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One thing’s for sure, 2018 has delivered designs that are anything but boring. It’s been a year dominated by imagery that’s funky, wild, fanciful and even absurd—perhaps reflecting the increasingly nutty world we live in. So sit up, take notice and see how you can incorporate some of these electrifying graphic design trends into your images.

Glitch effect

Mistakes, imperfections, blemishes. Rather than rushing to erase or correct what’s gone wrong, we’re embracing the accidental and finding the beauty in the flawed. In a world where technology touches every aspect of our lives, it makes sense that we’d incorporate the inevitable glitch into our imagery. Weird color surges happen, as do file corruptions and crooked lines, disorienting compositions and blurry photos. While our initial tendency is to make things neat and tidy for the viewer, it’s time to consider the joys of awkward discomfort.

 

80s and 90s Retro 

Who came of age in the 80s and 90s? Millennials. Who are businesses trying to woo? Millennials. And who are the creative leaders deciding what’s in and what’s out? Um, yeah, you guessed it: Millennials. So if you want to know why we’re being inundated by color palettes full of turquoises and teals and peaches and pinks, randomly placed geometric shapes and patterns, squiggly lines and retro illustrations, it’s because we’re resurrecting that golden age when hair was big, Pokemon could only be found on cards and videos, and everyone was watching “Friends.” (Oh, wait, they’re still watching “Friends.”)

Groovy Gradients

Another popular trend from the past (this time the early aughts) that’s making a major comeback is the gradient, sometimes known as “color transition.” You can’t look at your iPhone’s app display without seeing a gradient or seven, but this time around, the style is getting an update. Instead of sticking with linear transitions going horizontally or vertically, the new gradients can be radial (starting at a single point and emanating out) or even have different starting points, creating a more swirling, spirally effect.

 

Trippy typography

Designers are having the time of their lives playing with fonts, text and typography. They’re erasing key parts of letters while still maintaining their readability. They’re flouting conventional lines and placing letters haphazardly across the page or screen. They’re allowing text to interact directly with photographs and illustrations in imaginative ways. There are handmade fonts, layered letters, abstract forms, sliced and diced and dripping text that will make the viewer dizzy with delight. And most incredible? The return of the serif font, which is making a welcome comeback after a too-long absence from our digital screens.

 

Authentic Photography

Authenticity has been a buzzword not just in design, but in advertising, branding, business, social media, arts, entertainment, politics—pretty much every sector of society. One of the easiest and most effective ways to tap into an authentic vibe is through photography. Photos offer a realness that can’t be matched, especially pics that aren’t staged or arranged but rather have a documentary feel to them. While stock photography has been flooding the internet for a while, those canned images seem to be phasing out and are being replaced by messier imagery with imperfect lighting, lots of action, interesting compositions and deeper emotions.

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