That same poster…again?

It’s the start of 2017 and much has already been written about graphic design trends. I know, I know.

If you buy a smartphone, the design and features will essentially be the same whether it’s an Apple, Samsung, or Google device. Use that phone to go on Pinterest and you will see the same script fonts with the same VSCO filter on the feature image. App icons on said smart device will stay flat. We’re going to see more websites with a full screen splash page. The logo is going to be in the top left with the “hamburger” menu perfectly aligned on the right. Hey, there’s a scroll down button in the bottom center! It’s just like this site!

Okay, so I’m guilty of it too. In my defense there are many practical reasons for this website to take the shape it does. Basic psychology tells us that a user’s eye will first focus on the top left of a webpage to figure out what they’re looking at. Plus, it’s responsive AF. Every site should be responsive.

But on the other hand, how many times can a movie poster or TV show ad take a headshot of an actor and slap a tagline over their face? It’s very cliché at this point. And lazy.

Lots of white space. Shocker.

Rest assured, designers are going to use the shit out of negative space in 2017.

Exhibit A: this outdoor ad for What the hell is Obviously a food website and they must have an app. Other than that, this ad doesn’t tell us much. Either I’m living under a rock and I don’t know what this company is or they’re a relatively new thing. Assuming the latter, this approach is not very effective, in my opinion.

I’m all for being minimal, but sometimes getting your message across is more important than being painfully on-trend. Outdoor Billboard in NYC

I’mma do me.

I want to make stuff people love, but I also don’t want to pander to my audience. They deserve better.

Could it be the clichés and trends I just called out are simply good design principles? In some cases, yes. Today’s trends often have roots in practicality—and I’m okay with that. If a beautifully designed wheel ain’t broke, don’t fix it, amirite? But let’s find some middle ground and call these examples a blend of trends and best practices. A new standard, if you will.

Whenever I take on a project, my goal is to consider what’s practical and go from there. Stylistically, I believe that trends are open to interpretation and I don’t feel the need to be a slave to them.

Good design often includes the element of surprise. In 2017, I resolve to incorporate trends sparingly, when appropriate, and be a design unicorn in a field of sameness.

Design Thoughts

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