The transition to fall brings new color palettes and cool design ideas. Find inspiration for your seasonal art with work from these talented designers.
Summer might be a rapidly fading memory, but there’s plenty to look forward to in the fall season ahead, particularly when it comes to design. Graphic designers, illustrators, and photographers often look to the autumn season as a source of inspiration, resulting in designs that reflect the rich, earthy color palettes and natural beauty of the autumn months.
Here, discover ten inspiring examples of fall design across brand design, graphics, packaging, and illustration to help you channel the best of the transitional season in your own design projects.
This year, designers are looking to tonal colors and nature-focused subject matter to celebrate the changing season. These themes range from exploring the great outdoors to rendering animals and plants in glorious digital 3D. Read on to get inspired!
1. Vanhakylä Packaging by Werklig
What could be more autumnal than harvesting a bushel of rosy-hued apples? Finnish brand design agency Werklig created a tonal and earthy identity for apple juice brand Vanhakylä that uses a cosy palette of deep green, pale pink, and warming copper accents.
Described by the designers as a “sweet blend of heritage and modernity,” the branding combines icons associated with the manor estate where the brand sources its apples with the brand’s ethos to “leave no apple behind.”
Pro tip: Why not create a collection of icons to use for branding, packaging and websites? Simple vector icons can be used together or separately to symbolize different aspects of a brand or business.
2. Lost Saints Packaging by Unifikat Design Studio
As the nights draw in, we all crave the cosy comfort of a flickering candle. The founder of Unifikat, Paul Marcinkowski, saw an opportunity to bring something different to the sometimes staid candle market when he oversaw the branding and packaging design for hand-crafted candle business Lost Saints. A custom font that references fire-lighting and kindling fosters a unique identity for the brand and gives the logotype a deeper meaning. Meanwhile, black and white gives the design a stark and stylish palette.
The designers applied charcoal-covered hands to paper to create charcoal textures, resulting in a mysterious and magical final effect. The packaging design connects to the idea of “ashes to ashes.”
3. Digital Artwork by Maxim Shkret
Russian digital artist Maxim Shkret creates exceptionally beautiful and absorbing 3D images and renders, often focused around creating fantastical “sculptures” of animals from his native country. He renders foxes, bears, and wolves in sculptural waves and geometric shapes, presenting an ethereal and dramatic take on the natural world.
Take a look at Maxim’s website to interact with his 3D sculptures and appreciate the many hours of work that go into creating each animal. For autumn, Maxim collaborated with animator Philipp Pavlov to bring a range of enigmatic designs to life in a rich array of colors and metallics.
One of the nicest things about the post-summer months is the opportunity to cosy up in layers of knitwear and set out on crisp autumn walks. Shutterstock contributor Ardea Studio channels this feeling of familial comfort, often looking to the fall season for illustration inspiration. Bringing their signature whimsical and romantic style to depictions of autumnal landscapes and countryside walks, the illustrator creates detailed scapes that can’t help but evoke the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot.
Inspired by folkloric art and woodcut design, the illustrations use a traditional autumnal palette of earthy colors, hand-drawn lettering, and painterly textures to create a mood of nostalgia and comfort.
5. Brand Identity for Plantarium by Yeye Design
Plantarium is a business established as a result of two friends’ shared love of plants. The business required a brand identity, packaging, and merchandising for a plant and accessories store. Mexico-based agency Yeye Design created an identity that enhances the idea that plants are living beings that reflect a part of human nature back to us.
The result is an ethereal and atmospheric brand design that combines watercolor imagery, carved sans-serif typography, and rich colors that take their cues from earth and water. Deep terracottas, vivid lagoon-blues, and forest greens flavor this project with an autumnal merit. Meanwhile, the hand-painted graphics (inspired by the fantastical surrealism of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away) bringing depth, interest, and romance to packaging, labels, business cards, and tote bags.
