It’s not uncommon for the design business to see a slower rate of development during more usual eras. For example, in 2010, logos began to be stylized as geometric abstractions, and this trend persisted throughout the decade.
But generally speaking, the current situation is quite different from “normal times.” Extreme shifts in many fields of design are being prompted by the current state of chaos and uncertainty, and they are happening so rapidly that we may not have time to adapt.
In light of this, we’ve assembled a group of respected designers to provide their thoughts on the industry’s current climate and its outlook for the next year. This essay will teach you about ten currents that will likely influence your creative output in the year 2023.
Trend 1: First, brands on the move.
Everywhere we go, we see examples of motion design: on digital billboards, websites, and apps. The vast majority of industry professionals see this as a promising trend.
According to Martin Widdowfield, Robot Food’s head of creativity, animated or die. To keep up with the rapidly evolving digital world, companies are experimenting with cutting-edge technology like virtual reality. As a result, we can take use of a wider range of tools for enhancing our storytelling methods and connecting with audiences via motion and animation.
He cites the fact that even relatively immobile media, such as packaging, are succumbing to this trend. Before the outbreak, “QR codes were all but dead,” as Martin puts it, but now people have acquired the behavioural skill of “scan for information.” The implications for augmented reality and how it could affect packaging in the future are fascinating to consider. I anticipate a flurry of novel approaches to assisting companies in crossing over from online to offline environments. “Can everyday activities like unpacking, which seem to occur constantly, be digitised?”
In addition, why does motion even make a difference? Mitch Paone, co-founder and chief creative officer of DIA Studio, provides further detail. There is no denying the obvious visual superiority of a looping animation over a static image. The difference between, say, a salsa dancer and a hip hop dancer, is an external reflection of a deeper truth: movement creates identity. The dancer’s movements reflect their personality, even if the dancer stays the same.
The development of the movie screen has allowed for “a brand to have own-able choreography, or a behaviour that offers great originality,” he elaborates. This shift will have profound effects on the design industry. The convergence of technological and artistic shape and motion. If they want to create meaningful work, designers need more than just traditional design skills; they also need an intimate understanding of motion, rhythm, and time, as well as proficiency in motion design tools.
DIA Studio used similar method when they recently updated MailChimp’s visual style. We focused on bringing it to life with motion,” Mitch says of the animating process. “The present brand, led by an expressive library of hand-drawn drawings and a yellow and black palette, was great 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 system is both tremendously expressive and very handy,” Mitch exclaims. Both written brand guidelines and a variety of visual toolkits are available to MailChimp staff to facilitate a smooth and consistent launch across all platforms.
Trend 2: Second emerging style: the modern American frontier.
Simple geometric shapes were all the rage just five years ago. However, in light of the worldwide pandemic and economic challenges, this utopian aesthetic becomes increasingly dated. On the other side, Space Doctors deputy director Julius Colwyn has seen an opposite tendency.
‘The movement is all about a living, revitalised anarchy,’ he says. It’s a reaction to the slick homogeneity that dominates the branding of so many businesses nowadays. The need for unconventional styles including shocking collage, jarring contrasts, powerful neon, and unconventional frames is on the rise.
This tactic, which is inspired by the early, lawless days of the internet, is designed to promote friendly fighting rather than maintain peace. Based on what Julius has said, acid green and terminal fonts, screen shots, and digital artefacts are all par for the course in this world. Since these layouts are the consequence of new skills in the age of the creative economy, their vigour is more than just the mindless neon pandemonium of the early internet. “Today’s digital natives have constructed a more structured version of digital chaos.”
Trend 3: Third pattern emerging: freer design guidelines.
Because it is so accurate, it has become a cliché very quickly. Although the global pandemic has had negative effects on everyone, it has provided Universal Favorite with opportunities to work with international clients and creatives.
As 2023 approaches, he sees the breakdown of boundaries across online subcultures as one of the most promising developments for the design profession. There’s a growing opportunity to collaborate with “talent that you could only dream of working with” on “the client that you’ve always wanted to work with,” he exclaims.
That’s resulted in partnerships with creatives from Auckland to Berlin, and orders from as far away as South 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 may lead to innovative solutions with cultural consequences.
