Colors and shapes are powerful weapons in the hands of a skilled illustrator. With professional graphic design, it is possible to create the way users will perceive a brand. Whether a product will be considered chic, youthful, decadent, or subdued, is largely determined by the users’ impressions after the first look at the design. 

Although blindly following trends in graphic design is not the key to success, it is worth keeping an eye on them and being aware of which direction they are heading. Incorporating specific trends into your business image can help you reach your target group. Therefore, successfully implement your brand’s business goals.

Some trends in illustration change very quickly, but others stay with us for even a few years. Here are some of the trends that are most prominent in the world of digital illustration in 2022. We have some sentimental returns to the past here, as well as some brave examples of “anti-design.” Since the trends reflect what is happening in society and culture, ‌understanding them can not only inspire but also give you an edge over the competition. 

Trend #1 2D/3D Illustrations 

3D illustration has been evolving for years, giving designers almost unlimited possibilities. 3D design characters have also recently made quite a noise by entering the NFT market in token form! A recent popular trend is mixing 2D and 3D techniques (straight out of the Arcane series). Characters and entire boards created in this technique are noticed very much in apps, websites, web pages, and advertising. This trend is likely to grow as the range of 2D/ 3D options still seems impossible to exploit

Grzegorz Musial for Applover Full-Stack Digital Agency
Peter Tarka

Trend #2 Antidesign

Antidesign is unpredictability and breaking out of any convention or rules. For some a mess, for others a manifesto, one thing is certain – examples of anti-design are seeping in everywhere. The most popular example is Spotify’s Wrapped slides. However, examples of anti-design can also be clearly seen in ads that don’t just promote techno events, but also… technology conferences! Antidesign is certainly something fresh and interesting to observe, as it rejects almost all traditional principles of design and aesthetics. 

Diany Firsta
Spotify Wrapped 2021

Trend #3 Nostalgia.

For some (including ourselves) we have shocking news – kids born in the 90s and 00s are now adults. That doesn’t mean they’re going to accept it, which is why the illustration world has literally gone back a decade and started reusing the nostalgic elements of the Y2K world. Primitive emoji, frames, bright colors, and fonts straight out of the first PCs or over-stylized high school teenage girls’ magazines are something that all designers and users born 20/30 years ago now love. 

Alaina Johnson
Alyson Starks

Trend #3 Modernism.

The architecture of modernism and its light, asymmetrical lines began to make a comeback some time ago, only to be back on top in 2022. Neutral colors, geometric shapes, and interesting curves have found their place in digital illustrations in 2022. It is a style that harmonizes designs and builds soothing impressions in viewers. The aesthetics of modernism are a balm for the stimulus-filled year 2022. 

Salih Küçükağa
Nikola Matošević

Trend #4 Collages and cut-outs.

Creative collages have become fashionable again. Playing with scissors and paper has also made its way into the world of digital illustration and graphic design, mixing the fairy tale with the extreme avant-garde! Illustrations with textures and layering them is a clear trend in 2022, which can actually be seen in many different styles. No wonder! Collages give the impression of spontaneity and fun!

Kristyn Braden
Ricardo Santos

Trend #5 Escapism and hand-drawn illustrations.

The aesthetics of the fantasy world in a romance just scored its big comeback. Hand-drawn illustrations à la Beatrix Potter inspired by the dreamy land of childhood, nature, and romance have found their way into the nostalgic trends of 2022, which, after all, love revisiting the past. While it’s not a trend that finds its way into advertising or apps – it’s heavily featured on social media along with the growing vintage trend. (Just check the cottage-core tag


Trend #6 Flat color and limited palette

The trend of using a few leading colors in illustrations in the spirit of less is more. An exciting trend that is breaking out in the digital space and gives a lot of elegance to the designs. Illustrations created in this tone operate with a limited color palette, which is deeply memorable and give the impression of a very clean aesthetic

Farzad Borousan
Farzad Borousan


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Stand out from the crowd.

Knowledge of trends in digital illustration not only positively influences the aesthetic experience of the audience, but also helps to better understand the mood that users are in, as well as observe their needs and expectations. Through illustration style, a graphic designer can help a brand attract a target audience by highlighting its core values. At Applover, we are perfectly aware of this, which is why our projects are always supervised by qualified designers. To find out more about design trends, get our 2022 TrendBook!