Staying Ahead of the Curve — The Pros and Cons of Graphic Design Trends
The world around us influences the visual concepts we create and messages we convey. These inspirations form observable graphic design trends in the digital marketing industry.
What graphic design trends have caught on for marketing in 2022?? Old favorites like monochromatic and earthy color gradients, type-only approaches, and minimalism for clean delivery, communication and a sense of peace are popular. A surprising new craze, however, is art generated by artificial intelligence (AI).
But is digital marketing too reliant on swanky fads, especially if the next big thing threatens to wipe out the spark of human ingenuity? The Deciding Factor has advice on how to smartly and effectively utilize design trends in digital marketing without losing a personal touch.
Does Familiarity Breed Contempt?
Harry Bennett of It’s Nice That magazine weighs why digital marketing agencies are sometimes hesitant about leaning into design trends in his article “Is Graphic Design Too Trendy?”
He asks, “Are we afraid that by liking a trend, we undervalue our own practice, or belittle our creative individuality, or disregard our own unique selling point? Or do we just want to like things before they’re cool?”
He goes on to interrogate meaning, cause and effect and repetition in graphic design trends.
On the one hand, Bennett argues, “Familiarity breeds recognition and accessibility, which can be both supportive and communicative.”
But on the other hand, you must consider the benefits of timeliness compared to capturing what’s popular in the moment. Sometimes clients want to follow the crowd, especially when it comes to what is topical and catching headlines. Problems arise when the client doesn’t understand the context of the catchy new phrase or iconic imagery.
Bennet also raises the issue of industry standards. If everyone is using the same design software — whether it be Adobe or whatever free tutorial is available at the moment — it’s not surprising if brands all start looking the same.
Which raises the key question of Bennett’s article: Is it even possible to work outside of trends if everyone is using the same tools within the same ecosystem, reacting to the same hashtags and one another?
The Power of Artificial Intelligence
AI image generators like Deep Dream Generator from Google and Artbreeder can enhance artist’s work and in some cases create graphics from scratch in just a few minutes. But these apps and software up until recently have mostly been a neat but somewhat unworldly novelty and nothing more.
OpenAI’s DALL·E 2 system is quite the leap forward.
Type a single sentence and nine panels of finished art — anything from Chewbacca in a courtroom to a black cat in the style of Salvador Dalí — will manifest. Marketers, in particular, can benefit from the ability to create and edit visuals for social media, websites, blogs, digital ad campaigns and other forms of creative content.
Should graphic designers be worried about being replaced? The possibility of automation is certainly intriguing, but the results are too random and uncanny to substitute for the hands and mind of a human artist. AI is just a supplemental tool that can open up new inventive frontiers.
Understanding What’s Right for the Client
According to Nyla Sauter, graphic designer for The Deciding Factor, “Marketing graphic design always reflects the moment. But graphic design is also a continuation of what has been successful in the past and what persists into the future.”
Graphic design in marketing is all about using creativity and skill to create something that is both aesthetically pleasing and serves a purpose. However, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with the three Ts:
A design team brings a specialized education and experience to the table. They have also developed best practices to use on a daily basis. A company’s brand must find a balance of what areas your designers excel in and delivering content that is pleasing and relevant for both your clients and their customers.
“The designer in me is very aware and fascinated by all kinds of trends in the world — fashion, home, design, marketing,” says Nyla. “I love seeing what’s out there, where culture is going and what new software tricks are popping up. With that said, just because something is trendy, doesn’t mean that it is strategically sound or correct for our clients’ audiences.”
Designers can’t help but put on an artist hat. They appreciate the art and culture that is relevant today. But designers in marketing must understand the client’s customer personas and cater to preferences and tastes while also being thought leaders.
“Our goal at The Deciding Factor is to meet our customer’s customer where they are,” says Nyla. “Sometimes that means reining clients in and gently guiding them in the right direction.”
According to agency President Karen Meyers Holzer, “We help our clients understand that strategy should drive their brand, not just trends. A good strategy is timeless. Trends come and go.”
Marketing agencies have to be the experts so that we can advise clients on approach, next steps, and what investments and strategies guarantee a return on investment (ROI). Know what’s going on in the design world, the news, with technology and more and then make sure good strategy is making decisions about what to do — but also what not to do.
For More Information About Our Marketing Agency
“Design is definitely evolving every day,” says Nyla. “What’s just as important as knowing what’s going on out there in the design world is understanding our clients and their customers.”
The Deciding Factor helps you to create a look, voice and messaging that fits your brand. Whether retro, immediate or perennial, contact us to learn how partnering with us can help you keep up with what’s trending.