Three design trends that will dominate 2019
January 16, 2019

Trends are always easier to spot after they have caught people's attention - but where's the fun in that?

Trends are always easier to spot after they have caught people’s attention - but where’s the fun in that?
Never known to shy away from a challenge, we’ve put our best minds to work, quizzed our creative customers, polished our crystal balls and tried to place our finger on the graphic design zeitgeists that will prove to be influential over the next year. What’s more, we have staunchly refused to hedge our bets with a ‘covers-all-the-bases 25 trends to watch’ post. We’ve whittled our list down to three things – yes, only three – that we think will loom large in graphic design this year.

We must be mad.
Unless, of course, we are proved to be right.

1: The return of the serif

‘We're experiencing a noticeable trend towards more sophisticated typography in web design. Serif styles are, once again, taking centre stage, after years of avoidance in the pursuit of simpler, sans serif forms.’
- Alex Blattmann, Dalton Maag

Personality is back in for typography.
Leading the charge are bold, serif fonts that unapologetically knock the characterless sans serif from the centre stage of both logo and web design.

The digital age may have initiated a preference for the stark simplicity of the sans serif but, increasingly, the way forward is going to be serif fonts. They may look very much as if they have been transplanted from the days of cast-metal type but they inject the personality that brands crave.
While some of these will be brutally compressed, slanted or stretched to achieve their signature stand-out look, many will simply rely on the innate quirky character of the font itself to create impact.

Aligned to this trend we will also see the increased use of custom fonts for bigger brands as they seek to define and distance themselves from others, by using specially-developed custom fonts.

‘Brands are asking themselves: how can I be myself if I'm using the same font as a hundred other brands? In response, more and more brands are making custom fonts that honestly feel like themselves, and no one can copy.’
- Chris Harmon, Loyalkaspar

2: A leaning to the gradient

We saw the gradient rise to prominence in 2018 – and we don’t think it’s going anywhere fast. Advancements in screen and display technology ensure it will continue to grace design trends for a long time to come.

Thanks to HTML5, designers can now code gradients rather than having to manually create graphics for them, and we are seeing a lot more designers lean to the use of duotone gradients rather than simply fade in and out flat colours.

‘Gradients are now recognised as colours in their own right and are seen in an increasing number of logo designs. The Brit Awards, for example, has moved from the use of flat colours in previous years to a rich 'red carpet' gradient.’
- Helen Baker, Brand identity designer

Some have characterised this turn to the gradient as the emergence of ‘life’ into digital design.

‘With a sense of movement and 3D to it, a gradient appears as though it has life and weight to it. As screens take over from physical, print-based mediums, the lifelike-look these elements create could be one reason for their sudden surge in popularity.’
- Rachel Brandon, PLMR

3: A move to motion graphics

As social media expands on its central role within branding, we can expect to see motion designers increasingly filling this space.
Nico Vargas of creative agency DMS claims to have seen a 60% increase in short motion graphics being commissioned for social content over the last year.

‘In today's world, our clients need to engage with their audiences faster. So we're using bumpers – a five-second teaser before a promotion trailer – that incorporate engaging dynamic subtitles to entice the audience to click and view the promotional content.’
- Nico Vargas, DMS

Inevitably this change of use will entail a change to the content of the motion graphics produced: in favour of the narrative will be the loop.
We can expect fewer motion graphics with a defined beginning and end. In their place will be very short snippets that are designed to work as a loop, which is how social networks such as Twitter and Instagram display them. The longer story will be replaced by a much shorter snap.

‘More than ever, video is part of the brand instead of merely being a billboard for it. Motion design is now deeply embedded in the customer journey.’
- Wouter Sel, Volstok

Have a design-filled 2019

Will our predictions come true?
Who knows, but you can be sure to find all of the coming year’s design accessories and supplies in-store and online throughout 2019. Plus, making trend predictions is much more fun than making New Year's resolutions!

Get yourself kitted out.

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