If you plan on designing a brochure for your business, you need to pay attention to the current design trends. Since a person’s average time looking at the print material is roughly 2.4 seconds, your design needs to be attention-grabbing to convey your message successfully.
Design trends emerge and fade every year. Some trends stick around for a while, others disappear after one season. They can be combined, the rules of formats broken, and the boundaries between print, digital, and virtual blurred.
If you are trying to determine which design trend to pick for your next project, you might get overwhelmed by the available choices. Still, choosing a good style for your design is one of the few things you have to do before you start working on your project. Pick a design style that will resonate well with your target audience and make you stand out more.
A lot of people tend to confuse pamphlets with brochures frequently. Even though sometimes they might look very similar, knowing the difference is very important. When you prepare your marketing package for an upcoming event or a campaign, you can quickly identify which of these two will work best for your goal.
A brochure is a multi-page promotional material used to advertise particular products, services, or activities. The pages can be bound together, bi-fold, tri-fold, or accordion fold. The paper used for printing is always of higher quality.
Pamphlets, or flyers, usually have an informational character and are mainly focused on a single subject. They have a much smaller format compared to the brochures and are typically printed on lower-quality paper.
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Why are design trends significant?
In a world where each person sees hundreds of advertisements daily, it is getting exceedingly hard to cut through the noise and reach your target audience. Well-planned and executed design is one of the essential things for any marketing campaign today.
This is where design trends come in handy to help your brand stand out among competitors. In essence, emerging trends always bring a refined way of getting people’s attention to a design. Designers try and test concepts, see what works best at the moment. If it works exceptionally well for different types of projects, a new trend emerges.
The variety of trends this season provides designers and their clients with a rather broad spectrum of choices. From typographic minimalism to psychedelic designs inspired by the 60s, these are the best brochure design trends for 2021.
This is one of the most popular design styles among designers. It is probably the only style on this list that is both classic and modern, which is why it sticks around for so long.
Minimalism is characteristic for the minimum amount of design elements, use of negative space, and clear and simple shapes and colors. With this design style, you won’t have issues such as the readability of the text. You can also pick more economical paper types for printing since minimalist designs are not heavy on the images.
You can see this style mostly on brochures for cultural events and venues and some high-end designer brands.
Souce: Marko Cvijetic at dribbble
Text-only brochures might sound boring at first. However, you can create some visually stunning designs with a careful combination of fonts, size, color, and weight. A lot of brands today are switching to custom-made fonts. Still, even with the free fonts, you can achieve rather spectacular results.
One of the things to pay attention to when creating a text-only design is the use of white space. You want to leave enough breathing room around the blocks of text and titles. The brochure should have a clearly defined type hierarchy so the readers can quickly skim through the content.
Source: Zoe Dyer at dribbble
Illustration and hand-drawn elements
Illustrations provide an additional level of design customization. They also offer an extra artistic layer of your design and an opportunity to tell the story of the brand, product, or service creatively.
Custom illustrations are usually more expensive than photos. However, you can find many customizable free illustration libraries like the one we have on ManyPixels. These illustrations can be customized and used royalty-free for commercial designs.
Source: Adult Swim Comic-Con Brochure
Design in 2021 needs to be attention-grabbing. As we said, people’s attention span is getting shorter, but in addition to that many businesses are also reopening after lockdowns and need to attract new customers (and profit) fast.
This year most designs have strong and vibrant colors. Not only to get customers’ attention but also to show that life is slowly getting back to normal. Bright colors should convey more optimistic messages. For example, the Pantone color of 2021 is illuminating yellow which represents hope and optimism.
Source: Domas Miksys at dribbble
Whether you see leafy or flowery patterns or earthy and natural color palettes, graphic designers are inspired by nature this year. As the symbols of health, wellbeing, and wellness, natural elements have been used in designs this year. These elements, colors, and patterns have been used for various projects, not just for environmentally focused products or campaigns.
