Last updated on November 13th, 2017
Graphic design trends come and go. Some of them stay longer and turn into classic design styles, others never reemerge. But it’s a responsibility of a graphic designer to analyze the trends and decide whether they are relevant. With the right approach, trends help create a powerful brand identity and build a loyal following.
As we progress through the year, graphic design trends that were once emerging are now becoming powerful themes that dictate the look and feel of the online world. Trends are changing our present and reshaping our future. And while true creativity never follows the trends, it still builds up on what’s already there.
Every graphic designer makes it a priority to stay on top of the trends. Trends are powerful. They do not appear out of nowhere, but are shaped and formed by our social and political implications, our environment and life-changing events. In that regard, trends reflect what our society wants and need at this very moment, and it won’t be considered sane to disregard them. To experience trends first-hand, look through online graphic design streams where people publish and share their work. There are always one or two definitive patterns that are noticeable.
However, not every trend is harmless. When followed blindly, graphic design trends can greatly damage the brand’s image and user experience. When we apply trends in order to be seen as fashionable, we forgo the very purpose of graphic design, which is to solve the problem and achieve a certain objective. That’s why when applying trends, you always need to keep in mind the end goal and see how the trend fits into the big picture. And sometimes, all it takes is a slight adjustment to make the trend work.
Here Are 4 Graphic Design Trends You Should Avoid At Any Cost
01. Bolder And Brighter Colors
This graphic design trend was long coming. After the audience got used to the muted and neutral colors that dominated the graphic design world in the past, it is now time to fight the boredom with bright fresh colors.
Bright colors attract attention. They allow brands to stand out from the crowd and convey powerful emotions. They also make it easier to highlight certain parts of visual information and text. But bright color scheme carries some risks too:
- Bright colors can be uncomfortable to eyes. Our eyes are not used to bright colors, especially the artificially created and enhanced ones. While natural colors seem boring, they are a constant in our lives and we are used to seeing them in nature and at home. Bright colors, however beautiful they might be, have a tendency to disrupt this unified natural experience, leading to some customers feeling uncomfortable and wanting to leave.
- Branding is a science that aims to tell a story, and graphic design is just a part of it. Other parts include texts, sounds and tactile experiences. When you try to put it all together into one integrated picture, you might find out that some parts clash with others. Bright colors might be a great way to present visual information, but when it comes to techniques that help text readability, bright colors are certainly at the bottom of the list. Bright, neon backgrounds will always overtake the screen and make the text seem less important.
How To Apply The Trend The Proper Way
- Balance is the key. If you add lots of whitespaces and stick to a limited palette of colors, you can make bright colors work to your advantage.
- When creating a graphic, avoid using bright colors behind the main message or text. Always keep in mind the final goal, the hierarchy of visual and text information in the brand’s image, and adjust your designs accordingly.
02. Bold Typography
Typography has long been an indispensable part of graphic design. From improving readability to optimizing text and images to show off a brand’s creativity, graphic designers are expected to do it all.
Bold typography is another graphic design trend that the designers are following these days. Bold typography is a perfect way to communicate the brand’s message and make a lasting impression. You can take a plain line of text and turn it into a powerful statement. It might not be used so much by visually driven brands, but with the advent of software startups, coaching businesses and educational companies, the need to relay the problem and solution through slogans, custom copy and bold texts are more palpable than ever.
But can bold typography present some unknown dangers? Yes, and here are some of them:
- Bold typography can be hard to comprehend. People are visual creatures, and while we are becoming increasingly adept in deciphering languages and written text, beautiful graphics will beat text in the battle for attention every time. After all, the text is a fabricated invention, while our eyes have been accustomed to visual information for countless years. When you use bold typography creatively, you are turning text into imagery. What does this mean for the customer? That they have to read, analyze and comprehend visuals – all at the same time. Surely, it can make them more attentive to the information at hand, but that spike in attention won’t last long.
- Bold typography can appear too promotional. With attention spans that are shorter than ever, marketers are vying for new ways to get noticed. And bold typography provides that easy path to customers’ minds. But customers are already well aware of the trick and in the sea of promotional messages, advertisements and social media call-outs, bold typography can appear too loud and drive the customers away.
