Well, here we are, two months into 2023, and we’ve already seen a number of emerging trends in sports design. As always, designers are pushing the limits and exploring new and innovative ways to showcase their work in the digital realm. Here at Sports Templates, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the world of sports design and #smsports, and we’re excited to share some of the trends that we believe will be sticking around through the end of the year.
01 Grain Blur Gradients
Designers often look to update old techniques for the modern era, and the latest trend to get a makeover is the humble gradient. For years, gradients have been popular, but they can often look too garish and overly simplistic. That’s where the latest iteration comes in, with the addition of blur, grain, and texture. This new take on the gradient gives it a much more practical feel, with shadows, merging backgrounds, and geometric shapes that are perfect for modern sports design. It’s a trend that feels like it is sure to extend the life of the gradient for years to come. Here are some of our favorite examples of this new trend in action.
02 Textures & Ink Bleed
Recently, we have seen the return of grunge design, which reflects an early Web 2.0 aesthetic. This design trend incorporates textures to give the digital design a sense of depth and personality that was lacking in the flat design era.
Ink bleed is a new effect that adds rough or fine edges to any text used in a design to make it look like it has been printed on paper and then scanned again, showing the ink bleeding into a paper texture, which gives the design vintage and realistic touch. However, designers must be careful not to use texture as a visual crutch or make it overpowering. The concept should guide the application of textures, and the information should remain readable and comprehendible. Despite these challenges, textures and ink bleed has become popular choices in the world of sports social media designs.
Collage, a visual art form that has been around for centuries, has found new life in the digital age. With the advent of powerful design tools and the ability to manipulate and layer images, digital designers have been able to reimagine this age-old technique in exciting new ways. Collage allows for the integration of various textures, images, and other visual elements to create something new and unique.
It’s a technique that was popularized by the great Cubist painters, but it has been given a modern twist by today’s designers. Below, we have curated a list of our favorite digital collages from professional sports organizations. These designs showcase the innovative ways that designers are able to blend physical imagery and texture with digital shapes to create stunning and modern pieces of art that resonate with fans in #smsports.
04 Frosted Glass (GlassMorphism)
Glassmorphism became more popular in sports design in the last few months, but it has been around in UI design since 2013. It was introduced with Apple’s iOS 7 and their background blur started off as a trend in UI design back then. This design style, characterized by transparency, blur effects, and depth of field, adds depth and dimension to graphics, making them more visually interesting.
05 Liquid Text
Liquid text has been a prevalent trend in sports design over the past year. This new design element allows designers to create an organic, flowing feel with text that captures the fluidity and movement of sports. Liquid text can be used in a variety of ways, such as to emphasize team names, player numbers, and slogans. It can also be used to create unique and dynamic typography that stands out on social media feeds and has quickly become a popular tool for digital designers in #smsports.
06 Bright Gradients
Digital designers love a good gradient. I mean, who doesn’t? It’s an excellent way to add variety and depth to your work, and it’s perfect for leveraging existing color palettes that have built brand equity over time. A well-crafted gradient can create a sense of calm with its seamless blending of colors, and even two seemingly incompatible colors can create an unexpected and compelling visual effect. I have to say, some folks out there are doing an outstanding job of utilizing gradients in their sports social media designs. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of our favorites in the #smsports feeds.
07 Large Typography
Graphic design is the art of combining type and image. And designers are judged primarily on their ability to organize typography, maintain a consistent hierarchy, and use well-paired fonts. No matter how beautiful the photo illustrations are, they are all for naught if the typography falls short. Sometimes, a minimalist approach is necessary, where large and engaging typography is paired with minimal imagery to effectively communicate information. In the following designs, we have seen some designers do an excellent job of organizing and framing typography within negative space or in the background, creating a beautiful and cohesive hierarchy in relation to the imagery.
08 Animation & Motion Graphics
In today’s social media landscape, creating captivating content requires more than just still imagery. In 2023, animation emerged as the key to producing engaging social media content. #smsports creatives are realizing the importance of adding motion to their designs and photography pieces. Whether it’s through animated mockups, motion graphics, or simple gifs, motion content provides a more immersive experience for viewers and garners more engagement, shares, and favorites. We’ve seen teams of all sizes use motion to great effect, ranging from simple stop-motion to more complex animations. Here are some of our favorite examples of creatives effectively leveraging motion in their designs.
At Sports Templates, we want to help designers break into the exciting world of animation and motion graphics. That’s why we’re planning on creating more animated mockups and templates this year, to provide a solid starting point for those who want to explore this dynamic medium but feel overwhelmed by the blank canvas. With our templates, they can jump right into the creative process, experiment with different approaches, and unleash their imagination.
As with anything, the aesthetics of trends are subjective. The aforementioned categories and highlighted digital content are part of the patterns SportsTemplates has recognized and enjoyed in the #smsports space thus far in 2023.
However, we also want to remind designers that they should not rely completely on trends, but rather try to find their own style and vision. Trends can be helpful to stay current and explore new techniques or tools, but they should not dictate or limit one’s creativity. Instead, designers should focus on their main designs and ideas, and only use trends to support and enhance them. By infusing their own voice, story, and purpose into their work, designers can create more authentic, original, and memorable designs that resonate with their audience and stand the test of time.
Written and curated by Ali Rahmoun of @SportsTemplate.