Design Trends For 2019 That You Don't Want to Miss

As attention spans are shrinking and with the brief life of most communication - brevity is the order of the day - "Keep it simple, stupid" is the mantra

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By Shahana Jain

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While the fundamental tenets of design remain constant, design continuously evolves as it responds to developments in technology and changes in social behaviour. The biggest influencer in the past decade and continuing into the foreseeable future is digital media. The millennials live in the digital world and with the high consumption of material on the internet, from entertainment and information to shopping and news, communication designers need to pay most attention to design for digital media.


With YouTube, social media and online portals becoming the media vehicles of this generation, the digital platform is hugely determining the trends in communication design. The future will increasingly witness the influence of technology and the digital medium on the way design is presented, the limitations of the mobile phone in particular. If it doesn't look good on the mobile phone interface, it doesn't work. Gently rounded fonts, fewer sharp edges, more kerning to allow maximum legibility on the screen, clean simple adaptive design features and no restrictions on colours - is what designers are incorporating in their work now. The use of animation, GIF's and videos, are now a standard feature in the design. They draw attention in cluttered environments and tell stories more effectively than static visuals.


Brand identity design is getting simpler at one level. Designers are using more of sans serif fonts for logotypes, lower case type. Large and small companies are commissioning designers to simplify and refresh their identities to look more contemporary and digital friendly. As more and more companies inhabit primarily the digital space - we see more use of vignettes, gradation, 3D forms and bright colours that are now possible without incurring additional costs, and stand out on electronic screens. Dynamic forms, the ability to be animated are again features that logos and brand identities are moving towards.


With retail moving into self-service formats, the shelf appeal of packaging has become more important than ever. In packaging, we will see more use of black. Especially in food products, this is also because many new luxury products are coming into the market. There is also a trend towards "organic' and socially conscious packaging design as more new age products and homegrown brands are entering the market, in food particularly. Unusual designs and visual treatments that may have seemed too unorthodox or risky are now finding room.


With the world going digital, print is beginning to lose ground. In a cost-conscious as well as eco-friendly consumer environment, e-mailers and online pdf's are replacing brochures and leaflets. The reach via digital is so high that print fails to match it at many levels. The adaptability of a layout to the digital media influences the rules of layout making. Breaking the rules of the grid to make them more linear and "scrollable', larger font sizes for better visibility, deep contrasting colours for the screen are considerations that have become more important. In the print media, with digital printing becoming more cost-effective, designs are getting more customized for small print runs. Designers are moving to try and use recyclable and forest friendly paper.

Advertising and Communication:

The era of long copy ads and detailed visuals disappeared aeons ago. As attention spans are shrinking and with the brief life of most communication - brevity is the order of the day - "Keep it simple, stupid" is the mantra. And get the message across as fast and impactfully as you can, before they 'skip'. The future: the picture is king. In a borderless world where a plethora of languages are spoken visuals speak a universal language. So expect more and more communication to rely on strong pictorial content and short simple text. Once again, as advertising moves towards the internet platform, design and communication get more targeted and personalized and in the very near future get ready for ads to be tailor-made for specific viewers.

To conclude, the key design trends for 2019 and the following years will be simplicity in design, minimalism with a clean fuss-free approach, 3D visual treatment and illustration styles, authentic photography, increase in use of animation and videos, use of sans serif fonts, lower case typography, and bold colours. Design in all its manifestations is moving towards breaking the mold and becoming more unpredictable and experimental. Therefore continuing to remain relevant, interesting and fresh.

Shahana Jain

Partner and Associate Creative Director, GCD Studio

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