2019 Community-Led Visual Trends Guide

“In 2019, I expect to see a lot of abstract, experimental and awkward design compositions.. I believe these messy and intense but somewhat cohesive and beautiful design trends are a reflection of what our world is now facing, regarding politics and human rights.”

devotchkah.

2018 was a big year for taking risks in design. The ever-changing and exciting visual age we live in means that trends and consumer demands for engaging and unique content is moving faster than ever before. It’s what Adobe’s Brenda Milis calls visual fluency’ – the important ability to spot trends coming and what this means for consumers.

Each year, we see how these trends and demands impact our visual landscape in a new and exciting way. In 2018, creatives looked to make their mark in content by elevating bold colors, modern patterns and effortlessly combining the old with the new. In design, it was a pivotal time for creative democracy, GIFS and movement, and exploring what’s ahead in the future of 3D and augmented reality.

In 2019, we’re taking another big step on this experimental path of content and design. It’s about exploring how audiences consume and experience content using new mediums, colors, diverse subjects and platforms to enhance these messages. It’s also about how we celebrate our individuality, express our experiences and support each other through challenging times, especially when the world feels more disconnected than ever.

We believe that as we move forwards in ‘content velocity,’ our playful desire to express authenticity and get back to the basics and the natural, will be important drivers to rediscover this connection and help us communicate more, with less.

For authors, 2019 will be about forging a unique path in design and finding this simple, unique balance of unexpected combinations. It means keeping up with trends and industry insights to better guide your portfolio towards the future. Here, we have put together insights and interviews from our community into what they believe will shape the visual landscape going forwards in 2019.

This features interviews from some of our talented Elements authors including; simbiothy, viki2win, EightonesixStudios, aqrstudio, Guuver, BarcelonaDesignShop, Wutip, WildOnes, Slidehack, Jumsoft, designova, devotchkah and Premiumilk.


On Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year


We’re excited to see Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year, Living Coral (PANTONE 16-1546) as it embodies a warm color snapshot of society’s need to reconnect with nature and each other. It reflects a global culture looking for nourishment at a time where issues such as global warming and polluted oceans are severely affecting our undersea ecosystems.

Leatrice Eiseman, the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, states that “with consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanising and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial Pantone Living Coral hit a responsive chord.”

We see Living Coral as being an important influencer in design in 2019 for its warmth and adaptability in branding experiences around nature, wellness, movement and social justice. Adobe calls this the rise of ‘Brand Stand’ “the increasing number of consumers who consider brands based on their social, political and environmental commitments before they purchase,” just as Living Coral reminds us to do.  

On Sourcing Inspiration and Keeping it


“The best project should be the one you still haven’t done.”

Premiumilk

Each year, we ask our community how they source their inspiration – something which changes as authors develop their creative work, as trends change overtime and as our social and political landscape evolves. It’s not something that is easy to do, and when you don’t use it, often it can get harder to work with.

Being in the creative industry, it’s important to develop routines to help source inspiration and recognise inspirational thoughts when they strike. Dennis Field from Invision’s Inside Design believes that one of the core ways we can do this is to have regular conversations with your peers around design and to consistently study the work of others.

In his article on ‘Staying Inspired,’ he recommends creatives to “build a library of these solutions that you can pull from as inspiration. Collect examples of great techniques. You’re not supposed to copy them, but they can be used to learn from and inspire better solutions for your clients.”

Author EightonesixStudios also believes that a core part of being inspired involves sharing with your team or peers and experimenting with styles – “we have a shared board on Pinterest to which we all pin artworks and designs which we deem aesthetically pleasing. We read online articles about design trends, and analyze the latest works of our favorite designers. We also look at vintage and retro posters/designs and try to combine them with modern trends.”

Author designova also regularly follows “design blogs and artist communities such as Behance and Dribbble where we get fuel for our imaginations.”

Similarly, author Wutip catches upon design trends around world by reading foreign design magazines, browsing social media and keeping reference of items that are selling on the platform.. “Our Envato community has enough members in the world for you to learn.”

