Top Visual Trends of 2023
Behance is the best destination for discovering creative work. Our community of nearly 50 million diverse creatives shared work across every imaginable genre, from graphic design and photography to illustration and 3D art, UI/UX and web design, architecture, product design, crafts and more.
As 2023 draws to a close, we looked at thousands of top Behance projects to identify five visual trends that captivated the creative community in this year.
From left to right: work by Dan Lior, Polina Washington, Marcus Chaloner, Visual Operator, Dobromir Dyankov, Stevie Rees, Felix Chilvers, Joey Phinn, Martin Cusano, Sam Cividanis, Bryant Nichols, and Christopher Harrison
From 3D scenes exploring the perplexing intricacies of nature to landscape photographs that toe the line between the real and the surreal, fantastical and otherworldly visions of our world have provided a powerful escape for creative minds this year. These vivid visual expressions incorporate vibrant color palettes and hyperreal details to mesmerize and transport the viewer to a familiar but supernatural realm.
“I enjoy blurring the lines between real and surreal — playing with contrasts or contradictions,” shares 3D designer and director Zachary Corzine. His series Unnatural World is an exploration of the hyperreal, inspired by the real. “The real world influences the way in which I ground the work. It needs to feel like something that could exist, which means it has to adhere to certain understandings we have about natural life.”
Zachary combines familiar elements with the unexpected to create captivating visions of an otherworldly universe. “Perhaps the texture is something you're familiar with, but the structure in which it forms is unique. It's taking two elements and putting them in contrast to one another. I enjoy taking those understandings and either twisting them, or exaggerating them, to arrive somewhere new.”
The goal of Zachary’s surreal renders is to prompt the audience to reexamine their preconceptions: “My explorations are a way to invigorate and push the boundaries of expectations. I hope to bring some joy of discovery and little pockets of excitement to the viewer, to make them feel what I felt when creating them.”
Photographer Brynjar Agustsson creates breathtaking images that challenge the conventions of landscape photography. He describes his approach to photography as the “visual void.” “By liberating my vision from the meaning, I can see the real reality,” he shares.
Brynjar’s abstract take on nature illuminates new possibilities within our reality: “I utilize abstract patterns to craft images where the subject matter isn't immediately recognizable. My aim is to extend the visual concept beyond conventional recognition.”
For his project B L I K A, Brynjar photographed a glacial river from an altitude of 1000 to 2000 feet above ground. “The dynamic sand patterns beneath the river's surface are continuously reshaped, creating new sand dunes influenced by the water's flow,” he explains. “I have acquired the skill of utilizing negative space, allowing the subject within the frame to exist within emptiness. This approach creates room for the viewer's imagination to complete the image. By amplifying imagination, which is much stronger than reality, we can create magnificent things.”
See more projects from our Unearthly Delights moodboard.
Clockwise from left to right: work by NotReal, Valeria Moreiro, Carolina Carballo, Mechi Ginzo, Rob Juárez, Josefina Llano, Vitor Teixeira, Juan Cioffi, Yas N Vicente, Roberto Connolly, and Microsoft Design, Leo Natsume, Fugitiva, Cantone Studio and Jawad Zelmadi
Periwinkle is a color that exudes an aura of calmness and tranquility. Its harmonious blend of lavender and blue creates a sense of peace and balance. This soothing color was a popular choice across a wide range of creative disciplines, from 3D art and motion projects to packaging and identity design and photography.
3D designer Mako Tsereteli creates abstract art that draws inspiration from her emotions, as well as the nature around her. In her Abstract 3D art series, she incorporated various shades of periwinkle in her palette. "Periwinkle is a calming color, and it brings me feelings of peace and relaxation. It can also call for a sense of innocence and nostalgia, like clear skies or delicate flowers.”
These hues also present a symbolic contrast that add depth to Mako’s work: “Purple is often associated with creativity and luxury, while blush tones can represent tenderness. Combining them adds layers of meaning to my artwork.”
“For me, periwinkle is a very peaceful tone,” shares Marisol Ambriz, founder of Fugitiva. For Marisol, the color periwinkle also has personal significance: “I grew up on the west side of Mexico, and I have always been drawn to the captivating and serene pink-purple sunsets that can be seen there, especially on the Pacific coast.”
Marisol incorporated periwinkle as an accent color in her branding and packaging design for her client El Idealista. “The purpose of selecting this color was to create harmony within the color palette. It is subtle but has a strong personality. When you combine it with the electric blue, you get a peaceful and calm atmosphere.”
Central to the branding strategy for El Idealista was telling the story of the founder of the pastry shop, Rubén. “We want to transmit Rubén’s story to this character, who, before working in the pastry world, was a juggler and who found in pastry the passion to overcome personal obstacles,” Marisol explains. El Idealista is a story of joy and resilience. Our color palette works as a statement of these emotions. It’s a celebration of life.”
See more projects from our Periwinkle moodboard.
From left to right: Hatch Design, Harrys Designs, and Futura
A recurring theme we observed in graphic, branding, and packaging design was the incorporation of organic, doodle-like illustrations. These hand-drawn elements add a light-hearted, human dimension that helps the audience to form a warmer connection with the brand. Doodled Details bring a sense of approachability and playfulness, and when combined with bold or elegant fonts, create engaging and memorable visual experiences.
“Handmade drawings applied with good art direction are a widely used element in many projects of different categories. They are perfect for brands that want to refresh their identity due to the energy they radiate, the authenticity and minimalism they bring to projects,” says Argentina-based art director Lina Aragon.
When Lina was presented with the challenge of redesigning the identity for Kettle Coffee Shop, she knew she had to create something different and unique to ensure that the brand would stand out in a highly competitive market.
