Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
advertise @ underconsideration
---Click here for full archive list or browse below
Sign(s) of the Time

Design trends come and go. It’s to be expected. Heck, sometimes they don’t even really disappear completely.

Within the past couple months I received two different postcards promoting the Society of Publication Designers’ May conference. Each postcard showcased an overused design trend from the past year. The first postcard focused on brackets and the other on plus signs.

The accompanying text made each presentation of all of the samples on each postcard even more powerful:

Now what? Magazine designers can be swept along by fads like anyone else. While the ad slump makes it seem like we’re in a creative lull, there is exciting work out there… challenging… thoughtful… full of real inspiration.

While I agree that there is great work out there, the postcards did prompt me to notice that some designers — aside from those who print nature sweatshirts with pseudo-silhouettes on them — are hopping again on the “silhouette” bandwagon. I’ve seen it work. And not.

What design elements, font treatments, or layout tricks have you seen used (or overused) in lots of different pieces lately? Any predictions on what the next design trend will be?

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ARCHIVE ID 1418 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Apr.03.2003 BY joy olivia
Sam’s comment is:

Helvetica Bold all crammed together, thanks (I think) to these guys. Why why why?

Then there is the new annual from the Type Directors Club, another example of the pseudo-scientific style that reached a pinnacle with the Tolleson book. Love it love it love it.

On Apr.04.2003 at 05:00 PM
KM’s comment is:

Apparently red, black & white were hot colors for use in music packaging last year.

On Apr.04.2003 at 05:52 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Hmm...I guess I don't consider brackets, plusses, silhouettes or red/black combos trends as much as basic building blocks of visual design. It's like calling the use of punctuation a trend in typography ;o)

On Apr.04.2003 at 06:09 PM
Su’s comment is:

PK's told me that black-red-white means the designer didn't feel like coming up with a real palette. Makes sense.

As for trends: Car commercials with slightly fuzzy-edged, faintly-glowing type. Every. Damn. Company.

On Apr.04.2003 at 06:19 PM
Nick Finck’s comment is:

In the last year I have seen the good old 45 degree angled edges re-emerge it's ugly head (not to a hippocrite, I realize my own work reflects this, however one must understand that this design has been around since 1998).

I lothe the day we see more "arrows" and unreadable font become mainstream. I am glad we have moved beyond the "grunge" look (even with the poor naming of that style). I am a little burnt out on the pixelated style... but it seems to be fading.

In the last year, I would have to see the only thing that seems to become increasingly popular (and no one seems to understand that sometimes it just doesn't fit all projects) is the "simplicity" style. You know.. blank white pages with a logo in your favorite magazine. Web pages with just a few hyperlinks and minimal text... typically no graphics. furniture that is so simplified it loses style. You know what I am refering to.

On Apr.04.2003 at 06:34 PM
armin’s comment is:

Gradients in Flash. I really don't mind them, they look really good, but have definitely been overused. Nobody pulls it off better than Todd Dominey though.

On Apr.04.2003 at 07:31 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

> the good old 45 degree angled edges...

> this design has been around since 1998


On Apr.04.2003 at 07:52 PM
omit’s comment is:

It's the Roger Black rule:"The first color is white. The second color is black. The third color is red."

Old and new trends: Crumpled paper taped up, rounded corners, dotted lines (like Speak Up), Underware typefaces (like Speak Up), House Industries typefaces, wallpaper backgrounds, typographic swashes, 3D bubbles and shapes, tiny Verdana type.

On Apr.04.2003 at 08:11 PM
armin’s comment is:

> dotted lines (like Speak Up), Underware typefaces (like Speak Up)


On Apr.04.2003 at 08:33 PM
anthony’s comment is:

Giant gold and diamond encrusted fonts used on album covers. :)

On Apr.04.2003 at 10:17 PM
omit’s comment is:

BTW, no offense meant there. Trends are inescapable.

