Design Trends for 2009 are starting to do the rounds on the world wide web. They are being received with mixed reactions. Bring them on! some say, eager to learn about current hypes and what is popular. Isn’t it too early for that? muse some who are cosy and comfortable in the aftermath of the previous trends. I do agree that it is a tad too early to be looking at trends for the coming year, but after browsing numerous websites and articles posted over the years, I firmly believe that some inherent trends stick around for a while. These trends are stable, solid foundations of the design industry that only change face after they have been thoroughly appreciated and overused to death, which usually lasts about 2-3 years. They are also something to behold, not a frivolous whim of an overzealous designer, but more so a collective effort by the design community at large to appreciate a style, an art form and devise different flavors for it.
Relatively new to the design scene, I have been asking a few creative personalities to share their take on what they predict to be the more prominent design trends for 2010. These designers/developers are all from different spectrums of the design pool and bring their own unique theories to the discussion.
Fabio Sasso | ABDUZEEDO
It is hard to predict what will be the biggest design trend of 2010. We’ve been seeing so many great images and very different styles, however I believe that the 80′s color scheme and style will still be very strong, combined with illustrations such as the work of Surround and the Rayban posters by Clubmaster. I’ve also been seeing a lot of amazing work mixing illustrations with textures like the web design work of Mike Kus and Megan Fisher. As those two designers were speakers at the Future of Web Design and also work for very cool and influential companies in the web design field I believe they will have a bit of an influence.
David Airey | LOGO DESIGN LOVE
I think there’ll be a widening range of design costs, with the higher end growing increasingly exorbitant, and the lower end attracting a ton more hobbyists submitting Photoshop ‘logos’ for free. The basis for my theory? It’s started already.
Chris Spooner | SPOON GRAPHICS | LINE 25
In web design I think there will be a further shift towards bringing together inspiration from traditional print design into website designs. By this I think the use of grid layouts will continue to be popular, but move into designing the content of the site, as well as the overall site structure. Imagine the design of magazines and brochures, where the images and text content interact with each other to create great looking layouts. In web design the design of the content is usually overlooked after the initial styling of paragraphs and heading, but I think this will progress to give more unique content layouts than the traditional blocks of text, separated by headings.
I think the biggest design trend for 2010 will be sites taking layout and design inspiration from print. Obviously print design has been around a lot longer than the web so print designers have had a lot longer to perfect it, where as web design is always slightly experimental, so I think web designers are gradually pushing towards what successful print designers have always done. This includes lots of whitespace, large type, use of a grid and clear hierarchy of elements. A recent post of mine on typography inspired websites reflects this growing trend.
Difficult question to answer to be honest since I’m not really a visionary designer. I’m not really following trends and just do my *own* thing. I don’t really believe that one shouldn’t do certain design styles anymore because they are no longer *hot*. In my humble opinion it all depends on how you apply it. To answer your question I believe that 2010 will mark the return of brighter colorful designs. In terms of style we will have to see if Snow Leopard has a new interface, if that will be the case it will influence design on the web.
In the last year I have seen many of my colleagues (mostly web designers) expand their skill set by studying web development related technologies. Though the move hasn’t been easy, most of them are finding their new acquired skills a valuable asset to compete in the professional market. According to many job outlook websites, graphic design jobs are expected to increase by approximately (10% by 2016) and is one of the fastest growing careers in United States. Web development on the other hand is expected to increase by approximately (30% by 2016) mainly because of the widespread use of web applications on the internet, kiosks, mobile devices, etc. While researching this article I found very little information to support my theory but I would like to share my take on the subject anyway! As new companies come to life and established companies expand, the need for web developers will increase and I expect the move from designer to developer to become a trend.
I think the number one reason for designers to try to make the move is demand, I have many designer friends who often refer some of their clients to me for web development work.
