We’re inundated with brands, graphics, and visuals everywhere we look. The power of design is unparalleled – making it a crucial part of a companies success in greater reach, bigger milestones, and growth in today’s world. Viewers make snap judgments on what they see, so it’s essential that designers produce cutting-edge and captivating work.
As with the fashion world, graphic design trends rapidly change, so staying up-to-date on the latest trends and design tools is key. With this in mind, we’ve carefully curated a list of the top 6 Photoshop design trends 2021, as well as top Photoshop tutorials on how to create them.
Applying photoshop design trends 2021
When it comes to Adobe design trends, or any other design trends, the best rule of thumb is to “follow and borrow” from current trends and classical design elements. Combining graphic design trends with other elements often results in striking and fresh designs. Users expect consistency from brands they trust, so certain photoshop design trends 2021 might not have the desired impact if it’s completely off-brand.
It’s not uncommon for designers to resist following design trends to avoid blending into the status quo or being viewed as “followers.” The best approach is recognizing the latest graphic design trends, and using them when appropriate or sparingly to create a more contemporary look. Get inspired with our list of the top 6 Photoshop design trends 2021:
1. Double Exposure Effect
The term, double exposure effect, originates from the effect of two or three photos being taken without winding the celluloid film forward in the camera. This causes an overlaying of different images in the same frame. You’ve likely come across this effect of two or more overlapping photos in modern magazines, advertisements, album covers, TV posters, and movie posters. For example, the double exposure effect can be found in popular shows, including Netflix’s, Dracula, and Stranger Things. Achieve the look with the following Double Exposure Photo Effect Photoshop Tutorial, or check out Adobe’s video to really grasp Adobe design trends.
Selecting the appropriate images is key to mastering Adobe design trends, especially the double exposure effect. Combining a minimally detailed portrait with a highly detailed cityscape or landscape is one of the most common uses of the double exposure effect.
2. Misprint, Glitch, Visual Interference Effects
The most common term used by designers for this style is “glitch,” but it is also referred to as VHS effect, RGB shift with scan lines, misprint or visual interference.
Perhaps you’re familiar with the Japanese phrase, wabi-sabi, which translates loosely to the notion of a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. It’s often described as finding beauty within the imperfections of life. Well, Misprint, Glitch, Visual Interference Effects is all about imperfection.
It is a reaction to the overly photoshopped and airbrushed images found in posters, adverts, magazine covers, TV promos, and more. The oversaturation of unattainable perfection resulted in a desire for real, organic, and imperfect images. In particular, it is inspired by the world of Instagram and the notion of curating an idealized version of our lives. These false and carefully curated photo representations are being countered by portraying people in a way that audiences feel a stronger and more authentic connection. In our image-obsessed, and overly filtered selfie culture, we crave the gritty, un-retouched reality.
Thus, this subversive, counterculture, “anti-fake” movement, which typically appeals to a younger generation, has taken hold and secured its place in the list of top photoshop design trends 2021.
This is often appropriate for brands that are edgy, and young, but may be highly inappropriate for other brands. It can also be merged with other vogueish effects to subvert the norm and produce something completely new and innovative. Check out the YouTube video to create a portrait glitch effect in photoshop.
3. Duotone Effects
Duotone isn’t new to the world of Adobe design trends. It’s more of a classic than some shortlived photoshop design trends 2021. In fact, it goes back hundreds of years when Sanguine (red chalk on paper) was used to create simple one-tone drawings by artists, including Leonardo da Vinci.
Duotone color is achieved by using two colors in a single image to create a color effect. This ageless feature really appeals to the notion of breaking an image down to simple tonality. Although now done digitally in an image editing program, a modern duotone image still closely resembles its original form despite the evolution of how it’s created through time.
The idea behind the duotone effect is to stand out and be perceived as something different. We can see everything from Hollywood posters to Spotify, seem to be jumping on board with the duotone effect. The ultimate duotone effect trend leans towards the use of vibrant, saturated and fluorescent colors throughout the entire design. This really helps designs stand out and be bold. It’s important to consider if your design will benefit from the bold, garish, saturated colors.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is on our list of photoshop design trends 2021 and regularly listed on Adobe design trends lists. Implement the duotone effect in your next design with the Youtube video, Tutorial: Duotone Photo Effect (Adobe Photoshop).
