Remember 2017? Seems like it was just last year … with its Cactus Prints, Voice-Enabled Tech (Alexa and Siri), Fidget Spinners and Unicorn everything (thanks to Starbucks Frappuccinos). Similar to pop culture and technology, the world of graphic design is constantly changing and evolving. While some graphic design trends fade, others stick around for many years.
To start 2018, let’s look back over some of the emerging graphic design trends we saw this past year.
- Designs Inspired by Nature
2017 saw a return to our organic roots. Pantone put this trend in motion, by crowning Greenery the color of the year, which evokes the start of spring and new beginnings. The natural world is a rich place for inspiration. This year, colors, textures, shapes and proportions will speak the language of the outdoors.
- Loud & Bright Colors
Over the past decade, designers have utilized muted, safe and easy to digest colors to create a very clean and controlled design scheme. This design style emerged on the scene with Apple, but has been replicated over and over again, by many brands. Now, companies are breaking the mold by shifting from neutral colors to bolder, brighter colors. Spotify and Instagram are examples of companies who have had success by infusing bright colors to give their brands a fresh new look!
- The Past Idealized
Our audience’s desire for nostalgia solely drives this design trend. Lately, there has been a spike in designs that fetishize handcrafted typography, blind-embossed background patterns, intricate and ornate crests and lithographic illustrations. This style pushes an illusion onto the consumer that hands have touched it, not just machines.
- Bold Typography
With the declining attention spans of readers, as well as the saturation of content online, we’ve seen an explosion of big and bold typography across different mediums. Loud, daring fonts combined with concise, punchy copy will be used to grab the viewer’s eye.
Stand out, by standing back. This past year, ultra-minimal typography, intentional white space and reduced focal points have remain cutting-edge. Our audience has a serious need to cut through the noise, and by using minimalistic designs we can speak clearly to our over-saturated and overwhelmed consumer.
Millennials who are now reaching adulthood have a yearning to return to childhood, and are the culprit for this emerging design trend. An idealized version of innocence captures the viewer’s attention by appearing unintimidating, approachable and familiar. This design style can be achieved through illustrations, animated scenes, characters, handwritten lettering and simple colorful patterns.
- Authentic Photos
Generic stock images are overused. Period. Regardless of the stock image’s quality, if your audience has seen your image on multiple websites, they’ll assume you cannot create your own material, thus reducing their interest to engage with your content. Therefore, you should consider using authentic, original images that represent your brand. In doing so, you’ll make your brand more unique and fresh, allowing you to attract more readers and stay ahead of your competition.
Get out of the way and let your brand shine! Try just focusing on clarity and color. Also, know your brand and do not stray from it. Boil everything down to just the essential elements of your brand and message, and use simple words and shapes. Connect to your audience without selling, and invite your customer to embrace your brand’s spirit.
Want to grab your audience’s attention in a quick, exciting way? Cinemagraphs are the perfect tool! Compared to GIFs, cinemagraphs are still images with only minor elements moving in them. This technique brings a simple photograph to life and can be used to tell stories and drive engagement. Brands like Netflix, Kraft and IKEA are already using them in their marketing strategies for this year.
- Videos Everywhere
Moving content has become an integral part of marketing strategies for designers. High-resolution screens and fast connections have opened doors for widespread growth of video content. Last year, we saw a rise in video backgrounds as headers on many website’s homepages. Your audience demands high quality video that tells a story. It has to be interesting and relevant to your content, as well.
Where will graphic design trends go in 2018? We will soon find out.
By Chelsea Grider, Senior Graphic Designer, Capture Higher Ed