Evolution In Design: A Look At Design World In A Decade

The world has changed a lot in the last ten years, hasn’t it? If you think about 2010, it feels like it was just yesterday when people were entering into a new year celebrating the start of a new decade, but see today we are almost saying goodbye to 2020 now. But who here has noticed a change in this decade? The girl who used to play soccer in his high school is playing with the software today to introduce something new in the market.

Similarly, there has been a radical change in the marketing world, as well. Businesses who used to market themselves through the print media, now take the digital route today. People today not only spend on TV advertisements but they spend thousands on digital advertisements as well.

In the design world, particularly the past decade has been a roller coaster; with every New Year, everybody come across hundreds of new designing techniques. Years after years, months after months and days after days are passing by at a lightning-fast speed with the technological and industrial development at their peak.

The evolution in design has brought numerous unimaginable and impossible changes in the marketing world today. Who could have thought only a game on social media can get you loads of traffic on your website but it is all possible in the current era.

Everything today has gone through tremendous changes to reach the point where they are today, there is a lot for the new business owners and the entrepreneurs to learn, there is no stop button when it comes to understanding today. If you are smart, you would learn from the experiences of others and go through the journey of graphic design through the decades.

An over happening design decade

Going back to the New Year’s Eve of 2009 and a bit of the history of graphic design, imagine you are welcoming a brand new decade in the graphic design world. You find yourself making a loud prediction regarding what to expect in the 2010s. You are thinking about how expensive smartphone rage would be, your prediction will not last for long.

However, apart from it, you predicted that there would not be much of the use of physical devices at all and everyone will be designing on the holographic screens. Another assumption that you must have made would be, the typography will not be in use as such, and design schools will be completely irrelevant.

 Well now, ten years later today when you think about it you realize you missed almost all of your predictions —I mean such a bummer. While most of your predictions were failed, the 2010s were not less of an eventful decade in the graphic design industry. It may not have been as much dramatically futuristic as you imagined it to be, but the decade has massively changed the relationship of the designer with technology in different ways. The current startups have a lot to learn from these changes, to be mindful of the fact that each year can bring impromptu change. One thing that every business owner must be aware of is that they must always be welcoming to the evolution of graphic design.

If you are still of the impression that there have not been many changes in the last few years and want to see how graphic designing has changed over the years, then keep on reading. This article has a lot to offer you.

History Of Graphic Design

Changes in the design need in the 2010s

Graphic Design History

As discussed above each year comes with thousands of new technologies, but the last decade gave birth to the unique designing world. The digital sphere went through a swift growth surge and tested the abilities of the designer like never before. Following are a few of the notable advancement’s that has had a tremendous impact on graphic design.

1. Smartphones

Smartphones - Evolution of Graphic Design

What comes to your mind first when you think about new technology? The one that we use all day every day? Yes, you got it right, your smartphones. Smartphones are one of those devices that we update quite often. The

technological change in smartphones means a whole new world for the designers even today; the smartphones have been the real game-changer in the designing world today.

In 2007 Apply launched their first iPhone, later in 2010, Android showed up in the market which solidified the market place in our market. Throughout the 2010s, there has been a rapid increase in the use of smartphones, with the introduction of 4G in 2012; mobile web surfacing has become more accessible and faster. The desktop usage was surpassed by mobile usage by the year 2016.

There has been a new frontier of the visual design since the introduction of smartphones and the flood of applications that followed. These applications made the application designers and responsive web designs important all over the world. Not only that, if you see the most used design that most businesses used in the 2010s you could see all those designs could easily fit in the hands of a person.

It means the designers had to ensure the designs are focused on easy readability and thin interfaces that could easily make way for the minimalist trends. It would not be wrong to say that the advent of the minimalist trend was mainly because of the use of smartphones.

2. Tablets and E-readers

Tablets and E-readers - Evolution in Design

To stay at the top of the competition, in 2010, Apple released an iPad which introduced another challenge for the screen designers as they had to be a more responsive web designer. And since everything went digital in the 2010s only after a few years books went extinct and took advantage of the information age.

Even though it was not recently when Kindle was introduced to the world and its Kindle Direct Publishing Program released in the previous decades. Later it was reported by Amazon that the e-book sales overtook the sale of physical books in the year 2010.

