Published by Simon Brooks on 22nd December 2016 | Creative Design, Marketing Planning

The Future of Creative Design – What to Expect in 2017

It feels like many people will be happy to see the back of 2016, with articles dubbing it ‘one of the worst years in history’ since as early as July!

Eager to put 2016 behind us, we’ve been looking forward in the blog recently with our articles on What to Expect for Digital Marketing in 2017, Website design trends in 2017 and The Future of Digital Marketing. These articles went in-depth on trends and predictions for the world of digital marketing; however one area that we merely alluded to was that of creative design.

Design is always changing, and as technology becomes increasingly interconnected with our lives, it’s also becoming increasingly aligned with design. Does this connection mean we’re heading towards a radical period of change in design?


Internet of Things


The internet of things (IoT), a term used to describe everyday objects having network connectivity so they can send and receive data, has led to a merge between the previously segregated roles of technologists and designers.

This growing market has shown companies that simply providing the technology to connect their product to a network isn’t enough. The way they design the products needs to be done in conjunction with the way they work.

In a recent State of Create study from Adobe MAX most respondents said they believe businesses that invest in creativity are ‘more likely to foster innovation, be competitive and provide better customer experience’.

The explosion of personal devices has resulted in demand for high-quality, personalised experiences. This, along with new technologies such as 3D and VR, is putting greater demands on designers to push boundaries.


So What Creative Design Trends Will See More Of In 2017?


1. Bespoke Illustrations

Illustrations are a fantastic medium for creating visuals which add real personality to a website. Unlike stock photography, they can be tailored to match the tone of your brand, effectively conveying key information about the type of company you are.

Perhaps one of the most famous uses of illustrations online is the ‘Google Doodle’. Google regularly use an illustration, animation or game to highlight trends, raise awareness of a specific topic or historical event. They’re adaptable, colourful and attention grabbing.

This Creative Blog article shows 10 great uses of illustration in brand campaigns, and Dribbble is a great place to check out what kind of illustration styles and trends are on the rise.

2. Authentic Photography

Photography is an integral part of design; however we’re all a little bit over canned stock photography. If the hours we’ve spent online have taught us nothing else, it’s certainly given us the ability to tell the difference between a generic picture and an authentic one.

We mentioned in a previous article that 2017 will see more home-grown media, with images that are more representative of the company and brand story. We expect brands to start using more custom-made visuals which help create a real connection with their audience.

3. Big, bold, beautiful typography

Along with images, typography is another powerful visual medium that has the ability to create personality, evoke emotion and set tone.

Expect to see an increase in over-sized typography, a very effective tool to convey your message quickly. Also as our phone and tablet screens become sharper, designers are experimenting with beautiful, unique, hand-rendered typography to help brands stand out among the ‘aerial’ crowd.

Sitepoint is a good place to see what’s going on design wise, and they have a section dedicated to typography. Typewolf also write a superb blog with all the latest trends in digital typography.

4. Courageous Colours

As with type experimentation, the higher resolution screens meant we saw more super-rich colours online this year. These richer colours mean brands and designers can switch to vibrant hues and gradients to engage users and to push their brands.

We think this will continue into 2017, affecting all parts of design including typography, photography, illustrations and videos.  Coolors, Adobe Color and Flat UI Colors  are worth checking out to ensure that your colour choices are bold, engaging, and bang-on trend.


Style Trends


1. The New Retro

Perhaps it’s comforting after the craziness of 2016, but consumers are loving a bit of nostalgia at the moment. New Retro, inspired by 80s and 90s, appeals to millennials rather than ‘Old Retro’ or vintage styles which are typically drawn from the early 1900s through the 60s.

It uses bold colours, pixel art and geometric designs (as below), for inspiration think early technology such as PCs and arcade video games.

2. Geometric Shapes

Aligning with ‘New Retro’, geometric shapes and patterns can be applied in various ways, from individual graphic elements to backgrounds.

We also anticipate seeing more ‘low poly’ design, which originated as a 3D modelling technique for video games but is starting to show up outside the gaming world, in web and print projects.

3. Print-inspired

The print-inspired trend is another bit of nostalgia, inspired by pre-digital printing processes. Typically portrayed with slabs of colour, rich textures and mis-print effects, we expect 2017 to see it evolve with bright, neon colours and fun, unpredictable overprint effects.



2017 will see brands finding innovative ways to make their mark, using illustration, bespoke photography, typography and bold colours.  Unique, authentic and personal is the aim, with an emphasis on user experience (rather than trying to cram them in because they’re fashionable!).

We can help you see if any of these trends would benefit your customers and, ultimately, your business.

If you’re interested in updating your website and giving your users the best possible experience then contact our friendly team on 01763 877110.


About the Author: Simon Brooks

Simon has over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of strategic and digital marketing. He is a director and joint founder of C4B Media and has led numerous successful marketing projects for clients across diverse industries.

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