What design trends will we see in 2018?

The late 70’s / early 80’s are shaping design.

2017 has been an interesting year for motion graphics, film and design. As an industry we are in a position to easily create almost anything we can dream up sitting at home on our computers, however it can be argued there has been a return to the practical.

Indeed, much design seems to be leaning towards big space, flat colours, simplification and abstract form. This is in no way unique; the timeless quality of such design has never really left us. As an example of how tastes have shifted, just look at the logo for the 2018 Winter Olympics compared to its 2014 counterpart.


The last 2-3 years have also seen a move towards flatter user interface design, driven by consumer demand for usability and simplicity. You could argue that technology being used more by an older generation is also driving this change, the ultimate goal surely being invisible technology like the Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant that we only have to talk to. Or better / creepier still, that can predict our needs without us needing to interact with them at all…

Why is this happening?

There has definitely been a movement towards a late 70’s / early 80’s aesthetic in recent years, that will likely carry on into 2018. There could be a number of reasons for this:

  • The Apple Mac was launched in 1984 and changed design forever, before this things were still very much grounded in the physical world.
  • CD’s arrived in 1982 and led to a rapid decline in vinyl (Which has also seen a surge in popularity in recent years).
  • Films like Star Wars (1977) and Bladerunner (1982) are back.
  • Property is expensive and the economy is unstable, leading many people to make the best of what they have and invest in home comforts. Technology makes working and staying at home easier by the day.

There has been a kind of backlash to digital in recent years where people seem to be reaching out for something physical and tangible in a digitised world. A whole generation are cashing in on nostalgia...Stranger Things anyone?

People are seeking comfort, and Scandinavian aesthetics have been big in interior design. In a world that increasingly pulls us in different directions; this style lends us a sense of balance. The Scandinavians even have a word for it, Lagom, meaning “just the right amount”. Also, the 70’s obsession with home plants is back with shops popping up everywhere specialising in just that:

Old Market Plants

Conservatory Archives

What does this mean for marketing?

Keep it simple

It’s been widely acknowledged for some time that a simple, straight-to-the-point message is important for effective marketing. However that also needs to come across in your visuals:

  • Consider having big areas of one colour or a gradient.
  • Don’t overcrowd the screen.
  • Try to convey a sense of simplicity and a break from the chaos of everyday living.

Look at this example for Vifa. Beautiful aesthetics have not only shaped the product in this video, but also the execution of the video itself.

Vifa - home

Consider some 70s / 80s details

A love for Memphis Group design still seems to be permeating motion graphics. This style appeared in the early 1980s and defined an era. Do these little graphical details and bold colours look familiar?

Memphis group pic.jpg

This great example of video and motion graphics working in perfect harmony from fresh talent Igor + Valentine shows we haven’t seen the last of this style.

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Squarespace also made a series of videos last year that draw from this look. The Sadies Williams version best exemplifies this, as do her 80’s tinged clothes!

Make it Yourself with Sadie Williams

Try to do something practical

You can do pretty much anything you want now in motion graphics and VFX, but does that mean you should? The availability of affordable realistic render engines like RedShift, plus frankly incredible film cameras may be driving a return to real-world effects.

There has been a surge in physical VFX in film and as we mentioned before, customers are looking for a tangible element to their digital lives.

Check out this lovely example from Buck:

Etsy – Valentines Day

Introduce some character

This one might not seem so obvious, but a huge amount of video content (particularly animation) is focusing more on character animation. Traditional ‘white space, one shot’ Infographics are out and audiences expect an element of entertainment and human connection to remain engaged.

Consider how you can bring your information to life without loosing those lovely simple aesthetics and physicality. Ask yourself, where’s the character?

Maybe it’s something with actual characters like this:

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Maybe your character is as simple as a circle?

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