The Evolution of Graphic Design Styles

The Evolution of Graphic Design Styles

This article presents the most popular styles in graphic design.

Classic style

The basis of the classical style is conciseness, clarity, and harmony. Mostly typological features of the image are used. Classic is a strict framework of gold and silver, rich decorative elements. Coloring in the framework of the classical style involves the use of saturated colors and contrasting combinations: thick brown, raspberry.

The classical style follows the best traditions of ancient architecture and the Italian High Renaissance. The classic style in graphic design is usually chosen by government agencies, large banks, and some art institutions.

Victorian style

Victorian style (Victorian age) was born in England in 1840-1900 against the background of rapid industrial growth of those years. The reign of Queen Victoria had a strong direct influence on the visual arts of that era. The dominant motives were: nostalgia, romanticism, sentimentality and detailed beauty.

The Victorian style is characterized by the richness in detail and sophistication. Objects placed on posters of the Victorian era have oval or curved shapes, serif fonts, the correct symmetrical arrangement on the canvas, frames. The high information richness of design layouts is the hallmark of that era.


Vintage is a trend that was popular in the 50s of the 20th century. The very word “Vintage” implies a certain subject, a typical thing of its time, bearing special style trends. Vintage adds an atmosphere of nostalgia and makes us look to the past. A typical technique of this style is the “aging” of photographs and images.

As for color, it is either gray monochrome compositions or soft whitened colors, as if faded with time. Specific retro fonts are often used. Vintage graphic style carries the value of the past through.


(from fr. empire style – “imperial style”) Empire began in France in the second half of the XIII century, complete with its beginning the last stage of classicism. This imperial style is characterized by grandeur, power, monumentality.

Empire is a rich decoration with the content of elements of military symbolism. Art forms are borrowed primarily from the culture of ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt. Empire was designed to emphasize the idea of the power of power and state, the presence of a strong army. Hence the corresponding decor – these are laurel wreaths, shields, armor, eagles, etc. This graphic style is most often used by manufacturers of alcoholic beverages, emphasizing the masculinity and solidity of the brand.

Art deco

Art Deco (Art Deco) (French art déco – “decorative art”). The trend in the fine arts of the first half of the 20th century, which originated in France in the 1920s. Art Deco is a trace in architecture, painting, fashion. An eclectic style combining modern and neoclassicism. Came from the avant-garde.

Distinctive features of the style are bold geometric shapes, strict regularity, generous ornaments, and ethnic geometric patterns, a wealth of colors. The style is characterized by exoticism expressed with the help of cultural elements of different countries and peoples.


(English. Grunge – filth, filth) – a style that arose in music in the mid-1980s as a subgenre of alternative rock. This style quickly spread from music to all other spheres of creative activity. Grunge has grown into a new youth subculture, becoming the opposite of glamour and “glossiness”.
Now we can observe grunge in fashion design, in web design, graphic design, etc. Grunge is characterized by deliberate negligence and a rejection of theatricality. The main distinguishing features of the grunge style are sloppy strokes, dirt, blots, scuffs, bruises, rough, shabby textures and other sloppy. The color scheme is muted, calm: black, brown, beige and gray.


American kitsch or “art of the 50s” as it is also called was popular in the United States in 1940-1960. American kitsch is characterized by excessive emotionality, as a rule, it is vulgarity, sentimentality, pretentiousness. From German, kitsch translates as “bad taste.”

Artworks in the kitsch style are performed at a high professional level, sometimes too dramatic and expressive, but do not carry true cultural value like real works of art. Fonts of this style are simple, sometimes handwritten, they accent our attention on an exciting plot and emotional characters.



Simplicity and conciseness are the basis of minimalism. This style originated in art in the 1960s in America and was at that time opposed to expressionism. Minimalism is the liberation of the composition from all minor, secondary details and an emphasis on the most important thing.

Space freed up at the same time works as a lens, highlighting all the most important. The color of minimalism is stingy as well as images. Most often use 2-3 colors.

Pop Art

Pop art (short for popular art – popular art) – a direction in the visual arts that arose in 1950-1960. The founder of this graphic style, Andy Warhol made us remember the most vivid images of pop art: Ernesto Che Guevara, Marilyn Monroe. The characteristic features of pop art are:

  • bright colors
  • expressive, soft silhouettes
  • unexpected and dynamic compositional solutions
  • collage technique and conscious kitschiness are used
  • an integral feature of pop art is the use of vivid images of stars of politics, show business, and cinema.



Art Nouveau or Modern (from French moderne – modern), Art Nouveau (French art nouveau, “new art”), an artistic direction in art, which became widespread in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The main distinguishing features are the departure from straight lines and angles, in favor of more natural forms.

Contrasts with classics and empire. The artistic features of the style are asymmetry, non-standard proportions, floral ornament. The color of modernity is restrained pastel colors. Often used to attract a female audience.



Digital style (1985 – present). A computer allows modern designers much more than ever. In modern design, we can see graphics from web design (web 2.0) and computer games, non-existent 3D shapes, and perspectives.

It is difficult to classify the digital style according to any criteria; the main feature is the use of a computer as the main tool, without which the creation of composition would become impossible or difficult to access.



Hipsters (indie kiddies) appeared in the 40s of the 20th century in the United States of America. The concept arose from the English expression “tobehip” – “to be in the subject”. From here arose a kindred “hippie”. At the moment, this is a relevant youth subculture, which combines clothing, accessories, consumer lifestyle, the desire to be in trend.
The style is characterized by graphic design trends. As plain contrasting illustrations with a reference to the vintage style, as well as bright, contrasting lurid color combinations. Similar color contrast is shifted to the font component of this direction.

One sign in the “hipster style” can be used from 3 to 5 different typesets, from handwritten to display. Photos are actively used, as a rule, they serve as a “backing” for original font solutions. Hipster-style logos are solid and saturated with ribbons, lines, crosses and other simple elements.



Infographics present information using graphics. This way of conveying information originated in the second half of the 20th century but has become especially popular in recent years, which is why I decided to highlight it in this article.

Infographics may not yet be singled out in a separate style, but it is difficult not to recognize it. These are always graphs, numbers, and dry facts. Infographics are able to deliver the maximum amount of information in the shortest possible time, which makes it extremely effective.


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