A super exciting year in branding and graphic design passes. And each year we try to capture the essence of visual design. It’s time to dig into the upcoming Graphic Design Trends 2019. This time it was especially hard. There were no rough bumps, no „OMG! This is new!“ — it rather was a fluid evolvement of what had already happened last year. To us it feels like the creative scene is fighting to break free from commercial advertising looks. We feel a new empowerment that shows that even commercial branding can be very artistic. The scene wants to create a new edge in design, it dumps all rules to come up with a new set of reality. But also: It reproduces patterns to selfsatisfy within a realm that is still untouchable to people from the outside. Let’s have a look:
It’s funny: We creative people, we all want to be individual. At the end of the day we still move in very strong clusters. We buy the same backpacks, we use the same phones, we dig the same music, we share the same esteem, and the same sense for aesthetics. It’s very hard to see where the Design Trends 2019 will go. At the moment, so it seems, the scene tries to please itself. There is a side of creatives that work hard to differ from aesthetics that we see in mainstream media and advertising. This close up new aesthetic is accessible to us creatives, and to us as a branding studio. Branding creates a deeper dialogue than plain advertising, we use brand instruments to shake people up, to mildly shock them, to put something in the room with the unmissable message „That’s it! No glows, no reflections, no fucking freehand brush fonts!“
Usually it doesn’t take long before the mainstream picks those edgy aesthetics up, and brings them into daily life. This time we feel that creatives do a lot for themselves. And we like it! For us this defines the Design Trends 2019, and it also influences our point of view. Here is what we found.
Black-only design playing on colored material
While a lot of creatives actively strife to divert their design from the mainstream advertising world there is a new longing for clarity, minimalism and intelligent function. Again we enjoy simple contrasts of typography in different sizes and the pure magic of negative space. Without any effect fillers a lot of design we see, and hopefully going to see, is working in plain black and white, oftenly on a range of colorful paper or just like it is. When we get to refocus on the purpose of good design: It engages with the viewer, creates re/cognition and identity, and helps to navigate the medium. This we see for sure in the upcoming Design Trends 2019: Creatives seem to avoid adding too much bling and decorative elements. By staying clean and simple the „base ingredients“ of their design concepts can shine.
A good and clean design concept in purely black and white is not easy to make. It takes a lot of witt to create something that’s simple yet intelligent. It requires designers to know typefaces, to focus on the initial message, and to think ahead when it comes to production and reproduction. If done well these concepts shine above everything else.
Design on the border to art
This fall we got to participate on this year’s OFFF Vienna. Among many talks of the design festivals creatives were stating that they constantly overcome their own obstacles and creative borders by just trying to create fun things, like for instance Wade & Leta, the working couple from New York. The fun they had creating a brand identity for a Japanese fashion brand actually sprung over to the client, and they purely picked lines from their emails to become slogans and titles. We found it amazingly inspiring that creative work becomes that performative. So much that it embodies that much joy for it to become almost contagious.
A lot of design that we are seeing, and going to see next year, is not easy to digest. It asks for a lot of engagement by viewers. That’s what we call design on the brink of performative art. When we rise the question if that’s a good thing we say YES! Why is that? People love to discover new things among the never ending stream of visual over-stimulation and the generic messages of mass media: Endless slogans, offers, patterns, icons, logos and bling. Earlier we stated that a lot of designers just try to have fun with their creations again. It’s a game they make up for themselves, to be also directed to other creatives. But this newly created dialogue might be the most exciting thing in our Design Trends 2019: It wants you to solve puzzles and pass the answers you found on:
Let fonts be crazy, cheesy and (a little) ugly
If it is „MORE OF THAT“ instead of minimalism it’s the sheer craziness and the amount of tolerance designers show towards new typography. It’s save to say that fonts don’t have to be minimalist anymore to catch a designer’s attention. Fonts we see in modern design nowaday, and we will see more of them in the Design Trends 2019, are shrill, extrovert and over the top. Whether it’s a resemblance to a gothic techno fad or a vintage 70s post.
Minimalist geometry grinding
Patterns patterns everywhere. We just prayed this year that the good old „aquarell color pattern aesthetic“ would forever vanish from our screens and from our neighbourhoods (where it already had arrived in nail studios ice salons, and travel agencies). We hoped it would be devoured by hell eternally. And hey: Here is a Graphic Design Trend which might bring the contrast we hoped for: Minimalist geometry that actually clash with other elements in the design. Bye bye greater harmony where elements blend together effortlessly. Here typography grinds on minimal shapes, weird colors and awkward negative space. And yeah: We want that grind. We want it to be tacky, over the top and slightly weird. Why? Because we want the work of figuring it out, of finding a new excitement in the contrast that the nature of each element in these compositions are bringing to the table. Again: design for designers. But as in every trend: Eventually it will trickle down to a broader audience. So just carry on!
Industrial inspired vintage brutalism & occultism
Brutalism is going on! We already featured a section about this in last years prognosis. This trend is evolving, though! Fun thing is you see the origins and originals of these designs when you drive through areas that still feature artworks created in the 80s and 90s, oftenly by non-professionals. This design feels clumsy, random and without a big concept. The intriguing thing is that it’s all based in the same „doxa“ — it’s inspired by the same set of rules that define these post industrial aesthetics. Personally, I see old Chicago 80s, Italian 80s and 90s, Truck Stops, gasoline stations and old icon-like graphics that bring us back to the world of vintage grand tourismo. To contrast these aesthetics oftenly (still) dabble in a world of pastel gothic. They tend to be mixed with symbols of occultism, paganism and antics. This mix of industry meeting magic is hard to figure out, and that’s probably why creatives love it.
Typographic Logo / No Logo
Maybe — if you are able to read German — you read our article about the progression of logos in our modern design world. We ourselves are not big fans of making a fuzz around logos. Sure, they do exist for a good reason. In our opinion no good branding should start with the logo, though. The follow up of the design usually trickles down from the logo concept, and will poorly stand in its shadow. That’s why we picked out projects for our Graphic Design Trends 2019 that are not in need of a „logo instance“ in order to work and stand out. The identification comes naturally with the overall concept and system. It’s oftenly based on repetition of a certain movement, typedesign or grid that creates a wholesome image and messaging. When we talk to designers about creating visual brand identities without forcing the design of a logo we usually create a diverse discussion. No one has to be the same opinion. In the end the design concept and work has to be strong, though.
Design Trends 2019: It will be an exciting year for design and designers
Again: 2019 will be amazing for graphic design. We personally feel that a lot of companies are being more educated about the necessity of good branding and design that doesn’t rely upon the impulse of the moment, which mostly lead to concepts that don’t strengthen a brand. A lot of the work we picked surely are based on our preferences. You can’t avoid a bias. With this article we hope to have inspired people that follow us, connect with our work, and also believe that strong research and a wholesome concept is everything! If you like our work please follow us on Facebook, Behance and/or Instagram.
Happy 2019 for you guys! May the force be with you!