Mock mock, who’s there? The top mockup trends of 2023! If you want to take your designs to the next level, here are the top mockup trends to try this year.
Design mockups are the ultimate canvas for designers to iterate ideas, pressure-test products, and visualize their design concepts. From sleek, sophisticated stationery to professional product packaging, mockups offer endless possibilities for presenting professional design concepts, becoming indispensable tools for designers and marketers alike.
Whether you’re a seasoned designer seeking fresh inspiration or an aspiring creative looking to stay ahead of the curve, we’re here to help you unpack the ten hottest mockup trends of the moment. Let’s dive in!
What are Design Mockups?
A mockup offers a full rendering of your design as it will appear on various mediums – such as smartphones, stationery, flyers, or signage. Mockups provide a quick and easy way to professionalize your portfolio, help clients visualize your design concepts in context, or even sell or promote a product without photographing it.
Ready to level up your branding or product designs? From floating objects to mood boards and monochromatic palettes, here are the hottest mockup trends shaping the visual aesthetics of 2023.
1. Floating Objects
Floating product photography has become one of the most popular mockup trends of the past year. This gravity-defying trend gives mockups a sense of movement, making products look like they’re floating mid-air. It adds playfulness to any project and is perfect for producing creative, eye-catching shots that make your products pop. Many brands use floating objects to add dimension to their design and tell a story about their products.
“Floating or falling mockups have become an industry staple,” says Envato Digital Design Manager Keiron Lewis. “By breaking out of traditional still life, you can visualize multiple unique angles that would otherwise be unobtainable in a single image.”
Get the levitating look with this mockup set available from Envato Elements. These six editable Photoshop files will make your packaging and product designs pop, featuring falling boxes and natural shadows.
2. Shadow Overlays
This elegant and mesmerizing mockup trend has majorly impacted graphic design throughout 2023. Inspired by the iconic Instagram flat lay, shadow overlays are created by layering shadows over images, products, or illustrations, adding depth and dimension to otherwise flat design elements. Shadow overlays are great for conveying a contemporary and polished aesthetic, breathing life into any mockup by adding a touch of realism.
“Shadow overlays help add further emotion to a mockup without added props or set work, allowing the mockup to remain the hero,” Keiron explains.
This trend taps into the move towards authentic advertising by adding a tangible feel to the composition – like this post from summer-focused skincare range Sukin which features a sun-dappled effect that immediately transports us to the beach. On the other hand, this minimalist business card emanates sophistication and style.
Add a shadow overlay to your next mockup with this palm shadow effect from Envato Artist graphiccrew – just select an orientation and background color to bring your business card mockup to life.
3. Mixed Media & Grunge
Ready to rip up the design rulebook? This grunge-inspired mockup trend is guaranteed to add a raw and rebellious edge to your work.
Originating from the punk music scene, graffiti, and skateboarding culture in the 90s, grunge is all about experimenting with a more risky, less polished design style. This trend breaks the rules of traditional graphic design, working with distressed textures, torn edges, hand-drawn doodles, and distorted fonts. Collage is a significant element of this design trend, so feel free to play around with mixed media and layering, and don’t be afraid to bring flaws and imperfections to the forefront.
Embodying the grunge aesthetic, these product mockups from Aesop embrace the choppy collage style – layering product cut-outs over a background of cardboard shapes and packaging tape. The results have a charming DIY appeal that highlights the products in a down-to-earth and engaging way.
Achieve the grunge look with this vinyl record mockup. This editable Photoshop file channels organized chaos, featuring gritty textures and distressed details such as rips, crinkles, and folds.
4. Contrasting Colors
“Next time a client asks, ‘Can you make the mockup pop?’ Get ready to say, heck yeah, I can!” Keiron exclaims. “Contrasting colors bring high energy to your presentations and help call out your color choices.”
Hard-seltzer brand Pals embodies this trend perfectly by contrasting their iconic coral-pink drink against a sky-blue background. MECCA takes a similar approach by highlighting its pink and orange product packaging on turquoise background – creating a stark contrast and instantly giving the scene extra depth and definition.
To get the look, this paper box mockup set from Envato Elements contains three fully editable Photoshop files pairing a baby pink shoe box with a bold blue background to create the ultimate aesthetic contrast.
5. Animated Mockups
Animation combines all the best elements of nostalgia, movement, and creativity – no matter how or where you use it, it’s a trend that never goes out of style. From 360-degree rotating product shots that jump off the screen to small animated elements that add a fun, nostalgic charm, animation is the perfect way to go the extra mile to make your designs shine,
Many designers, brands, and marketers are now adding movement to their mockups to highlight a product’s features and functions, enabling potential customers to experience objects more engagingly and intuitively. For example, this spinning shoe from Nike shows off the Air Max Pulse’s sleek silhouette and durable design details against a dynamic background.
