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9 Social Media Graphic Design Trends To Follow This Year

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9 Social Media Graphic Design Trends To Follow This Year

December 8, 2018

Top 9 Graphic Design Trends to Help You Dominate Social Media

  1. Contrasting tones
  2. Bold typography
  3. Or, no text at all
  4. Minimalism
  5. Open composition
  6. To animate, or not to animate
  7. Go 3D
  8. A surprise every time
  9. Mix and match


Graphic design plays an important role in our social media strategy. It’s human nature that the images, colors, and designs we see in a social media feed grab our attention and compel us to then read through the status text of the post.

Now that we are rapidly approaching the threshold of a new year, it's time to review the new social media graphic design trends for 2019 and update your look accordingly.

Let’s start!

1. Contrasting tones

Images with strong color schemes easily capture our attention. There are two reasons behind this.

First, most of the social media channels have a white or off-white background. Your chance of getting noticed is higher with bright colors. Second, bright colors are more stimulating than their lighter counterparts.

Images with bright and contrasting hues pop on the timeline and beg the audience to stop and look at your social media posts while scrolling through their feeds. Be careful not to lose your brand identity in the process.

Let’s look at an example from Wendy’s, the fast-food hamburger chain. Blog

The color they used in this image is not only eye-grabbing, it also matches their branding. When choosing the colors for your social media graphics, make sure they convey the correct emotions to the audience.

In this context, it’s helpful to mention that our eyes are more attracted to single colors that cover a large area of an image.

2. Bold typography

Just like the color scheme, typography is equally important when attracting your audience’s attention. It’s crucial to choose a font that speaks to the audience about your product or service while grabbing their attention.

It’s not necessary to limit the number of fonts used in your graphic design. Try different fonts with different images and different design styles.

Take a cue from Coca-Cola. Blog

Big and bold fonts are already a design craze that will become an even hotter trend in 2019.

There is also another good reason to use big and bold fonts. U.S. consumers spend an average of five hours a day on their mobile devices. If your images don’t have readable fonts suitable for small screens, your message might lose its chance to be recognized.   

3. Or, no text at all

Typography is important, but you can remove it if it feels like its detracting from your message or design. Many times the composition of an image delivers the message so perfectly, there seems to be no need for any writing at all.  

Taco Bell’s images are great examples of this new trend. Blog

4. Minimalism

Composition is always a crucial factor in social media graphics. Here is the golden rule of digital graphic design in 2019.

Go minimal! Designs based on this mantra are always the best way to capture more eyeballs. It’s important to note, one social media image should deliver only one idea to avoid information overload. Blog

Create images that convey the right tone and mood while maintaining the brand identity. Unnecessary elements in an image not only make it look cluttered, but they also make it lose its very essence.

5. Open composition

Frames will be extinct soon. Stay ahead of this trend by using open compositions for your social media images now.

Frames create a sense of finality and symmetry, but they cannot offer the X-factor. On the other hand, the messy part of an image makes it stand out and leaves the audience hungering to see the complete picture.

Take a look at this example from DiGiorno. Blog

Open compositions are also a great tool to use when you have a story to share. Blog Blog

Look at this brilliant example from Nike. They created two distinct parts out of one singular image to create a story. When the fan comes across the first part, they cannot stop themselves from looking for the second part.

Here, asymmetry completes the frame.  

6. To animate, or not to animate

Creating GIFs and videos has been a popular trend in recent years.

There is no doubt animation helps create interactive posts. However, a recent study by Adespresso shows that, contrary to popular belief, static images perform better than GIFs in terms of reach and engagement. Blog

Possible reasons could be:

  1. The audience’s short attention span
  2. Information overload on social media
  3. The specific animation is not appealing enough

You can’t do anything about the first two points, but if you work on the third factor, you can defeat the first two hurdles. All you need to do is make your audience hit the “play” button.

Here are a few tips to help make your animated posts work on social media:

  1. Give a good reason why the audience should watch the full content.
  2. Create an enticing hook in the opening frame.
  3. Don’t reveal the complete story in the first frame or status text.
  4. Instead, tell only the first half and promise the rest in the animation.
  5. In the end, review the graphics and ask yourself if they evoke any questions in your mind like, “What is this product?” “Where can I find out more?” “How do I purchase?”

Remember, if it fails to excite you, it will fail to excite your audience.

Let’s look at a Spotify post below. Blog

Let’s run through the probable journey users experienced that help the post earn 12K views.

  1. The bright colors and equally interesting composition might have intrigued the user to stop at the post.
  2. He might have read the status text after that.
  3. The question that might have come to his mind was, “How is it possible to choose my music with a flick of my wrist?” or “I need it. How do I get it?”

In both the scenarios, there must be ‘a  you must evoke the feeling of curiosity’ or ‘a hope to of getting something useful’ worked in his in the user’s mind. Then he just might have to hit the “Pplay” button to satisfy his curiosity and learn to know more.

The bottom line is, give your audience a solid and compelling reason to watch, and promise them a good return on their time.

7. Go 3D

Facebook 3D is finally here! If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time to jump in with both feet.

This new technology is ideal for posts where you need to describe a product or process in great detail. These 3D posts requiring user interaction can do really well for your Facebook engagement. Blog

8. A surprise every time

Do you know why we remember unusual things for a longer period of time? It’s the Von Restorff effect. It says that absurd elements attract us more than usual ones.
Surprise your audience with unusual images to create long-lasting retention. Look at this beautifully-composed image. Blog

Xperia not only created a unique and unfamiliar composition, they also effectively displayed the product feature.

9. Mix and match

Many brands have a hard time deciding whether to choose a real photo or an illustrated one. It actually depends on the photo bank you have. If you have a good deal of photos, you can utilize the evergreen “mix and match” theory.

Look at a GE post. Blog

This is a great example of storytelling while mixing illustration with a real picture. Let’s look at another example. Blog

Charmin is a popular toilet paper brand. They also have a mascot that makes it easy for them to mix illustration and real images, which also add a fun element to the posts.

This trend will also help you engage with your audience in a whole new way. No matter if you have a mascot or not, adding illustrations is going to play a vital role in 2019 social media graphics.


With more and more brands trying to win the social media game, it’s going to be even more difficult to grab your audience’s attention in the coming years. It’s important to get your message and graphic design right because you don’t want to waste the audience’s precious time in a sea of average content. That is the quickest way to lose followers.

It’s a big, bad social media jungle out there, and the rule of thumb for success is — make it stand out. Why not give some of these new trends a try and see how they can improve your brand’s graphic design in 2019? There’s no better time to start!

Josh Meah smiling, working on laptop, with a whiteboard full of notes in the background.

Josh Meah

Hi, I'm Josh. I founded 4 profitable marketing companies currently serving clients in over 20 industries. Our one rule in assessing new client relationships is that you and your company must be very good at what you do.

Beyond that, my consulting practice, LLC is a perfect fit for any business or organization seeking local customers and is uniquely qualified for special projects involving startups, unique industries, special market penetration challenges, innovative technologies, cross-cultural communications, business model/sales process development, process engineering, sales training, internal marketing strategy and leadership, or the transition from local to regional or national. Let's achieve aggressive growth!

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