Just barely kicking off the new year, the Graphic Design trends are already in full power raising the game in all graphic design fields. With a wonderful mix of nostalgia, movement, and open-mindedness, the trends bring more excitement for animation as well. Do you love complex hyper-realistic CGI or do you prefer classic animation on the Lo-Fi end? What about dynamic typography or old school? Whatever the case, get ready for the Animation trends 2022 because this year is all about going fully experimental.
Get ready for:
The 10 Animation Trends of 2022 Overview:
1. 3D Forever
2. Hyper-Realistic CGI
3. Psychedelic and Surrealistic Animation
4. Flat Style Characters
5. Mascot Characters
6. Outline Animation
7. Kinetic Typography
8. Old School Animation
9. Experimental and Indie
In the meantime, graphic design trends 2022 are officially out, so make sure you check them out:
- Top Graphic Design Trends 2022: Raising the Game
- Web Design Trends 2022: Weaponizing Chaos to Deliver Unforgettable UX
- Logo Design Trends 2022: Bringing Back the Hype for Logotype
1. 3D Forever: Cute Cartoon 3D Animations
Always evolving, 3D aims to add realism to the unrealistic. The more complex it gets, the more it aims for simplicity in shapes and colors. In 2022 the 3D trend is focused on cute round shapes with vivid contrasting colors, making them look like clay figures come to life. The result is amazing for videos and movies dedicated to children’s entertainment.
It’s finally time to say goodbye to the cheap and empty-looking 3D mass-produced cartoons so we can finally appreciate that 3D can be as creative and beautiful as the 2D classics from our childhood.
The Panda in the Rain by Hossein Ghasemzadeh for Acedesign.
Like by Nguyen Nhut.
2. Hyper-Realistic CGI: More Real Than Real
When you blur the line between reality and animation you can create something more: hyperrealism. This is exactly the type of animation in AAA video games cinematics that makes people say “It looks more real than if it was real”. The absurdly great detail allowing you to see the smallest pores on the skin of the character or the microscopic cracks on the armor can be a little bit uncanny, but very impressive nonetheless.
Remember the cute characters from Among Us that made us sus in 2019? This is how they look now in hyper-realistic CGI:
3. Psychedelic Animation: Surreal Fever Dreams
The twisted, melting and distorted aesthetics of the 1960s made a great comeback in every graphic design field. Naturally, they look even more trippy and mind-bending in motion. This trend rises like a counterculture to reflect the chaos of today and draw strength from within. The animated videos wake up our carefree spirit with incredible lucid visuals and entrancing design. Unfortunately, the trend might be too much for the wider public. Being the Resistance of all trends, it will always sneak into the periphery of the mainstream, but never in the spotlight.
Viewer discretion is adviced.
Supafly Boombox FYAHHH by BLACKHOLESTUDIO.
Mystic Pizza by Max Barry.
4. Flat Style Characters: The New Default for Marketing
Flat style is nothing new to graphic design trends, however, its popularity brought it to the next level. Now the flat style is not just a trend, but a default for marketing-related animations, especially explainer videos. The style works great for visualizing complex ideas in a simple and comprehensive way. Flat graphics are much easier to animate and look very professional as most people already associate it with the “corporate art style”.
Devices by Dinos&Teacups.
Year In Review: ClearVoice by Gomarcelsterk.com.
5. Custom Mascot Characters: Brand Ambassadors Strike Back
Second only to flat-style, custom brand mascots rise in full force for marketing videos, explainer videos, and advertising. Maybe not as complex as old-school mascots like the Duracell bunny, but definitely experimental and adorable. We can see the trend getting stronger especially for mobile applications that get more and more interactive each year. The mascots are specially designed to work well with the overall app design and interact with the micro UI animations.
Chatbot Mascot by Shiue Nee.
Baby Potato by Taufikrizkyy.
If you’re a novice and you have just started learning animation and basic principles of 2D and 3D, you might want to try something cool and easy. Especially when it comes to marketing and business-oriented 2D explainer videos, or animated infographics, using puppets is the best way to start. If you wish to animate your own mascots, Adobe Character Animator is the most popular tool that uses your expressions and movements to animate characters in real-time. And, most importantly, have a lot of fun doing it.
The good news is, there are countless free puppets for you to download, test, customize and use so you could quickly get used to the tool.
You can check out what else you can do with the animation tool with 30 more examples.
6. Outline Animation: Modern and Fun
The simplicity of the graphics allows the imagination to go wild. It’s amazing what simple lines can accomplish in animation. In fact, outline animations offer endless possibilities from creating subtle and classy animations to more fun and goofy ones. This style has become a trend to its extremely diverse range of design styles so expect to see it a lot, especially in web/mobile apps and explainer videos.
Simple Colorful Illustrations by Ramy Wafaa.
Basketball Guy iZettle by Jonathan Dahl.
7. Kinetic Typography: Words are Images
When you get used to hearing that a picture is worth a thousand words, it certainly gets interesting when you see the exact opposite. Kinetic typography is where words are the images, mimicking concepts and working like visuals. This trend is all about creativity with fonts and turning reading into an exciting interactive experience. Its popularity started mainly with lyrics music videos, but now it’s everywhere.
Wide kinetic type animation by Efi Kabak.
HEAT by Mat Voyce.
8. Old School Animation: The Power of Nostalgia
Modern tributes to retro animations will always be trendy. The difference is creators find new and more modern approaches to convey the nostalgic feeling of frame-by-frame pencil-drawn animation. This type of animation is perfect in its imperfections, as the frame transition isn’t supposed to be smooth.
Skull Ring by Ink Bad Company.
Gasoline transport by Tim Constantinov.
9. Experimental Animation: Trial and Success
Mixing different styles and creating something new and unconventional has always been tied to the indie scene. Fortunately, in these chaotic times, the borders between indie and mainstream start to shrink and we can see the rising of creative experimental animations everywhere. Artists don’t hold back on exaggerating shapes and unleash beautiful artistic weirdness into the wild.
Humbled by Animography.
Creative block sticker pack by Lilla Bardenova.
Cannabis Cup by Ovcharka Industries.
10. Lo-Fi: It’s All About the Vibe
Right after the experimental animation trend, it’s fitting to finish this article with the biggest of the animation trends 2022. In our previous graphic trends 2022-related articles, we saw that the things people love most in design are nostalgia and the concept of perfect imperfections. In graphic design, we have the Riso Print trend, in web design- the Brutalism. When it comes to animations, however, it’s all about the beautiful nostalgic vibe of low fidelity. Lo-Fi, initially referring to low-quality recording, has recently become an internet phenomenon.
You’ve all seen the countless Lo-Fi YouTube playlists with downtempo beats with the occasional tape hiss or vinyl scratch. They all sound niche, but the modern revamp of the music attracts people to the point Lo-Fi became a trend. It capitalizes on nostalgia as a powerful aesthetic. Naturally, the same aesthetics from the Lo-Fi music translate into animation as well. What started as anime study girls and rainy days infinitely looping backgrounds for music compilations, is now a modern fragmented animation that purposefully lacks detail, looks gloomy and imperfect. The animation seeks to convey nostalgia, romantic melancholy, chill, and stillness.
Hope by Dongkyu Lim.
Illustration and animation for Lo-Fi beats by Dongkyu Lim.
Graphic design trends 2022 resonate with our strive to find meaning and pleasure in hard times and to break what holds us down. This willingness to gain strength from chaos and keep an open mind translates into animation with beautiful experimental creations that no longer stay bound to the indie scene only. Animation trends 2022 bring nostalgia aesthetic, imperfections, and experimental spirit.
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