5th Jan 2023
While design comes from creative minds, trends are also borne out of the context of their era. Much of the optimism from 2022 remains for the coming year, but it has been somewhat dampened by the increasing inflation and the worsening climate crisis, amongst other things.
Graphic designers and creatives alike respond to these circumstances in different ways. Some lean toward excitement and curiosity for what’s ahead as technology inspires them to explore the unknown, such as virtual reality graphic design mentioned above and AI-generated art. While others react to restrictions and anti-establishment emotion with defiance, through styles ranging from an escapist yearning to revolutionary innovation, all the way to reusing styles from a simpler era.
Anti-Design and Brutalism
The brutalist trend breaks the rules and captures attention through the use of unconventional elements such as bold fonts and non-traditional imagery.
This trend allows for the exploration of bold and unusual design solutions, pushing the boundaries of traditional design. It encourages the use of unconventional colour schemes and layout in the creation of websites and pages.
In order to attract the attention of potential customers, especially for hype products, manufacturers must find ways to stand out. This can be especially challenging as companies compete for their target audience. Many firms collaborate with influencers to create visually appealing marketing campaigns, but these can lack the unique and unexpected elements that truly capture attention.
Balenciaga Fashion House’s Unusual Effect - a collaboration with Fortnite
One trend that has been emerging is fashion brands forming unusual partnerships with other companies, creating a “wow” factor through the unexpected union of two different industries.
Photography Heavy Design
The use of high-quality photographs in design, known as photography heavy design, has gained popularity in recent years and is expected to continue to be popular in 2023. This style utilises photographs to create a visually striking and memorable design.
High-resolution photos grab the attention of viewers and effectively convey a message. It is important to use high-quality, genuine, and relevant photos in order to create a powerful and unique design.
By incorporating photography heavy design into their branding, businesses can create a memorable and impactful visual identity that resonates with their audience.”
The Return of the Sans Serif
There has been a shift in recent years from the use of serif typefaces to sans serif fonts in design. Sans serif typefaces, which are favoured by graphic designers, minimalists, and those concerned with web accessibility, are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. The saturation of serif logos has led designers to seek out new and innovative options, such as geometric sans serif or Swiss-style grotesque typefaces.
Sans serifs not only curate a clean, minimalist style for branding, packaging and other print designs, but they also improve legibility and accessibility on apps and websites. As more brands tune into the need for digital output to be fully accessible, we can expect sans serifs to take on a more dominant role online. Look to classic sans serif fonts in the Swiss school tradition such as Neue Haas Grotesk and Univers, or take a quirkier sans for a spin such as Ginto or Everett.
Colourful Nostalgic Illustrations
The vintage revival trend, inspired by the 1990s, is a clear example of how the pandemic has influenced design. The desire for a sense of nostalgia and familiarity during the COVID-19 crisis has led brands such as MTV, Google, and Later to embrace a retro aesthetic. This trend showcases the significant impact the pandemic has had on the design industry.
So add some nostalgia to your future designs by looking to the past for inspiration. Because who doesn’t love a good opportunity to reminisce?
Surreal and maximalist aesthetics, characterised by larger than life, psychedelic imagery and elements that challenge reality, have gained popularity as we strive for a sense of freedom post-pandemic. Brands such as Coca Cola and Adobe have embraced this trend, using visual storytelling to create impactful designs that break away from minimalism and realism.
Maximalism, which rejects the traditional design principle of “less is more,” involves the use of bold colour combinations, layered images, prominent typography, and repeating motifs to grab attention. The incorporation of variable fonts, which can be expanded or condensed, also adds to the maximalist aesthetic. This design style maximises the use of space and encourages designers to push the boundaries and defy common rules of graphic design.
Have you played around with OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 yet? Since its public release, the AI powered image generator has impacted the design world in a huge way, influencing imaginative works and memes alike.
Despite concerns over copyright and the displacement of human creativity, it’s clear this trend isn’t going anywhere. And with notable brands like Microsoft and Notion releasing their own design tools featuring built-in DALL-E integrations, you can bet we’ll only see more AI art in the new year. (Especially considering OpenAI’s GPT-4, the next machine learning iteration set to launch soon!)
AI is evolving rapidly as the technology matures and companies discover innovative ways to incorporate AI into intelligent products and services. No organisation will be immune to AI’s transformative impact, and executives should begin now to ensure they are preparing their companies for the AI-enabled future.
As we move into 2023 and beyond, the post-pandemic world will present new challenges and opportunities that will encourage a more experimental and eclectic approach to design and media. Brands and consumers alike will embrace a more diverse and open-minded approach to design as we navigate this changing landscape.