Being in an increasingly globalised and diverse world, author WildOnes believes that our ability to source inspiration also lies in looking past our daily routine and noticing details as part of the creative process – “we all live in such a routine-like world, ‘wake-work-home-sleep’ and the circle goes round and round. The individuals that can break this circle and see it from the outside are the ones that truly can impact the world, with their vision and creative work. We also try to travel as much as possible to broaden our minds.”

In the same way, author Guuver suggests that inspiration can also come from our varied experiences and what surrounds us – “simple things such as the environment, from a movie I watch, from the book I read, from a silly discussion to a serious discussion with my colleagues and friends, to a deep talk with a fellow Envato Author from Indonesia.”

For this reason, he believes cross cultural design is especially important when sourcing inspiration – “first thing I do is learn about market culture – for example, the upcoming dates of their holidays, what kind of events are happening and the design trends that are popular in that part of the world..”

It is here that inspiration can become our process to understand the things around us, to help us see, make sense of experiences and stay true to our own design style in a rapidly evolving and demanding world.

On 2019 Visual Trends


New Colorful Minimalism

More brands and designers are looking to add bright colors to their palettes but retain their clean designs, so this is where minimalism with pops of colour can come alive! Here, we can find burst of colors making more of an impact when mixed with flatter or toned down colors and this is why companies such as Apple, Spotify and others have started to use bursts of color as part of their brand strategy.

Author, Jumsoft believes that Colorful Minimalism is one of their favorite styles at the moment because it’s clean and aesthetically pleasing to many – and you can see this adapted to various designs of their work.

Similarly, author designova also believes that this trend will be the next ‘big thing’ in design – “adding a perfect color palette that indulges with traditional minimalistic designs can elevate it to another level, both creatively and aesthetically, while at the same time keeping the original minimalistic expression at its best, that’s the key.”

They recently developed their Instagram Posts Template Graphics Pack with colorful minimalism in mind, to create “trendy and vibrant posts having a combination of custom hand drawn brush strokes, unique typography along with some selected stock photos. It was an interesting project and a new experience for us.”

Asymmetry


In recent years, there has been an ongoing predictability when it comes to grid-based layouts. Moving into 2019, the challenge lies in creating designs that have a varied distribution in their composition, while maintaining a strong sense of balance. When a composition is visually balanced, this can help to guide audiences across the design and keep them more engaged.

Author aqrstudio believes that this part of design is also necessary to showcase diverse perspectives and communicate what is unique about the designer’s style and what they are about. In their work, they focus on improving ideas that already exists in real life, combining several aspects into a whole new idea to form their own.

When it comes to visual designs, it’s only a matter of language, and understanding that this is just ‘our language’ to speak into the canvas. When we use the language repeatedly, people will eventually notice that this is indeed our language and style.”

With the introduction of Gutenberg on WordPress last year and growing trends in authenticity and embracing unique voices and perspectives, this long-standing predictability in layouts are likely to change, giving rise to more movement and complexity in design across words, graphics, video and more!

Font and Typography Experimentation


There has been a growing trend towards typography experimentation through typographic focal points in graphics and bold handwritten fonts. More and more creatives are looking for new ways to attract audiences and make their designs stand out from the crowd.

Author EightonesixStudios found that playing with text was certainly a good way to do it. In their Creative Flyer Series, templates are based on abstract/surreal elements, shapes or images. They are then combined with playful text using different arrangements/masking, kerning and size. “We didn’t go too crazy with these effects to preserve edit-ability, but in the end, that final composition with the font and the abstract shapes make these designs a visual playground for audiences, which is really attractive and interesting to look at.”

Similarly, author BarcelonaDesignShop suggests that ‘big, bold, outline fonts’ will be trending in 2019 with variations of styles welcomed – “I’m using combinations of different fonts, uppercase and lowercase, bigger and smaller, outline and bold – these will make my designs to stand out.”

Author designova believes that handwritten fonts are the most interesting category when talking about typography experimentation. Their fonts Arcadia-Nova and Noretta showcase the unique personality as well as the intricate details behind handwritten fonts.

“It’s a challenging task, but once we attain this, it is a special feeling of joy each time we look at the glyphs. We do weeks of research before bringing a new concept, then reworking and repeating until it is perfect in our eyes.”

