Exciting design trends in 2018

Test your knowledge of the latest design trends we've seen emerging this year.

Dawn Hogg
By Dawn Hogg
  • 26 September 2018
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
Design trends 2018

Do you know your design trends? Can you tell your duotones from your gradients? Test your knowledge or find some inspiration for your next project in our roundup of the most exciting new paths design has taken in 2018.

You might not know the name, but you’ll probably have seen a duotone or two. What exactly are they? OK, here’s the science bit; duotones are essentially a two-toned image that’s brought about by printing one halftone on top of a contrasting colour. Originally a printing technique, it’s found a new home in digital media where the effect is really easy to produce thanks to some nifty imaging software; like the style of photography used on Spotify. Duotones are used all over the music streaming company’s app, website and marketing. These sort of images that use a limited colour palette seem to be the perfect complement for designers to use along with flat design.

They’re back. No longer a cringe-worthy way to ‘jazz up’ that corporate PDF born in the fires of PowerPoint, gradients (or colour transitions) were pushed out of style by the flat design revolution. It’s an aesthetic that’s ever evolving though, and the rules around flat design have changed and gradients are being used to enhance those previously flat colours. It’s hard not to notice the vibrant array of colours blending across various examples of UI, branding, backgrounds, illustrations and overlays lately, the Instagram logo being a good example of mainstream usage.

‘Real’ photography
Ditching those standard staged stock shots and opting for photography that carries a much more authentic, emotional, true to real-life feel about them seems to be growing and growing. It’s a great way of telling a story and helps brands connect with an audience at a more relatable, human level. Could it be that there’s a limited place in the world for stock shots (as much fun as the ‘Distracted Boyfriend’ meme was)?


The 80s and 90s
With more visual excitement than your average Flashdance, designers are seemingly loving the process of breathing new life into the designs and patterns of these two instantly recognisable eras. Abstract, geometric patterns, pastels, electric hues and of course ‘millennial’ pink – it all might feel like it’s more at home on a t-shirt from the Fresh Prince’s wardrobe, but it really shows how creativity and nostalgia can come together to make something new and exciting.

Bold typography
Yup, much like those 80s patterns, typography in 2018 is in an altogether bigger, bolder boat. Extra-large font sizes, huge headlines, the return of helvetica inspired sans-serifs and even handmade fonts – designers are finding more and more ways to make text much more dynamic and arresting in the never-ending battle for audience attention.

Like the sound of some of these designs? Let’s see how we can build them into your collateral designs.

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