that catches viewers’ eyes even when adhering to these trends.
Meanwhile, if you want to earn decently from your illustration skills, it would be helpful to start your online store with PrintShop. This print-on-demand platform is your best way to sell your illustration works at your price and with a higher profit margin. Designhill, the leading creative marketplace, owns the platform.
Illustration trends are many but few of them are followed by the illustrators more often. These sought-after trends include the use of line art, 3D illustration, broken proportions, surrealistic figures, geometric motifs, reduced color palette, etc. Many brands have used these illustration trends to create unique visuals.