Top 7 Illustration trends 2021

Posted on  2 April, 2021


2020 has been a year that none of us could predict – A year to forget! It had brought chaos & uncertainty a few could have imagined, but there have still been signs of inspiration, innovation, and courage. There have been moments where recalling the past held some value. The year 2020 was a year of reflection & retrospect! We must reflect upon it because it is events like these that shape us and our societies for generations to come. Art & visual imagery has always been used for healing since inception & it has invariably played an important role in such pivotal moments, it doesn’t just provide us empathy, and purpose but most importantly hope!

Freshly, we experienced a significant upswing in digital art and illustrations, in a time when we were all confined to the safety of our homes. We witnessed brands coming up with cutting-edge & fancy ways to inform and educate while the whole world fights against the pandemic. We saw Google doodles educating us to curb the spread of coronavirus and showing empathy towards the frontline workers also brands like Dunzo covering the face of their mascot with a mask & many other such instances when illustrations were directly communicating with the masses to convey an important message.

In this blog, we wanted to showcase what’s been hot in 2020 and expected to be used lavishly in this year as well. Some of these illustration trends are going to be a major influence for 2021.

So, what are the illustration trends? Take a look at what we as illustration aficionados think will be creating a buzz throughout this year.

Let’s go!

1. Abstract

Abstract image

Abstraction has seen a skywards trend in the past. This style helps us grasp an understanding of intangible subjects. There are no boundaries to abstraction and one can go as far as one can imagine and create magic with their own sets of rules.

We are in love with this style and expect to see more of it as it helps us to see the world beyond our comprehension.

2. 3D Realistic

3D Realistic

*illustration by cabeza_patata

The skeuomorphic trend is coming back to life from the olden days & we are seeing a rise in realistic illustrations. The new Mac os Big Sur is a recent example where we saw some skeuomorphic iconography. The 3D illustration style follows the same path with brands investing in stylized but detailed 3d illustrations.

3. Bright and bold

Bright and bold image

We all know color is an excellent communicator, it tells us about the mood and personality of a product. While having bright and bold primary colors in your designs easily makes it stand out from the crowd.

This style and trend are reminiscent of the designs by artist Piet Mondrian from the Bauhaus movement and we fall in love with it over & over again when we see community drawing inspirations from masters in the past.

4. 3D Geometric

3D Geometric

*illustration by Dan-Zucco

3D illustrations have tremendous power to communicate ideas that resonate with each of us. A composition having simple geometric illustration shapes and textures is a new approach that has a lot of room for explorations. Budding designers can now create such compositions as 3D software is becoming more user-friendly and accessible.

We are also working & exploring 3D design art and its possibilities with several clients and projects! No better time to dive into this new realm of design and creativity. We’ll see you there!!

5. Flat illustrations

Flat illustrations

Flat design illustrations have been one of the most used styles in recent times. The usual drawing rules and techniques like perspective and depth are left aside in this style rather it relies on shapes and colors to convey any idea.

Scores of brands follow this style of illustration & we also catch a glimpse of it in places like children’s books and shows (Peppa pig being one well-loved example). Their simplicity allows them to be remarkably versatile.

6. Inorganic textures

Inorganic textures

Textures mingle new depths and dimensions to your illustration design. The world around us is full of textures, it helps us feel in a certain way.

When we are looking at a wall that has paint scaling off of it or a hut that has grungy walls or a wooden pillar that has aged and splintered all this while, it sets a match to a flurry of emotions!

We are looking at all these objects because of the characteristics of the surface! We are surrounded by inorganic textures & when we create something, they brighten it up and make us feel the same way!

7. Health awareness illustrations

Health awareness illustrations

While facing a global pandemic, effective communication became very important. We had to make sure that people are given the right information and that there is an ample amount of awareness about issues related to both mental and physical health. The trend which born out of necessity in 2020, is most likely to follow through in 2021 as well. We love creative ways of spreading awareness about mental and physical wellbeing. Together we will get past this crisis!


TBH Trends may come and go but craft remains and holds its value for ages. The next time you have a story to tell through digital images/visuals, you can use any of these illustration trends or you create your style! Who knows, it might make our list!

Happy creating! Cheers!

Do check our other blogs:-

UI Design Trends 2021
UX Design Trends 2021