“These illustrations have a unique and authentic line of the person who draws them — even if another person tries to copy the same line, it will surely not turn out the same.” Lina combined these illustrations with a vivid color palette and a pared down logo to create a one of a kind visual identity system.
Micaela Gushiken, Agustina In, and Florencia Souto also created organic, hand-drawn illustrations for their collaborative branding effort for vegan cafe Vaca. “The use of these doodles generates a closeness and a tone of kindness to customers, reflecting a relaxed and fun place where they can go to enjoy a delicious meal,” shares graphic designer and illustrator Micaela. The freeland illustrations were also designed to reflect the lightness of vegan gastronomy and its playful flavors and colors.
The appeal of these doodle-like illustrations may lie in the fact that they remind and connect us to a simpler time — our childhood. “People are very attracted to these elements because they used to be elements applied to children's brands with a lot of color, but when they are used in a monochrome they are loaded with another meaning that puts them in a more mature world of consumption for adults,” says Lina.
See more projects from our Doodled Details moodboard.
From left to right: Fibra, Daniela Barrio de Mendoza, Andrea Gálvez, and Bicho Raro, Mel Cerri and Closer&Closer Artists, andstudio agency, Deimante Saulyte, Augustinas Paukste, and Greta Griniūtė
Design and fashion trends are often cyclical, and 2023 embraced the bohemian vibes of Groovy Type. Curvy, bold typefaces that encapsulated the carefree spirit of the 70’s made a strong comeback, appearing in branding, packaging, and poster design projects. These unapologetically attention-demanding fonts infuse designs with confidence and whimsy, helping brands stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape.
“We’re currently living in a very nostalgic era in contemporary graphics. The allure of nostalgia lies in its ability to evoke powerful emotions tied to fond memories and collective experiences, even for audiences that weren’t even a part of that generation,” say Karla Márquez and Manuel Vargas of Ochodias Studio.
To create a distinctive brand for their client Mushroom Compadres, Ochodias chose to “move away from the somewhat neutral and clean aesthetic of organic products and design an identity that was less conventional but more honest, fun, and quirky.”
The organic and irregular nature of mushrooms served as the foundational inspiration for their design concept, from typography selection to color palettes and composition layouts. “Building upon this foundation, we sought a font that embodied a sense of playfulness, aiming to be both fun and quirky enough to ensure the brand’s distinctiveness,” explain Karla and Manuel.
They landed on Cooper Nouveau, and selected Railroad Gothic and Karrik as complementary typefaces to achieve balance. “We selected secondary typographies that not only echoed the organic essence of the project but also played a pivotal role in composing a brand with a ‘fun but serious’ approach.”
“The impact of Groovy Text on packaging designs and viewers is significant,” says Domas Mikšys, partner and art director at andstudio agency. For their branding redesign for Oddworks Coffee, the studio developed a custom funky typeface that embraced the quirky and expressive qualities of their client.
“Our central concept revolved around a custom-made, organic blob form for the typography. This unique typeface became the focal point for expressing the odd and unperfected experimental feeling, connecting it to the taste and experimentation associated with the coffee taste,” Domas explains.
As a secondary font, andstudio chose the functional and classic Neue Haas Grotesk. “It served as a counterweight to the expressive primary font, considering the client’s needs, licensing, and practical use of fonts. The Adobe Font library emerged as the ideal choice, offering a variety of gorgeous fonts.”
See more projects from our Groovy Type moodboard.
From left to right: VML Branding, Bernardo Majer and Mariana Lancastre, Sebastian Curi, Gabriel M. Ramos and Mapoteca Studio
Color Block is a simple but impactful technique for creating bold compositions. The strategic combination of colors results in a vibrant and eye-catching display that emphasizes the harmony and relationship between shades and shapes. From poster designs to branding projects and illustrations, creatives used minimal visual elements to direct the viewer’s attention to the message at hand.
“Colors are one of the strongest elements in the UEFA Euro 2024 brand idea,” says Hélder Pombinho, creative director of VML Branding. VML distilled the colors of all the national flags of European countries for their identity design for UEFA Euro’s 2024 season.
“If we eliminate intermediate tones, only six basic colors are used in national flags. The challenge in using these colors is creating combinations that work in terms of contrast, complementarity and balance. With such strong tones, there is always the danger of creating combinations that don't work, just spots competing for our attention,” Hélder explains.
“The way we combine colors was, is and always will be a fascinating challenge for any designer,” says Hélder. “It is not only what the choice of color represents through its cultural meaning and the way it makes us feel, but also what results from the combination with other colors.” For VML and UEFA Euro 2024, the colors have a deeper meaning: “It represents diversity and unity at the same time.”
Art director and digital artist Laura Normand takes a more fluid and exploratory approach to colors to arrive at dynamic compositions. “I like to play with shapes without necessarily knowing where to go,” Laura shares.
Laura’s fluid, organic illustrations and typography projects are often inspired by nature, and color always plays a central role in her work. “My color palette changed a thousand times since I started drawing these flowers, but right from the start I drew in color because the contrast of these shapes is so important,” Laura explains about her floral illustration series Fleurs 2.0.
The key to Color Block is understanding the relationship between the colors and the shapes and the impact that they have on one another. “The colors play an essential role, and are chosen to bring out and understand each shape, Using Color Block gives contrast and visibility to designs and illustrations, with a playful touch.”
See more projects from our Color Block moodboard.
See the best projects from Behance
See all the top projects from Behance in our Best of 2023 moodboard. We can’t wait to see all the inspirational creative work you will share with our community in the new year!