How To Apply The Trend The Proper Way
Use Simple Fonts Instead Of Unique Ones
If you’re trying to achieve the balance at the cost of a brand’s story, that’s putting creativity ahead of purpose. That is not what graphic design is about. If the message is important, you will have to emphasize it, even if that entails giving up on creative, unique and beautiful fonts. Use simple fonts but make them bigger, bolder and more powerful.
Use Bold Text Wisely
There is an intrinsic difference between trying to sell and trying to solve the problem. The customers want the latter. Use bold typography to highlight only those problem-solving messages, and avoid applying the same technique for sales call-outs.
03. Asymmetrical Layouts
Breaking the rules of order and symmetry certainly sounds enticing. Designers have long been treading the waters of asymmetry to come up with groundbreaking solutions. In 2017, web and graphic designers have seen design elements were overlapping, unaligned, crooked or ill-balanced.
An asymmetrical layout is a compelling graphic design trend that makes the graphics truly stand out in the crowd of perfectly balanced identical designs. It demands attention and creates an effect of wonder and discovery because as you scan the image, you do not know where your eyes will catch the next bit of information.
Perfect asymmetrical layouts are hard to pull off mainly due to the following reasons:
- The content or text might get lost. The user experience is a very delicate thing: once you present important information in a certain way, the customer will expect to see it at that same place every time they encounter your brand. With asymmetrical layouts, you force customers to deviate from this well-established behavioral pattern, so some of the information will get lost.
- An asymmetrical layout takes time before the designers get used to them. With the short attention spans of modern customers, time is a very expensive currency. Users are jumping from one tab to another with the speed of light, so they want information to be presented to them at the right place and the right time, in a very familiar format. With asymmetrical layouts, you are challenging the user and not everyone will accept that challenge.
How To Apply The Trend The Proper Way
- When following this graphic design trend, use asymmetrical layouts with visual brands. For brands, that put the storyline or inspirational message first, content is key. These brands would not want to see the main message get lost in the organized mess of an asymmetrical layout.
- Maintain the right balance between structured and asymmetrical elements. Despite being labeled as asymmetrical, this type of layout still requires some structure. Create some basic alignment and build upon it. Remember that it is a sign of true mastery when the balance and chaos complement each other.
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04. Colourful Minimalism
Minimalism is finally transforming into something exciting and novel use of this graphic design trend. Instead of black and white colors, we are starting to see more colors popping up here and there, with the true spirit of minimalism remaining intact.
Minimalism is defined as a framework that favors functional elements. When you remove everything that does not serve functionality, you create a minimalist design. It sounds simple at first glance, but with the addition of color, minimalism can bear certain dangers:
- Finding the right color to incorporate into the minimalistic design can be tough. The use of color in minimalistic design is very deliberate. You need to know what purpose each color serves and choose them accordingly. Black, grey, and white are already very powerful colors that convey certain emotions, so when you add another color to the bunch you risk diluting the purpose and overcrowding the space. In addition, minimalism is built on the use of space, which is perfectly conveyed by black and white layouts but tends to get destroyed under the color attack.
- Minimalism is about removing everything that can be removed. So adding a color is not exactly in line with minimalism principles. Colors can draw attention and add an element of playfulness, but they can also start competing with functionality and damage the initial distraction-free experience you were trying to create.
How To Use Colors In A Proper Way
- Use pale and muted colors. When you try to focus on functionality, bright colors can be a distraction. So try to stick with colors that do not demand as much attention.
- Incorporate color into small details or, alternatively, pick one overarching color scheme and stick to black and white for small details.
Graphic designers need to analyse graphic design trends before following and applying them in their work. Most of the trends are related to the use of typography, minimalism, and colors. They need to be aware of the implications and risks each trend entails.They should use trends selectively and always keep the brand’s mission and vision in mind.
This Article has been contributed by Design Bold Team. DesignBold is an online graphic design tool that aims to redefine the boundaries of design and technology, empowering all users and organisations to convey their message, products and services