Another category that they enjoy exploring are display fonts. Their item Signal, shows a modern and new-age typeface with a practical edge.

Gradients


We saw gradients trending last year, and we think it will likely get bigger in 2019. As designers experiment with their approaches to colours, minimalistic designs and transitions, gradients may have some interesting changes as well, stepping away from ombre effects and more towards bold colors and seen in various content styles.

Gradients showcasing galactic effects and colours such as blue and violet purple are growing in popularity and offer a more modern, rich and futuristic experience on platforms and digital devices.

Author Jumsoft believes that complex gradients are going to continue being on-trend because it’s a design that “presents a flexible choice – when done right, it can be amazing in both super-formal and very casual settings.” This trend can be seen in their items, Startup 101 and Pale Sunset.

Complex Duotones


Along with gradients, duo-toned images are another way to experiment with bold colors to achieve a bold statement. Complex duotones are found in designs with ultra contrasting tones, using unexpected combinations of colors and using heavier fades. Author, Premiumilk is fan of the complex duotone for various content styles and this can be seen across their work.

Author EightonesixStudios suggests the stark contrast in colors and brightness found in complex gradients can also work to easily grab the attention of the viewer. By using flat vector graphics with vivid/complex gradients and adding some shadows and lighting, flat designs become more appealing.

Author aqrstudio believes that this trend provides added inspiration and playfulness in terms of color combinations in their work, but it’s important to make sure it can stand out in its overall composition.

Hand Drawn and Custom Illustrations


In a rapidly moving and technological world, society is continuing to balance a digital art vs. traditional art paradigm. Hand drawn and custom illustrations work to inspire customers with the ‘realness’ of imperfect lives and challenge the over-polished nature of the media through hyper-realistic curves, brush strokes, watercolor effects and more.

Now that digital art has become so easily reproducible and more scalable means that creatives also have the opportunity to provide hand drawn, unique and custom designs, while utilizing their existing digital skills to cater for the growing popularity.

This is where hand drawn and custom illustrations can come together with elements of the natural and the real, alongside the digital world to meet current trends and demands. Author aqrstudio believes this is how hand drawn illustrations provide “space for designers to explore what they love, where the only limit is the designer’s imagination.”

Author BarcelonaDesignShop explores this opportunity by merging her two greatest passions – food and design, into her hand drawn creative work. ” I always hunt for new unique places for brunch, new delicious food combinations, new atmosphere – it’s an inspiration to create new designs. A hand drawn illustration can bring originality and exclusivity to any graphic design project.

It works perfectly for brand awareness.. now more and more people are attracted to custom graphics. For each template I create new unique illustrations specific to the concept of the restaurant.”

Authentic and Imperfect Photos


As we move further towards embracing the imperfect and very real versions of ourselves, stock photos that are unrealistically fake or polished are much less desirable. Author simbiothy states that “photography is heading back to the place it started, telling stories of regular people doing the job they love and living a regular life, without fancy models in studio and stuff.”

Similarly, author devotchkah suggests that stock photography and design needs to represent real individuals, our diversity and complex personalities.. “I expect to see this trend represented in 2019 with awkward design compositions and perfectly imperfect photographs.”  

As we move forwards, it is also the time to focus on the natural, in-between moments of joy, love, sorrow and creativity in stock photography and how we can merge it with our ever-evolving culture and technology, especially in the world of memes.

With social media and memes being a powerful tool for many individuals and businesses, adding custom text to images (text overlays) make it instantly shareable for marketing purposes. Many bloggers and social media experts continue to use this across platforms, and our prediction is that it’s popularity across photos and graphics will continue to rise. Photos that allow for text overlay is what author simbiothy calls ‘fresh blood’ in stock photography.

Similarly, author viki2win states that ‘imperfect’ photography has been the best selling style for many customers these days. He aims to capture these real life, unedited and un-posed moments of storytelling as much as possible in his work, and is also looking to explore and incorporate more photography around our connection with nature, playing or creating using natural materials and objects – “using nature as a source of inspiration, feelings of acceptance, appeasement and achievement.”