Trend 4: Individualism is on the decline.
When I first started attending design conferences, it seemed like every other talk was focused on how to make more money as a freelancer or by establishing your own business. As in March of 2022, though, things have shifted.
Creative strategist at Robot Food, Natalie Redford, puts it this way: “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 wonders whether there would be more of a focus on mashups if this were the case. “How well can a straightforward, minimalist look go with the concept of indulgence and fun? Is it appropriate to take a stand against excessive expenditure while using the slogan “more, more, more?” Maybe more natural, unrefined beauty will come to the fore. Maybe people are nostalgic for the past because they miss those simpler, brighter times. One alternative is to simplify goals so that luxury becomes more attainable.
Predicting whether or not 2021 will be a good year is currently impossible. Samantha Barbagiovanni, the creative director of ThoughtMatter, puts it thus way: “Are we experiencing another “Summer of Love?” Partying? Exuberant about the end of the pandemic? That was one time when it was clear that the future wouldn’t be mapped out in advance. But in 2023, we’ll take the occasional, semi-risky step into what used to look like the “old world,” and we’ll be rewarded with the sensory, diverse, and emotionally satisfying moments of wonder we’ve been missing in our safe, but restricting, homes. Every one of our senses is turned on and waiting for input.
Also sharing this view is Ellen Munro, director of innovation at BrandOpus. “Despite the fact that we live in a very serious society, an increasing number of products are going for a lighter, more whimsical look. In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of companies whose core beliefs are communicated via positive advertising.
To help enhance the rest stop culture in the UK, she joined the campaign when BrandOpus partnered with the largest motorway service area network, Moto. Bringing “a good old dose of joy into the daily,” she describes the brand’s “Smile” as a “warm and welcome differentiating characteristic that may reach across the brand’s full ecosystem.” “We wanted to flip the switch by driving feeling above function, engaging customers on a much more emotional level,” said the CEO of a motorway service station chain that aimed to become the first active alternative for resting and relaxing.
Trend 5: The ’90s are back! This brings us to Trend #5.
That the 1980s were such a formative decade for pop culture is an understatement. We have been awash in emotion for them for decades. The director of design at CPB London, June Frange, believes that their successor is now ready to step into the limelight after they have completed largely establishing the direction of future design trends.
He labels this cultural shift as a return to “90s MTV nostalgia.” Aesthetics inspired by memes, green screen, and retro idents. CPB’s recent ads for Ballantine’s whisky have been infused with this same sprit. “He continues, saying that the early internet aesthetic has been around for a while, and that TikTok filters and lo-fi DIY video stars have helped spread it further. Since millennials make up the bulk of our target audience, we chose to appeal to their inner millennial by modelling our ads after retro MTV idents from the 1990s.
Trend 6: Extreme maximalism is the sixth noticeable trend.
Given our findings, the antithesis of minimalism—maximalism—ought to be trending upwards. Clara Mulligan, the head of design at Anomaly London, has verified this.
She claims that after “years of graphic sameness” brought on by the “before restricted practical limits of living in a digital universe,” a “visual revolution” is taking place. “Nowadays, consumers want a higher standard of living across the board. The days of modularity and austere, geometric brand structures have given way to the maximalist era, when engaging visual experiences and dramatic narrative reign supreme. What makes these maximalist worlds so interesting is because they have historical and strategic roots.
Molly Rowan-Hamilton, director of strategy at BrandOpus, draws analogies. She observes that many companies are employing monochromatic, vibrant colours to generate a “punchier, more ownable look and feel.” A company’s signature colour may branch out for a time if it’s one that has become well recognised. For example, 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. She explains that the vibrant and energising nature of the crisp brand’s personality and flavour was the impetus for the decision to employ vivid colours.
Trend 7: 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. The difference between rounded and sharp edges, as he predicts, will become much more pronounced.
Next, he elaborates on how the aforementioned pattern in motion design will influence typefaces. Lockdown-era hits like Killing Eve and the more contemporary Squid Game may have served as inspiration for designers. Their approaches to typography are very different from one another, yet they have a fascinating motion and exaggerated personalities that make them a great match.
