Design in the last 4 decades

3 min read

Art has continuously evolved in capabilities throughout human history and adapted to the events taking place in society. Visual art has continuously evolved, from Picasso’s work being affected by revolutions and wars to new design trends appearing with the development of new technology. 

Even within a decade, those changes can happen quickly.

So buckle up and get ready for a visual journey across the last four decades of graphic design (and beyond)!


The 1970s and Lava Lamps

Repetition, informal typefaces, and primary geometric forms were commonplace in many 1970s-era designs. 

In print design, the tendency to use overlapping and interconnected designs was on the rise, and lava lamps, though they originated in the ’60s, were just one of several psychedelic motifs that gained prominence that decade ( both in visual art and decor). The popularity of print design increased, but the ability to print intricate graphics on a wide range of media was not yet available. 

Now you know why so much of the decade’s most influential art was so spare.

The 1980s and Synthwave

The 1980s stand out artistically in design, pop culture, and other areas. 

Inspired by sci-fi and future pop culture, 1980s design used new techniques, bright hues, and chrome. “Synthwave” is an ’80s-inspired sub-genre of music and design.

Look at the tremendous change in design skills and style between the ’70s and ’80s. The usage of three-dimensional forms and gradients shows how much more a design may be in this futuristic approach.


The 1990s and Memphis

Graphic design was simplified in the ’90s, despite technology’s rapid growth. Memphis style rose to prominence during the ’90s. Fuschia, teal, and warm colours (yellow and orange) became trendy in print design. 

The ’80s saw sleek and shiny fonts, but the ’90s saw blocky fonts with strokes and shadows. 

Technology made high-quality prints possible and everyone took advantage. The ability to digitally blend and illustrate elements, as well as manipulate photos, created a new sector of graphic design and ushered in a new era of digital art and design.


The 2000s 

The 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s saw huge advances in graphic design, but nothing compares to the 2000s. 

In the 2000s, technology made this progression exponential. People weren’t designed for print or digital media anymore. Designers had to ensure their work looked good on billboards and pocket-sized screens. New software helped designers create 3D objects and manipulate typography. 

Some of the most iconic designs in history were created during this decade, including Apple’s single-coloured iPod ads. Whether it was artists learning to use new tools or the new tools themselves, graphic design was expanding daily.


The 2010s and Minimalism

The 2010s are tech’s shockwave. Modern graphic design involves creative photo manipulation and three-dimensional effects.

Most design work now caters to digital media rather than print, and animation is a trend. The “art” of graphic design is becoming more complex, while the business side is becoming simpler.

The Modern yet Minimal era


The 2020s: Breaking the Rules

It wouldn’t be justifiable to pick a trend that best fits the current decade. 3d depth and realism, illustrations, typography craze, earthy colours and a mix of all the decades, the 20s definitely have a wide range of designs. 

With extreme advancements in technology, we’re curious to see what design would be like in the next 50 years.


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