In a constantly evolving digital world, it can be hard to keep up, especially for a digital designer. That’s why we’ve compiled the top tools and trends for you. There are some new trends that push boundaries and defy the norm, some comebacks with a modern twist, and some old trends that used to be the domain of a few specialised people that are now more accessible than ever.

We’re surrounded by change and uncertainty so let this be your guide. One thing is for sure though, 2024 is going to be a playful, creative, fresh, and fun year for Graphic Designers.

1. AI

AI is here to stay so it’s time to embrace it and use it to our advantage. AI is set to revolutionise the designer’s toolkit and become every designer’s ultimate ally – if you let it.

AI tools are making life easier for Graphic Designers as they are able to create mood boards, and generate images, layouts, colour palettes and fonts. AI can take over what were time-consuming and costly tasks, which will speed up the design process and give graphic designers the space to work on other more important work. It’s time to embrace it for its benefits and use it as a collaborative tool.

Popular AI tools include: Khroma, Uizard, Jasper, Canva, Adobe Sensei, Adobe Firefly, Designs AI, Midjourney, AutoDraw, Designify

2. Making a difference

As environmental concerns continue to grow so will the rise of prioritising sustainability. Graphic design has a significant impact on the environment, due to all of the materials that are used in printing, and there is significant energy consumption that comes with the digital processes. Many Graphic Designers want to do their part, so in 2024 you can expect a stronger emphasis on using natural materials, recycled materials, reusable materials, earthly eco-friendly colours, natural elements, and textures, and the use of eco-conscious design practices.

Carrying on the trend of wanting to make a difference and spread awareness, there is an increased emphasis on diversity and inclusivity in design. In 2024 we will see graphic designers creating visuals that celebrate, resonate, and honour a broader range of ethnicities, genders, races, body types, and abilities. Designs should resonate with people from all backgrounds.

3. A blast from the past

Doodles and cartoons are making a comeback. In the fast-paced, ever-changing digital world that we live in today, we can lack that human and personal touch. Doodles and cartoons are fun and playful, they show individuality and can connect with people on a more personal and emotive level. 

Pixel art is back in style; it’s a fun, nostalgic throwback, retro with a modern twist. 

Trends always come back around which is why retro-inspired designs are still growing in popularity. Even with new technology, people are drawn to the nostalgic charm of the past. Designers in 2024 will take inspiration from past eras, showcasing simpler vintage designs, retro colours, and a stronger focus on the human touch.

4. New trends

Minimalism has been the top trend for years; while it still perseveres, Maximalism is the new trend for 2024. The polar opposite of minimalism, it follows more is more and is totally in your face. Maximalism celebrates bold bright colours; vibrant large patterns; busy, striking designs; big fonts; and layered images. It encourages excess and embraces experimentation. It fills every space, grabs your attention, and conveys energy and personality.

In 2024 we’ll see more gradients added to visuals. Gradients add depth and vibrancy. It can be a subtle fade or a bold transition between contrasting colours, offering a modern look without overwhelming the design. We can expect unexpected colour combinations adding an abstract flair to designs. It can be either subtle or striking.

5. Designs that are now accessible

There has been a surge of 3D design which is giving designs dimension, realism, and a whole lot of fun. With new tools available, this type of design is far more accessible than ever before. Watch this space as it’s set to gain traction in 2024 and the years following!

Tools available: Cinema 4D, Blender, and Adobe Illustrator’s “Inflate” feature. 

Another way designers are giving designs dimension is through typography. Typography is crucial in graphic design and in 2024 designers are pushing back against ‘the norm’. Experimenting with shape and colour, creating unique, unconventional, over-the-top, quirky, bold, extravagant, and attention-grabbing fonts.

Tools available: Due to font creation software like Glyphs, Fontself, and FontForge, anyone can now create their own, unique font. 

6. Top tools of the trade for 2024

According To Paperform, These Are The 12 Best Graphic Design Tools In 2024:

Adobe Creative Cloud: Best overall graphic design tool

Canva: Best graphic design tool for amateurs

Figma: Best graphic design tool for UI design

Sketch: Best graphic design tool for Mac users

InDesign: Best graphic design tool for desktop publishing

Inkscape: Best free graphic design tool

Affinity Designer: Best graphic design tool for seasoned pros

Adobe Photoshop: Best graphic design tool for photo manipulation

GIMP: Best alternative to Photoshop

Adobe Illustrator: Best graphic design tool for vector graphics

Procreate: Best graphic design tool for creative doodling

Appy Pie Design: Best graphic design tool for AI image generation

A notebook: the most underrated graphic design tool

Our online short course Graphic Design: Beginner (with Adobe Illustrator) comes with a free Adobe licence to get your design career started. If you’re looking for more advanced skills, check out Graphic Design: Intermediate (with Adobe Photoshop)

Looking to focus on web design? Our brand new course in Web Design in here to give you the tools you need to craft beautiful digital experiences.

Whether you want to take advantage of technological innovation, experiment and push boundaries, or use your platform to make a difference, 2024 has something for everyone. We hope you’re feeling inspired because this is the year to really get your creative juices flowing, to experiment, explore, express yourself and have fun!


(Dec, 2023) ‘The 12 best graphic design tools in 2024’. Retrieved from Paperform