Design Trends – When To Follow And When To Lead

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We have all been there, we scroll past something that catches our eye and think “I want my company to look like that!”. Design trends come and go, but just like in fashion, some ideas will never go out of style. Today, we will give you some tips on what the equivalent of blue jeans is for graphic design and when to follow or steer clear of “trendy”. We will also give you some tips on great places to start trend hunting.

A great rule of thumb

In general, the longer you want your design to last, the less you should follow trends. It is also easier for smaller companies to try out new things since changing all your stock is easier if you have 2 products rather than 200.

When to stay away from design trends

The one place to be weary of trends is your brand. You want to be relevant to your customers now and in 20 years so very extreme trends are probably not a great idea. That said, the past ten years have shown a steady path to cleaner and less complicated branding. As customers are looking for businesses to connect with and your company mission is more important than ever, feeling transparent and easy to understand is crucial. Unless you are a murder mystery party planner, this might be a trend you want to follow.

Clear branding for Pirelli by Massimo Vignelli. The simple graphics help convey the feeling of happiness. Clear branding for Pirelli by Massimo Vignelli. The simple graphics help convey the feeling of happiness.

Inspiration for clear branding: Swiss design

When to add a hint of trend

Packaging is a great place to experiment a little. You still want the overall look to represent your brand, but trends like using cutout windows in different shapes, using more patterns or bright colours and maybe even an interesting font can help customers get excited when they see your product. With packaging innovation, some trends might look great but make it hard for people to use the product, stay clear. A great user experience will never go out of style but frustration could lose you customers.

Colourful and easy to understand packaging by Phillip Fivel Colourful and easy to understand packaging by Phillip Fivel

Inspiration for packaging trends: Dieline, Designspiration, Dezeen

When to embrace it all the way

For any short campaign, I say go for it, have fun! Make sure to still represent your values but it is ok to use snowmen and red little deer for your christmas letters even if your branding is all green. Another great time to use trends is when pairing up with another company or charity for an event. Rather than trying to represent both of your different brands at once, play around and find something that resonates with both of you.

Fantiastically colourful and happy poster from printclublondon embracing the trend of illustration mixed with photos. Fantastically colourful and happy poster from printclublondon embracing the design trend of illustration mixed with photos.

Do you have any great tips we missed about design trends or design in general? Let us know, we would love to hear from you! For more creative inspiration, check out this blogpost about how to use infographics to boost your business.

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