Graphic Design

Design Trends 2018

07 June, 2018

We at Mindsparkle Mag try to source the best of what’s out there in the design world in our design blog, sharing them with you daily. Having reflected on the year’s content, we have compiled a list of design features which we believe have the most potential to become design trends in 2018. Without further ado, here are our top 20 predictions.

Over the past two years we have seen an increasing number of 3D design projects. While looking at some of the top leading 3D artists such as MVSM or Peter Tarka, we predict that 3D still lifes will become even more popular in 2018. This will be especially true for corporate collaborations in combination with logos and product placements.

The rapid growth of Augmented Reality or ‘AR’ will not only be noticed in the games, video and app industry. We believe that AR has good prospects of taking over the design community as well, particularly with mobile devices. A potential source of inspiration may come from DIA Studio, using interactive 3D typography on everyday objects.

In 2018, 3D typography will become more and more popular. The key will be to look impressive and push creative boundaries. 3D has become important for corporations (i.e. Nike) as they are an effective means of both connecting with and impressing their audience. We will certainly be seeing more 3D type animation as well.

New tools (such as tablets, stylos, etc.) and new apps are making it much easier to use hand-drawn techniques and merge it with digital. The days of ‘old brushes in Photoshop’ are now officially over. The new trend, called ‘digital paintbrush’, is much more versatile, making use of dimensions and ultimately giving off a more modern and aesthetically pleasing look. More and more brands such as Adobe or Nike are integrating their brand or product using this technique.

Gradients made a comeback in recent years and we expect this trend to continue, yet diversify. We will discover more gradient innovations, particularly with the use of bright and vivid colours in combination with a variety of textures. Gradients 2.0 will also include dual tone effects.

Similar to the AR trend mentioned above, we expect more designers to merge 3D graphics and particularly animations with flat 2D design, as the talented designer Baugasm had done in his poster series.

There has been a huge leap in the past two years in which 3D design has been perfected in every sense. The intersection between reality and fiction will become increasingly blurred and undistinguishable. We can bet that there will be a rise in more organic natural forms and movements that make 3D design artworks and animations even more eye-catching. This may include liquid forms and movements that we recognize from nature.

Modern photoshoots and brand campaigns will become bolder and more edgy, using illustrative and artful set designs. Whether these will be handmade from paper or enhanced with 3D mappings and visualizations, they are sure to stand out and remain firmly in your memory.

Modern illustrations combined with a retro look will be a major trend in 2018. Moreover, we will see a rise in thoughtfully crafted animations (ie. adding depth to flat illustration or subtle movements) which are intended to both delight and allow for more impactful storytelling.

Another upcoming trend among photographers that is sure to be on the rise is the use of photography color gels or filters. This technique allows for endless possibilities, creating interesting colorful lighting situations for the photographed object. When using two or more different color shades, beautiful color fadings and contrasts are created which cannot be replicated in Photoshop.

Responsive logos have become increasingly important in world ruled by mobile devices. It will no longer be sufficient to create one logo and scale it down with changing screen sizes. Logos are becoming adaptive, containing several versions for mobile, tablet, desktop devices, and beyond. Much like responsive web design several years ago, responsive logos are now a ‘must’.

As the examples below demonstrate, the new trend in logo design will be a combination of simplified shapes with a semi 3D look, making use of smooth subtle overlying color fadings that will add well-balanced depth. The overall use of color will become brighter and more saturated, giving a brand a bolder look.

Custom designed and eccentric typefaces are becoming a hit - especially among designers. Whether fragmented, distorted or visually broken, this style of type design certainly stands out and this is exactly their purpose. Some of these typefaces are also interactive, reacting to mouse cursors. One thing that’s clear is that custom typefaces can never be unique enough, and there will certainly be a rise in experimentation in this field in 2018.

A major trend in web design for 2018 is the rise of (interactive) 3D elements which play with depth, movement, and texture as well as perspective. The use of 3D elements and environments makes each website highly unique and certainly enhances the aesthetics and/or user experience. Atacac, for example, has created an interactive futuristic virtual reality showroom that allows users to explore the fashion collection in virtual 3D. Another favorite of ours is the animated and 3D sculpture by The Artery.

Interactive mouse pointers add another layer to a website’s user experience. The user controls the mouse pointer with specific interactions that are customized for the individual website. In the example of Ben Mingo, the mouse pointer starts behaving like a magnet when menu items are approached. The cursor can also react differently for different actions which is perfectly demonstrated in the example of Walking Men. We are curious about what clever cursor interactions are yet to be explored.

Gone are the days of websites using boring loading bars. Why not use the downtime of your website in a more creative way? Below are two great examples by Contemple and Awwwards that make great use of creative website loading.

Not necessarily a design trend in particular, but moreover a trend among designers. 2017 has been the year of many Instagram innovations. Since the launch of Instagram stories, this feature has immediately found recognition and is increasingly being used among designers and brands on a daily basis. A great example how to engage with your audience can be seen on the feed of Ales Nesetril, who has also published a successful e-book "The Perfect Grid: A Creative Guide to Instagram" on this subject. Storytelling is most important to build an authentic truthfull brand and gain passionate followers. In 2018 we will certainly see a rise in its usage in many creative ways such as Tutorials, Live-Videos, Work-in-Progress shares etc. Lastely we also predict that there will be more cross sharing across different designer accounts. We at Mindsparkle will certainly invite more designers to take over our instagram for a day and talk to our audience.

We find there to be an upward trend in intertwining digital and handmade art. The hand-crafted look is a deliberate technique that adds an interesting, tactile layer to the designs. In this example below by Maxim Shkret the sculptures look almost as if they were created by hand using paper.

Isometric projection is a method for visually representing three-dimensional objects in two dimensions. This was formerly mainly used in technical and engineering drawings before it had been discovered by designers. Whether in photography, illustration, 3D Design or iconography, isometric design is certainly enjoying its moment on the fast lane, and you can expect to see much more creative isometric work in 2018.

Adding depth to flat minimal design by using realistic shadows creates the appearance of a three dimensional space that almost looks true to real life. This effect will be enhanced when objects are separated in different layers and interact autonomously with the combination both sharpness and blurriness.

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