With the somewhat recent adoption of minimal re-brands across many larger scale companies I’ve been observing where the state graphic design and branding would be evolving into. Easily (and over-simply) there are two trends that everything can be broken down into.
Number 1 is easily describable, simple pastel colours, minimal design and clean text. I’m sure we can all think of a few businesses that use this style. The point is to leave all the extra fluff out and make impressions through purpose. Now I’m not saying theres anything wrong with this, actually I think its amazing that this has become a new norm. Although the first impression is simple, the real winners are the ones who can get customers sticking around through other mediums. There is this focus on actual value as opposed to “wooing” people.
Number 2 is intentionally very broad, it’s this idea of instead of letting words or content share values, we choose to do it through style. Style of design, of language, of personality.
The medium is the message.
So whereas number 1 may be more focused on sharing value through direct interaction — number 2 is focused on sharing value through beauty and indirect experience. This makes it clear 1 is the easiest choice to make, simplify the solution and allows for anyone to take part.
If all you need to do is get a message across it has never been easier than it is today. Phones and apps are able to create content like never before, and thus the boom of creators and influencers has risen.
But with this boom there has been a fall in style. Style being how the content is created, portrayed or experienced. Is this necessarily a bad thing?
Yes and no, no because it gives freedom and possibility where never before and yes, because as a society we are loosing appreciation for beauty and art. One of the many goals of life is to have it emulate art, you want to live the experience you see when you see a talented artist create a life like portrait, or the emotions brought up in an abstract painting that in all other contexts is meaningless.
Anyone can design, but few can actually encapsulate meaning in their designs. Designing intentionally for art has been slowly slipping by the wayside. The most apparent counterpoint of this would be that now humans design for function.
You can argue that function can be art, how something works, moves and adapts. This is very true, but when you watch a stunt pilot do amazing maneuvers, he is rarely trying to get across the capabilities of the planes structure and engines, but the art is in flow of its movements, the complicated turns and twists.
Function serves beauty, to allow it to exist and relate to humans. So make room for style, don’t limit yourself to what is functionally possible, create with the intention of expression. Thats the only way you will get something new. By doing this you have a larger capacity and potential to express authentically and uniquely. Stand out as figurehead of something greater instead of blending in with the current trends.
With the rise of UI and UX based designs/designers this might be going against the grain. As someone who thinks like that on the daily I understand the opposing point of view and can argue both. But the human in me wants me wants more art and beauty in my life, and it doesn’t have to come at the expense of function.
Beauty breeds progression and a want for more and theres no circumstance in life where that couldn’t be good.