Changes in the design business tend to occur at a more gradual rate throughout more usual eras. The trend of representing logos as geometric abstractions, which began about 2010, persisted throughout the decade.
However, in the grand scheme of things, the current situation is quite unusual. Because of this chaos and unpredictability, many areas of design are undergoing rapid transformations that we may not even notice at first.
Accordingly, we’ve assembled an expert design panel to analyse the current climate and predict the future of the field in the next year. This post will teach you about 10 developments that will likely influence your creative output in the year 2023.
1 – Brands on the move.
Everywhere we go, we see examples of motion design: on digital billboards, websites, and mobile apps. And most analysts see this as a promising trend.
Martin Widdowfield, Robot Food’s head of creativity, puts it this way: “Animated or die.” To keep up with the rapidly evolving digital world, companies are experimenting with cutting-edge technology like virtual reality. This expands our choices for incorporating movement and animation into our storytelling methods and thereby reaching a wider audience.
He observes that even relatively immobile media, such as packaging, are succumbing to this trend. Before the outbreak, “QR codes were all but dead,” Martin says, but now people have acquired the behavioural skill of “scan for information.” It’s fascinating to speculate about what this means for augmented reality and how it may impact packaging down the road. I foresee a flurry of innovative strategies to ease the process of internet-to-retail brand expansion. “Could something as common as unpacking be digitised?”
What’s the big deal about motion, anyway? Mitch Paone, co-founder and CCO of DIA Studio, provides further context. There is no denying the obvious visual superiority of a looping animation over a static image. The obvious differences between salsa and hip-hop dancers reflect a deeper truth: movement creates identity. The dancer’s movements indicate who they are, even if they are always the same.
Suddenly, “a brand may now have own-able choreography, or a behaviour that provides great originality,” he says, all owing to the development of the screen. This shift has significant implications for the design industry. There is an indistinguishable merging of physical shape and motion between the artistic and technological. With addition to traditional design skills, motion designers require an intimate understanding of motion, rhythm, and time, as well as technical fluency in motion design tools, in order to create significant work.
This is the method that DIA Studio used for modernising MailChimp’s appearance. With the help of animation, “we focused on bringing it to life with motion,” as Mitch puts it. The company has said that its “current brand, led by an expressive library of hand-drawn drawings and a yellow and black palette was fantastic for print and out-of-home advertising but was not scalable for digital assets like video, digital advertising, social media, etc.”
The new look takes cues from the MailChimp mascot, Freddie, and has a clean, geometric line, vivid colours, and an engaging bouncing motion. The updated method is very expressive and quite practical, as Mitch exclaims. MailChimp gives its staff with both written brand standards and a wide variety of motion-based toolkits to enable a smooth and consistent rollout across all platforms.
Second prevailing style: the modern American frontier.
As recently as five years ago, geometric minimalism was all the rage in the design world. In light of the worldwide pandemic and economic woes, however, this utopian aesthetic seems increasingly dated. But Space Doctors assistant director Julius Colwyn has seen the opposite tendency.
A “live, energised anarchy” is what the movement is all about, he says. It’s a reaction to the slick homogeneity of corporate branding, which has become the norm in too many industries. Market demand is growing for unconventional styles such as those characterised by “startling collage,” “stark contrasts,” “potent neon,” and “irregular frames.”
This approach, which is reminiscent of the early days of the internet’s “wild west” era, is designed to replace harmony with amicable rivalry. As far as Julius is concerned, acid green and terminal fonts, screen shots, and digital artefacts are all par for the course in this universe. Since these layouts are the product of new capabilities in the age of the creative economy, their liveliness is not identical to the mindless neon pandemonium of the early internet. Today’s youth have created a more structured version of digital anarchy than their predecessors did.
Thirdly, there is a dismantling of stipulations about visual presentation.
As a result of its accuracy, it has become a common expression rather quickly. While the global pandemic has been terrible for everyone, it has given Universal Favourite the opportunity to work with an international customer or in tandem with international talent.
In 2023, he predicts, the design industry will benefit most from the breakdown of silos across online subcultures. It’s become easier to collaborate with “talent that you could only dream of working with” on “the client that you’ve always wanted to work with,” he adds.
That’s led to partnerships with creatives all the way from New Zealand to Berlin, including commissions from clients in Korea. As we emerge from the pandemic into a new world, the most encouraging part of this is the sharing of information and skills, which might lead to innovative solutions with cultural ramifications.
Trend 4: Individualism is on the decline.
There was a time when every other talk at a design conference was about how to maximise your income by boosting your freelance rates or launching your own business. However, things have changed since March of 2022.
