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2019 Design Trends: Our Picks

Rebekah McNutt

New year, new design trends. Well actually there’s a whole lot of carry through from last year but it looks like things are about to get exaggerated! We'll see trends of bold colour, unique typography and breaking the grid taken up a notch. Here’s a handful we think are sure to make a splash this year.

1 Serif Typefaces

For a long time serifs have been cast aside due to the idea that they are “unreadable online”. They have however proved the haters wrong as we see them being used for not only branding, packaging and print but also online. Bold styles with adequate line spacing around the serifs come across extremely well on screen. 

As brands rebound to serifed alternatives, expect to see unique character-rich choices and the emergence of custom-made typefaces to showcase personality. These styles provide brands with another way to emphasise quality and elegance in an increasingly premium seeking marketplace. Some brands embracing serifs on their website's include Cure, Inside the Head and Slack.

2 Nostalgia

Recent research has highlighted the power of nostalgia and its ability to inspire consumers to spend. Brands are pulling from their own history and bringing it into the modern day like Adobe. Think reimagined illustrations or brand elements from years prior.

We’re also set to see retro styles from well before websites even existed used on digital channels. Looks that are completely new for younger generations. Expect to see the detail that gains trust such as vintage textures and detailed line work. The mid-century influence will be carried through in colour palettes and ad-like illustrations just like Great Jones and Tens. While the Memphis style which emerged in the 80s, emphasises patterns that break the grid from pop art, art deco and the 80s. 

3 Asymmetrical and open layouts

We’re seeing a breakaway from strict grid abiding design especially in the web. Asymmetrical layouts create movement and energy and done well they can help to guide the user. There is an element of curiosity and intrigue which can help with storytelling so it's no surprise we're seeing brands like Medium and hers carry these through to their online channels.

Another way to help with imagination is open composition - these are designs that don't show the whole picture. Instead, these layouts embrace imagery that flows off an edge or typography that sits right on the margin.

4 Illustration

Recent studies have shown that people are seven times more likely to convert from custom illustration compared to stock photography. A unique illustration with bold colours that match the brand will definitely make a business stand out and of course, competition can't copy it. Brands like MailChimp, Slack and Asana are nailing their unique styles.

We're seeing illustration used as a great way to avoid stereotypical representation with natural and body positive portrayal of people. Think Matisse inspired joyful and empowered female figures or big-limbed quirky characters. People are embracing different styles and treatments to align with #MeToo and similar cultural movements. You can even make your very own retro human character over here on humans.

In fitting with the nostalgia theme, expect to see illustrations with a vintage feel. Textures, flourishes and geometric layouts will peak through. 

5 Bold Colour

In 2018 things seemed a little more colourful with designers opting for vibrant palettes to stand out from the crowd and as a way to move away from minimalism. Spotify's marketing and in-app experience continued to utilise bright tones and that was ever present in their Year Wrapped for users (have you checked yours out?) This trend continues into this year with electric blues, yellows and corals.  We've already seen bold colour used to announce the new iPad Pro

The futuristic and dream-like colour-scapes are giving users a feeling of positivity and an alternative universe, perhaps as a reaction to political/social issues and uncertainty. With Vogue terming 2018 the year of feel-good fashion we're sure to see this positivity continue this year. 

We can't help but be happy seeing a lot of these trends continue this year. Bright colour, less structured layout and the return of the serif make for some exciting and challenging designing ahead. If you're keen to explore how your brand can be elevated through some of these approaches get in touch: hello@firebrand.nz