This connects to 2019’s Pantone Color of the Year, Living Coral which works to remind us of our love for nature, its extraordinary qualities and all it provides.

Futuristic, 3D & Galactic Effects


There is so much to be fascinated about when it comes to the future and the universe. Audiences are increasingly curious about the things that are intangible or unknown and look to be surprised in design, even in the most simplest of ways.

Author Jumsoft believes that “sometimes nothing is more beautiful and awe-inspiring than our own universe, and the colors, shapes, and patterns we can make of it. Many of our works were inspired by it, and we think Interstellar and Aurora Australis are some the best showcases for this upcoming trend.”

On the Future of Design


Moving into 2019, we continue to explore the roots of trends and insights and it’s growing relevance to global contexts, interests and cultural movements. This time of evolving technology means that creatives need to work harder to keep up, embrace the new and be a part of the challenge – forging a path of experimentation and better reflecting the complex world we live in.

Here, our authors share where they think design is moving towards and what styles they believe will be more relevant in the future – something which looks exciting, bold and simple (yet messy) in the most interesting of ways.

Author Jumsoft calls this ‘the future set on chaotic design.’ A time where design will be pushing its boundaries more than ever before and at the same time, embracing simplicity and authenticity in its representations. Author designova suggest that it is ‘minimalism elevated to the next’ level using more organic or natural color palettes, like living coral to better connect with the visual things around us.

“Typefaces will be mixed up regardless of their genre and traditional conventions, giving the top priority for grabbing attention of viewers rather than following conventional typography rules.”

In the same way, author EightonesixStudios would like to see more experimental graphics with “artistic typography, more complex/creative text boxes and images, tricky layouts and placements involving imagery, variations between text and graphic alignment.”

The focus on pushing graphic templates to another level is also something which author, BarcelonaDesignShop believes will help open up opportunities for creatives to grow, to step away from creative boundaries “using huge fonts, bold vivid colors, asymmetry in composition, authentic illustrations with different texture effects..”

A large part of this opportunity lies in following trends that connect with work and taking more risks without asking for permission. This is where author, Slidehack believes design will overall be more intuitive and experimental. “We’ll push aesthetics a little bit more than the functional aspects. Less paragraphs and more visuals.. I am very excited to see more design styles like; anti-gravity 3D concepts, alternative art for UI, impactful typography, and many more.”

Similarly, author Premiumilk suggests that design in the future may also see more trends in animation and motion graphics, not just static images, as well as more designs around social media templates.

Going forwards, author devotchkah believes that visual trends will reflect far more than popular culture or ever-changing fads. It will be influenced by the growing social, political and cultural issues affecting our world today, the need to take risks for what we believe in and to express our individuality for all its complexities.  

Design as a vehicle to communicate messages around social change is likely to become stronger as we look for ways to hold the space of discomfort and safety in challenging times, and learn to reconnect with the things that really matter.

“We live in such a plural, diverse and multicultural world, so design is changing to constantly accommodate and represent real individuals with complex personalities. We are facing protests around the world, we have huge issues regarding politics, human rights and global immigration, also the US presidential election coming up soon..

I expect to see real and multicultural people represented in videos and photographs. I expect to see the riot, the anger and the uniqueness of the youth represented in experimental design with complex and abstract composition paired with authentic and perfectly imperfect photographs.”

This year, design will bring forward the importance of representation, experimentation and minimalism in our everyday lives and look to creatives to find a balance. This reflects our need to make sense of what’s happening in the world, to capture the amazing diversity that represents us and to be able to tell our own unique story – no matter how simple, abstract or complex it may be.

Here we look to overcome the rules that can limit our creativity, to be mindful of what visually surrounds us – whether in nature or politics, to be comfortable at a time of chaotic design and to innovate in this space of colliding ideas, styles and stories.

It’s the kind of disruptive expression that is reminiscent of childhood. An embrace of the simple, yet meaningful – a genuine playfulness in what we do and a celebration of the abstract or imperfect things that cannot be defined. It reminds us to be brave.


What do you think of design in 2019? Share your author thoughts and insights with your fellow community on the Envato Forums now.

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