According to Natalie Redford, creative strategist of Robot Food, “there has been a major change away from ‘hustle culture’ and the financial things that have validated us in the past toward measuring success based on how pleased you are. Self-care and prioritisation are stressed.
She speculates that this would encourage a focus on blending aesthetics. Asking, “How well can the concept of pleasure and self-indulgence mix with a basic, minimalist aesthetic?” Does the refrain of “more, more, more” mesh with a position against frivolous spending? One might hope that more natural, unrefined beauty will emerge. It’s possible that nostalgia for the past is fueled by a desire to return to a more carefree era. The alternative would be to simplify goals in order to make opulence more attainable.
Predicting whether or not 2021 will be a good year is currently impossible. The creative director of ThoughtMatter, Samantha Barbagiovanni, puts it thus way: “Are we experiencing another “Summer of Love?” Partying? Overjoyed that the epidemic is finally over? The future seemed murky in this case, for sure. However, in 2023, we will take the occasional, semi-risky step into what was once considered the “old world,” and we will be rewarded with the sensory, diverse, and emotionally satisfying moments of wonder we’ve been missing in our safe but restricting homes. Each of our senses is in its most receptive state right now.
Ellen Munro, the director of creative at BrandOpus, agrees. “Despite the fact that we live in a very serious culture, more and more items are going for a lighthearted, playful look. A growing number of companies now place a premium on spreading positive messages via their advertising.
When she heard that BrandOpus was working with Moto, the largest network of motorway service areas in the UK, to change the atmosphere at rest stops throughout the nation, she decided to get involved. She goes on to explain that the “Smile” is a “warm and welcome differentiating feature that may spread across the brand’s full ecosystem,” adding that it injects “a good old dose of joy into the daily.” “We wanted to flip the switch by driving feeling above function, engaging customers on a much more emotional level,” says the CEO of a highway service station chain that aims to become the first active alternative for resting and relaxing on the road.
Fifthly, a return to the ’90s is happening.
What a momentous decade the 1980s were for popular culture. We’ve been awash in emotion for them for decades. Director of design at CPB London June Frange believes their successor is ready to step into the limelight now that they have mostly completed setting the tone for future design trends.
He labels this cultural shift as a return to “90s MTV nostalgia.” Classic idents, green screen, and memetic aesthetics. This ethos has been at the heart of CPB’s recent marketing campaigns for Ballantine’s. He then explains that the “early internet aesthetic” has been around for a while and has been popularised by TikTok filters and lo-fi DIY video stars. Since millennials make up the bulk of our target audience, we thought it would be appropriate to tap into their inner generation by pulling inspiration from some of the most iconic MTV idents of all time.
The sixth observed pattern is a trend toward extreme maximalism.
Because we have shown that minimalism is declining, its polar opposite, maximalism, should be on the rise. Anomaly London’s head of design, Clara Mulligan, has verified this.
She claims that “there is a visual revolution developing” after “years of graphic sameness” brought on by the “before restricted practical limits of living in a digital universe.” People nowadays expect a higher standard of living from every product they purchase. The days of modularity and austere, geometric brand structures have given way to the era of maximalist aesthetics, whereby engaging visual experiences and dramatic narrative reign supreme. What makes these maximalist worlds so interesting is because they have historical and strategic roots.
Executive director of strategy at BrandOpus, Molly Rowan-Hamilton draws parallels. A “punchier, more ownable look and feel,” she says, may be achieved via the use of monochromatic, vibrant colours, which many firms are adopting. Colors that have been synonymous with a particular brand may experiment with using a different palette for a period. For instance, Tiffany & Co. abandoned the traditional “Tiffany Blue” in favour of the more contemporary “Tiffany Yellow” to appeal to a younger clientele and shake off the company’s stuffy, dated reputation.
BrandOpus’ Pipers Crisps, for example, uses a single, eye-catching colour to stand out on store shelves. According to her, the crisp brand’s personality and flavour prompted the usage of vibrant colours due to its vivacity and vigour.
Typography is becoming more colourful and whimsical, the seventh trend.
The seventh trend is the proliferation of colourful and quirky fonts.
Chris Algar, a leading designer at Design Bridge London, believes that 2023 will be a pivotal year for type. In the future, he believes, “typographic styles will tap into extremely exaggerated characterful letterforms,” heightening the contrast between rounded and sharp edges.
He goes on to explain how the previously noted pattern in motion design would impact typefaces. It’s possible that the opening titles of successful series like Killing Eve and, more recently, Squid Game have impacted designers. They’re a great match since they both have interesting motion and emphasised personalities, but their approaches to typography couldn’t be more different from one another.
