2018 Design Trends Guide for Authors

“We want to see trends that focus on sustainability and social impact, crossing borders and cultural stereotypes. With any content created, we, the creators – are influencing society and the world, so we are excited to see how our design can impact tomorrow.” – Rawpixel, 2018.

2017 was a year of many big trends in popular culture and design. It was the year of Snapchat, activewear, magic-themed foods, direct to consumer shopping, cacti and succulent motifs on everything and voice-enabled tech finding its way into many homes around the world.  In design, we shifted from the classic flat designs and simplistic looks to explore video content, three-dimensional graphics, bold color palettes and powerful photography.

 So, what do these popular trends mean for the design industry in 2018?

We believe this year is all about connecting with audiences on a very real and genuine level using various forms of content. It’s about supporting designs to form bridges of understanding and discover connections in the vast, big wide world of web. The ever-evolving nature of technology surprises and challenges us, but it also makes us stop and reflect on these changing, exciting times.

Typo Opener

As an author, 2018 is the year of the embracing the ‘old and new’ elevating classic designs with bold colors and modern graphics. There are a number of ways that keeping up with these trends can help to guide the future of design to be meaningful and impactful.

Looking at our amazing marketplace of content, we have many talented and innovative authors in our community and we are proud to feature their works in our trends guide. Here, we have compiled a list of trends that we believe will shape the design landscape going forward and asked authors for their insights and experiences in the industry – featuringRetroBox, BLAQMATRIX, Rawpixel, Youandigraphics and Eugene-design.

On Sourcing Inspiration

To source, or not to source? For many, inspiration is the guiding light of creative work. It awakens creativity in work by allowing us to move beyond the ordinary and everyday – but for some, it can also be a block to creativity by setting our expectations a little too high.

Painter, Chuck Close said that “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” He believed inspiration can become a creative block by making people feel like they must wait until inspiration strikes in order to create something worthwhile.

Adobe’s article on finding inspiration highlights that it is important to recognize a large part of creative work is simply allowing yourself to show up to the task, even when you’re uninspired. It is here that you can incorporate inspiration activities or tasks in your everyday routine, while accepting that they may not always need to guide your work.

Sometimes you can’t find it – sometimes it finds you.

Design Inspiration

Author Rawpixel does this by collecting inspiration from everywhere, not just in the obvious places – “the key is to try and find authentic representations of concepts that we want to capture. We look at Pinterest, books, magazines, newspaper, movies, documentaries, music videos and by keeping tabs on our favorite photographers and designers.. creating design resources that are not just beautiful and creative but also useful and relevant to our audience. We focus on what is happening in the society and the industry while also trying out new ideas.”

Author, Youandigraphics draws inspiration her everyday family life or routines, which opens up possibilities in her work that are connected to her unique and personal experiences – “the smallest activities or random items in the real world can spark an idea for one of my products..

It could be drawing with my kids, which inspired my ‘Blush Crush Patterns & Instagram Templates’ item or going for a walk in nature, which inspired my ‘Organic Patterns’ item.”

Blush Crush Patterns & Instagram Templates

Organic Patterns

Author Eugene-design, believes that is important to look for these organic and natural moments and remember not to always look for inspiration – It often happens accidentally. Sometimes I find an idea after watching a movie. Sometimes it’s on Instagram or Pinterest. Sometimes an idea finds me when I’m working on a new project..

It is not important where you find an idea, the important thing is to be open to inspiration and not to worry how long it’s going to take, whether one day or a few months.”

Similarly, our Envato Graphics Content Specialist, Kate believes often the best place to look for inspiration is to look at the world around you and sketch out ideas every day. “It’s easy to spot people who get too much inspiration from others – building your own style and way of creating designs is the best way to be noticed.”  

On 2018 Trends

Gradients & Duotones

We’ve seen a big trend in using bold colors and gradients on the web this year. People are searching for new design solutions in their work and industries.  Author, BLAQMATRIX creates most of their products for the fashion industry and loves the analysis of a new visual experience in web design, UX and motion graphics.

They believe this trend of using gradients and colors on the web is a small transition from minimalism to more complicated visual solutions – “We like duotone effect. It is great completed by pure colors like white or black. The white text looks good on a color background, as well as backwards. We also try to keep this at the center of our attention.

