22 design trends blowing up in 2022

22 design trends blowing up in 2022

Every year, January ushers in a raft of new design trends that shape the future of ecommerce. Think, next-gen graphic design, evolved user experiences, and art direction that adapts with fresh aesthetics. So, what can we expect from the design trends of 2022?

Here, our Creative team reveals the new site features and stylings to watch. Implement them now, and you could be one of this year’s digital disruptors…

The 22 trends in this blog consist of:

  • 9 of the biggest branding trends
  • 8 of the biggest UX and UI design trends
  • 5 of the biggest art direction trends


Video image credits: Distortions by Jared Shofner, Gaslit - Mother Jones by Kyle Letendre, Rebel by MUTI, Ultraviolet by Tanya Bosyk, Illustration by Tim Evans, Chaotic Typography by Decolore.net, Shape Study: 021 by Ray Dak Lam, Experimental type: A Ethan Fender, Typographic Compositions Nikusha Ugrekhelidze. Video by Angus Carruthers.



9 of the biggest branding trends


#1 Embracing bold chaos

Image source: The Rebrand Show, Behance

We were already seeing lots of bold, vibrant colours in 2021, but brands are about to get even brighter for 2022 with high contrast hues, raw visuals and stand-out typography. This design trend is all about breaking traditional graphic design norms, rules and grids. The result? An aesthetic you can’t ignore; fun, dynamic and undeniably edgy.


#2 Statement typography

Image source: Talllk Cafe, Behance

Talking of stand-out typography; expect logos and text to go offbeat this year. We’re seeing unusual typography play a bigger role in branding to thumb-stopping effect. As far as graphic designers are concerned, there is no such thing as a ‘display’ typeface anymore, because we are using display fonts for everything now. Mix and match modern serifs with sans, don’t be afraid to use multiple fonts, go bold, go vibrant and go colourful. The more warped, stretched and distorted your type appears, the more on-trend you are.


#3 Down to earthy tones

Image source: Prado Eco-Studio, Behance

If the bold chaos trend doesn’t match your brand identity, what about the earthy trend? We’re seeing browns, beiges and greens rise up in a must-have colour palette that feels symbolic of natural and eco brand values. Go for dark forest greens, terracotta reds, chocolate browns and grey-toned beiges. You can even layer darker tonal typography over the shades to enhance that neutral identity.


#4 Offbeat shapes

Image source: Holke 79, Behance

Go graphic or go home. Odd shapes are cropping up more and more in branding – often in tandem with the trend for bold, contrasting colours. The design note here is, the more unusual and eye-catching, the better. Get creative, let loose, and find your freedom in shapes with or without stroke, filled or outlined. The choice is yours.


#5 Monochromatic pastels

Image source: Erbe, Behance

Vibrant colours aren’t for every brand. Some call for a palette that’s a little bit softer, which is where the 2022 trend for pastels comes into play. Think millennial pinks, cornflower blues and minty greens, but with a monochromatic twist. Pick a colour – any colour – and layer its tones for striking visuals that are playful and punchy. The trick is choosing that perfect pastel shade, setting the right opacity, and overlaying with just a slightly darker hue that won’t overpower the typography.


#6 Trippy iconography

Image source: Trippy, Behance

Trippy icons, stickers and retro-looking flat illustrations are taking over the design world, pushing graphic designers to eschew old iconography for emoji-esque visuals. It’s a sure-fire way to get your branding noticed – especially when demonstrating a product’s benefits. Don’t forget to add thin strokes and use contrasting, vibrant, neon colour combinations. Psst… You can download a free icon and sticker pack for your next campaign right here.

#7 Brand billboards in motion

Image source: Cupid Blue Poster, Behance

The billboard isn’t dead. However, with the greater shift towards digital marketing, it’s being used in ever more creative and boundary-pushing ways. Now, you can repurpose your print poster designs for the small screen by adding animated elements, such as fluid typography, distorting shapes and dynamic logos that bring emotion to your ads.


#8 Retro aesthetics

Image source: Pandan, Behance

It’s not just iconography that’s enjoying a throwback; vintage and retro stylings are showing up in every aspect of 2022 branding. Draw on inspiration from sixties to nineties packaging, posters, advertising, colour schemes and typography, with a focus on the countries and cultures that your brand originates from.


#9 Rendered type

Image source: Metallic, Behance

Take your odd, edgy and modern typography to another level by rendering your type in 3D. Play with textures, metallics, matte and gloss finishes, reflections and colour. Don’t forget to animate it later, so it can be used to elevate your digital campaigns.

8 of the biggest UX and UI design trends


#1 Voice User Interface

Image source: Underwaterpistol

UX/UI trends over the past few years have put the spotlight on video content to propel the user experience – yet, audio content has received little to no attention. However, as accessibility awareness grows and the use of voice devices infiltrates day-to-day life, we’re seeing audio features creeping into the ecommerce world. We’re talking on-site voice commands, audio search, text-to-audio descriptions, and more. Let’s not forget the just-announced partnership between Shopify and Spotify, which allows artists to integrate their Shopify SKUs right into the Spotify app.


#2 Cryptocurrency checkouts

Image source: Underwaterpistol

Cryptocurrencies have been a predicted UX/UI trend for years, but the masses haven’t quite caught the bite. Well, until now, that is. In March 2021, we saw PayPal introduce their ‘Checkout with Crypto’ for US customers, allowing users to convert their cryptocurrency into fiat currencies, such euros and dollars, with no additional fees. The introduction of a Crypto Checkout allows for you to expand your business into new markets, but it also enables increased security, lower fees, and quicker transactions.