There has been a drastic change in the book cover design approach since the popularity of e-books as it is often demanding a digital and physical version. This popularity has led to introducing the big typography trend along with the larger typography and simple images so that the cover design can be easily comprehended when seen as a tiny thumbnail.

3. Graphic designing change

How Graphic Design Has Changed

There is no denying to the fact that technology and designing they both are parallel to each other. Therefore an incredible advancement in the technology can also result in the exceptional growth in graphic designing. In early 2010 everybody could see how computers were not as advanced as they are today. The graphic designers had pretty restricted options due to the limited software versions and RAM.

Now, after the up-gradation in laptops and the invention of tablets, there has been a rapid change in the designing world as it has become easier and more comfortable. People today are ready to try out new themes and colors. Firstly because it is not much hard to try them out and secondly because they are relatively light on the pocket too.

Due to the widespread popularity of smartphones, there has been ease of use and multi-functionality of the various applications directly assists in exceptional and out of the box designing.

4. VR & AR

VR And AR - History of Graphic Design

In the 2010s the world was enormously blessed with the VR and AR, due to this emergence the graphic designers were given another chance to navigate this new immersive tech. In 2014, Google Glass implemented the technology of AR to connect the application designs with our everyday world. However, later they had to pay a hefty amount in order to discontinue it.

By the year, 2015, Snapchat introduced various selfie lenses and filters, whereas Instagram the following suit in 2016 as it adopted the stories too. However, dismissing social media amusements is relatively easier; there is no denying to the fact that they have made AR accessible to the general public.

In the current stage, it can be said that AR is hugely referred to the gaming world, that’s the first thing you think about when someone discusses AR today. However, the introduction of Google Cardboard in 2014 gave a little space for the VR app designs.

With the release of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive in 2016, the desktop VR was given reality, it further opened the door for VR web designs, and in 2019, the Oculus Quest launched as the first wireless headset. If VR continues to stay like this, we can expect a revolution in UX trends as the designers strive to guide users through the intersection of technology and reality.

5. Disruption in logo design

Graphic Design Through The Decades

There was a time when graphic designing was very expensive, that was primarily because the entire process was manual, and there were not many options either. During the 2000s, when the internet had just gotten popular, all the graphic designers had to contact the professional designers to get their logos done.

These services were quite heavy on the pocket, and the efficient designers were not readily available too. If you wanted to get your logo done you had to visit the metropolitan cities like New York or San Francisco etc. In earlier days, only the big brands had access to such services; the small business owners neither could approach them nor had enough funds to get the logos they wanted.

In the current era, logo design service has become quite easy and affordable now. Today all the new business owners and the entrepreneurs can take full advantage of the platforms like Upwork to find designer all over the world.

Apart from Upwork, multiple logo makers use advance technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to comprehend the designing needs of the users and then create the design without any automation in a few minutes only.

These technologies are a huge help immensely for the small businesses today, as they often cannot afford to spend thousands on their branding.


Here is the fact that you should also know while designing a logo for your brand: Why “Logo Makers” and “Logo Creator” are Just Garbage?

Evolution of Graphics designing tools

Due to the rise of the digital spaces, there has been an increased workload on the designers; therefore, their toolbox had to go undergo some severe upgrades to keep up with the challenging times. Let’s have a look at how the graphic designer tools changed in the 2010s.

1. Graphic Designer software

History of Graphic Design Software

For a little while, the terms like “professional design software” and “Adobe” had been used synonymously, and in the extensive years of the 2010s, Adobe took considerable steps to solidify its position in the marketplace. With the help of Creative Cloud in 2011, Adobe reinvented its business model. Instead of buying the software single, it gave users access to all of its products for a subscription fee-making updates available on-demand and focusing on integration between products along the way.

However, most of the designers were not happy and to fix these concerns and justify the exorbitant subscription fee; Adobe promised to update its application with more frequency than ever before. Let us take you to the series of changes in the graphic design software over the decade.

  • Content awareness features in Photoshop 2012
  • Live Corners in Illustrator 2014
  • Perspective Ward and Linked Smart Objects in Photoshop 2014
  • Live Shapes in Illustrator 2015
  • Curvature tool in Illustrator 2017

2. Prototyping tools

History of Graphic Design - Prototyping Tools

To keep up with the various sizes and many product pages dictated by evolving screen technology, design prototyping had to cover a lot of ground quickly. A number of new prototyping applications have come to rescue which includes Sketch in 2010, Invision in 2011 and Adobe XD in 2017.

