TASTY TIDBITS [SEP 2020]

TO TREND OR NOT TO TREND?

#trending. Ever feel like you can’t keep up with the trends? You’re not alone. Graphic design and media art is no different. Trends present some very unique challenges and opportunities for the professional graphic designer. What goes viral creates a movement, and our biggest temptation is to jump on the bandwagon too…right?

Here’s the truth: that hot design trend that everyone’s talking about? Sorry, but everyone else is most likely using it too. Overuse of certain design elements and visual styles may not be a good thing. After all, we’re here to create something new, fresh, and original. When that same style is plastered everywhere you (and your customers) go, what’s popular suddenly gets buried. And just like that, your bold, trendy message and designs are diluted.

So to trend or not to trend?

Are all trends bad? Not necessarily. Some of them drive design ideas and elements forward, creating a lasting impact. Take flat design for example – born around the 1950’s at about the same time Helvetica stormed the world and changed print as we know it. Flat takes a minimalistic approach, speaking content through color and typeface more than pictures and realism. Fast forward to today and you’ll notice that flat design is dominating the Internet (rather than the fading trend of the 2000s to make everything look more 3D realistic or “skeuomorphic”).

Go with your gut on this one; if a trend moves you too far away from your branding and marketing guidelines, it’s not a good one to pursue. But, if you can safely add a few elements of a trend here and there, without degrading your piece’s visual identity, you’re probably onto something. And, be sure you check your long-term vision too – what’s popular in 2020 (bright colors, street art styles, futuristic and dystopian aesthetics) may not be around in 2021 and beyond. Avoid boxing in your work in favor of a trend…instead, look further back for your inspiration. Has it stood the test of time? If so, integrate the style with confidence knowing your work has the potential to be timeless, too.

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