#3 Mobile-first designing

Image source: Underwaterpistol

Ever since the rise of the iPhone in 2007, the need for a slick mobile design has become extremely important. However, with more customers shopping via their mobile devices than ever before, a mobile-first approach is becoming the standard in UX/UI. Your designs need to be slick, smooth, and super fast to keep small screen users engaged.


#4 Dark mode designs

Image source: Underwaterpistol

Although ‘dark mode’ isn’t entirely new – Apple launched dark mode in September 2019 as part of iOS 13 – companies are finally starting to apply it to their own apps and websites to great effect. Not only does dark mode reduce the power usage for mobile phones, but it can also provide improved visibility for some visually impaired users.

#5 Augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR)

Image source: Underwaterpistol

2021 saw the uprising of AR and VR in the ecommerce world, as brands sought to bring the offline shopping experience to users’ smartphone screens. The global pandemic allowed for AR and VR to no longer be fringe technologies, with virtual try on, true-to-scale 3D models, and interactive showrooms becoming the norm across the Sephora, IKEA and Fenty Beauty online stores (to name just a few). But, in 2022, expect to see this next-gen tech explode amongst digital disruptors. Offline stores may have reopened, but the thirst for experiential online shopping is going nowhere.


#6 Simplified processes

Image source: Underwaterpistol

Everyday users are bombarded with pop ups, in-article ads, and autoplaying advertisement videos. All of these result in a higher exit rate, and when designing for ecommerce, we want to ensure we avoid this at all costs. Ensuring your website design is simple, easy to navigate, and easy to checkout will result in high conversion rates and higher performance. So, this might be the year to streamline your design and simplify your UX process.


#7 Lottie animations

Image source: Underwaterpistol

You may not have heard of Lottie, but we’re sure you’ve seen it on your favourite websites. It’s a type of animation that allows your store to truly come to life, without slowing it down. The graphics are JSON-based, which means they’re smaller than MP4, GIFs, and PNGs. So, if you’re looking for a fun way to amplify your user interface, think Lottie.


#8 User-triggered animations

Image source: Underwaterpistol

Have you ever pressed a button multiple times because it wasn’t doing anything? Well, that’s called ‘rage’ tapping, and it’s a common issue in UX design. A solution to this is ‘user-triggered animations’. These small, micro-animations communicate to the user feedback that something is happening when they interact with your store. Rather than existing for aesthetic purposes, these user-triggered animations are solely created to ensure a smoother journey for the user.


5 of the biggest art direction trends


#1 Lo-fi aesthetic

Image sources: Mertalas, Luis Alberto Rodriguez Studio, SportsDirect

Although not a new trend, a low-fi, 35mm film aesthetic is still bringing a retro twist to the beauty and fashion industries’ campaigns. Whether the shots have actually been created using analogue processes, or simply designed up to look like they have, this aesthetic is ever-present in 2021 and here to stay for 2022.


#2 Monochrome stylings

Image sources: Pull&Bear, Givenchy, Fendi

It’s not just graphic design that’s seeing a monochromatic movement in 2022. From high end to high street, brands are embracing a monochrome look with their art direction this year. Blending colours picked from fashion garments into the backgrounds and creating looks from different hues of similar colours brings the trend to life in full technicolour. It’s proof that clashing colours aren’t the only way to make a statement.


#3 Diverse casting

Image sources: Gap UK, Newbottega, Savage x Fenty Lingerie by Rihanna

This is not a trend, as diversity should be the norm across all industries. However, we’re pleased to see that diverse model casting in content and campaigns is gaining more traction than ever. Rihanna has been leading the way, as per usual, with her inclusive Savage Fenty presentation vol. 3, which first aired in September 2021. The show featured a cast of celebrities, icons, models, musicians, artists, dancers, drag queens and unknowns, all with a huge variety of body shapes, sizes and skin tones. If there’s one brand others should be taking their model choice cues from in 2022, Fenty is it.


#4 CGI

Image sources: Tom Ford, Pinter, Iconic London

In 2021, we saw CGI become more prevalent in ecommerce and digital marketing – not just in product images, but integrated into campaigns and creative content too. Tom Ford has been using a clever mix of digital photography and CGI for a number of years, but it seems this trend is now trickling down to high street brands, like Iconic London. Stores such as Pinter even use a clever mix of CGI renders and photography to create engaging videos that showcase the ins and outs of the product without the visuals appearing artificial.


#5 TikTok authentic

Image sources: JD King of the Streets, #JDStreet on TikTok, EmilyMariko

Brands are still learning how to achieve digital excellence on TikTok, but if there’s one thing that’s clear about the social media platform, it’s that authentic content is king. Airbrushed is out and real visuals are in, which is why traditional ad campaigns are being eschewed in favour of TikTok videos that look like they could have been made at home (and often are). As TikTok itself advises brands, ‘Don't Make Ads. Make TikToks’. They’re inviting brands to be more inventive with their art direction for a new era of art direction.

What's next?

This trend round-up was brought to you by our multi-skilled Creative team, who don’t just spot great UX, UI and art direction, but deliver show-stopping visuals and branding, too. Reach out to our team at Underwaterpistol to find out how they can elevate your brand with contemporary, conversion-driving website design, graphic design, CGI, photo shoots – and so much more.

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