These applications are pretty convenient now due to their straightforward canvases, drag and drop interfaces and animation functionality that further makes it possible to showcase and test prototypes in the rapid-fire. While looking at designs they have created, one can say they must have been doing something right as these applications are not only creating crazy designs for the businesses, but they are quite popular too.

Change in designs over the decade

In future, if you come across someone saying “What we were event thinking while designing this? This design is soo 2010s! It will be years before the decade is far enough that we can talk about its style and themes. However, for now, here are our best guesses for visual styles that have dramatically dominated our 2010s.

1. Flat Designs

Flat Design - Evolution of Graphic Design

One of the most followed trends of graphic designing in the 2010s was the flat design trend it was born out of a need to make the digital application more accessible and clean. The pro technicians launched Windows 8 with a flat interface, and later the next year Apple’s iOS 7 followed.

Flat designs further ditched the skeuomorphism in more of the favour of flat aesthetic and it solidified the trend in our daily digital lives. Currently, it is a little harder to not-to open a web page without being bombarded by the minimal vectors, flat colors and geometric sans serif fonts.

2. Animated and Interactive building

How Graphics Have Changed Over The Years

You would be quite surprised to hear this, but in the earlier years, branding was more versatile than today. Not only were there many more spaces for logos to inhibit, but the fact that these spaces were digital meant there were unlimited options for the logo designers out there. Hence, a wave of animated and interactive logos ensued.

Meanwhile, in 2017, Spotify’s Year in Music campaign was started, and they massively took advantage of the available live user data and the profiles to create a shareable branded imagery and later contributed to the long-lasting trends of color transitions, duotones along with the photo filters in the process.

3. Rebrands

Rebrands - Evolution of Graphic Design

Every startup today is claiming to be an industry disruptor; however, most of them proved to be true as well. The 2010s proved to bring a change in the designing world as the brands were looking for more creative and out of the box campaigns to ensure their brand stands out in the market. 

Even when some of the well-known brands capitalized on this revolutionary spirit which resulted in a decade that saw more new brands, rebrands and even more rebrands than anyone could ever thought.

For rebranding, startups are the most iterative and common practitioners. Most of the business initiated with the rush job logo only and then their immediate popularity necessitated a more strategic second step. In 2014 AirBnb rebranded and emphasized a subtly ambiguous How do you know it’s time for a rebrand?

4. Community

Community - Evolution of Graphic Design

Over the years, there has been a drastic change in the design world; the internet has become more connected than ever. Today, we have a huge variety of the platforms that connect us from Product Hunt, Medium, Dribble, Twitter and Slack channel. All these platforms have an inherent commonality. Such platforms provide community; all these platforms allow us to share inspiration, find ideas and meet new friends and most importantly push the conversation about the design forward.

What future holds

Future of Evolution of Graphic Design

The graphic designers earlier in 2010 made various speculations about the upcoming designing trends and tricks. Therefore lets, speculate a little about the upcoming years too, what 2021 designing world holds for us?

The design future will need to return to the days of clarity on conciseness. It will be an era where the consumers can complete a flow in a limited amount of steps where the data cannot be used against them for any agenda. In the next decade, we expect a greater level of ethics where design is not at odds with our in-built morals but in agreement with our values.

Our designing tools will be changing, trends will come, but our commitment to who we are designing for should remain constant. Looking at the graphic design history tells how graphic design has changed dramatically, and the new business owners need to keep a check on these trends to know to stay updated.

  • A Picture of Waqas D.

    Waqas D.

Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.

Get a Free Quote

+1 845 3770255

Call on anytime
Get Free Estimate

To discuss your project

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Topic Categories

Interested In

Logo, Branding & Creative Work?

Sign up to get our top tips and trick weekly!

Sign Me Up!

Are you interested?

Let's Talk You Rock!

Estimate your project

    Your name

    Your email address

    Phone number (optional)

    Tell us about your project

    • We’ll get back to you in 24 hours to address your needs as quickly as possible.
    • We’ll prepare an estimation of the project describing the team compostition, timeline and costs.
    • We'll perform a free website review If you already have an existing website.

    We've worked for: