Please help with assignment questions

Hello all, I am a new Graphic Design student and have been tasked with initiating a discussion with at least three industry professionals. Your assistance with these questions would be greatly appreciated:

  1. What do you feel the current trends are in graphic Design this year? (e.g. 3D letters/ geometric shapes/ maximalism)
  2. Is any of your work at all influenced by styles such as Arts and Crafts, Swiss Design, Constructivism, Bauhaus, Pop Art, etc.? If yes, which ones do you prefer to incorporate if you have the choice and why?
  3. If a client asks you for a design that is ‘trendy’ or ‘contemporary’, what words, ideas or themes come to mind during your design process?

Thanking you in advance for your valuable time in helping the newby!!

Hi. Welcome.

I am afraid all three questions, for me, are more than a little off-target. If design is about ‘trends’, you’re missing the point of what design is about.

My clients usually have problems they need solving. To design something to be ‘trendy’ is far too indulgent and tipping towards art rather than design. So, my answers to your questions are probably not going to be what you hoped to hear…

I don’t care. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, it seemed so important and ‘cool’ to be ‘down’ with what was trendy. Doesn’t take long to realise it is all bull. Those people who the trends follow are often designers who just do what they do. They have a distinctive style that gets latched onto as somehow cool and thousands emulate it. It’s cheap and a bit ugly. Be the former, not the latter. Learn your craft. Get good at it. Be the originator, not the emulator.

Only if it’s appropriate. If I were creating promotional material for an arts and crafts house, then of course it would be appropriate for the solution I came up with to be duly influenced. If I just wanted a Bauhaus feel to new packaging for ice cream, then that would be arrogant and self-indulgent on my part and selling a bad service to my client.

Again, I reference my answer above. If my client is opening a new bar in a city and wants to attract a particular clientele, then I would research the relevant areas of popular culture that influence his intended audience and then use this speak to them in that particular tone of voice. That is the only reason to adopt a trend. Making dog biscuit packaging ‘maximalist’ (god, I hate that term) because everyone else is, is actually ridiculous. Absolutely EVERYTHING you do should be driven by the problem you need to solve and the people you need to speak to, and not by some visual fad du jour.

As I say, I am pretty sure this is not what you wanted to hear, but I hope it helps in some way.


Thank you for your time. The questions and interactions with the forum are part of an assignment though and not my own, so I can say that I agree with and understand your replies. Is is fair to say that your / our job is literally visual communication? That seems to be the definition of graphic design - communicating a message successfully.

Answers respectively…

  1. I would disregard all aesthetic trends, instead I would place more emphasis on social trends - this is vastly more important to a business and will actaully work towards generating revenue.

  2. Is influenced by them all… and some; What I choose to do, is determined by what’s best for the client given what they are trying to achieve and I’ll draw on inspiration from any source.

  3. These terms are very subjective, you could ask 50 people and they would tell you totally different things. This is where you need to use skills that you aren’t taught in design school to ask more questions to drill down into exactly what they are really asking.

Hopefully helpful :beers:


Great thanks! Yes, I am expecting a variety of answers and yes, on the next one I will research the question more before asking. But I have to admit, there are pages and pages on Google about Graphic Design trends, and yet when reading through this forum it seems a moot point. Is design influences and styles something that you studied but not necessarily apply in the ‘real world’?

Bloggers need something to write about. They see two people coming up with the same idea and suddenly it’s a ‘trend’.
While it’s good to be aware of trends, don’t let them box you into a sub-par solution for your client’s message.

Research is required for just about any project you take on.

In my entire professional career, I have never needed to consider what’s trending in graphic design beyond knowing enough about what’s trending to generally avoid it.

Keeping up with technology and new developments (both in production and communication) is certainly important, as is paying attention to whether your work looks dated (as in decades old) is important. Paying attention to the general look that dominates in a client’s business segment is also important, but that’s typically a long-term look for their industry instead of a trend.

However, year-to-year trends are meaningless unless you’re working on a job for an organization with a business model that focuses on today’s trends. I deliberately avoid trends because they’ll be out of fashion a year or two down the road. Besides, good designers are more likely to unintentionally become trendsetters whose work others imitate, not trend followers themselves.

Instructors filling their students’ heads with this kind of nonsense is really rather discouraging. When I’ve interviewed recent graduates for jobs and their presentation has partially focused on impressing me with the trendiness of their work, I’ve always regarded that as a strike against them since it’s an attitude that would need to be unlearned.

A good designer develops the best solution for the job at hand, and that rarely, if ever, depends on the latest trend.

Of course, my work has been influenced by what came before it. Everyone’s work builds upon what one has observed throughout one’s life and career. For example, unless one’s work is deliberately imitating a style that came before the Bauhaus, their work is influenced by the Bauhaus whether one realizes it or not.

As for intentionally making a choice to use this or that style in my work, that’s entirely dependent on the job at hand and has nothing to do with my personal preferences.

In my working professional career which spans several decades at ad agencies, in-house agencies, and as a solo designer, I’ve never been asked by a client to make something trendy. Clients rarely, if ever, have any idea of what’s trending in graphic design.

I’ve been asked to produce work with a contemporary look, though, but that’s typically a request that’s a bit meaningless a vague. A designer should study the company and the problem at hand to decide what general and specific look is appropriate and how it will resonate with the target audience to best achieve the intended responses and goals. When that aligns with what the client had in mind, great. When it doesn’t, it’s a matter of negotiation with the client.

As for words that come to mind, they typically don’t. I don’t think of design problems that way. I’m more inclined to think in terms of producing work that will resonate with the target audience on multiple levels — for example, cognitively and emotionally.

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The current trend is good creative, good design, good production, and good work in general. As for what is the trend next year, I don’t know.

When you pick a certain Pantone colour, and realize it was on the trend list several years ago, then you have blown it.

This is partially due to recent graduates believing this is important since their academic-oriented design instructors led them to believe so. It’s also because people who write about design on the internet need something to write about, and writing about what they’ve observed as being their idea of a new trend is easy subject matter. It’s a bit like writing top-ten lists — clickbait that erroneously gives people the impression of substance, which generates clicks and, subsequently, search engine rankings.

You’re conflating trends and styles, but they’re two different things.

This coming week, I have a couple of different projects scheduled: (1) designing tradeshow promotional materials for a 3D software development company and (2) designing a 32-page booklet for a city’s recreational programs aimed primarily at parents with children.

Each calls for a completely different style from the other, but neither incorporates anything that one might find through searching the internet for trends. Instead, I’ll design them in ways that attract, communicate with, and educates their respective target audiences on conscious and subconscious levels in ways that help achieve my clients’ intended results.

Thank you, yes, I am learning that research is your most important and time consuming step. Fortunately I love it!

Thank you - very valuable feedback!!

Yip, I am finding that the word ‘trend’ is not at all popular in the design world! Thanks for your time.

I am thankful that our lecturers required us to get in contact with forums such as this one. Over this past week alone I have learnt a lot from posts by professionals like yourself. Thank you for taking the time to assist students with their work, and have a great week with your projects!!

You have written down my thoughts.
I don’t know of a more professional graphic design forum than this one.