You can check out our experience using the duotone effect for After Effects templates in our ‘Fashion Opener’ item.”

Fashion Opener

Author RetroBox also started switching up his game this year in response to these trends, by learning other techniques and dabbling more into gradients and dashing duotones, in particular – “I would like to see more dashing duotones, vivid, bright colors and holographics. I’m really into color schemes/palettes.”

Music Flyer Poster

Corporate Flyer Poster

Custom and Unique Graphics & Illustration

Custom Graphics & Illustration is an increasingly popular trend for many individuals and businesses looking to step away from traditional images or photos, and include something more personal and unique to their brand.  

Author, BLAQMATRIX suggest that there is potential in visual design and graphics including hand-drawn elements, textures, patterns – “The colors palette will more interesting and brave. Graphics could be more individual for customers.”

Similarly, Author, Youandigraphics believes that custom graphics and Illustrations “give great character to the overall design, bold colors and gradients are also my favorites – I’m hoping to see even more patterns used in branding, fabrics and the web (again). Even though I am not a big fan of animations (especially when many are combined together), I strongly believe that any trend or ‘non-trend’, when designed well, supporting a concept, can be successful.”

Palette Paint Letters

Hand Illustrated Geometric Polygons

Hand-drawn Line Patterns

Carpentry Ink Illustrations

High-Resolution Content

This is becoming a popular trend among customers that are looking for high-quality content for their personal and professional projects. Author Eugene-design, believes high-resolution content is playing a big role in their items and is trying to make more content to suit growing demands.

Broken Photoshop Action

Archi Sketch Photoshop Action

Photorealistic Book Mock Up

Author RetroBox believes these trends are part of ‘Evolutionary Design’ – “as humans, we are all a process of and a part of evolution. We think different today than we used to 5 years ago, this key fact moves us to constantly innovate. I completely agree with the upcoming trends, it’s great to be part of a constant design evolution.” 

Similarly, Author BLAQMATRIX believes in keeping their attention on ‘active content’ – “it seems like new changes and trends in design will be useful for customers. Well, we will move forward on usability and visualization for the further items.” We expect to see a significant increase in high-resolution content making its way to the marketplace this year, particularly in video and graphics.

Chocolate Packaging

iPhone Mockup

Surf is Up

Flash Fx Animation

Movement: Animations & GIFs

Who doesn’t love a GIF these days? Why use words when we can use our favorite references in popular culture to communicate our emotions and feelings? This year, we saw the rise of GIFs and animation used in many businesses and industries, challenging the stagnant image or infographic used in email marketing and websites.

Author, BLAQMATRIX believes that most online products need to use video and GIFs in their news feeds nowadays – “Social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have introduced live video content and this is new creative space for the motion artists. There is also a growing mass of movies made by drones cameras and 360 videos. Now, there are more exciting general and distant plans. All these trends have a common effect on the video industry.”  

Check out their experience with typography animation for a social media newsfeed in their ‘Typo Opener’ item.

Typo Opener

Authentic Photography

More and more people want to communicate themselves in a way that is real and marketable, particularly in the digital age of social media. Photos that reflect authentic, genuine and diverse moments, relationships and experiences help organizations to relate more to their customers and communities in a meaningful way.

Author Rawpixel believes that authentic photography is what the world needs and wants to see right now – “the desire for more and more authentic design works continues and at the same time there is a huge demand for creativity for fresh ideas. Design that is authentic, useful and can easily connect with people will be in demand.”

In the same way, they believe that photographers and creatives need to try to create design responses with purpose, that are not just aesthetically beautiful but relevant to the audience and society – their work looks to “focus on what is happening in the society and the industry while also trying out new ideas..

We emphasize on authenticity and diversity in both photos and graphics.”

Family at Dining Table

Senior People Communications Concept

Flower Shop Business Owner

Couple Dancing Wedding

Bold Typography & the Glitch Effect

BLAQMATRIX is an author that describes their style as “a mix of pop design and bold typography – testing brave colors and glitch effects together in projects.” In their work, they combine experimental projects with popular visual trends. Their item ‘Glitch Opener’ experiments using colors, type and glitch effects together.