Chris believes that the current Nike “Play New” campaign will have a major influence on the 2023 typographic trends regarding colour and brightness. It “celebrates the essence of the typeface with gorgeous flowing lines” while also having “a contemporary spin with brilliant colours and powerful contrasting forms.”
Trend 8: The lines between design, style, and labels are blurring, which is the eighth emerging trend.
Previously distinct disciplines, such as design, branding, and fashion, are increasingly merging with one another. Similar to Apple’s purchase of Beats by Dre, many companies are realising they can buy their way into hipness by forging partnerships.
As BrandOpus’s head of strategy Molly Rowan-Hamilton points out, “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. Panera’s’soup’ swimwear, Pizza Hut’s ‘tastewear,’ and Carbone’s new fashion brand, Our Lady of Rocco, have all helped restaurants produce and sell high-end clothing items for astronomical prices.
BrandOpus’s recent’street meats’ collection follows a similar line of thought with its 13-piece capsule collection based on the classic attire of the Hotdoggers. This collection was made in conjunction with the American food business Oscar Mayer. The motto “never stop” is embodied in the company’s streetwear range, which honours the brand’s iconic rhomboid logo.
Trend 9: Practices that are eco-aware and give value to aesthetics are trend number nine.
In case you haven’t noticed, there is a lot of talk about the planet’s condition recently. The design industry is also light years ahead of the competition.
Consumers “can now recognise greenwashing from a mile away,” says Free The Birds’ creative director Matthew Gilpin. “Companies can’t only use green packaging to show they care about the environment.” Since the government will implement an Extended Producer Responsibility plan in April 2023, brands are under increasing pressure to use more environmentally friendly packaging materials.
Indeed, this must also be communicated graphically.
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 some headway in producing compostable products. Using water-based inks on virgin paper has environmental benefits; but, adding a soft-touch lamination would nullify those benefits. Making smart use of these methods is essential. That’s the dividing line between pretending to be environmentally good and being really sustainable.
However, this has to be handled softly and attentively or clients will see through it. Anton Pinyol, co-founder and creative director of Firma, argues that “design for sustainability-focused organisations used to be full with clichés in terms of colours, textures, typography, and graphics.” There are greenish hues and materials present, as well as paintbrushes, plants, and what seem to be hands holding a globe. However, successful companies in the modern day are taking on a new outlook, one that is replete with tech jargon and bold self-expression.
Samantha Barbagiovanni, director of design at ThoughtMatter, agrees: “Sustainability and reconnecting with nature is surely here to stay, with maybe a bigger emphasis on how Mother Nature’s medication can increase our well-being, alongside her surrounds.” Our wounds from the Covid attack are starting to heal in a deeper sense. Companies and organisations in this field will see design as a means of education and introspection in response to this development.
Trend 10: Tenth Movement: Radical and Uncompromising Design.
Our forecast from last year, that throwback details will play a significant part in 2022’s style, came true. But Samantha Barbagiovanni thinks that 2020 will be extremely different. In contrast to the tone of sombre optimism that characterised 2022, she expects 2023 will be defined by a feeling of unyielding realism. The enhanced degree of mental, physical, and social readiness will allow us to realise the full potential of the trends forecasted for 2022 this year.
That’s why I say, “By 2023, we won’t be longing for the past so much as we’ll be yearning to fulfil the unmet potential and fresh paths for development 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.
We can all agree on one thing, though: in the face of an uncertain future, we can’t afford to continue doing things the same old way. ThoughtMatter’s design director, Wednesday Krus, believes subversion will be a major trend in the next year of 2023. Her prediction is that in 2023, “disruption will move to transformation,” just as Brutalism was a disruptive reaction to the over-designed, over-analyzed designs of the previous generation.
All OK, but what exactly does it entail? A revolutionary layout compels the observer to take action. It compels you to think critically about your own decisions, whether as a developer or a consumer. It stays away from dark themes and branding strategies that are exploitative or deceitful. It’s no longer acceptable for designers to actively seek to challenge or oppose the status quo via their work.
This new aesthetic will utilise design as a tool to challenge the established order, which has developed through time to benefit a select few at the cost of the many. As we all know, popular opinion has a tendency of diluting original ideas, but the tide has swung toward contrarianism. In the end, it is subversion that sets them free.