Design Trends 2023

Design Trends 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.

Anti-Design and Brutalism

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.

Collaborative Projects

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.

Collaborative projects

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.

Photography Heavy 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.

The Return of the Sans Serif

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.

Colourful Nostalgic Illustrations

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?

Surrealist Maximalism

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.

Surrealist Maximalism

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.

AI Evolution

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.

AI Evolution

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.

Final Thought…

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.

Posted on 5th Jan 2023 14:37:02 by

Tags: Trends, News.

Some highlights of 2022

Some highlights of 2022

2022 has been a super exciting and challenging year, from creating daily generative art in January for #genuary2022 to HEYLEP live stream event from Hull City Council, we have worked on some amazing projects with our fantastic clients. Here are just a few highlights

Ørsted Safety Awareness Campaign
At the beginning of 2022 we were asked by our long standing client Ørsted to create a set of safety awareness videos for an international campaign. With a tight turn-around needed, we spent a week filming at the UK’s head office creating a set of 5 exercise videos which challenged the viewer to ‘spot the safety concern’. Each video was then narrated and translated into 7 different languages.


Navitas Facebook Campaign (ITV)
Navitas asked us to create a set of online PayPerClick adverts to promote the business and acquire new leads. We created a set of 3 personas based on market research and then tailored our marketing videos, message and landing pages towards each persona. The results were so incredible we had to turn the campaign off, so the client could accommodate the volume of leads. As a result of the successful campaign Navitas were featured on ITV News, garnering national attention.


Moving Office
Ever since the pandemic we were forced to transition to a remote workflow, so our main office was not being utilized to its full potential. We decided to consolidate and upgrade the combined work spaces we have into the studio we have always wanted, adding additional storage space, new lights and backdrops. Our studio can be used for both photography and video offering our clients a quiet, well equipped space to produce everything from TV commercials to product photography. We are now taking bookings for the new year, so if you would like to hire the studio, please get in touch.


Trust Marketing Award
As part of our day to day work with Trust electrical heating, we were asked to create their submission for the Entrepreneurs Circle Marketing 2022 Awards.  We created some great graphics, from 3D to vector illustrations, which were compiled into a set of printed documents for submission. We’re very happy to report that the campaign was a success, with Trust taking home several awards!.


Harrods x Dior Project
With Christmas rapidly approaching, we were asked by Studio McGuire to provide expert After Effects support for this ‘once in a lifetime’ project. Dior took over Harrods in London to showcase ‘The Fabulous World of Dior’ - we helped Studio McGuire by creating projected assets, particle system styles and custom expression setups, all to facilitate production flow on a very tight deadline with multiple moving parts.


Pace Comm & VIP Studio
Our last booking in the studio was full of Christmas cheer. The chaps from VIP Creative asked us to help light and coordinate a set of green screen shots for the eagerly anticipated 2022 Pace Communication Christmas video. VIP creative did a fantastic job with the edit and post-production.


So as this year draws to an end we once again would like to thank our fantastic clients for challenging us on a daily basis and keeping us on our toes. We will be taking some time off over Christmas break (21st of December 2022 to the 5th of January 2023) but we look forward to more exciting projects in 2023.

Merry Christmas from the team at REAL DESIGN!

Posted on 15th Dec 2022 12:59:45 by

Tags: News.

5 More Simple Marketing Tips

5 More Simple Marketing Tips

Marketing success is not determined only by the frequency of how often you communicate with your audience but also depends on other factors such as content, presentation and creativity. Below are 5 more simple things (previous 5 Simple Marketing Tactics) to include in your ongoing endeavours.

Got It? Brand It!

Anything and everything possible should have your business details, contacts details and core message stamped all over it. Make a list of all the places someone comes in contact with your business – your mail, your packaging, your premises, your email signature – if you’ve got it, brand it.

Call Past Customers

Past customers are one of your best sources of new revenues. Make a habit of phoning or writing to a few each and every week to keep in touch and find out if there’s anything you can do to help them.

Ask For Feedback

If you truly value customer service and want to deliver the best service or products possible, then you need to know what your customers think. A simple question to ask is why they chose your business over another one – the reason they buy from you is the same reason future customers will too. Plus, asking for feedback makes your clients and customers feel involved and valued.

Staff Buzz

Your staff can become a huge asset in marketing your business. Challenge them to come up with new and interesting ways to get people talking about the business. Set down a competition – and a reward – for the person who successfully creates the most buzz about your business using some of the ideas here.

Hug A Journalist

To really get your media coverage going you’ll need to get to know the writers in your target publications. Phone through to find out who writes about your industry or speciality and then arrange a quick chat with them on the phone.

Journalists, especially those on local papers, need a constant supply of good stories – you can help them and they can help you.

