Design 2016: The Year Ahead

2015 was a year of innovation in the design world, and the new year stands to build on the success of innovative technologies and emerging ideas. 2016 is set to be a year of adaptation, of relaxing into this new, exciting, high- tech world that we have built for ourselves and seeing what we can make of it.


Industry members predict that logos and branding design will favour a minimal approach to colour, featuring confident use of dual colours rather than a heavy, overwhelming palette or previously favoured mono coloured designs. Using a main ‘base’ colour with accents of a strong feature colour will bring consistency to branding and instant recognisability for consumers.

The use of custom typography in logos- exemplified by Google’s new logo launched in 2015- became an established trend last year, and is predicted to continue to rise in popularity. This emergence of this trend supports another- the ‘handmade’ style of branding. This style helps a brand to communicate a friendly, open approach that helps customers to feel at ease and speaks to a new, current generation of consumers that are beginning to again value more handmade, personal and quality services and products.


The abundance of accessible, upgraded technology means that digital design will continue to develop and new techniques will be explored. Faster servers will allow for the increased use of large, high-res photography, video and animation on websites- something previously not viable as many users would experience slow load times, inevitably leading to poor click through rates and conversions for businesses.

However, with technology and the way we use it becoming more sophisticated, designers will be able to take a more minimalistic approach, focusing on the design and interactivity of digital media. Well executed hover effects, animated logos and interactive icons can all enhance a simple, clean and stylish interface.


This year, colours will veer towards the bold and the rich. Hailing from the eighties, retro palettes will reign supreme, incorporating tones of jade, fuchsia, ochre and cerise. For the first time, Pantone have crowned two colours as their ‘colour(s) of the year’. Rose Quartz and Serenity evoke a sense of tranquillity and gender fluidity; these combined with retro jewel tones will present a bright, fresh palette for 2016.

2016 will bring a resurgence in traditional illustrative techniques, with artists revisiting pencil and paper, watercolour and ink. This fits right in with the handmade and minimalism trends- taking design back to it’s most basic roots and stripping away all the fuss. Coincidentally, hand drawn typography looks to be going from strength to strength- handwritten, illustrative fonts help to present a quirky and friendly brand.

A consistent purveyor of the minimalist aesthetic, Google launched their alternative to flat design in September 2015. Material design builds on the principles of flat design and adds texture, dimension and consequently a touch more realism. This style is very relevant for apps, websites, icons and backgrounds- more details on construction can be found in Google’s comprehensive guide to material design.

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