With just five weeks left in 2017, we’re looking to the new year and what’s in store for visual communication and graphic design. The InkHouse creative team has forecast five design trends for 2018 and what they might mean for your brand.
If 2017 was a year of muted palettes, minimalism and an emphasis on “design thinking”—in which logic and reason drove design decisions—2018 promises to turn these styles on their heads. Here are the five most prominent graphic design trends to inform your marketing communications for the coming year.
Muted, “safe” colors are taking a backseat to more vibrant palettes and electric values. Some of the color combinations are unconventional, daring, and unexpected. We predict the Pantone color for 2018 will directly reflect this pattern. There is a huge benefit to incorporating colors trends in your campaigns, not just to be aesthetically on point, but also to benefit from the wave of attention created by Pantone.
Image Source: Brand New
While the use of stock photography certainly has its advantages and a convenience factor, new smartphone hardware and smart software have provided users a high quality, customizable camera that lets you produce high quality photos with endless filters and modes to adjust. Photography is a primary driver of people’s initial experience with a brand. Brands that recognize this will leverage authentic photography as part of their visual storytelling in 2018, creating original imagery to create enduring relationships with their audiences.
Image source: Pexels
AR is steadily making its way to the mainstream. Google, Apple, and Microsoft are making great efforts to advance this technology and make it available to the public. We predict you’ll see more and more representations of AR in product photography, applications, and interactive media. Overlaying promotional or marketing assets on a real-world environment can create an emotional connection to your message and allow the consumer to immerse themselves in your brand’s experience.
Image source: iStock
Flat design had been leading the way, however 2018 will see this trend phase out as we see more brands experimenting with color transitions and gradients. This gives a sense of depth and liveliness in comparison to the solid, flat environments that once were the standard. Consider these treatments when conceptualizing a series of graphics (for example, a social campaign or blog illustrations) or when creating a hero image for a landing page.
Image source: Graphic Mama Blog
These design trends also inform the way logos, icons, and identity systems are shaped. Branding is shifting to a human-centered approach—think Apple’s end user delighting in the product, rather than tech talk about processor speeds and resolution figures. In the past, all a company had to worry about was its product or service, but today’s brands have to consider the experience they are creating for consumers, and whether that experience is different enough from their competition. As you implement design thinking in your company, keep the customer at the center of every decision.
Image source: iStock
The design world is evolving into a more emotionally driven landscape where expression through color and movement is bubbling up into brands, emails and social media content. The 2018 design trends will encourage us to become more daring, confident, and expressive in our communication. We can’t wait!
Lauren is a design aficionado with over 8 years of experience in digital design and visual communication. She is one of the senior members of the InkHouse design team where she not only provides art direction and conceptual development but also has a hands-on role during creation and production. Her team tackles a wide range of projects including branding, animation, graphics, illustrations, and websites. Outside of her passion for art and design, she is also an avid CrossFitter, yoga instructor, and paddleboard enthusiast. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University where she was also an adjunct design professor.