2016 was an unforgettable political year. Brexit, Trump’s election and fake news circulating on Facebook have sparked doubt with democracy. A digital world adoring of augmented reality and social media has propelled a wariness of what is truth. 2017 will see a desire to counteract uncertainty with authenticity, raw humanity, craftsmanship and simplicity and this will be evident within visual design trends.
Society is reimagining and wrestling with identity at a global level – such as the right to privacy, migration and displacement and perception of women in the media. To help navigate through this change we look to uncompromising clarity. As natural resource dwindles, we look to reusing waste as an increased outcry for sustainability ripples through modern living – dictating what we wear, what we buy to what we eat.
2017 is the year we return to organic roots. Upcycling, alternative farming and engineering nature are trends dominating design disciplines such as fashion, homeware and colors, and will influence compositions and visual trends within graphic design, illustration and photography.
The rising technology-driven Generation Z are awash with images everyday, and produce their own onto an array of social media platforms. With the danger of this environment becoming easily artificial, 2017 will see a return to the natural. Society is craving raw emotion, unfiltered imperfection, individuality and non-manufactured resources.
We explore how this translates to visual trends forecasts for the year ahead in the areas you work in and with - whether branding, graphic and digital design, motion media or photography - and in other areas of design you should look to for inspiration, such as homewares, fashion and well being.
Graphic Design/ Branding
Branding will be more focused on what the product looks like itself, rather than the packaging that conceals it. There’s a demand for truth to be on display.
This couldn’t be more evident than in food packaging. Transparent bottles and easily readable ingredients emerge as we become more concerned with where our food or product has come from and the process involved in production and manufacturing. Government’s are questioning introducing sugar tax, superfoods like kale and avocado are becoming a social media phenomenon and you’re bound to meet a proud vegetarian or vegan if you haven’t already.
As our world becomes increasingly global, brands imagery will become more cross-cultural and socially borderless, as Getty Images predicts. Our world holds acceptance of everyone’s differences as the utmost high virtue.
Expect to see simple lines and bold color patterns that create clear interfaces, such as used for smartphones. We’ve already seen this emerging with the popularity of vector-shaped logos among digital start-ups or traditional brands relating to a younger consumer – NatWest, Co-op and Kodak have all recently moved in this direction.
Adobe Stock’s list of visual trends for 2017 mentions a desire for simplicity and truth - design that values function over form.
“Maximise white space and layout that’s simple, clean, and authentic. Additionally, editorial photography will highlight realities that appeal to modern consumers and design teams who want to embrace clarity and transparency. Clean, functional, and unfiltered materials lead the pursuit of the ordinary,” Adobe writes.
More than anything, it’s important to note in a design world that values individual stories and truthfulness, following “trends” as they were once understood may be less important.