Pro tip: Autumn is the perfect time to go back to basics and experiment with hand-painting illustrations and graphics. Combined with digitized elements such as type and logos, watercolors bring a delicate and beautiful mood to brand identities, websites, and poster design.
6. Terraform Illustrations by Josh Dykgraaf
Photographic illustrator Josh Dykgraaf takes a nature-inspired approach to creating his highly-detailed illustrations of birds and animals. Josh uses a source photo as a foundation, building in photographed and edited leaves and textures to give the animal a beautiful, leafy makeover.
The birds here are part of his Terraform series, with the images created using autumn leaves found near his home in Melbourne. Some were created during lockdown with an improvised setup on Josh’s kitchen bench to shoot photos of the leaves. Aside from adjusting shading and light, the colors of the leaves haven’t been changed, making them a true reflection of the natural tones in the environment.
Pro tip: Fall is a time of seasonal change and as a result it’s one of the best times of the year to reconnect with nature. Take your sketchbook or tablet to the local park while it’s still warm enough to sit outside, and sketch some of the natural forms and textures of trees and plants. You might find these spark an idea for your next project.
7. Harvest (Still Life) by Aaron Covrett
Aaron Covrett is a 3D artist and designer based in LA. A specialist in creating realistic detailed textures digitally, Aaron’s recent Harvest (Still Life) project draws attention to his exceptional 3D design skills. Although these images look like oil paintings created by a Dutch master, the whole scene is created digitally from the ground up. The artist built the corn cobs kernel by kernel in CAD software, individually coloring and lighting kernels to make them appear ultra-realistic.
The artist’s commitment to incredible detail has led to high-profile campaigns for Google and Squarespace. You may recognize his work for the latter in his immersive flower-themed creations for florist Brrch.
Using earthy, nature-inspired colors in your projects is an instant way to tap into an autumnal design mood. Deep ochre-yellows, burnt sienna, and aubergine purples have depth and beauty, and will give your designs a cozier, warmer feel.
Shutterstock contributor GoodStudio realizes the power of an autumn-inspired palette, using deep, tonal colors instead of bright neons or pastels. In these illustrations, color plays a key role in creating an autumnal atmosphere. Grainy textures and a naturalistic drawing style also give the images a vintage-meets-contemporary aesthetic.
9. Fall Color Palettes by Dimitris Ladopoulos
Minimalists will adore the autumnal-toned approach of visual artist Dimitris Ladopoulos. Now an in-house designer at Apple, Dimitris has a keen eye for subtle, geometric design and elegant, muted colors. Created as 3D designs before being captured as aerial prints, the designs preserve the original texture and shadowing, giving these geometric designs depth and ceramic-like beauty.
For these designs, appropriately titled “Autumn,” the artist looked to the subtler end of the autumnal color spectrum. This palette of charcoal grays, mustard yellows, and bark browns evoke the spirit of the season in ultra-stylish form.
Look to Dimitris’ geometric designs for complex fall color inspiration. You’ll find everything from the brighter, fierier hues of late summer to the darker, less saturated tones of early winter.
A longtime contributor to Shutterstock, the Bangkok-based digital artist creates highly detailed paintings of fantasy landscapes that combine themes of horror, sci-fi, and ancient myth. Tithi’s background as a painter and photographer is evident in his later digital work, which still retains a fluid, painterly style that fizzes with energy and movement.
Recently, Tithi has turned his attention to fall-themed subject matter. His new work uses the natural environment as a starting point for creating images of mountainous autumn dreamscapes. Fantastical stags and dreamlike figures move through these micro-scale, Borrower-like situations.
Find something to get your creative juices flowing this autumn and winter:
- Tips and Tricks from Shutterstock Contributors on Capturing Fall Colors
- 7 Tips on Creating Modern Fall Interior Images for Stock
- Design Roundup: Free Fall Icons and Graphics Pack
- Rethink Holiday Design with These 10 Unique Examples
- 7 Fresh Color Palettes for Designing a New Autumn Season
Cover image by Dimitris Ladopoulos.