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5 Amazing Illustration Trends in Graphic Design 2023 to Follow

I'm the owner and founder of PIT Designs. I love creating digital presence and creative digital solutions for our clients.

Posted 6 months ago on September 28th, 2022.

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There are different graphic design trends entering the design scene every year, and in this article, we’ll take you through the illustration trends in 2023 to look out for. The Role of Illustrations in Graphic Design

Today, one of the popular phrases that the design world relies on is “A picture is worth more than a thousand words.” This is simply because every day of a designer’s life involves designing and creating visual representations. In some cases, they tend to utilize different photographs in their designs or incorporate illustrations to improve the aesthetics of their design.

The use of custom illustrations offers many benefits to design, and the interesting thing is that there are many ways to apply this use. It is this diversity that calls for the need to keep up with the different illustration trends.

Are you wondering how illustration is important for graphic design? Basically, illustrations serve different roles and functions. 

Illustrations Help in Illustrating Abstract Information

Even though it’s possible to tell stories and share ideas using text or a copy, there are cases where you can effectively explain information when you pair text with different visual representations. Information that is more abstract needs illustrations for simplification, and this is an instance where you can apply illustrations.

An example of an instance where you can enhance abstract information with illustrations is when describing the solar system. You can make the description of the solar system when you pair information with illustrations, especially one that represents the different planets, their positions, and size differences.

Illustrations are Key for Storytelling

One of the major components of graphic design is storytelling. There’s always a story attached to every design, and the best way to make the design easy to understand is by including illustrations in the design. However, when you do this, it’s vital to ensure that the illustrations you use do not appear childish or cartoony. You’ll also need to ensure the illustrations you use are perfect for the story you tell.

Illustrations are Key for Data Visualization

Instead of using the conventional bar graph and pie chart, you can be more dynamic in your design, and for this, you can use illustrations to represent data and make them more visually appealing. The illustrations to use for data visualizations are icons, sketches, and many more. It’s worth mentioning that this is a great way for you to also create infographics.

Use of Illustrations in Branding

Branding is one of the most crucial aspects of a business. In most cases, you’ll realize illustrations are mostly used for branding. Designers can make use of the logo to create concepts that are unique for businesses. They can also use these illustrations in designing other branding items like customer service graphs and flowcharts.

Using Illustrations in Packaging

As a designer, you’ll at some point be tasked with the responsibility of designing packaging materials, and the goal is to ensure that the packaging materials are visually appealing. The most common way to keep packaging designs visually appealing is by using pattern illustrations.

However, it’s important to note that the use of designs and illustrations on the packaging is according to individual preferences and also depending on the item you’re packing. There are cases where a packaging will not need any design to be included. As a graphic designer, it’s important to be able to distinguish between these cases.

Using Illustrations for Promotional Materials

If the illustrations work with your brand, you should consider using them in your promotional materials. This can be on billboards, flyers, and even interior signage. There are many ways you can use illustrations or promotional materials, and the only thing you need to ensure is that your design is creative.

The bottom line is that illustrations and graphic design are both vital for the success of businesses. In addition to making a brand appealing, they also help in creating an identity for businesses.

5 Illustration Trends in Graphic Design 2023

Now that we have covered the different ways you can use illustrations in graphic design, the next thing is to look at the different illustration trends that you should know.

Here are 5 illustrations trends in graphic design:

1.  Minimalism (Line/Dual Tone)

Minimalism, particularly colorful minimalism, is among the illustration trends to look out for in the coming year. This also involves the use of color combinations, some of which are common but lack brightness. In recent times, graphic designers like to combine different color palettes while keeping the style minimal.

Hand line art

The advantage of this illustration trend is that it creates room for more opportunities that will further enhance the design. In addition to colors, the illustration trend also involves the use of shapes, and this is actually a continuation of trends in the previous year. Marketers apply this illustration trend a lot because of the simplicity it offers, especially with respect to conveying messages and enhancing design.

2.  3D

A key aspect of marketing is including the ability to showcase products in the best way possible. However, it’s important to note that products are not equally visually appealing, and as a designer, you’ll need to find a way to enhance their visual appeal. Designers now apply these illustration trends to their designs to increase visual appeal.