On Apr.04.2003 at 11:54 PM
pk’s comment is:

the amount of time designers talk about what everyone else is doing is so completely irritating. why, exactly, is it even important to acknowledge what this year's "new black" is?

On Apr.05.2003 at 12:47 AM
mr black’s comment is:

whew. pretty dark.

On Apr.05.2003 at 03:40 AM
Nick Finck’s comment is:

Darrel, when I said "this" I meant the design I have for the magazine site.. yes, it was designed in 1998 and has stayed pretty much that way since then with a few modifications here and there. The first site that started using them was Korii, and long before Adobe started. That's not to say 45 degree anges hadn't already been used in print design prior to that (cough) swiss? (cough).

On Apr.05.2003 at 11:12 AM
Sam’s comment is:

I am so over last year's black I can't even tell you.

On Apr.05.2003 at 04:55 PM
nick’s comment is:

The 'elliptical crescent' as used by Freeserve appears to be popping up on company logos everywhere. I keep forgetting to write down names as examples as I see them but it does seem to be a trifle overdone.

On Apr.05.2003 at 06:04 PM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

My vote for the ext big trend would be 'excessive' use of traditional decorative elements, perhaps best exemplified by the Tribute Specimen Booklet.

On Apr.05.2003 at 10:10 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>My vote for the ext big trend would be 'excessive' use of traditional decorative elements,

I wouldn't say that is the "next" trend as it already happened. Just look at all the work coming from Minneapolis. That's excessive use of traditional decorative elements.

On Apr.06.2003 at 07:39 PM
pk’s comment is:

just wait. all the hip kids are gonna start ripping off Agnieszka Gasparska's gorgeous work for Fischerspooner as soon as they can figure out what "baroque" means.

On Apr.06.2003 at 07:48 PM
Justin’s comment is:

As for this posts original two questions, I think there are so many design trends that one couldn't possibly begin to sift through the high and low-lights. If it looks good then it looks good and that's that, right?

Everyone on here sounds like David Spade and Chris Farley in the GAP spoofs on SNL. Sometimes it's more fun to laugh at our politics than to worry about them.

On Apr.07.2003 at 02:49 AM
griff’s comment is:

it is odd, i don't like to identify current trends because it makes me hypersensitive to them and in some odd karmic way it will result in a premature death of the trend.

there is one trend i would like to see die, so i will point it out. lately in photography, it seems every one is posting sharp and vivid photos shot outside in bright sun light of elements that create pattern. i think it is due to the proliferation of blogs and inexpensive digital cameras.

which brings me to different debate, are trends dictated by asthetics or the technology and tools available. hmmmmm, sounds like i should save that for a full blown blog entry.

On Apr.07.2003 at 07:05 PM
armin’s comment is:

>which brings me to different debate, are trends dictated by asthetics or the technology and tools available. hmmmmm, sounds like i should save that for a full blown blog entry.

That is a very good question. I'll save it for later, and once everybody forgot you mentioned it I'll bring it up and claim it as my own. Hehehe (rubbing hands maliciously)

Seriously, that is a really good topic, so everybody hold on to those thoughts and I'll start the topic tomorrow.

Thanks Griff

On Apr.07.2003 at 07:36 PM
joy olivia’s comment is:

Could it be? Is the use of images of dog rearends is becoming trendy? Excellent.

Example 1:

Veer's new catalog's cover (note, it's a pdf)

Example 2:

SPD's 2003 spot illustration contest poster

On Apr.29.2003 at 12:56 PM
armin’s comment is:

Here is a small pick of what Joy is talking about

Dog rears rule. I don't think we see enough of them. [note to self: design next project with dog rear on cover]

On Apr.29.2003 at 01:33 PM
pnk’s comment is:

Hate to be picky when it comes to butts (ew.), but how come this doggy ain't got no bunghole?

Poor poopy puppy.

On Apr.29.2003 at 02:54 PM