While we love to keep tabs on trend predictions from year to year, 2021 has felt particularly accelerated. It’s been a wild ride this year (to say the least). Design responds to a changing world, It reflects the world around us. Whether it’s the global economic state, social and cultural shifts, or political changes – visual trends are inextricably linked to what’s going on outside our personal lives.
So, how are 18 months of travelling less, and thinking and reflecting more, going to translate into visual trends?
We’ve rounded up the top picks from our designer crew here at BlueMelon to give you a glimpse into the future of what the future of design trends in communications strategies looks like. We’re seeing the influence of greater social awareness, complemented by a return to the playful and maximalist.
Read on to find our team’s top picks for 2022 design trends to inspire your online campaigns.
Juan – Purpose-led creations
More than a specific executional trend, I believe that in 2022 we will see a huge increase in companies prioritising their brand purpose. Purpose-driven brands that care for their employees, their clients and the environment is definitely a trend that is not going to stop. No more B.S – only truly meaningful content. Messages that are for humans, bring your workforce into your comms, share the journey, care about others, build a better future are going to stand out the most.
Adrian – Animation takes the lead
The pandemic has drastically changed the advertising and video industry. Over the past two years with lockdowns and restrictions, we’ve seen a shift in the type of video content that brands are producing. There’s been a rise in animated videos ads especially. The beauty of animated videos is that they allow brands to use their colours in a fun and playful way, and introduce characters to represent them. I’m excited to see how companies permanently include these animations in their brand and to see the evolution of video and animation hybrids that are already popping up in the music industry.
Vix – Authenticity over polished
This year has seen a rise in social commentary around inequality and critical global challenges. As a result, creatively navigating these themes has become paramount in engaging with human-centred design. In 2022, I believe we will see an increase in brands choosing authenticity over polished curation, embracing the ordinary and shedding light on the human condition. As consumers are becoming more socially aware we can be sure to see more focus on the “real” world as artists and designers use their platform to transform our society.
Geneva – Millennial minimalism out the door
I’m excited to see packaging design changed in the beauty industry. I think for the last decade we have seen a really clean, minimal and nude aesthetic, which appealed to a millennial audience. As Gen Z ages into the beauty industry and has more buying power, they’re reaching for products with more bold, lighthearted and playful packaging and the clean, sleek packaging of the past decade has become almost boring. A funky, slightly maximalist aesthetic really pops on screen and is eye catching for a wide audience. I love clashing colours like cyber lavender, baby yellow and neon orange!
Mark – Flashback to comic nostalgia
Design has evolved so much over the years, with a refined and cleaner look. But, recently, artists and designers have been adapting aesthetics into a retro look that fits in today’s culture. This has been carried out across a variety of media, including animation, character design and logos. A key example is artists using the Ben Day process to simulate a comic book look and feel. It fulfilled a need to create shading while dealing with ink and printing limitations. Of course, with digital art, that is no longer a limitation, but the process is still being used to replicate the style and create something new with it. I believe this retro aesthetic will continue to grow and become more prominent in the coming years.
Rach – Custom imagery replaces stock
As with most life experiences, often we come out of them stronger. My prediction is that the silver lining to a year full of global adversity will be more honesty, realism and diversity in the way brands communicate with their audiences. We are all consumers, and we were all hit hard last year, and we’ve all been a little humbled by it. As a result I believe we’ll see a decrease in the shiny, polished, insta-perfect imagery that has dominated our feeds so much over the past few years as audiences begin to crave more real, honest connections. I think (the best) brands will recognise this, and we might see an increase in custom brand imagery that doesn’t fit the stock standard mould and reflects the realities of real-life a little more. Trust is where it’s at for brands who want to succeed, and honesty is the best place to start building that up.
Harley – Return to tropical motifs
Pineapples were a fad a couple years ago and still seem to be hiding in the mist in most object / interior / clothing design. Although the trend has died down in the past, I’m sure it will return as it seemed to kick off quite well. Playful fruit motifs are always in style and I predict we will be seeing a buzzy, neon tropical vibe in 2022.
Marina – Data to the fore
With the pandemic and the lockdowns of the past years, governments, associations, businesses and even individuals have been sharing a lot of data. We are seeing an increase of dynamic data visualisation that allows us to share heavy content in a more digestible and interesting way, but also to generate real value with it. Data visualisation can also help to make heavy data more visually appealing and accessible to a wider audience.
Paris – Fine art revival
The use of fine art-based illustrations has made a comeback, mostly being utilised in packaging design. Fine art illustrations were commonplace before the ease of computers. Later, we moved away from them towards more minimalistic and clean designs, including bold geometric patterns, bright solid colours and abstract aesthetics. As a consequence of COVID-19 and lockdown, people have had more time to reflect and invest more time revisiting illustrative approaches to packaging. I believe this will be a showstopper trend that will emerge in 2022.
Jeremy – Deeper engagement with brands
We’ve all felt a little more vulnerable in the last two years. We’ve seen increased reliance on our technology, logistics (thanks delivery person!) and a lot of time spent at home. Brands will need to meet the increased demand of audiences to be surprised and delighted at every touchpoint. I’m super excited to see clever copywriting on my food packaging, the CEO of companies jumping on my favourite podcasts to reveal the mystery of how things are delivered to me, every webform worthy of an Oscar for screenwriting and digital experiences I’ll definitely recommend to my fam. Shout out to those content creators making my day.
As we all look to the future, it’s certain that sticking to the old ways, thoughtlessly, is no longer an option. Recent chaos and uncertainty has moved elements of design in different directions. We’re excited to take a closer look at how style is born out of this disruptive, transformative time. In practice, us Melons are going to be questioning ourselves as creators, and championing user participation on our design journeys. We’re taking steps towards celebrating the artistic strengths of our design team, while being inspired by the world around us.