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By Devshree Sahai, Partner and Senior Creative Manager, GCD STUDIO
When it comes to design, whether it’s print or digital graphic design, trends often rule the day and dictate the market. They possess the power to change the way we look at brands and their approach to aesthetics. Throughout 2019 so far, there have been incredible graphic design trends that have stood the test of time, or even surpassed what we’ve imagined in terms of design and artistic viewpoints. Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about design trends. What exactly are design trends and should we care about them? Trends exist for a reason. They are heavily influenced by the past and present, media, environment, culture and what’s actually going on in the world.
For example, in general the minimalistic design trend, If you actually think of it you will realize how relevant it is in today’s scenario where people don’t have the time. They see, like and move on! So to capture that audience the design needs to be to the point.
Most of the trends today are even driven by the medium. As most designs are now viewed on smaller screens like phones, bold fonts, less negative space are now in fashion. A bold font makes it easy to read text on social media feeds and mobile devices. People have started designing mobile version first. Hence it is important to study and understand these trends. Don’t get me wrong but there are few trends that might not work for a lot of brands. One such trend is asymmetrical layout, the brand really needs to be young and trendy to carry off something like that.
Putting trends into practice
But how important are they when it comes to actually implementing them in a project? As designers it’s very important to be aware of your surroundings and happenings. But personally I’m not a fan of following trends. It’s basically just following the majority (in my opinion). Not much creative thinking required. Trends used to come and go over the span of years, but in today’s day and age you would be lucky if they stay for months or weeks as a result, the difference between fad and trends is slowly disappearing. Whatever you design based on a trend might look fancy today but tomorrow the appeal of the design might fade away as fast as the trend appeared.
To follow or not to follow
Imagine if every designer blindly started following a certain trend, you wouldn’t be able to differentiate one design from the other. A trend isn’t a hard-and-fast rule that one needs to follow. Study it, understand where it’s coming from and see if it resonates with your design and help uplift it in some way. One can always use trends as a baseline and try twisting them to create something new and interesting. One of the most popular trends I have noticed in a while is making a logo dynamic. Mobility has penetrated into all areas of design and one can see that happening even with logos.
Clients and trends
I believe it’s easier to follow a trend if you are designing something for yourself. As soon as you are working for a client, it’s very important to keep in mind the core value/style of their brand and not blindly follow something just because they wanted a design that is ‘trending’.
Clients usually are not the best judges on trends; they just want to fit in. As a designer it’s our job to see how best we can adapt a certain trend to that particular project, having said that how to navigate the trends can either be beneficial or a disadvantage. One should do what you think is the best solution and style for the project.
Trends come full circle
What I have seen is that trends in any industry be it fashion, graphics or even music, surface back from time to time. What might have been in fashion 20
years back is again being adopted by people today. People like seeing change but at the same time want something familiar.
In my experience with graphic design I’ve seen design go from bevel & emboss to all flat designs and now slowly coming back to 3D. It is like a pendulum, trends usually swing back. Standing out from the crowd has always been the pinnacle in any business, but the importance of doing so within the realm of graphic design cannot be understated. Exploring and adapting to the latest trends and using them to your advantage can help separate your brand and your message from the noise of your competition. I believe this is the best way forward and the best way to grow and flourish in today’s marketplace. To sum up, you can either follow trends or make your own, what matters is creating something unique and timeless in its own way.