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2020 design trends

Design Trends 2020: how have they changed throughout the year?

We are now right in the middle of the year 2020. A year nearly all of us wouldn’t have expected to play out as it has, with COVID-19 at the centre of everything happening not only in the UK but around the world. As Head of Design here at Verb Marketing, I want to discuss how projected design trends for 2020 may have shifted and changed throughout the pandemic, and whether we have seen an influence from COVID-19 or any other factors that are changing the way we design in 2020.

Colour

Colour plays such an important factor within any design. Whether it be a re-branding project, a new advertising campaign, or an individual piece of graphic design. So much so, Pantone has released a colour of the year, every year since 2000. The colour of the year has gained popularity over the 20-year period but has also opened up a lot of discussion surrounding the choices, and how these are made. I mean, no one truly knows the answer to how they arrive at a particular colour in a palette, of which Pantone claims to have 1,867. How they arrive at a colour each year that is supposed to feature heavily in every designer’s colour palette is somewhat of a mystery to me.

This year’s colour is Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue. Pantone claim this colour instils calm, confidence, and connection, and also highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation.

classic blue colour of the year

I wonder with what has happened so far this year, whether it could well be seen as an ideal colour to represent the year 2020. With people wanting a more stable and dependable foundation and environment, in the midst of the current situation. I do, however, believe that most people will not relate to Pantone’s colour of the year as the colour they remember from 2020.

I think other colour palettes will be more vivid in most people’s memory when they think of 2020. For example, Government COVID-19 campaigns with the colour palette of yellow, red, black and yellow, green, black. Also the colour black, which has become incredibly significant in recent months due to the Black Lives Matter movement, especially with the social campaign of #BlackoutTuesday, where many people, businesses, and brands posted a black square of colour on their social channels instead of their usual posts as an opportunity to reflect on racism and the effects of racism on society. These colour palettes are arguably more important and relevant in 2020 than Pantone’s vision of classic blue, leading to the question; how do design trends begin and can they ever be pre-envisaged?

stay home coronavirus poster

stay alert coronavirus posterblack square

Branding

Whilst a look into the future of branding is a very broad minefield and covers so many aspects, one could not begin to define what this year’s branding trends could hold. Instead, we should look at external factors that may influence the design of such brands and the tone of voice of that particular brand, with consideration to their overall narrative and need to continually develop and adapt to ever-changing situations, conversations, and market placement. For example, the movement towards a greener planet, with renewable energy and an overall need for change in terms of global warming, will have more of an impact on a company’s brand voice rather than one particular design trend. I believe it is the external factors that will change a brand’s voice, and in turn, affect the design approach.

We have also seen a need for brands to be much more flexible and responsive due to the amount of different channels brands are now able to advertise through in 2020. The explosion of social media and video marketing has seen a huge shift in traditional adverting methods and brand building. Now more than ever, people want a narrative, a story. We saw this introduced most prominently in the John Lewis Christmas adverts, which have excelled at this type of brand narrative over the years. With video content being so accessible in 2020, this type of branding and advertising will only become more prominent over the next few years, and once again, will be driven by factors, discussions, and issues in society. A modern brand needs to be able to manage these changes and can only do so with a full understanding of their guidelines and responsive design in mind.

Typography

typography

A look into the trends of typography is very subjective, and I believe it is completely dependent on the specific campaign it will be used in. I see typography to be a bit like fashion. Trends and styles come and go, they get recycled. I believe typography is similar in the sense that in the past 3-4 years we have seen a surge in bold, blocky typefaces with crisp edging. Certainly, in 2020, we are beginning to see a rise in the medium to bold sans serif fonts being used as titles, accompanied by a sans serif body copy. This will probably be popular over the next couple of years, and then there will be a shift to a new composition of fonts. This will then, in time, come around full-circle at some point, as it does with fashion.

Can design trends ever be predicted?

This poses the question, can design trends ever be predicted? One thing is for sure, nobody has a crystal ball for design. The key to great design is constantly keeping up to date with what is going on around us and checking out the latest companies who have re-branded. Look out for the latest marketing campaigns and analyse and assess them. Never sit still, design is constantly moving and as a designer, you need to be aware of the latest design waves in order to be able to produce a piece to the best of your ability. Of course, design is very subjective, and it is a skill being able to balance the latest trends, ideas, and concepts along with the client’s expectations. But the more knowledge and inspiration you take in and have around you, I believe the better the results will be and should fit seamlessly into the campaign and/or brand you are working with.

Thanks for reading!

Peter Richardson

Head of Design, Verb Marketing

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