Design trends come and go quickly (even within the span of my own internship), but some will linger on—and even those that fade can have a lasting impact. These are the four design trends that stood out most during my time interning at Authentic.
Beautiful photography has never been more accessible—and the same is true for digital video. Brands are moving away from the “crutch” of stock photography toward genuine, in-house photos that capture their aesthetic and their aesthetic only.
Brands like Coca-Cola and Aerie have made branded photography a priority—complete with shadows, natural light, actual humans, and, yes, even wrinkles.
The resurgence of 1980’s and 1990’s design influence (shout-out to Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok) has proven a sure-fire way to simultaneously attract older nostalgic audiences and younger trendy audiences.
Take it from Ebay and Kodak, this trend plays well with the bold colors and geometric shapes that are dominating the fashion sphere right now—and translates just as well to web design.
Perhaps because of smartphones and shrinking screen sizes, brands are pushing back against sans-serif fonts and moving to oversized serifs in web design. From Coach to Barnes & Noble and Mercedes Benz, this bold look works well in headers, subheads, and as hero or background imagery. Most importantly, it’s also highly readable, which is a good priority for text.
Not all brands rock the serif look, but most seamlessly weave bold type into their designs.
Maybe it’s not fair to call it “millennial,” as we’ve certainly seen this shade of pink before, but the difference is that it’s now somewhat political: a generational symbol of gender fluidity and progress.
But it doesn’t have to send a message, and from a design perspective, it’s trendy, neutral, and seemingly genderless—and pairs well with other neutrals for a subtle, minimalistic look or juxtaposed with vibrant pops of color and personality. Brands like Anthropologie and Frank Body have taken a liking to using millennial pink and Nike has created a new collection around the color they call “chrome blush.”
An Authentic Perspective
Again, these trends might not reflect your specific brand and messaging. But they do reflect the current state of design, so it’s worth taking some time to reflect on them. How important are photography and readability to your brand messaging? Does this color convey what I want to convey? Will your audience find bold typography convenient or distracting?
At the very least, this sort of reflection can help break your brand out of its comfort zone, which is never a bad thing in design.