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Design Trends: good or bad?

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  • Design Trends: good or bad?

    I'm currently exploring topics to write my dissertation on, and kinda testing the waters for the various ideas that I have, one of which is the why design trends are follow and if they are a good or a bad thing. I'd be really interested to hear what your views are on in relation to why you think design trends begin, why they're followed, if they can enhance or hinder design etc. One main point of discussion within this topic is why design trends occur when there is such a focus on creating branding that is timeless, when design trends come and go out of fashion?

    Would really appreciate your feedback - thank you in advance!

  • #2
    I'm always skeptical of design trends. Somethings are interesting simply because they are different, even if they aren't the best solution. Somethings are not new, just forgotten and then revived. And every now and then, someone does come up with something that is both effective and original that works for most people. But 9 times out of 10, a design trend is not the best possible solution.

    I believe design trends are mainly followed due to mental laziness and risk aversion. People don't want to put in the extra effort to come up with anything original, so they latch on to whatever seems to be already gaining momentum for whatever reason. They believe that if it's working for some, that it will probably work for most.


    • #3
      You have a fallacy in your argument starting with ''a focus on creating branding that is timeless.''

      No brand is static. Even the most stalwart of brands has shifted and changed over time (see: ).
      Sometimes a brand can give in to a trend and it goes horribly wrong (see: )

      And here's another thought, who says design trends are even linked to branding? Sure advertising plays a big role in branding, but do current societal trends steer that? Or do you think it really is the advertising that steers the societal trends?

      The thing with trends, besides the fact they burn out (some not fast enough,) is that it always pays big to be the trend-setter. Everyone else is just a copy cat.


      • #4
        Originally posted by juniordesflora View Post
        One main point of discussion within this topic is why design trends occur when there is such a focus on creating branding that is timeless, when design trends come and go out of fashion?
        It all makes sense when you understand that a brand is about meaning. Meaning is by nature unstable and must be continually supported.

        Timeless branding is timeless because it taps primal or archetypal values, simply. Stylistic expression of these values can take many forms, which may become trendy if they gain sufficient traction.

        Good or bad to use trends? The bottom line is the only thing that matters in graphic design. If utilizing a trend helps to increase profit, or further whatever the purpose of the design is intended for, then it is good. If it fails in that purpose then it is bad.
        Last edited by praxis11; 02-02-2017, 10:55 PM.


        • #5
          Oh, I don't know about the Bottom Line being the be all end all.

          I work on a lot of things that are graphically designed but not branding or marketing or selling.
          (Think public wayfinding, site beautification, or educational exhibits in government-run public museums.)
          I suppose one could argue that getting the foot traffic going in the right direction does matter, so in a way I suppose that is a bottom line of sorts.
          But I think people are still going to use the local Rail Trail, in either direction, whether or not they like the signage.
          Last edited by PrintDriver; 02-03-2017, 07:20 AM.


          • praxis11
            praxis11 commented
            Editing a comment
            I wrote 'or further whatever the purpose of the design is intended for.'

            Also a basic design principle for you:

          • PrintDriver
            PrintDriver commented
            Editing a comment
            Sorta jumped down your throat on the solid statement before the qualifier, I guess.

            Yeah, I don't need a lesson in aesthetics in Graphic Design.
            I'm a firm believer in Form Follows Function. Aesthetics are subjective.
            Like the Coke can. Beautiful design. Warm and Fuzzy. Aesthetically pleasing. To everyone except the Diet Coke drinker who didn't read the label.

        • #6
          I remember when Coca-Cola tried the white cans a few years ago around Christmas.

          People hated them so much that the company switched back to red cans.

          I loved the white cans and thought they were unique and creative and went well with the polar bears on them. But majority of consumers would disagree that the white cans were a good design.


          • #7
            With Coke it's a brand recognition thing. Coke already sells their Diet Coke with Caffeine with the white label/red coca-cola.
            People were probably more angry at getting the full sugar product because they grabbed the ''white can'' than being angry at the design itself.

            I had the same thing happen to me with the Tropicana. I buy one kind of OJ, it has an orange with a straw on it and it says Most Pulp.
            I couldn't even find the brand on the shelf it had changed so drastically to a label that looked just like the generic store branding; all nice and sans serif, the words ''most pulp'' reduced to a scale that didn't even read from the aisle outside the cooler case and with an orange gradient, which didn't read as a glass of OJ because you never see the turned corner when it's standing packed together in the store shelf. I never even knew that was supposed to be a glass of OJ until I read that article I linked to. LOL. And I wasn't the only one wondering where the heck it went. Others there in the aisle as well.


            • calebninja
              calebninja commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree, the redesign does look like a generic store brand. I wonder where the agency that designed it got their inspiration from.

          • #8
            Trends in graphic design work the same way as trends in music and fashion and movies.

            There are always going to be very, very few trendsetters--and in some respects becoming a trend setter is a happy accident. There come times when whatever current trends grow stale. Sometimes is is a small trend and others it is a host of trends.
            Then someone puts something out that captures the popular imagination --sometimes by a real visionary, other times just right time/right place.
            In any case, it is inevitable that others will seek to capture whatever that magic is--and depending on the project it is very wise to do so.

            Whether it is good to follow a trend or not to me seems like an odd concept. There are long term trends and then there are short term trends. It is just important to know when the trends are running their course. You really don't want to be the last person in the world wearing bell bottoms.

            Keep Saturn in Saturnalia.


            • designzombie
              designzombie commented
              Editing a comment
              You can be the last person in the world wearing bell bottoms if you are trying to revive the trend after enough people have forgotten it was ever a trend. You might even mistakenly get credit for starting the trend.

              Disco never really died. It Just faded in and out of the main stream. It was revived in the early 1990s and probably will be revived again when enough people forget that it ever existed.

            • seamas
              seamas commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, Disco Stu was what saved Disco from total death.

          • #9
            I think it all depends on how you want to be perceived. Following trends demonstrates that you're current, relevant, and aware. Following them closely might be appropriate when you want to appeal to a younger, urban audience, whereas if your audience is older, more conservative, or rural, you might want to follow trends more selectively. Not following trends because you're unaware of them can make you look outdated, uninformed, out of touch, etc. I've also seen instances where ignoring trends on purpose can set one apart as rebellious, youthful, wealthy, and/or trendsetter themselves.


            • #10
              Design trends are awsum!

              Without fresh flesh what would we have to eat?






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