Another reason is plagiarism, designers are being ripped off by other less gifted designers or purely unethical individuals. There’s also a better chance to move up if you posses the right web development skills. While there are many obstacles for designers to overcome before becoming a proficient web developer, the decision to do so can be very rewarding! It is no secret that there are hundreds of so called web developers popping up on the web, they read a few tutorials, customize a wordpress theme and they called themselves developers. Please don’t be one of those! But really… this is not about convincing you to become a web developer, this is about trends, predictions and sharing once’s personal insight about the environments we’re exposed to! So, I think that by next year will see a lot of designers at least exploring the possibility of taking some web development courses or doing some heavy reading on the subject. Please remember a web developer’s most important job is to stay up to date with technology changes that happen almost over night and staying current with accepted standards and best practices.
Grant Friedman | COLORBURNED
I would say that retro design will probably be around for a while and may even be bigger in 2010 than it is now.
Greg Grigoriou | VAN PAUL
2009 is year proving to be the year of the corporate rebrand as both consumers and businesses are faced with the challenge of offering more for less. As customers scale back on consumption, brands will have to position themselves with the ability to offer simple, high value services that deliver more bang for the buck. This means that for most brands, a less is more approach will be inevitable. We’ve already seen the "change" and "hope" campaign from Barack Obama have quite an influence in the design decisions made by behemoths like Pepsi and Starbucks, but i believe the trickle down of this rapid change in consumer priorities will be seen amongst more and more small to medium sized businesses through 2010. This will equate to simple, fresh color palettes, simplicity, and clear concise messages across all mediums. On the web, wordpress and CSS design is already echoing this trend.
Great examples of this kind of design can be seen in the Truvia design from Pentagram and in the latest Walmart logo from Lipincott.
On a more sobering negative note, I’m seeing troubling growth of crowd sourced design in 2010. While there is no doubt that crowd sourcing represents great value to the buyer, the overall quality and individuality being expressed by these kinds of designs is shockingly poor. It seems as though too many starup businesses are failing to see the importance of allocating nominal funds towards identity, and i see this trend continuing through 2010. This marks a good opportunity for designers who can provide highly unique textural and illustrative designs to set themselves apart from the masses. A powerful portfolio and excellent communication skills are now a must for any new designer who hopes to gain a footing in this kind of marketplace.
Angie Bowen | ARBENTING
My main area of focus is web design and I think that for 2010 we’re going to see more personalization in design. I think this will include seeing more hand drawn and collage elements and copywriting from a 1st person perspective. All things that will make the reader feel more of a personal connection to the face of the site. I base this on the number sites tending toward this trend and the response they have been getting. Some visual examples to support my theory Dan Whittaker Creative and Creative Binge.
Anthony Hortin | MADDISON DESIGNS
Recently I’ve seen an increase in the number of clean, uncluttered websites. I think this trend is going to continue into 2010 as people try to simplify their site designs. There’s a lot more emphasis now on site usability and creating sites that are minimalist in design and easy to navigate (perfect use of CSS and a grid based layout). More and more people are starting to realise now, how important it is for their ‘end user’ to be able to navigate around their site easily. The main focus of these types of design is to communicate with your target audience. Your audience is not interested in seeing how much imagery and flashy bells and whistles you can cram onto your web page. They’ve come to you for one reason, to find out what you can do for them. Having a site that is clean, uncluttered and usable allows you to put your content first and foremost, which in turn allows you to get your message across. Some visual examples of clean, uncluttered websites to support my theory are Digital Mash, Fresh View and Brad Colbow.
Thank you guys for your insightful perspective on design trends for 2010. There are a lot of different theories and rightfully so, as their are so many facets to the medium of design. What comes through loud and clear via this discussion is that early trends suggest a significant blurring of the line between print and web design. Websites, Identities And Applications will lean towards a more casual and personal look in order to interact better with the clients/end-users. Grids will become bigger, layouts will become cleaner, digital decoupage will gain momentum with hand-drawn styles and clean vectors pairing up, designers will become more vigilant towards protecting their art and the gap between crowd sourcers and design elites will widen. And yes, Retro will Rule!
I am compiling Part II of this discussion and would love to hear what you have to say. Please send me an email with your thoughts and it will be published in the coming weeks.
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