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January 21, 2016

10 Expert Design Predictions For The New Year

2015 is officially dunzo. So, what's in-store for the new year? We surveyed a series of expert articles and bring you the emerging trends we found.

There is an underlying theme is many of the trends that suggests there is an unstoppable welling up of change coming, change for the better. We are embracing the margins, becoming more rebellious and less accepting of the big, the perfect, the monolithic. We're leaning anti-establishment and challenging long-held norms. We want serendipity, authenticity, honesty, imperfection, serenity, raw humanity. We're pushing back against the perfect, the artificial and the empty.

This aligns with the seemingly overnight transition to gay marriage by society, of medical marijuana, of non-big-money politicians, of the power of social media in the hands of people. In many of these cases, the establishment was caught by surprise, unaware that change was coming. What surprising, yet affirming, new changes will this year bring?

Get our hands dirty

1. Messthetics
Messthetics, as defined In Getty Images, 2016 Creative in Focus by Gemma Fletcher, suggests that one emerging trend is "about harnessing the power of the ugly aesthetic. It is a rebellion against the order of everyday life that revels in the physicality and soul of human nature." Fletcher believes this trend to have roots in the Punk era of the 1980s and 90s, known for its rejection of the entrenched establishment and its oppressive order. Punk was a response to many things, including the liberation of the Xerox machine. Today, we're facing an era of the rebirth of the small business, solopreneurship, the amateur, the maker. We're tired of our busy lives, and are yearning for serendipity, disorder and fundamental change. We want a more honest, more intense, more direct form of expression. Beyond the authentic craft of recent years, we want to just get our hands dirty, to challenge the boundaries, to be ourselves. (1)


2. The Rise of The Rabble-rousers
In Getty Images, 2016 Creative in Focus, Pamela Grossman, in her article, "Outsider In", predicts that the rebellious, quirky and audacious will be embraced. Formerly marginalized ideas are becoming the mainstream. Grossman says, "Campaigns that rabble-rouse using a sly sense of humor and outrageous design are grabbing attention." She continues, "We're getting far less faint of heart, it seems, and favoring images that express an ethos of nonconformity." We're willing to explore, to experiment, to consider alternatives, to trust a small, unknown brand. We do not flinch away from what is odd and unconventional. But watch out, people can spot a fake a mile away. Grossman warns, "Consumers are cannier than ever about how content is manufactured and how businesses and governments are run, and are more frequently rejecting anything that has even the slightest whiff of Goliath."(1)

Lasting Impressions

3. Courageous Color
What is the equivalent of nonconformity in color? Bold, garish palettes that stand out, mixed with some surprisingly soft colors. Laurie Pressman, VP of Pantone's Color Institute said, "We saw a movement toward very calm shades contrasted with specific pops of bright primaries."(2) See Pantone's Top 10 Colors of Spring 2016.

Pantone's "Spring 2016 Fashion Color Report" states, "Colors this season transcend cultural and gender norms. Vivid brights give way to excitement and optimism."(3) At This Is Folly, we see the intensely vivid colors contrasting with pastels as portraying self-confidence, self-awareness and transcendence, with the fragility and serenity of the dawn. By Pantone choosing two colors this year, a pale blue and a pale pink, and blending them together into a spectrum, perhaps Pantone is reflecting our social comfort level with the dialing down of stereotypes and strictly bi-polar gender identity.

4. Let's Be Honest Here
This New Year's prediction falls nicely in line with the demand for simplicity and authenticity, according to Rachel Foster in her blog post, "5 B2B Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016" [Insights From Content Marketing World]. She writes, "Doug Kessler from Velocity Partners said that customers will be more likely to believe your marketing if they see that you're honest about your flaws. They appreciate it when you clearly state what your product can and can't do." (4) So, honesty may well be the best policy!

5. Hold The Stock Photo Cheese, Please
In the Forbes Online post "Top Web Design Trends To Watch In 2016", author Tomas Laurinavicius states, "According to 3M Corporation, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.... However, people are tired of cheesy-looking stock photos and stock photo disruptors like Unsplash™, Stocksy™, Death to the Stock Photo™ and Offset™ are providing a feasible solution—natural-looking stock photos that connect with people on a whole different emotional level." (5)

A moving medium.

