Mid-Year Trends Review 2019: From Design to Video

Discover the growing design trends from the past year, and how these trends can be applied to your future work.

Portrait for EnvatoBy Envato  |  Updated April 12, 2021

Decades ago, our very recent ancestors predicted a plethora of insights and fun activities for 2020:

The first human would set foot on Mars. Cars would run solely on hydrogen energy, and drones would deliver just about everything. But even simple predictions need room to grow and manifest or to be humbled through time and the growing needs of its surrounding culture.

And now that 2020 is right around the corner, it’s time that we ask: Where has design taken us, and where will it go?

We’ve asked a few experts to shed light on growing design trends from the past year, and we’ll see how this insight can be applied to the future.

01. Design Trends

The newest graphic design trends have designers concentrating on concerns like efficiency, relatability, and production load. The global workspace is changing, and in order to produce more content faster, it’s almost like the world is becoming a pool of creative resources.


This time, brands are really feeling the pressure to loosen up. To release restrictive mindsets that take the fun out of living with design.

As a result, we’ll see more experimentation and creative freedom. Finally, you sayPerhaps taking a note from emerging creatives, brands now realize that experimentation is essential to longevity, aiming for ways to keep things fresh for the public.

So expect bold fonts and graphics. More customization is coming into play too. Envato Designer Steven Scott notices a common occurrence with big brands like Mailchimp and Dropbox. He explains:

A lot of these brands have gone with very bold and vivid color palettes, almost clashy. I think we’re seeing this contrast in the mixing of font styles also, and that there is actually no wrong in pairing of color and fonts if it is done consistently and with thought for the holistic structure of the design or brand.

Steven Scott, UI Designer

Hear that? There are no mistakes in art other than not giving yourself lots of creative freedom. Besides, emerging tech in 2019 is even more promising now. He notes:

I see designers breaking away from the standard formats and being forced to think outside screens and pages.We will have to apply our experience in graphic and interface design and apply it for voice activation, VR and AR. Designers will have to create experiences that cross multiple platforms of communication while maintaining standards such as accessibility, all while looking beautiful.

Steven Scott, UI Designer

It’s a challenge, but a damn exciting time to be a designer.

An exciting one that’s full of potential and creativity. Inspiration comes from life, so to avoid burnout in particular, designers can utilize pre-made digital assets to speed up their work process and get back to living.

02. Illustration Trends​

Pantone painted 2019 with living coral, a warm, lively color that has definitely made its way into recent illustration trends.

Artists Go Retro

Illustrators on Instagram are especially drawn to this hue, often pairing it with a 70s-like retro-modern aesthetic. And since words like retro and vintage mean something different to each generation, the audience gets to relive old favorites with a completely new experience.

I love how much retro aesthetics are visibly here right now. The 80s are absolutely my jam—I love, love, love saturated colors. Sometimes, I think art history never really goes away; trends always seem to sneak back somehow, sooner or later.

Daisy Ein, Illustrator and designer

Want to see how to incorporate more vibrant colors into your projects? Check out these inspiring assets: 2019’s Best Selling Graphics, Designs & Templates.

03. Mixed Media & 3D Trends

Consider this. Every trend is being seen by new eyes for the first time. Today you’ll introduce your niece to a creative YouTuber, but tomorrow she’ll show you how to build a computer.

Better Tech Means More Mixed Media

More tech means that future generations will grow into inherently creative adults, who nurture both digital and analog creative methods.

Trends are often a hodgepodge of other trends and mediums. Photo art, for example, combines retouching, digital painting, and photo compositing techniques for a singular result.

Expect to see more photo manipulations, especially self-portraits, as artists learn to follow their gut instincts and pile together everything they know. They’ve always been around, but now IG art categories will drive major design trends.

Melody Nieves, Digital Artist

A 3D Takeover

In fact, the benefits of mixed media remind me of 3D and CGI design trends too.

From a purely creative perspective, 3D evades every artist’s worst fear: not knowing how to draw. It’s a mind-boggling solution, but very time intensive.

Many artists are realizing this, using 3D to explore multiple areas from abstract 3D animations to protruding typography. Even predictions of home-based 3D printing opens doors for all creatives, since it essentially explores new methods of efficiency.

So learn what you can and adjust your workflow as you go. Need a few lessons on efficiency? Check out these articles:

04. Photos Trends

Let’s just say that cameras are exponentially better than they’ve ever been. But as more devices are made for ultra HD, creators find themselves weighing the infinite pros and cons.

Diverse Photography

Envato Tuts+ Photo and Video Editor Jackson Couse lets us in on the strongest photography trends of 2019.

I’m seeing media images that break stereotypes, with more diversity of people, bodies, and lifestyles. There are clearly changing gender ideas: our assumptions about what “men” and “women” look like, and should look like, are shifting.

Jackson Couse, Envato Tuts Photo and Video editor

Back to Basics

Excited about emerging tech? Envato’s Gaby Jalbert highlights a return to the basics of good photography.

Technology has already revolutionized photography multiple times in history. Through that evolution, the basics of what makes a good photograph remain: the subject, composition and lighting. What the latest technologies allow are new perspectives and possibilities that were simply impossible until recent years.

Gaby Jalbert, Envato’s Content Specialist for Photos

Still, emerging photo trends come with admittedly high costs to the environment. With growing concerns towards climate change, creators like Jackson worry about the effects of our photo obsession. He writes:

Digital cameras are fun, but what are the real impacts of using this technology on a global scale? I would like to see greater interest in understanding where our cameras come from, who makes them, and where they end up when we’re done with them.

