5 key design trends for 2018 – what we will see more of this year

Toby Matthews

Creative Designer

5 key design trends for 2018 – what we will see more of this year

As we enter the new year, I take a look back at some of the graphic design trends that dominated 2017 and look set to continue into 2018. While designers are constantly searching for ‘the next new look’, there are some definite design trends I have identified as likely to dominate the coming year.

vibrant colours

Trend-savvy companies have increasingly turned to vibrant colour palettes in their branding. A strong and consistent colour palette, especially a vibrant one, is every bit as valuable as an iconic logo when it comes to brand recognition. An example of this would be Juice – the mobile accessories company. Their products are all about colour. If you see a bright blue phone charger, chances are it’s a Juice.

Juice website header

Juice product packaging Juice product packaging 2

Another company that has wholeheartedly adopted a vibrant colour palette is Spotify. They used a watermelon palette of pinks, reds and greens on their subscription web page and for their end of year playlists.

Spotify branding

Spotify have also led the way in the next big trend that was evident in 2017 and shows no sign of going away; duotones.

Spotify duotones


Duotones are images made up of two colours. They have traditionally been used in printing to reproduce black and white photography where the use of two half tones (one conventionally being black) add greater tonal range to photographs. Duotones combining contrasting vibrant colours are now commonly being used in graphic design in print and in particular online.

When Merton College wanted a more modern and distinctive look for their Passiontide series of concerts we used what could broadly be called duotones by combining a black and white image with vibrant colour overlays.

Merton Passiontide posters

authentic imagery

Another trend that has emerged in the last year and is set to continue into 2018 is the use of authentic imagery. Stock images can be useful, but when it comes to truly genuine graphic design and projecting an authentic company image to your audience in 2018 your images really ought to be of your own organisation or products and created specifically for you. In highly competitive markets, any business can easily be disregarded if the discerning viewer doesn’t feel they are ‘in the right place’ when looking at your website, graphics, or adverts, and the more of your own material you can share the greater the chance of reaching the right audience.

We were conscious of this trend when designing our Christmas card this year. We could have used a library stock image of a Brussels sprout, but instead, Grace hand-painted the sprouts here in the studio and the card is much more memorable as a result. Hand-drawn illustrations, typography and logos are another aspect of this trend that I foresee for 2018.

Holywell Christmas sprouts

simplified logos

Many, in particular more recognised brands, are simplifying their logos. Even relatively young companies, such as Instagram and Deliveroo, have simplified their logos so that they work in the 'flattened' graphic environment of the modern web, accessed increasingly via mobile phones.

   Old Deliveroo logo  New Deliveroo logo

Instagram logo development

One of the most controversial and most extreme examples of this trend is the new Juventus Football Club logo/crest, which cleverly distils the key elements of Juve's identity; the black and white stripes, a crest shape, and a 'J' for Juventus.

Juventus logo

Sometimes it is best to keep it simple, especially when you take responsive website designs into consideration.

responsive logos

After a decade of responsive websites, it’s about time logos caught up. Websites need to be responsive be user-friendly in this mobile consumer world, so it stands to reason that logos are following suit, becoming less detailed and more simplified when viewed on small screens. Facebook and other social media companies are good examples of how this can be done.

Facebook favicon      Facebook logo

When we produced new logos for luxury travel company, World Odyssey, we created what are effectively responsive logos with the main logo including a strapline and the initials on their own for use on social media and where space is limited.

World Odyssey favicon   World Odyssey logo

Jo Harrison has shown how responsive logos could work for major brands.

When it’s time to re-think your logo design, does it have an element that can be made responsive?

Of course, these trends are just that, trends. As such they do not fit all organisations and all projects. The best graphic design, while being aware of trends, is also attendant to clients’ specific needs and audiences and this should be a designer's most important consideration when creating new branding, logos, or marketing collateral.

Whether you are looking for a re-brand, a website, advertising campaign, brochure, or book jacket, please call 01865 242098 or contact us using the button below.

get in touch button
Sort by: