At Spiral we offer a complete design and print service. We also print a lot of lovely work created by other graphic designers, from logos and business cards to flyers, brochures, posters, banners and complete exhibition stands.
As a result (and just because we’re cool, style-conscious people) we take a strong professional interest in the latest design trends. So here’s our quick guide to just a few of the hottest visual developments in 2018 and beyond.
Know your brand
But first, a quick word on why you should care. You may be asking ‘why does it matter? I just need print that does the job.’ But design does make a difference and getting it wrong can have an adverse effect on any business. At the very least it helps to know what’s happening, so you can avoid wasting money on design work that looks dated or undermines your sales messages.
Focus on what you need
Start by asking yourself a few questions. Do you need your printed material to look stylish and modern, perhaps even a little bit edgy and ahead of its time? Alternatively, is your priority to communicate important information with clarity, or do you just need print that looks attractive in an appropriate way? When you’ve answered these questions, you’re a lot closer to understanding what sort of design you need.
Fonts, typefaces…whatever you call them, they matter. Typography is as subject to fashion as any other branch of design, and the current most fashionable ‘look’ has been described as big, bold and bright. This is good news because it means that your print can stand out, communicate clearly and still be on trend. However, please remember that a trend is not a law. If a designer suggests some type that’s quirky and not at all simple, there’s likely to be a very good reason for it. Maybe being out of the mainstream is what your brand needs. Not too simple though:
Colours can be bright, contrasting and even clashing
Colours are the first thing most people notice about design, and brands have traditionally had a main corporate colour – the Coca Cola red or the McDonald’s golden arches for example. But nowadays there’s much more creative freedom. The colours you use don’t have to be simple blocks of a single shade.
There’s increasing use of colour effects such as gradients (colours that change as they go down or across the page) and textured backgrounds. Such techniques are much more achievable and cost-effective thanks to the advanced technology a really good printer can offer.
There’s also a growing trend towards multiple colours, including combinations that are not supposed to work together. Conventional wisdom says ‘red and green should not be seen’ for example, but all designers know that sometimes strongly contrasting, or even violently clashing colours are simply right for the task. But not like this:
One of the most noticeable themes in contemporary graphics is the decorative use of geometric shapes – circles, triangles and diamonds for instance, as well as curves, arrows, wiggly lines and random, amoeba-like shapes. An extension of this is the use of hand drawn (or apparently hand drawn) motifs and doodles that give design a fresh, informal feel. They also fit in with the striving for authenticity and the popularity of home-made, ‘artisan’ products.
Coloured and distorted images
One of the most eye-catching current design trends is the use of tinted images, double exposure and distortion to create a ‘hey, we’re at the cutting edge of design’ feel. A lot of this began with materials such as posters for club nights and gigs, but it is now inspiring more and more mainstream brands that simply want to appeal to a modern eye.
The only rule is… there are no rules
Talented designers (and we have a team of them at Spiral) are very likely to come up with a solution that contains none of these elements, yet looks great and works perfectly. So, as with all aspects of print, the best advice of all is to work with professionals and take expert advice. Preferably ours.
For our expertise in printing and graphic design, please do get in touch.