The Design Horizon
If you look back through the decades you can see the layers of design stacked on top of one another; each one characterizing an age of design brilliance and horrors. As we inch our way, day by day, to a new decade in 2020, I’m beginning to look forward and wonder what the next big design movement will look like. I’m not alone in my curiosity. Many designers, writers, vloggers and creators have been posing that very question and I’ve siphoned through their answers to discover some common threads and predictions on what is on- The Design Horizon.
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Simple, matte, grayscale, professional design with a pop of vibrant color is what I believe will characterize the late 2010’s. We’ve left behind the textures and drop shadows of the 2000s and found our feet in the world of visually stunning minimalism. It has been an amazing time to be a designer with clean and sleek design reigning supreme. Several companies are shifting their brand to a simpler, intentional direction, but all good things must come to an end. I would not say we are out of this period of design just yet, but there are some new trends, patterns, and compositions that are beginning to take root.
Color is taking over. Soft neons and bold greens. Blue and pink gradients folding and collapsing across vibrant, hypnotic photography and textures. Hard lines of color are becoming less and less common. Color is being combined in soft transitioning gradients that create a luminant effect. Designers are pushing the envelope on how colors can and will be used.
Boarders are a thing of the past, which has already been going on for a little while. The idea of filling your given space with one cohesive element is a really popular design choice in the realm of web design, so naturally it’s beginning to enter more prominence in other areas of design. No more framing, or boxing in elements. Designers are even letting their precious text be scattered throughout a composition. Open concept, edge-to-edge, the space you’ve been given was made to be activated!
Text is changing too. Though there isn’t a particular font that is rising above the rest, there is a way of handling that font that has started it’s rise. 3D fonts and text handling is becoming increasingly more popular. Showing text with density and weight, filling and activating the space it occupies. The 3d handling literally ads a new dimension to the message, brand, or quote being presented in your designs and makes them stand out in the ocean of typography that has saturated our design culture. It’s a new way to make reading fun!
“Welcome to Wonderland!” Is a phrase I read describing this design movement that is starting to become very prominent in the world of commercial products. It’s actually incredibly hard to describe. It’s a way of presenting an idea, product, text, ect. Floating, weightless and free, in a particular atmosphere of wonderment or whimsy. This is commonly characterized by flowing moody colors, atmospheric elements such as dust in the light, a distinct out of focus pattern, or mist, and usually there is a random pop of something that doesn’t really match the tone and seems out of place, but is there to reinforce the symbolism of the mood being produced by the design and serves as a jumping on point for the tone of the ad. I think ‘wonderland’ is the perfect word to describe this artistic and hypnotic movement because the whole concept of Wonderland is that it is a place where the ordinary is shown in an extraordinary way. It also serves as a reaction to the interesting randomness that makes up internet and meme culture today. This design movement shares that same core concept. This design method takes a typical composition and adds something unexpected and remixed to it and by doing so fosters a sense of surprise, and fun. And that mood gets attributed to the featured idea, product, text, ect.
Art is constantly changing. Design is no exception. Each generation comes with their own influences, ideas, and inspirations. Technology evolves and gives us new and exciting ways to create. Our culture demands newness, excitement and change, as the public’s attention span continues to shrink. Designers have to keep up. What looked good yesterday doesn’t always look as good today. The same goes for the future we’re headed towards. Design is a signal, a symbol, and a testimony of the times in which they were created, but design was never meant to live in the past. Art is fluid, it flows and conforms with those who are shaping it. So, open up your preferred Adobe program, grab your stylus, and get to work because the future waits for no one.