6. Animated Logos: A Movement
In "What to Expect in 2016: Predictions from Top Creatives" by Amanda Aszman, Connie Birdsall of Lippincott states, "We no longer design static logos—we're thinking about how it will be animated, whether a brand needs a GIF, what it will look like as an icon, whether they need an emoji. Designers are thinking about these moments of brand expression right from the start."(6) A good share of brand communication happens digitally these days, so why wouldn't we make the most of this moving medium. Hollywood is leading the way the emergence of animated movie posters. Check out a few examples here. (7) At This Is Folly, we've been using motion and animated GIF logos on our website and emails for years, which have always been crowd-pleasers. And, we're currently working on some cinemagraphs for one of our clients. It's not just for cat memes any more!

7. Illustration Goes Back to the Drawing Board
According to Ryan Durinick and Declan Van Welie of SVA, "[There will] be a resurgence in traditional illustration, with more artists drawing and painting on paper."(6) Does this also suggest a renewed interest in craft? At This Is Folly, we see a higher quality of design and thoughtfulness going into a lot of design, whether it be a website or a print piece. Interestingly, images with camera light leaks that speak to the idea of shooting on film, and the craft of photography are trending. (1) That attention to detail warms the heart!

8. Moving Visual Content Is Still A Powerful Way To Connect
In "Top Web Design Trends To Watch In 2016", Tomas Laurinavicius states, "Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them.... Video content helps in the process of building trust between the visitor and the brand. Videos have been hot in the last couple of years and 2016 will be no different, the video will keep growing in terms of content and web design element." (5) According to Bill Bon and Lee Hooper, "3D technologies and virtual reality are meeting our expectations for an even deeper visual experience. Instead of looking 'at' the images, we are now 'in' the images—it's the next best thing to being in the moment itself." (1)

9. You Need to Get Personal
Put UX on front street. In "Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2016", Sally Ormond states, "The days of only competing on price and quality are behind you. Now it's all about the customer experience." Each customer wants to be treated like they matter, from face-to-face customer service to websites that tailor content to each visitor's interests and needs. (8) Brands need to think about all of their touch points and create quality, meaningful, relevant customer experiences.

Brands are seeking to get in touch

10. Meaningful Consumption
In their article "Divine Living" in Getty Images, 2016 Creative In Focus, Jacqueline Bourke and Lindsay Morris forecast that, "As brands start to focus on values, reflection and revelation are front and center as we shift our focus to more meaningful consumption." This move to meaningful consumption and desire to connect to something greater than themselves means people are seeking to purchase with purpose, favoring "treasured objects and experiences over mass accumulation". These "seekers" are replacing owned material objects with "new systems of connecting and sharing." (1) We are starting to shop with our whole selves, not just our wallets. We are seeking more from our brands than empty consumerism. Images with an airy quality, calming or with a lack of visual noise are trending. Photos with an isolated focus on a single subject show us looking—really looking—at subjects, and appreciating them. We're shopping our values. "Consumers are increasingly savvy truthfinders looking beneath the surface of brand messaging with a demand for clear vision and values." We are all connected and we want to see that reflected in the brands we value. Brands are seeking ways to get in touch and to reach consumers on multiple levels.

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1. http://stories.gettyimages.com/2016-creative-in-focus-our-visual-trend-report/

2. http://www.glamour.com/fashion/blogs/dressed/2015/09/pantone-spring-2016-colors?mbid=social_pinterest

3. https://www.pantone.com/pages/fcr/?season=Spring&year=2016

4. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-b2b-content-marketing-trends-watch-2016-insights-from-rachel-foster

5. http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomaslaurinavicius/2015/12/28/web-design-trends-2016/

6. http://www.howdesign.com/resources-education/graphic-design-trends-2016/

7. http://imgur.com/gallery/r2hjm

8. http://www.briarcopywriting.com/blog/top-5-marketing-trends-for-2016/


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