4. Image and Text Masking
Image and text masking is a long-standing feature in the design world. Nevertheless, it still makes Adobe design trends list as it is still quite modern looking in 2021. The image and text masking effect is achieved by leaving a large portion of the image behind hidden. This creates a mysterious and minimalist look. We suspect that designers will continue designing compositions with image and text masking when going for more minimalistic designs.
With image and text masking, it’s easy to turn any font into beautiful text that is filled with a selected image. This is an exceptional design option to make social media graphics, simple posters or header pages for documents stand out. Plus, there’s tons that you can do with this feature, including metallic, glittery text, using filters to create depth, using a gradient, or let your image seamlessly bleed or extends into your text.
5. Double Color Exposure Effect
Adobe design trends for 2021 are all about creating eye-catching effects. The double color exposure effect uses photos, text, and shapes. Often these designs will use 3 different images in 3 different color channels of the same subject, and then juxtapose them to create a new and interesting image. It’s easy for designers to use the double color exposure effect in really creative ways, like mixing double exposure, glitch, and the RGB split effects.
Want to learn more about double color exposure effect and start creating your own? Take a look at Affinity’s design tutorial on how to create this trending visual design effect.
6. Photo-masking & Cutouts
The digital variation of photo-masking in modern design hails from as far back as Russian propaganda posters from the 1920s. Before it became a design staple in the digital world, it could be seen in the art world. Henri Matisse popularized “cutouts” with his famous work, which simply transformed the face of art with a pair of scissors. It’s easy to see how this has influenced the design world where photo-masking design is now used by designers to attract a viewer’s attention.
Photo-masking is not constricted by a number of rules, which gives designers free range to design as they see fit. It all depends on the materials and the designer’s vision. Typically photo-masking techniques and collages are created with layer masking in Photoshop, which means photo selection and creativity are crucial, while the technique is less important.
Get familiar with photo-masking with Blue Lightning TV Photoshop tutorial: How to Create a Powerful, Text Portrait Poster.
How to Install Photoshop Plugins
Okay, so you’ve got the lowdown on Adobe design trends that are sure to take the design world by storm in 2021. Take your Photoshop skills to the next level with Adobe design trends and Photoshop plugins, add-ons, and extensions. Let’s quickly cover how to install Photoshop plugins:
Here’s a simple way to install Photoshop plugins:
- Open Photoshop.
- Select Edit from the dropdown menu, and select Preferences > Plugins.
- Check the "Additional Plugins Folder" box to accept new files.
- Download a plugin or filter to your desktop.
- Open your Program Files folder and select your Photoshop folder.
- Open your Plugins folder, found inside your Photoshop folder.
- Drag your new Photoshop plugin from your desktop into the Plugins folder.
- Reopen Photoshop and find your new plugin under Filters in the dropdown menu.
CloudApp and Adobe design trends
Adobe Photoshop CC has a lot to offer on its own, but there are several features and plugins that can really enhance your design. Since there’s no way that Adobe could include every add-on, extension, or plugin while maintaining the software’s current price point, check out our blog on the best free and premium Photoshop plugins for 2021 as well.
If you regularly use Adobe software for design projects, there are endless tools that can help you improve your workflow and create better visual content. The hardest part is deciding which ones you want to use!
Don't forget about CloudApp! Although CloudApp isn’t technically a Photoshop add-on, plugin, or extension, our visual communication software is a great way to create the raw materials you need to edit inside of Photoshop.
Use the screen recorder, screenshot tool, and GIF maker to take screen recordings and screenshots of virtually anything, edit them in Photoshop, and then pass them on to your developer. If your developer has questions, they can take a screenshot of your finished product, annotate it, and send it back to you. You’ll then have the option to comment on those annotations and easily make the required changes.
CloudApp is available as a Mac App, a Windows App, and as a Chrome Plugin. This means that just about anyone can create visual content from their desktop device of choice!
If you want to streamline your Photoshop workflow and easily create the stunning visual materials needed to get the job done, then CloudApp is a great option.
From screenshots to annotated images, use CloudApp to capture anything on your computer screen. Get started today for free!