Learn how spotting and predicting trends can have a favorable impact on your work as a designer.
- Even though its valuable to understand how we develop the trend reports, this course is designed to empower you, so you can forecast and create the next generation of design on your own. As designers, we tend to have an acute sense of trends and design motifs in particular. We're probably a bit more in-tuned than the general public, but guaranteed, we all can sense when something starts to date itself. And because our design doesn't get produced with a "Best Used By" date, it's not uncommon for consumers to be the first to detect when something's expired.
We don't buy apparel that looks like it should've been fresh off the rack three years ago. Your favorite snack food may still be fresh, but we know when the packaging starts to look stale. Color pallets and typography generally run through cycles, and they can be another dead giveaway of an era that's passed. Visually, there are some pretty distinctive elements that cue us into eras of design. I found that album covers are a perfect time capsule for graphic trends. Since they really deal with typography, photography, colors, design motifs, and even the social climate of the moment.
All the ingredients that work their way into a great identity. So let's do a warm-up here, and sort out a few covers by decades. You can obviously place most of the artists, but try to stay focused on the graphic clues. Now, I'll be the first to admit that styles and trends never fit into a tidy particular decade. There's always overlap in the likes, so be willing to work with me on these. The '60s type on the Rubber Soul album was bulbous, psychadelic, and hand-drawn...
No photoshop yet. Heck, no computers! So any effects are usually done in the darkroom, like posterization or distortion. Color pallets were a riot of chroma and imagery as distorted and surreal as the counter-culture itself. '70s for sure, remind you of a more refined '60s... Still some escapism, but visual elements are airbrushed, chromed, and meticulously finished. Look at the edgy, geometric font for Kiss. And its gradience, and the studs, patent leather, and makeup on the band.
Wander that into the '80s and the color pallet gets constrained. Tribal graphics and the Punk look start to emerge, along with sullen dramatic gazes. Graphics of the '90s are feeling their way into the Digital Age. Designers are just glad to be able to control typography themselves, and font options are abundant. Imagery is big-add conceptual, but the marriage of type and graphics are still a bit strained, and color de-saturation is still a thing.
The new millennium swings both ways. We embrace our techno on one side, and on the other create the restraint of hand-crafted. Color is cleaner, and we've mastered imagery and layering, and photoshop technique for the sake of technique is vanished. Step into the teens and you start to see a whole new aesthetic of what we can achieve technologically. And frankly, print capabilities have taken a backseat to our digital interface. Graphics are more concerned with being scalable and even dimensional.
As dated as each of the prior decades may have looked to you now, at the moment of their inception, they were as relevant as our culture could create. Design legend Tom Geismar shared with me the following comment: "Nothing dulls as quickly as the cutting edge." That trend we embrace today will look naive and threadbare a decade from now. By enhancing our ability to spot trends, we can protect ourselves from propagating a design beyond its best years.
We can also forecast ahead. We draw upon our informed position to evaluate where the next trend is likely to emerge.
- The evolution of logo trends
- Examining the monoline trend
- Crests and geodimensional objects
- Examining the transparency trend
- Overlapping objects
- Geometric dimensional
- Real life dimensional
- Putting trend spotting into practice
- Predicting trends