The year 2022 sees the return of escapism as a graphic design trend. Despite being a common theme in the art world, escapism is back with full force to replace the restrained, minimalist trend. Artists and designers created escapist artworks during a pandemic to find respite from the stress and isolation.
How does escapism affect graphic design? What are the common visual characteristics?
Why People Love Escapism
Escapism is not a new concept in the art and design world. The Britannica Dictionary describes escapism as an activity or art form that allow people to get away (“escape”) from real-life problems. From paintings to folktales, people have always found ways to escape the humdrum of life.
The desire to escape from problems is reflected even in the modern era. Graphic designers caught this trend by producing digital arts with fantastic visuals that stoke the imagination. Artists like Gabrielle Salonga, Elizabeth Leggett, Lulu Chen, and Natalia Maca are known for designs that break the limits of imagination.
Escapist arts can also serve as a way to cope with a difficult situation. Pandemic inspired many people to create arts; some of them have escapism elements. The fantastic elements help artists and the audience to process loneliness, boredom, and anxieties.
Characteristics of Escapist Designs
Escapist design trend comes in diverse looks, styles, and colors, but they share several important characteristics. Some examples are:
Dazzling Color Combination
Escapist design trends may use a few or many colors, but they are used in unexpected ways. Designers are not afraid to create a clashing combination of bold colors. They can be bold, striking, haunting, or calming, depending on the design themes. The colors should challenge your perception of what “normality” looks like.
Tantalizing, Fantastic Setting
Escapist designs make you feel like you want to “escape” the real world. Therefore, the setting is often fantastic, out of the ordinary, and full of tantalizing details. Instead of turning you away, escapist designs make you feel like walking into the artwork and experiencing the setting yourself.
The inspiration can be anything, from modified real-life settings like forests and the beach to hyper-fantastic realms. Many artists even use mundane settings like homes, kitchens, or the roads to create fantastic designs.
Many designers who utilize fantasy or escapist themes insert whimsical elements into their works. Adding the whimsy evokes positive emotion in the audience, making the escapist landscape look warmer and more inviting. Whimsical elements may come from cute animals, flowers, or modified objects like furniture and food, drawn in a whimsical style.
Escapist graphic design trend often plays with perspectives, skewing and modifying them to create interesting looks. They may play with sizes, proportions, and symmetry to create out-of-the-box images. The resulting artworks will force the audience to alter their generic, “normal” point of view.
Examples of Artists with Escapism Style
Many contemporary artists have embraced the escapism style in their works. They employ various elements from skewed perspectives to cute and whimsical characters. Some examples include:
Jung (Lulu) Chen
Jung Chen, also known as “Lulu,” is a San Francisco-based illustrator who loves playing with themes like fantasy and dreams. Her illustrations take inspiration from the whimsical, fantastic world hidden in daily life. She combines whimsical characters, bold colors, and a dreamy atmosphere to create her art.
Beatrice Blue is known as an illustrator and art director with whimsical, colorful artworks. She often puts characters like children, animals, and fantasy creatures in fantastic realms, using a cutesy style and dream-like atmosphere.
Carles Garcia O’Dowd
Carles Garcia O’Dowd creates extremely detailed 2D illustrations with skewed perspectives, satire, and counter-culture references. His works also employ maximalism, another graphic design trend 2022 that counters the minimalism movement. His works often take inspiration from mundane things like insects, sea creatures, plants, and daily objects like cars and office buildings, which he turns into escapist arts.
Luzia Laffitte’s designs use a whimsical but highly detailed style to draw people, animals, and plants. She often puts mundane objects or situations in a fantastic setting by skewing perspectives and using bold colors. Her works often appear on labels and other commercial products, proof that escapist designs can be used in practical, commercial ways.
Escapism became a graphic design trend thanks to its fantastic, bold, and whimsical characteristics. Make sure to explore your imagination and let your creativity run if you want to join this graphic design trend.