Casual Life 3D

The importance of 3D illustrations is that it removes the unpleasant appearances of various products. It also creates room for creativity, making it possible for designers to be able to edit product elements to make them more visually appealing.

Another thing to note is that the design trends also allow for the use of pastels or muted colors, but this is mostly in the background so that the actual design can stand out. 3D illustrations are a design trend to look out for in 2023, with more designers already embracing the illustration trend.

3.  Abstract Art

Abstract art is an illustration trend that is similar to minimalist design. The trends are rapidly gaining popularity in the graphic design field. Today, there are many designers that use abstract art for different designs. The most common is its use on mobile applications and even websites.

Source: https://www.vana.com/

When it comes to illustration, abstract art has been a trend for a while, and it has evolved into a niche. It’s worth noting the illustration trend also draws inspiration from the minimalism trend, which further increases its beauty, and makes it more simplistic.

4.  Vivid Contrast

Vivid contrast is another illustration trend to look out for in the coming year. It’s a very intuitive strategy that is used in making designs to stand out, and this is with the aid of appropriate colors that are suitable for the design.

It’s worth noting that vivid contrast mostly involves the use of bright and bold colors, and the goal is to easily win the attention of your viewers. To achieve this, you only need to determine the emotions that work best and are most suitable for delivering the right message. However, this is only achievable when you use the right colors.

Source: Vivitter-sweet from Kawa Rhim

A key thing to note when applying this design trend is that colors have different energy and emotions that they evoke. Therefore, you need to identify the right color for the emotion in your message.

5.  NFT Trends

NFT is another illustration trend to look out for in 2023. This is already a trend that became really popular in 2022, but it’s worth noting that the trend is yet to fade away. In 2023, more designers will start to apply NFT to their illustrations and designs.

Source: Monocats NFT 

NFT art always stands out when designed properly. Are you wondering what the illustration trend is all about? It’s worth noting that NFT is basically a digital asset, and it’s mostly used in the digital universe. This implies that you can own it, but you can’t touch it.

Another thing worth noting is that NFT art is a new strategy that is used in categorizing digital art, and it also provides the option for designers to be able to monetize their work. The interesting thing is that NFT art allows designers to create designs quickly and reap the rewards almost immediately.

Where to Find Inspiration

With everything above, you now know the role of illustration in graphic design and some of the illustration trends to look out for in the year 2023. Now it’s time to go through the places where you can find illustration inspiration for your design.

As a designer, you’ll need a reliable resource where you can always get all the design inspiration you need. Here are some reliable resources you can get inspired from. 

Creative social media platforms

Blogs and magazines

In addition, you can get very nice ideas from stock and royalty-free illustration platforms and websites like Freepik, Vecteezy, or illustAC. 

Compared to Freepik, illustAC has some advantages below.

  • No download limits for premium users 
  • Extra license to cover the usage of the images as main element for product that will be sold to multiple clients
  • NO attribution required 

Other advantages:

  • Bulk download for premium users: from search result pages, you can choose file types you like,  add them up to the download folder and download up to 10 files at a time. 
  • Download one format at a time: Freepik and some other platforms will let you download all files in a pack. In many cases, it’s not really necessary to download such heavy files. On illu`stAC, we can choose what types of file format you want to download. You DON’T need to unzip or check any licenses - SIMPLE and EASY in a single click.
  • Unique content: illustAC offers various types of free vectors including brushes, templates, graphic backgrounds, etc. But the truly special one is that you can find real Japanese tastes here, from sushi illustrations to bold Japanese decor patterns that you can’t see from nowhere else. 


We have covered all the basic things that you should know about illustrations, including the roles that they serve in graphic design today. Today, there’s hardly any graphic design that you’ll see without illustrations in them. Also, illustrations are used for many other reasons, in addition to enhancing visual appeal.

We also highlighted some of the different illustration trends to look out for in 2023. They include minimalism, 3D, abstract art, vivid contrast, and NFT art. There are other trends to look out for, but these are the common ones to focus on in the coming year.

Also, if you’re looking for illustration inspirations, we have highlighted a few options you can consider. 

If you find something useful or you want to share something with us, please feel free to leave a comment.