10 Graphic Design Trends You Need to Know for Instagram in 2020

Are you an avid Instagrammer? Well, you’re not the only one. Instagram is one of the most widely used platforms globally. The number of users on the platform is expected to reach 989 million by 2022.

Instagram marketing can deliver great results. A Facebook IQ survey revealed that people use Instagram for product discovery (83%), product research (81%), and making purchase decisions (80%).

This means that whether you’re a business owner, marketer, or influencer, you need to be on Instagram. But the visual platform has a dynamic aesthetic and the graphic design trends used on Instagram are constantly evolving. 

If you want your visual content to be lively and current, you need to master the upcoming graphic design trends for Instagram.

As we don’t want you wasting creative hours scouting for information, we’ve put together 10 of the top graphic design trends for Instagram in 2020. We also have pro tips to help you take your content quality a notch higher.


What Are the Top 10 Graphic Design Trends on Instagram in 2020?

There’s a reason why Instagram has become a cult favorite. The platform is brimming with high-quality visual content. Moreover, it allows innovation in terms of content creation. There’s never a dull moment for creative folks on Instagram. 

2019 saw Carousel posts, interactive Stories, and monochromatic palettes on Instagram. This year, we expect to see content creators follow these graphic design trends extensively:


1. Powder Pastels

Colors have a way of bringing images to life, more so on Instagram which is known for its vibrant imagery. Baby-soft pastel hues of 2019 will give way to duskier, darker tones. Powder finish will be more prevalent than shiny tones. The same color used in different gradients will be used to elevate images.

Image via Instagram

Pro tip: You can pick a pastel shade as a theme and try to use it as much as possible in all your posts. Viewers will start associating the color with your brand. Your content will stand out for its uniqueness. 

It’s not necessary to edit pictures drastically for this. Just adding one or two elements in your signature shade is enough. 

You can inject the pigment into image background, shapes, or annotations. @grind did it recently with pastel pink. Their entire grid is infused in pink and so are their Stories. 

Image via Instagram


2. Vintage Touch

Old is not outdated anymore. The vintage theme will dominate Instagram in 2020. Presets, watermarks, and grainy effects will lend your visuals a vintage edge. Colour tones will be saturated and warmer, tilting more towards natural browns, greens, and orange. 

While the vintage or retro look has always been popular on Instagram, it will become mainstream in 2020. The aim is to move from picture-perfect imagery to pictures that reflect real, imperfect nuances from life. 

Image via Instagram

Pro tip: Built-in filters are passe. You can create complete vintage-look themes using apps like Preview. There are special video editing apps for Instagram that can take your videos up a notch. Apart from retrofitting your videos, you can also add transitions, stickers, and background music.


3. Embrace Imperfections

Think crumpled papers, dog-eared novels, wrinkled faces, shattered glass. You’ll see more of this in your Instagram feed in the coming year. Analogue will meet digital when perfectly-shot objects will be offset by imperfections.

In a way, Instagram will kick back into an older time when social content wasn’t judged for being less than perfect. “Analogue textures” will look grungy and gritty. Vogue magazine has already embraced the trend. Perfectly-groomed women posing against messy backgrounds look relatable and edgy.

Image via Instagram

Pro tip: For starters, you can try the raw look in your Instagram Stories as they disappear after a day. You can overlay images with real-life textures such as tarmac, scratched metal, and sand, and experiment with degrees of transparency. 


4. The “No-Edit” Edit

Over-the-top edits are no longer popular on Instagram now. Just a hint of colour modulation or a tiny tweak to orientation is what we are expecting in 2020. The more real your feed is, the better it will be received.

We saw an inkling of this design trend in 2019. Brands didn’t shy away from posting less-than-perfect user-generated content (UGC). The #noedit hashtag has gained numerous followers. The no-edit edit trend is an effort to make social media more responsible, real, and empathetic.

Image via Instagram

Pro tip: Focus on seizing moments in your pictures. Visual storytelling is big on Instagram. It can be great if you align your brand story with a societal cause or trend about which you are passionate or which matches your brand’s values. 