It’s also useful to create a media sheet about your business that you can send out to journalists. A media sheet is a simple summary about your business and key personnel that journalists can keep on file. It’s a good introduction to you – making it more likely they’ll take notice of your releases – and is a useful reminder when they need someone to comment on a related story.

Marketing With REAL DESIGN

In today’s marketing environment, it’s important to ensure that the return on investment relates to brand exposure, sales or customer engagement. Whether you’re looking for ways to build customer loyalty, increase customer retention or drive sales.

Whether you’re launching or intensifying a marketing campaign, we’d love to help you find the best solution for your business challenges. At REAL DESIGN we are an all media production studio who will never try to sell you more than you need, transparency and communication are how we have built decade long client relationships.

Posted on 24th Nov 2022 16:13:30 by

Tags: News.

The AI Imagery Buzz

The AI Imagery Buzz

Hey, want to see a Giraffe with arms punching an alien? Of course you do and now you can thanks to the latest internet trend. As predicted in our upcoming trends guide at the start of 2022, images created by Artificial Intelligence have exploded into the public consciousness. But are they a passing fad, a useful application of technology or a genuine threat to creativity.

I first watched a short documentary in 2016 about how a new ‘original’ Rembrandt painting was created 347 years after his death, using some clever code, intelligent algorithm and a dataset of Rembrandt’s back catalogue. The results are quite incredible, but the whole project was based around one outcome… jump forward to 2022 and AI imagery has leaped to the next level. With the recent unveiling of DALL-E the GAN scene has just exploded. 

AI imagery has been around for a long time but in the last few months has exploded with ‘prompt’ generated services, generative adversarial network (GAN).

So what is AI generated imagery, an AI model that can generate images from any ‘prompt’ you input. The model is trained by looking at millions of images from the internet with their associated captions. Over time, it learns how to draw an image from a text prompt.

Some of the concepts are learnt from memory as it may have seen similar images. However, it can also learn how to create unique images that don’t exist such as “the statue of liberty  landing on the moon” by combining multiple concepts together.

You can try it here; , just type in a ‘prompt’ something like; “ninja cat” or “godzilla baking a cake illustration” which will then present some interesting results. 

Very quickly other services have launched, along with algorithm updates with much better quality and more variations but now with monetary options too. With all the attention we signed up to MidJourney a discord based service that was showing some amazing results.


(Images Credit: MidJourney users)

Now the results are incredible BUT it opens up a very emotive and interesting discussion about AI created art. These algorithms are learning off data online; learning different artistic styles and techniques, and with every ‘prompt’ accelerating its machine learning. So where does this leave the original creators of these styles or current artists trying to create new art? And are the tech companies putting the revenue they get back into the creatives?


(Image Credit & Prompt: cute tentacle monster by realdesign via MidJourney)

I am a massive advocate of tech in art, we still use a custom randomiser script we wrote years ago to create some of our bespoke designs and elements, so I relish innovation in the tech but I worry about the damage to the creative process.

So my question to YOU is; Is this technology a good or bad evolution for the creative industry? It’s here and how we work with the medium will dictate its future. What do you think?

Generative Adversarial Network
Google Imagen
A Thread: Dall-E or not Dall-E
41 Creative Tools to Generate AI Art
A Twitter Thread

Posted on 29th Jul 2022 15:08:44 by

Tags: News.

Studio Upgrade

Studio Upgrade

After over 20 years at our current location we are finally upgrading to a bigger studio. It has long been an ambition of ours to upgrade to a studio with a full video and photographic set up and finally we have achieved that goal.

Of course with any big move comes the obligatory clean out operation. For 20 years since the dawn of digital media we have created projects on everything from vhs to blu-ray. 100S of mini-dv and DVCPro tapes all backed up to 100s of mechanical hard drives. 20 years worth of memories is not something you can easily throw away, so more hours than were perhaps necessary were spent reminiscing over the good, the bad and the ugly, old clients and colleagues, and late nights during hot summers working to impossible deadlines.

Jobs ranging from sticky nightclub shoots in Blackpool to fashion runways set against the glistening cote d’Azur of Monaco were all re-watched during the agonising process of what to keep. Old show reels and promos were viewed for the first time in years and we were able witness our transformation from a group of young graphic designers, videographers and coders to the more mature, but only slightly more sensible collective that now forms REAL DESIGN.

There were over ten draws of physical media that were reduced down to a 8tb hard drive over the course of three months as well as old cables, PC’s and print media to be recycled.

We ended up giving over 100 hard drives to our friends at R3 Data Recovery who not only securely destroyed the data contained on the drives but also recycled them for parts.

It has been a physically and emotionally difficult process but moving forward always is. We would like to thank you for your continued friendship, support and patronage as we move into the next exciting chapter of REAL DESIGN.

Posted on 15th Jun 2022 16:32:24 by

Tags: News, Studio Move.