According to Chris, the Nike “Play New” campaign will have a major influence on 2023’s typographic trends, particularly in terms of colour and brightness. As well as “celebrating the essence of the typeface with gorgeous flowing lines,” it has “vibrant colours and powerful contrasting forms for a contemporary take.”
Trend 8: design, fashion, and brand barriers merge.
The borders between design, branding, and fashion are merging. In the wake of Apple’s acquisition of Beats by Dre, many businesses are realising they can “buy cool” by forging partnerships.
The strategy director of BrandOpus, Molly Rowan-Hamilton, has observed that “many brands are turning specifically to streetwear” in their search for “new means to bring their goods to life” outside the confines of the conventional retail showroom. The likes of Panera’s “soup” swimwear, Pizza Hut’s “tastewear,” and Carbone’s new fashion brand, Our Lady of Rocco, have made it possible for restaurants to create and sell $500 bomber jackets.
In a similar vein, BrandOpus’s recent’street meats’ collection was designed in collaboration with the American food brand Oscar Mayer and features a 13-piece capsule collection based on the classic attire of the Hotdoggers. With this collection of streetwear, the firm is celebrating the uniqueness of its rhomboid logo and giving physical form to its guiding concept, “never compromise.”
Tip No. 9: Eco-friendly habits that value aesthetics.
If you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot of talk about the planet’s condition recently. What’s more, the design industry is light years ahead of the competition.
“Consumers can now recognise greenwashing from a mile away,” says Free The Birds’ creative director Matthew Gilpin. Using “green” as a marketing tool to show concern for the environment is no longer enough, since “brands are needed to do more than use the colour green to suggest they are putting the planet first After the government announced its Extended Producer Responsibility plan in April of 2023, pressure mounted on brands to use more environmentally friendly packaging materials.
And it, too, must have a visual representation.
Meeting consumer expectations, brand ethos, and environmental standards via the use of sustainable, recyclable, and low-carbon-footprint materials and finishes will be a challenge for designers and package engineers. Metal foil manufacturers have made strides in creating products that can be composted. The ecological benefits of using water-based inks on virgin paper would be nullified by the addition of a soft-touch lamination. The secret to their success lies in making strategic use of these methods. That’s the dividing line between eco-friendly in name only and really sustainable.
However, this has to be done properly and discreetly, or else clients will see through it. Historically, “design for sustainability-focused organisations” was “full of clichés” in terms of colour schemes, textures, fonts, and images, as explained by Firma’s co-founder and creative director, Anton Pinyol. Colors and materials that tend toward the green spectrum, as well as paintbrushes, vegetation, and what seem to be hands holding a globe. However, successful companies in the modern era are taking a new tack, one that is replete with tech jargon and bold self-expression.
Samantha Barbagiovanni, the director of design at ThoughtMatter, agrees, adding, “Sustainability and reconnecting with nature is surely here to stay, with maybe a bigger emphasis on how Mother Nature’s medication may increase our well-being, alongside her surrounds.” Our scars from the Covids are healing in a deeper sense. Design will be seen by businesses and organisations in this field as a chance for education and introspection in response to this trend.
The tenth trend is radical realism in design.
Almost a year ago, we accurately predicted that throwback details will play a significant part in 2022’s decor. However, Samantha Barbagiovanni thinks that 2020 will be a completely different year. She predicts that although 2022 had a tone of sombre hope, 2023 would be defined by a feeling of unyielding realism. Some 2022 trends were already showing early signs of success; nevertheless, with our greater mental, physical, and social readiness, we will see these trends reach their full potential this year.
What I want to convey is this: “In 2023, we won’t be longing for the past so much as we’ll be frantic to fulfil the unmet potential and fresh paths for development that we’ve uncovered during our protracted time of seclusion and contemplation. As individuals come together for a more specific, clearly defined purpose, supported by a design process centred on core values, a new crop of company owners will emerge.
In addition, we can all agree on one thing in light of our shared fear of the future: we can’t afford to continue doing things the same way we’ve always done them. Wednesday Krus, director of design at ThoughtMatter, believes subversion will be a major trend in the next year (2023). Her prediction: “2023 will change from disrupting to transforming,” just as Brutalism was a disruptive reaction to the over-designed, over-analyzed designs of the previous age.
It’s fine and all, but can you tell me more about what that entails? A subversive design compels the observer to take some kind of action. As a maker or consumer, it makes you think critically about your decisions. It stays away from dark design themes and branding strategies that are dishonest or manipulative. It’s no longer acceptable for designers to create with the purpose of criticising or opposing the status quo.
This new aesthetic will employ design as a tool to challenge the established order, which has been systematically rigged to benefit a select few at the cost of the many. We all know that conforming to the masses dilutes one’s unique ideas, yet the pendulum has swung toward dissent. They only find freedom via subversion.