Airbnb, which is known for providing immersive travel experiences, does this beautifully. Their posts focus on experiential travel which is a vogue with young travellers. 

Image via Instagram


5. Photography + Emoji

Adding emojis to pictures is not new on Instagram. But we see the trend being more widely adopted in 2020. Using emojis is not child’s play. 

Even “grown-up” brands like Durex and Pepsi are styling their entire marketing campaigns using emojis. Emojis add a playful vibe to your feed and can boost engagement rates if used as sliders in Stories.

Image via Instagram

Pro tip: Emoji edits to create custom emojis will give a playful twist to your feed. You can add these custom emojis as stickers in your Instagram Story. Check out the video below to see how a custom emoji is created.

Image via Instagram


6. Statement Typefaces

Statement typefaces never go out of fashion. Fonts will be centre-stage this year in Instagram posts and Stories. You’ll get to see all sorts of dazzling font effects, such as rainbow/ombre, animated, caricature, and distorted.

Image via Instagram

Pro tip: You can use a tool like IGFonts.io to get new font ideas for your typed content. You’ll just have to type or copy/paste your content into the tool and you’ll get countless font options. You can design your own font too.

Image via IGFonts.io


7. Digital Collage

Collages will get more edgy and rustic this year. We’ll see cut-outs, artistic typography, monochrome, and retro overlays. There will be a good mix of images, video clips, emojis, and stickers to give a scrapbook effect. Analogue textures will dominate. 

Image via Instagram

Pro tip: You can use the Layout for Instagram app which is available for free in both the Play Store and Apple Store. They offer a variety of layout options. You can pick pictures from your gallery or from their Photo Booth. If you’re short on ideas, you can use photo editing apps which typically have a plethora of collage designs.


8. Phygital Objects

Digitally-created objects, ranging from mock-ups to furniture, will be popular on Instagram. 3D-enthusiasts and digital sculptors like Bat Labat and Simon Kaempfer have broken the realms of the physical world to create near-perfect digital images. 

You can create a zillion images out of thin air just by using the right tools. This could be perceived as an effort to support the sustainability of material resources.

Images via Instagram

Pro tip: You can combine your products with digitally-created objects, like skincare brand, Aesop, does.

Image via Instagram


9. Citrusy and Juicy

Colours like yuzu, tangerine, and bold orange will rule the Instagram colour palette in 2020. You’ll see a dash of citrus in makeup, clothing, backgrounds, fonts, and doodles. Food and beverage, cosmetics, and fitness brands can use the “healthy” hues to strengthen their brand voices. 

Image via Instagram

Pro tip: If you want to cash the citrus trend but don’t know how, check out the grid of Sheep Inc. The sweater brand that’s famous for its “sheep included” tag uses a dash of citrus in most of its posts. The aim is to fortify its narrative of being an organic, carbon-negative company.

Image via Instagram 


10. Childlike Expressions

As you might have gathered, rebellion seems to be the predominant trend on Instagram in 2020. A childlike expression is another way of unrestrained self-expression. You’ll see more doodles, colour splatters, and illustrations, that don’t look pixel-perfect.

Mr Doodle or Sam Cox is an early adopter of this trend. He calls himself an “obsessive, compulsive drawer” and his Instagram account has 2.4 million followers. His feed is replete with artistic scrawls, crayon drawings, and wall murals. 

Image via Instagram

Pro tip: If you’re unsure of how to tap into this trend, take a cue from Paynter, a limited-edition jacket retailer. They use hand-drawn illustrations to tell their brand story and explain their jacket-remaking process. It’s a great way for conservative brands to look playful and creative.

Image via Instagram


Over to You

Competition on Instagram is fierce. If you want your feed to look daisy-fresh, you’ll have to stay abreast of the latest graphic design trends. It’s best to adopt trends that align with your brand’s aesthetics. Try to look for ways to improvise on the trends above and add a unique twist to make your content stand out.


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