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5 design trends we’ve noticed recently

With COVID and all its doom and gloom still dominating the retail news recently, we thought we’d take a look at a lighter topic instead. Without further ado, here are 5 of the top design trends we’ve noticed over the last little while.

1. Nothing is simpler than simplicity

Lately we’ve noticed a lot of brands paring back their logos for a ‘simpler’ flat two-dimensional design, and we looked into this hoping to find that it was more than just a fad. Design is, in essence, problem solving, and most brands seem to have made their decision based on a desire to keep pace with the digital world. This seems a logical solution to us.

In recent times we’ve seen Volkswagen, Mini, Nissan, Citroen and Vauxhall all adopt flat logos. Interestingly, Volkswagen announced the logo change to coincide with the launch of their electric vehicle range, calling it ‘the start of a new era’. The company’s CMO said: “We want to become more human and move lively, to adopt the customer’s perspective to a greater extent and to tell authentic stories.”

When you look back at the evolution of the Volkswagen logo, it’s easy to see that the new incarnation is similar (but arguably not as good) as the 1948 version. Perhaps it had more to do with the tools designers had to work with, and the mediums they were designing for, rather than the image it was meant to portray.

2. There’s a new serif in town

Serifs are back! Because of the notion that serifs are “too hard to read online”, brands began moving way from their serif fonts en masse years ago. The result was too many brands, from a type perspective at least, looking pretty much identical. Now, in a classic case of what’s old is new again, the brands embracing serifs are the ones that seem freshest. From elaborate fat serifs that hark back to the seventies to more modern and refined cuts, they’re starting to pop up everywhere.

3.Back to the 80’s

There’s no denying that pop culture has always had a massive influence on design trends. One recent case in point is the rise and rise of Stranger Things’ unmistakably vivid 80’s aesthetic, a clear homage to classics like The Goonies, Stand by Me and Lost Boys. From its set design and wardrobe all the way down to the striking neon logo, Stranger Things has nailed retro-cool in a way that’s inspired a new love for all things 80’s. If you’re feeling nostalgic, why not try out the Stranger Things font generator?

4. Reality bites

With new products on the market like Adobe’s Dimensions and Maxon’s Cinema 4D, it’s no surprise that we’re now seeing 3D popping up everywhere. Previously, if you were producing a new key visual for packaging, you were at the mercy of what was possible with photography and retouching, one of which was usually outsourced due to the skill level required. This new ability for packaging designers to have complete control over the finished artwork is a massive upside. Lately we’ve seen some amazing work from brands like Coopers Brewery and artists such as Blake Kathryn and Roman Bratschi.

5. Animated everything

There’s a new catch cry on the internet – if you want to get noticed then make it move. It’s no surprise then that one of the newer job roles in a design agency is the motion designer. Whether it’s for web, social or even broadcast, we are seeing a lot more animation than we have before. Once again, it used to be the domain of specialists, but thanks to new software and a new breed of designer, professional level animation is now in reach of more people than ever before.

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