Jackson Couse, Envato Tuts+ Photo and Video editor

So why not get involved? Learn why it’s important to get political and how you can shape evolving photo trends for the future.

As visual artist Shantell Martin would say, are you you? YouTubers, Instagrammers and video creators of all walks of life are contemplating authenticity as they tackle an unfamiliar path to success.

Authentic Video

Everyone wants to sit in the comfort of their own skin, especially if they’re going to be in front of a camera. And daily vlogging habits leave just about no room for exhausting facades.

Envato Video Marketing Specialist Jen McKinnon confirms this trend of authenticity.

Authenticity is probably the number one thing that seems to be resonating with video-makers in 2019, and a shift in viewer preference towards more raw, honest content has driven that change. Viewers aren’t as interested in production quality of the video as they once may have been. Now it’s about showing something real, rather than scripted; simple, rather than polished.

Jen McKinnon, Envato’s Video Marketing Specialist

But this also marks some great news for small businesses on a budget. She adds:

In 2019, personality is what consumers want to see (warts and all) and the best way to do that is by putting a human in front of the camera.

en McKinnon, Envato’s Video Marketing Specialist

Still unsure about video? Even major corporations are taking more risks.

Businesses are taking bigger creative risks on their content, like Mailchimp’s new content platform Mailchimp Presents; and brands are borrowing from the traditional format of the ‘television series’ to lure consumers in. This is indirect marketing for the new age, and it’s working.

Jen McKinnon, Envato’s Video Marketing Specialist

So what’s her advice? She leaves us with a stellar prediction.

My prediction is that video will eventually eclipse written content online. Get in on the ground floor, so you know your video audience and how to optimise your videos for that audience before the world catches on.

Jen McKinnon, Envato’s Video Marketing Specialist

To gain a further understanding of the video trends that matter in 2019 and how to implement them in your video strategy, check out our Video Marketing Guide.

VR and 360° Video

VideoHive Reviewer Tyson Frantz is especially intrigued by the influx of Virtual Reality tech and 360° video.

“The horizon of video technology rests almost solely on VR and 360° video. As this technology continues to advance, producers will have a multitude of powerful tools at their disposal for creating rich, interactive video projects,” he explains.

Videos will no longer be something that you simply click the play button and passively watch – viewers will be able to interact with video content in both a Virtual Reality world, and be immersed in 360° environments that break the locked, linear view of traditional singular lens cameras.

Tyson Frantz, VideoHive Reviewer

But if all of this talk of virtual reality leaves you overwhelmed, remember that there are simpler ways to bring your content to the public. Tyson says, consider converting voice podcasts to video.

I’d like to see the podcast community further adopt video in their productions. Recent years have seen a “New Golden Age” of audio, and podcasts are blossoming into full-feature, online, streamable productions. The inclusion of both live and pre-recorded video seems like the natural evolution for this genre.

Tyson Frantz, VideoHive Reviewer

06. Audio

So what will be the next soundtracks to our lives? Audio trends for 2019 prove that there is no stopping to the creativity of talented musicians and audio engineers.

High Energy Audio

Envato Audio Content Specialist Adrien Gardner explains the latest audio trends for 2019.

A genre that’s really taking hold in stock audio is dramatic percussive arrangement, with big drums and stomps. These are high impact, high energy pieces that work really well to drive the power behind a visual message.

Adrien Gardiner, Envato’s Content Specialist for Audio

“Because their energy relies solely on the rhythms and the building strength of the drums, the result is that the visuals have a lot more space to be perceived, unhindered by the need to tune into the harmonies, melodies or transitions of an otherwise “musical” track,” Adrien explains.

You can also consider the role of stock media in the production of future audio content. Adrien adds:

In the world of Stock Media, it would be altogether amazing, and not entirely far-fetched, for the contrasts and pacing of moving images to be used in such a way as to generate appropriately timed music. Paired together, perhaps based on certain stylistic parameters, this would effectively allow the pairing of music to motion, with tremendously less time and effort.

Adrien Gardiner, Envato’s Content Specialist for Audio

07. Web Design

2019 web design trends are warm and inviting, says Envato Tuts+ Editor Ian Yates.

Colorful Palettes

“In terms of aesthetics, at the moment you’ll see a lot of illustration, with warm, colourful palettes and organic forms showing up on websites across all kinds of industries.

SVG has really helped designers explore what’s possible with illustration and animation, giving us static decoration like on this Foton Software and App Landing Theme.”

We’ll also see a shift to more sans-serif typefaces to go along with these clean visuals. He explains:

Typographically, you’ll notice that geometric sans-serif typefaces go hand in hand with this type of visual. SVGs give illustrations clean edges and voluptuous curves, which geometric typefaces complement perfectly.

Ian Yates, Envato Tuts+ Web Editor

Pro Web Design Tools

Senior ThemeForest Reviewer Kailoon Chan also recognizes how dramatically web design trends have changed to integrate more modern tools.

From slicing in Photoshop to developing within a browser, the way we create web design is changing every day. We’re equipped with new and powerful tools like CSS Grid, CSS shapes, CSS writing-mode and more. Technology can no longer limit the possibilities of web design. It is basically changing the landscape of web design. So building a web site has never been so easy before.

Kailoon Chan, Senior ThemeForest Reviewer

So What’s Next?

As 2020 approaches, try not to rush your projects. Creative trends typically show us what we collectively like, but we aren’t limited to them.

Consider the community impact of your efforts as well, as we all work together to see where design will take us. While you’re here, be sure to check out our digital trends analysis as well.

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