Source: Mockup Cloud at dribbble
Pop art and comics
Every year we have some trends that are returning, refreshed, and updated for the new decade or century. This year, a lot of designers are using pop art and vintage comics as inspiration for their designs. The halftones, dot shading, grainy texture, and accent lines from these vintage styles go pretty well with modern minimalist designs.
Source: Brent McCormic at dribbble
Vintage is one of few styles that are almost always present on these lists. This year is no exception when it comes to vintage design trends. Besides pop art and comics, this year, we also have retro-futurism as a trend that will mark most designs.
With strong and intense colors, computer-inspired typography, and illustrations that draw inspiration from comics and soviet era space program posters, retro-futurism is a perfect blend of a few trends mentioned on this list.
Source: New Romantics at Behance
Inspired by the music and art scene of the '60s and '70s, this style is having a comeback in the 21st century. Seemingly chaotic illustrations, bold colors, and hand-drawn fonts show absolute artistic freedom. In 2021 this style is mixed with abstract patterns and shapes to amplify the free-spirited vibe.
This design style had its occasional comebacks since the groovy decades when it was created. It was popular during the late ‘90s and early 2010s. This year, it is mostly used to promote outdoor artistic and cultural events and organic food brands.
Source: Andrey KENO at dribbble
Once the pandemic hit us collectively in 2020, the whole situation felt very surreal for many of us. The majority of people felt uncertainty and anxiety due to the new reality.
A large number of designers and graphic artists started to express the unease they felt through their creations. Surrealism quickly became among the most used design styles, and it stayed among the top ten in 2021. Illustrations and collages seamlessly combine different images into designs that feel both organic and out of this world. It is mainly used on image-focused media such as posters, flyers, brochures, and book and album covers.
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Experimenting with the format
There are a large number of standard brochure formats. From bi-fold to accordion, you can explore your creativity within the already set boundaries. Still, with the new printing and paper cutting technology, you are no longer bound to the predefined formats.
Many companies and graphic designers are trying to explore the limits of the format and all the possibilities the new technologies bring. From custom shapes to adding AR elements, brochures in 2021 are anything but boring and outdated.
Source: Pop Web Design
Use of symbols
The use of symbols in graphic design isn’t anything new. Every logo you see on a design represents a symbol. However, this year they are becoming a central part of many design solutions. They are not only accompanying graphic elements, but they are becoming the main focus of the designs.
Graphic designers combine different symbols with typography to create unique and impressive designs.
Merging of graphic design and fine art
Graphic designers used to shy away from incorporating fine art elements into commercial designs. However, things have changed significantly during this year. The divide between graphic design and traditional art became even more blurred.
Graphic designers incorporate various artistic techniques and painting styles. Abstract or impressionistic elements can be seen on packaging designs, merchandise, and even brochures.
Source: Seyma Gumus at Behance
Gradients and grain
This design trend has been around for a couple of years now. Vibrant color gradients that color shapes and fonts, gradient, and grainy overlays on images combine exceptionally well with a couple of design styles from this list. You can see gradients and grain elements in pop art, comic designs, psychedelia, and retro-futurism.
Source: Mackenzie Graves at dribbble
Infographics have always been a smart way to communicate complex topics and data to a broader audience. In 2021 infographics became more story-oriented. Designers and marketers are managing to connect information and data into meaningful story arcs. This way, the information in the brochure becomes more memorable and entertaining to its readers.
Source: Eugene Moroz at dribbble
The photoshopped perfect models, idyllic scenes in stock photos, and homogenous racial representation in the advertisements slowly become a thing of the past. Designers and advertisers are deciding more and more to use real people in their campaigns. They are opting out to highlight different ages, body types, skin tones, and cultural backgrounds.
Diversity is last on this list, but it is a trend that will soon become a norm with all the positive changes happening worldwide and efforts to unify over issues that used to divide us. Those positive changes are starting to show in everyday designs.