Want to see your designs up in lights? This animated mockup projects your designs onto larger-than-life digital billboards to show how your design could look in a real-world setting. While this video template allows you to mockup your branding on various products – such as shirts, stationery, and business cards.
6. Natural Textures & Materials
This next mockup trend brings the outside world into the studio. Part of a broader graphic design trend of Organic Design, this style revolves around neutral colors, natural shapes, and organic textures and materials, taking inspiration from the beauty of nature. We’ve seen many mockups and product shots utilizing this trend lately – especially for natural, eco-conscious, or sustainability-focused brands.
“Using natural textures, colors, and materials in your mockups is a modern way to evoke the feeling of natural eco-friendly products,” says Kerion. “This style is perfect for brands with a more minimalist approach.”
Achieve this effect with these mood board mockups from Envato Artist angelekamp, featuring muted tones, minimalist styling, and dried flowers and pressed petals. These nature-themed templates are perfect for creating collages for clients and social media. These customizable cosmetic mockups also feature flowers, soft light, and dreamy shadows for a natural look and feel.
7. Monochromatic Palettes
This homogenously-hued trend has taken off everywhere over the past few years – from web design to social media. Now, monochromatic palettes are making their way into many mockups of the moment.
“A monochromatic color scheme is a great way to draw attention to your color choices,” says Keiron. “It works best working with a prominent color on your product or linked to your brand identity. This overload of color works amazingly as a part of a presentation or mood board.”
A monochromatic palette can make a bold statement, as seen in these pink and green product shots from MECCA and these outrageously orange Instagram posts from Pals – displaying citrus-colored cans against a matching background.
Keeping the color range to a minimum can result in a clean but compelling mockup that allows the shape and structure of your design to shine. For example, the angles in this pizza box mockup look snatched against the bubble-gum-pink background.
Meanwhile, this monochromatic mockup focuses on a design detail – in this case, the flame-red text and matchheads – and carries it through to the bold backdrop. It’s a simple technique that makes the product pop.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat it again: repetition! A popular way to display smaller design pieces, like business cards or product packaging, repetition is a tried-and-tested technique sure to increase the effectiveness of any mockup.
“Repetition is a tried and tested design technique, allowing you to show clients your proposed design from multiple angles,” Keiron explains. “Repetition makes it item feel like it’s already in production and is great for getting concepts over the line.”
Here we see repetition boosting the visual impact of a collection of business cards. Seemingly scattered at random, each card reveals a different design detail or angle – a refreshing change from viewing a single card in isolation.
This trend is especially effective when products are arranged at an angle or stacked at varying heights – like this matte can mockup, which adds an element of movement by tilting the product towards and away from the camera. On the other hand, this paper packaging mockup uses repetition to show off two different blue-and-pink color combinations.
9. Mockups Driving Product Design
As more mockup trends make their way into the design and marketing mainstream, we’re seeing more brands turn their attention to products they might not have previously considered.
“There’s a current trend of mockups that are driving the actual production of assets that brands and organizations wouldn’t previously have considered,” says Mark Brodhuber. “For instance, many people are now producing packaging tape due to its rising mockup popularity, even if it doesn’t feel immediately relevant.”
While quirky, creative packaging tape isn’t necessary for most businesses, many brands are now jumping on the fun trend – like this packaging tape from Shippy Tape, designed to deliver positive vibes. Going forward, we expect to see more products designed with mockups in mind.
10. Social Media Moodboards
Want your mockups to be mood AF? Then the mood board mockups trend might be for you! Moodboards have always been a critical tool for designers, essential for presenting visual elements, collecting and curating visual inspiration, aligning marketing and branding strategies, and ensuring consistency and cohesion across different design elements.
However, many designers have recently utilized the mood board layout to present client branding or visual identities in a fun, fresh format. Especially popular on social media, these mood board mockups allow clients to see their branding executed in various ways in one aesthetic image.
“Mood boards have always been a staple of design, but designers are now finding different and unique ways of presenting them,” says Keiron. “Social media mood boards are an aesthetic and accessible way to show how a brand may look in the digital space.”
You can use this trend to show what a brand’s social media feed might look like – like how Pink Pony Creative has displayed Blanc Basics’ carefully considered color palette. Or, gather snapshots of a project to give people a sneak peek into what you’re working on – like this grouping of pastel pics from Viviana Graphics featuring images, illustrations, and typography.
Use these Vernazza templates from Envato Elements to mockup brand guidelines and mood boards, stationery designs, and social media and mobile device mockups. Or opt for these Emilia brand sheets, which will level up any presentation with their sophisticated olive and earthy tones and modern mix of serif and san serif typefaces.