Design trends come and go, and styles change in leaps and bounds – and in the blink of an eye – making what’s hot and what’s dated in this industry a wave that keeps rolling… and whilst it can sometimes be hard to keep up, this is exactly what makes advertising so exciting and inspiring!
In 2016, we saw buzzwords such as geometric shapes, modular layouts, custom illustration, chaotic design, negative space, parallax, watercolour and dramatic typography, amongst others. And whilst 2017 will inevitably bring its own unique elements, there are some trends that we have had a long love affair with, and which we predict will maintain their status in 2017, with no plans to retire anytime soon!
Keep it simple
My personal favourite is the longstanding minimal style; I believe that this uncluttered and fresh approach works for every type of client and industry (adapting of course to suit each), and is most appreciated and digested by consumers, thanks to a philosophy of clear and impacting design, and typography and colour that focuses on functionality. It is timeless.
The beauty of minimalism is that it translates and transfers to every medium, be it a print ad or a website and quite frankly, you just can’t go wrong with it… provided it is done properly, and that there is not a blanket approach of ‘one size fits all’, because, whilst minimalism is a core style that can be termed as ‘classic design’, it can take many different forms and easily flow from the muted to the modern, or the downright super hot and trendy.
Throwbacks with a new twist
Retro is another trend we love, and what is most interesting about retro is that as time passes by, and more eras and their associations become retro (basically because they are now ‘old’ too!), we see a split into ‘vintage’ and ‘modern’ retro.
The former indicates what we originally consider to be retro (early 1900s until 1960s), otherwise known as ‘the really old stuff’, whilst the latter represents the newer – but now old – times that have earned their ‘retro’ badge – think late 1970s until 1900s, and with a different slant, such as eighties disco and the now defunct technology of the time (pixelated video games and clunky computers!). Yes, modern retro can make you feel really, really old, but there is some majorly cool stuff that makes for great design elements. When I think of retro, I think of design that wants to shout or invoke emotions of nostalgia.
When it comes to web design and digital advertising, I adore the versatility of animation and how it is developing in really exciting ways, with a lot more anticipated in 2017.
Animation can be used for a number of functions: homepage (attracting attention, piquing curiosity and building first impressions); loading (a distraction from loading times); galleries and slideshows (quick response to user input); hovering (indicating interactivity); hidden navigation and menus (smooth transitions); scrolling (an important element for the smooth scrolling of a page); background (aesthetic, but keep this simple); input forms (adds an edge to response to user actions)… and more.
In order to utilise animation properly, you need to consult a firm that specialises in it and its wide gamut, because next year – and beyond – we are going to see some significant changes and new applications in animation, and this is one area that you don’t want to be left lagging behind in.
The stable marriage
Finally, you cannot talk about design or design trends without talking about the perfect marriage – the harmonious couple that has been together forever… typography and colour!
If there is one area that can make design look dated, or give away your attempts to avoid updating your brand and promotion (normally to save money…), it is typography. You can always tell a company that has tried to go it alone to avoid using a professional advertising firm by their typography, as most of the time they have used their basic word processing font, or some kind of ancient swirling typeface that they think symbolizes elegance!
Colour too is an indicator of the times, and a trend that should be carefully considered to ensure that its use is reflective of style, message and industry. For example, retro and geometric styles require bold colour – but a funeral parlour advertising its services most certainly does not.
If I have one piece of advice for your advertising and marketing in 2017 it is to consult the professionals and let their expertise ensure a palette of colours that work together in synergy with the right typography, the industry you are in and the times we are living in. A successful new advertising year depends on hitting the trends right on the mark, but only as long as they suit you.