Next year, the creative trends that matter won’t just be colours, fonts or platforms but the themes in work and society that are driving changes in design, and indeed in how companies do business. Great design is more than a new colour or medium. In 2019, we’ll see creative teams developing movements, experiences and genuine connections that drive belief in this evolving world. They will work in new ways with new people.
In recent years we’ve seen ‘craft’ and ‘heritage’ blow markets wide open brands of all different shapes and sizes. Many brands are looking for that ‘handmade’, human feel to build a sense of authenticity – to make businesses feel smaller, not bigger. On the other, they’re looking to cues from the past to help them generate connections in uncertain times.
There’s no sign that these influences will disappear in 2019 but a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t feel right. Brands need to look for something true to who they are, find their true DNA. The market is being disrupted by smaller, nimbler startups bringing more colour, attitude and life to the mix. Their visual identity, tone of voice, marketing and real estate is built on a blank canvas. They’re free to be fresh and exciting. Expect to see bolder, altogether more ‘positive’ design. Vibrant tones, juxtaposed with daring imagery. We’re seeing it already:
Dunkin Donuts have lost the Donuts and gone for the simple Dunkin making it relatable to the younger generation, using futuristic textures, patterns and colours across all its content. No business can stand still. Engagement transformed, design transformed.
A stunning visual identity can win attention and fire up a workforce, but a personalised experience is what tomorrow’s customer expects and what keeps them coming back. A perfect example of this is from Refinery 29.
The lifestyle brand Refinery29 has hosted the 29Rooms event: What it calls “an interactive funhouse of style, culture and technology.” As the name suggests, it consists of 29 individually branded and curated rooms -- and attendees can experience something different in each one. The rooms are designed and created with brand partners, who range from personalities like artists and musicians, to consumer-facing companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, Dyson, and Cadillac.
Each year, 29Rooms has a different theme, with this year’s being “Turn It Into Art.” Attendees, it seems, are encouraged to enter each room and use the surroundings to create something -- one room, for instance, invites participants to put on punching gloves and hit punching bags that each produce a different sound when contacted to create a symphony of sorts. A truly hands-on experience, indeed.
This calls on new ways of working for today’s creatives. In 2019 they’ll be called upon to work with more technical specialists, helping hone content that matches specific needs, channels and points in an evolving customer journey. Gone is the era of box-ticking your way through media platforms or squeezing your expensive new ad into all available social formats, or employee engagement teams relying on the humble pull-up banner. Welcome to the era of data-backed creative – the rules of engagement have evolved.