Here's our guide to some of the hottest trends happening in the world of graphic design. From Flat 2.0 to minimalist logos, we look at the most talked-about emerging developments.
Graphic Design, along with various other creative disciplines is forever adapting and evolving. A Graphic Designer’s work is influenced by many elements including culture, technology, and various other inspirational sources; design trends can say a lot about the times.
“A trend never simply emerges for a single year and then disappears in a puff of smoke. Instead, an aesthetic becomes popular gradually, even mysteriously, over time before fizzling out slowly without much notice at all.”
With that in mind, take a look at a selection of trends popular in Graphic Design throughout 2016.
Not a new concept, Flat Design has continued its evolution throughout 2016 as Flat 2.0.
It pulls influences from minimalistic styles and focuses on colour and typography, using subtle shadows and highlights to create some depth. Adopted by Apple’s iOS7 in 2013, it’s popularity increased further when it was further refined in Google’s Material Design in 2014. The efficacy of Flat 2.0 can’t be disputed; it makes load times faster online and boasts high usability. Originally intended for online use, its great visual simplicity means we now see it seeping into other formats such as illustration and pattern design. Due to its impressive results, this trend is here to stay for the foreseeable future If you have a keen eye, you may recognize this lovely use of Flat 2.0 in the game Monument Valley. It was played by Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood in the Netflix hit, House of Cards.
HAND-DRAWN / HANDWRITTEN FONTS
Another trend that isn’t new in 2016 but remains popular, is handwritten or hand-drawn typefaces. In the quest for clean digital perfectionism, handwritten typography is a refreshingly down-to-earth style. These font styles have now become a long-lasting key trend in typography to convey personality, honesty, and humanize a brand. Quirkier and more creative, handwritten fonts are engaging and add flair to the visual. Particularly in 2016, there is the addition of the font being designed in a watercolour style to add to the custom-made, hand-crafted aesthetic.
Staying on the type theme, there has also been a rise in the use of dramatic typography throughout 2016. We are now in the ‘golden age of typography’, where the addition of Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit break traditional limitations for web designers (goodbye Arial, Courier, Verdana et al). With higher resolution screens, it is now possible to use more creative type treatments to engage the viewer and create a more memorable impression. Not just online, the trend can be seen across print mediums too as can be seen in the example from Snask agency below.
When it comes to logo trends for 2016, following in the footsteps of Flat 2.0, logos have become more flat and minimalist with crisp lines.Many big brands have already become the first to embrace minimalist or flat logos over the past few years, but 2016 sees the continuance of simplifying designs. Flat designs also make branding clearer online, load faster and be easily identifiable. Designers will continue to experiment with the definition of minimalist, flat design.
Not to be confused with more vintage designs that have been a popular trend in previous years, ‘Modern’ Retro is largely inspired by 70s through to the 90s with a contemporary twist. Think pixel art, bold colours and patterns drawing inspiration from the memorabilia of these decades such as arcade video games. This highly visual style has reinterpreted retro styles with a sense of nostalgia that creates a connection between the design and the viewer. It’s a lighthearted aesthetic with a focus on playfulness and fun. While most design trends come and go, drawing inspiration from the past never really goes away, so New Retro could stay a while.