Glitch Opener

Highly-Detailed Vintage

Oh, when the old becomes new again. Vintage is a popular trend that always seems finds its way back to modern society and culture, whether it’s through classic designs or traditional styles in graphics and fonts.

As a seasoned creative working in vintage design for around three years, Author, RetroBox describes his design style as ‘Flexible & Multifunctional’  – reflecting the adaptable and ever-evolving nature of vintage styles making its way back to contemporary design trends. 

Band at the Bar Flyer Poster

Retro Vintage Text Effect

Vintage Old Logo Texture

On Balancing Trends in Design

Graphics Author, Youandigraphics tries to balance her approach to following trends – “It is definitely interesting to spot and explore new trends, many of which I probably follow subconsciously, however, I try not to blindly incorporate them in my designs.”

Similarly, Author RetroBox believes that “there are a number of impressive designers doing great work out there, we have the opportunity to see their style and define whether they would be our influences in developing our own design technique.”  This is the challenge that many authors need to figure out.

Youandigraphics believes her methodology lies in utilizing aspects of a trend she likes from various industries and then learning how to adapt them in her own patterns – “the areas I like to follow closely are fashion, interior design – which inspired my ‘Moroccan Style Geometric Patterns’ item..

I am happy to say that ‘Patterns’ definitely play a great role (and yes, they are a trend too, yay!) in those industries.”

Moroccan Style Geometric Patterns

Author Rawpixel suggests that authenticity helps to balance trends in design – “with the world wanting to see authenticity and feel the real human touch, we believe this trend will stay. Other trends are also fun to play with, although it’s quite hard to predict if they will last..

Revisiting them with fresher eyes also gives us the opportunity to create something new and original.”

In the same way, Author Eugene-design suggests quality is important in balancing trends in design. She believes that designers need to evolve and focus on constantly increasing the quality of their work in the industry – ask yourself, is this a ‘quality item’ for today’s environment?

Overall, our Envato Graphics Content Specialist Kate, believes that design does not necessarily need to follow trends to be good – “There will always be a place in my heart for genuinely good design.” It is here that Authors should aim to find the sweet spot that allows them to stay true to themselves and their brand, as well as meet commercial desirability.

Creative Design Trends

On the Future of Design

Graphics author, RetroBox believes technology and design go hand in hand in the future – “Ironically, design is created by humans yet it evolves faster than the designer. Design rushes ahead and as creators, we must adapt in order to keep our personal reinvention…

My thoughts are that it is headed into an escape into virtual reality as it powers a growing demand for virtual worlds, businesses, products, and client experiences. I’m really looking forward to 3D typography, digitized handmade art, and animated 3D merges!”

Animate Instagram Stories

Wavy Striped Surface 3D

Similarly, Envato Graphics Content Specialist Kate is excited to see where augmented reality (AR) will take the industry. Author, Youandigraphics suggests that with technology such as AR  – this will open new pathways to experiment with sources never before – ”Design is everywhere so inevitably it has to follow our lives and lifestyles, always adapting and sensing the world that surrounds us.”

Author BLAQMATRIX hopes that in the future, designers can take more of an active part in shaping the trends – “They could use more visual expressions and bold experiments in their work.” They suggest that technology will play a big part in shaping design through artificial intelligence and more ready-to-use and easy-to-use products for users and that there is a huge potential for creative people and new trends in these fields.

Woman wearing VR headgear

Experience VR Headset

With this in mind, it is also clear that the balance between natural and artificial elements will be even more important in the future. Author Rawpixel believes we need to see more authentic and less polished content, especially when it comes to models and locations used in photos and visual designs.

They call for “storytelling that is real, rather than staged.”

It will be pivotal for content creators and creatives alike to recognize this balance and explore ways to influence the world for the better – embracing new technologies and pathways, helping inspiration find us in the most meaningful ways and creating designs that impact tomorrow. Are you ready?

Keep moving forward. 

Image from: Typo Opener

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What are your thoughts on the future of design? As Authors, what trends do you see or hope to see in the future? Share your thoughts and insights with us and your fellow author community on the forums!

Monthly Rollup | April 2018
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Monthly Rollup | April 2018