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The Impact of COVID-19 on Illustration and Design Trends


The Impact of COVID-19 on Illustration and Design Trends

The Impact of COVID-19 on Illustration and Design Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on various industries, and the world of illustration and design is no exception. As people around the globe have been forced to adapt to new ways of living and working, the demand for certain types of illustrations and design trends has shifted. In this article, we will explore the key ways in which COVID-19 has influenced the world of illustration and design, and how professionals in these fields have responded to the changing landscape.

1. The Rise of Digital Illustration

One of the most significant trends that has emerged during the pandemic is the increased popularity of digital illustration. With people spending more time at home and relying heavily on digital platforms for communication and entertainment, the demand for digital illustrations has skyrocketed. Artists and designers have embraced this shift by honing their digital skills and exploring new techniques and styles.

Case Study: The New Yorker

The New Yorker, a renowned magazine known for its iconic illustrations, has adapted to the changing times by commissioning more digital illustrations. The magazine’s art director, Françoise Mouly, stated that the shift to digital illustrations has allowed them to continue producing high-quality content while adhering to social distancing guidelines. This case study highlights how even traditional print publications have had to adapt to the new normal and embrace digital illustration.

2. Reflecting the Changing World

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in society, and these changes are reflected in the world of illustration and design. Artists and designers have been using their skills to capture the emotions and experiences of people during these challenging times. Illustrations depicting frontline workers, social distancing, and the importance of mental health have become prevalent.

Example: Banksy’s “Game Changer”

Banksy, a renowned street artist, created a powerful illustration titled “Game Changer” during the pandemic. The artwork depicts a young boy playing with a nurse superhero toy, symbolizing the heroic efforts of healthcare workers during the crisis. This illustration resonated with people around the world and became a symbol of hope and gratitude towards frontline workers.

3. Increased Demand for E-commerce Design

As physical stores faced closures and restrictions, e-commerce experienced a significant surge in demand. This shift has led to an increased need for effective e-commerce design to attract and engage online shoppers. Illustrations and designs that enhance the user experience and create a visually appealing online shopping environment have become crucial for businesses.

Statistics: According to a report by Adobe, global e-commerce sales reached $4.28 trillion in 2020, a 27.6% increase from the previous year. This surge in e-commerce sales highlights the importance of effective design in capturing the attention of online shoppers.

4. Embracing Minimalism and Simplicity

The uncertainty and chaos brought about by the pandemic have led to a desire for simplicity and clarity in design. Many artists and designers have embraced minimalism, opting for clean lines, muted colors, and simple compositions. This trend reflects the need for calm and clarity in a world filled with information overload and anxiety.

Example: Apple’s iOS 14 Icons

Apple’s release of iOS 14 introduced a new feature that allows users to customize their home screen with widgets and redesigned app icons. Many designers created minimalist and simplified icons that resonated with users seeking a clean and organized aesthetic. This trend showcases how even major tech companies have responded to the demand for simplicity in design.

5. Collaborative and Community-driven Design

The pandemic has brought people together in unexpected ways, and this sense of community has influenced the world of illustration and design. Artists and designers have collaborated on projects that aim to spread awareness, support local businesses, and uplift communities. This collaborative approach has not only created impactful designs but also fostered a sense of unity during challenging times.

Example: #CreateCultivateConnect

#CreateCultivateConnect is an initiative that brought together artists and designers from around the world to create uplifting and inspiring illustrations during the pandemic. The project aimed to spread positivity and connect people through art. This example demonstrates how collaboration and community-driven design can have a positive impact on individuals and communities.


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly influenced the world of illustration and design. The rise of digital illustration, the reflection of the changing world, the increased demand for e-commerce design, the embrace of minimalism, and the collaborative and community-driven approach are all key trends that have emerged during these challenging times. Artists and designers have adapted to the new normal by embracing digital tools, capturing the emotions and experiences of people, enhancing e-commerce experiences, simplifying designs, and fostering a sense of community. As the world continues to navigate the pandemic, these trends are likely to continue evolving and shaping the future of illustration and design.

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