Using Design Trends to SEE better in 2022

Using Design Trends to SEE better in 2022 featured image
By Molly | Published February 1, 2022

Every year, board member Chris Carls compiles a list of the upcoming year’s design trends and shares it with his colleagues at Cirrus Visual in Tucson. This year, Chris again decided to share his insights with us — and you! Read along to see what Chris has to say about the top themes for 2022.


With Groundhog Day falling on an eerie date of 02022022, I certainly hope we don’t fall into a Bill Murray nightmare, repeating our world’s dreadful immediate past. Instead, let us see our shadows as the sign of a new day, with hope on the horizon. The last two years have given us plenty of time to ponder, and have opened our eyes to new ways of SEEING.


Inclusivity is still very much a trend, and a powerful movement… just make sure you’re putting action to your words. The world is wise on those that walk the walk and those that just talk. Simply saying you believe in inclusivity isn’t enough. As designers, we’re empowered with the choice to use images and design elements that are created BY and FOR all people.



“To love others, you must first love yourself”. With the dumpster fire still raging outside, the shift needs to focus inwards. Our mental health is important as it affects our emotions, actions and physical well-being. Brands will be keen to this, knowing that they need to help inject positivity and promote a healthy lifestyle. What are things that make you (and your client) happy?



Eco-aesthetics is still a major trend as climate change becomes more real (and more scary) every day. We’re all still yearning to be outside, or just anywhere other than our home, office, or home office. Earth tones and organic shapes are sticking around to help plant a seed of softness.



Nostalgia is bigger than ever! Specifically the ‘90s — solidified by Pantone’s color of the year, “Very Peri.” However, we can also tap way back into history with a resurgence of Art Deco, or more recently with Psychedelic Art, both of which are seemingly popular again. The grit and grunge of the Riso print is another nod to the past (dare I say “Wabi-sabi”?). Even the early cyber days of Y2K are already getting attention.



So how do you stand out? The list of remaining trends is the standard barrage of confusing and sometimes conflicting themes (flat vs. 3D, monochrome vs. full color, serifs vs. sans, etc). Maybe just go straight up Maximalism?!?

The reality is that at least for us at a design agency, each project is different. Trends sometimes give us a talking point and can allow us to be strategic for our clients, whether it’s designing a brand, campaign or event. If a trend seems to be appropriate and aligns with the end goal, then it’s certainly worth considering as an option. But not all trends are appropriate for all projects. Some aren’t even appropriate (Anti-Design?!?)

However, there are a few that feel authentic. Elements like doodles, playful type and glass texture (ie: TRANSPARENCY) all seem to speak to our wishful thinking of a better future. Speaking of the future, Cyberpunk isn’t dead. Fantastical worlds will continue to collide with futuristic renderings and electric colors. And guess what? We’re already creating our own Metaverse.

One defining fact of the future is that the Gen Z generation is coming of age. Theirs is a generation that questions everything and demands change. Our visual world might never be the same…


About the Author

Chris is the Art Director at Cirrus Visual – a design and print firm in Tucson, AZ. Born in the midwest, he has a BFA from the University of Illinois and an MFA from the University of Arizona, which is what brought him to the desert. While he doesn’t get the opportunity to do much actual design in his position, he’s never not creating – using his home maker space for screen printing, wood working and drawing, and jamming in Adobe Illustrator and After Effects when his 3 kids are asleep. He enjoys long mountain bike rides through the desert during that time also. You can follow his adventures on Instagram at @captaincarls

Miss Chris’ thoughts on 2021? Read about his predictions HERE.


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