Design Trends – The Inspired and the Tired


Everyone and their brother is writing a blog post which details the events of 2014; parties, milestones, victories, and losses. It’s normal to want to take a look back, afterall our past helps shape our future. I did want to highlight some design trends of the past year that I found refreshing or innovative, but there are also some trends which came across as cliché. As a graphic designer, I will be sticking mostly with logo design trends in this post. Are the following trends inspired or are they tired?

Flat Design

In 2014 we saw a HUGE shift in the way user interfaces (UI) were designed. For years, Apple had paved the way in iconography, and UIs were being designed to match.  During this period, skeuomorphism became a popular trend. Skeuomorphism is an attempt to design things by taking cues from the real world or actual objects (see IOS comparison below). This is clearly seen when looking at any IOS previous to IOS 7.  The release of IOS 7 brought about the design concept of ‘flat design’ which is defined in its name. Google has followed suit by releasing ‘material design’ (which is their version of flat design). This trend transcends UIs and can be found across all graphic design media.

IOS 6 vs IOS 7

IOS 6 vs IOS 7

Google - Material Design

Google – Material Design

Letter Stacks

Typography nerds unite! Three years ago, people would laugh at the thought of breaking words up in random spots, sans the hyphen. Then add the heavy spacing and aligning, and you have letter stacks! This is hard to do with large bodies of text and titles (for obvious reasons). With smaller headers, titles and bodies of text it can really be effective and visually interesting. This is a trend that is just now getting steam globally. I foresee a plateau into overuse in the near future. Hard to read? Yes, most times. Interesting? Yes. Makes you stare at it for a longer-than-normal time frame? Yes. Do you remember it? Yes.

There you have it, it’s effective.

Hand Type

Hand Type offers the client a completely customized look and feel, albeit, a vintage one. The use of Hand Type does remind one of the olden days when digital printing wasn’t possible and/or fiscally responsible. It also offers the more traditional artists a way back into the graphic design game (if they haven’t been keeping up to date on technology trends and uses). Calligraphy has once again become popular. The only collision I see is that public schools are no longer teaching children how to write cursive. So does that mean my children won’t be able to read calligraphic logos, signs, signatures, etc? What a sick world we live in.

Waves

Everyone’s an entrepreneur nowadays. From Indiegogo and Kickstarter, ideas have been coming to fruition so frequently that I am bankrupt from backing so many cool, innovative ideas. A lot of these ideas have stemmed from integration with evolving Bluetooth and WIFI technologies. With more popular products running off of Bluetooth and WIFI connections, it only makes sense that a design trend involves signals or Waves. If you see those three lines above or eminating from an object, I can bet you that someone will be thinking about wireless internet. That’s all about this trend, I’m not impressed.

States

I am surprised that this is considered a trend. It just seems so generic that it’s like saying drawing a line is a trend. States is tied closely with the flat design concept, it just adds a dash of abstraction. Instead of having a rectangle with the company name below it, why not change the rectangle’s one corner to make it a polygon? Boom, a logo in the trend of States. The silliest use of which is USA Today whose new logo in 2013 was a solid colored circle…that’s it. One color, one shape, a little bit of text. It’s so simple…too simple. I have ventured into these waters with a few logos, but I feel like they would be categorized into a something different than states since they have several other elements in them.

Flat Facets

Following along with the universal design concept of flat design, this trend also plays off the Low Poly Art trend. Low Poly uses flat design and facets to create depth, texture, and abstraction. It’s pretty cool to see a good artist use this style to his advantage. I really enjoy the logos that utilize the Flat Facet trend, but have definitely seen an overuse as well. I still believe it’s a good middle ground between completely flat design and skeuomorphism.

Low Poly Art

Low Poly Art

We have looked at several trends above. I have weighed in on my opinions and perspectives, but what are your thoughts…inspired or tired? Leave comments below or tweet at us here.



Responses

  1. Thanks LogoLounge for the great research and compilation of the design trends of 2014. It gave me a great start for this blog! Also thanks for the photos showing the trends! All rights reserved to the individual artists/owners of the logos.

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