As a small business owner, having the capacity and budget to stay on the cutting edge of design trends is a challenge. However, keeping your brand updated and modern can make a real difference when it comes to new business opportunities and boosting sales.
Having the flashiest website or most avant garde graphics isn’t necessarily the only way to make your brand feel fresh in 2019; all you need is to make one of this year’s top design trends your own. So if updating your aesthetic is one of your New Year’s resolutions, here are some predictions on the trends that will define 2019:
1. Asymmetrical Layouts
Template-based design sites like Squarespace and Canva have made it easy for beginners to create beautiful websites and graphic products, even if they have no idea what a grid is. However, brands are beginning to move away from purely grid-based layouts and embrace more organic-looking websites.
This year, designers will look to take this aesthetic to the next level and create bespoke, dynamic layouts that break out from rigid grids, and demand attention as they deliver more energy and movement.
2. Art Deco Designs
There are two major—and contrasting—artistic styles currently experiencing a major renaissance: the ornate and glamorous Art Deco movement of the 1920s, and the streamlined organic forms of the Mid-Century Modern period that emerged in the 1950s and 60s.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the roaring twenties, Art Deco-inspired designs are set to explode in 2019. We’re seeing this trend emerge particularly in logos, where designers are embracing complex line-work and intense symmetry combined with sharp metallics. Similarly, in typography, sans-serif fonts are getting narrower and leggier, reflecting an iconic style reminiscent of A.M. Cassandre posters.
The opulence and luxury of this trend contrasts sharply with the popularity of rustic, country-inspired designs that have been popular over the past few years.
3. The new Mid-Century Modern
Following the Art Deco period, designers embraced the concept of function dictating form. While this stripped back, clean style has shaped interior design for several years now, in 2019 it will influence graphic design as well.
It’s especially prominent in illustration styles that pay homage to the iconic advertisements of the post-War era. Small businesses and startups already recognize the power of custom illustrations, and we are starting to see brands launch websites filled with mid-century-influenced imagery. This trend is rendered in a modern style but incorporating vintage color palettes, and we expect to see this style dominate both web and print work throughout the coming year.
4. Custom Illustrations Lighten Up
One of the year’s big design trends will see a move away from the bold, thick lines that have dominated illustration in recent years towards a more delicate and elegant style. Influenced by botanical and natural elements, this trend is more feminine and appeals to a more innocent and childlike part of us all.
Packaging design, in particular, is starting to favor this intricate style that works beautifully against a textured paper surface. This trend lends itself to small businesses, as products packaged in this style can appear more artisanal, and simple additions such as adding foil and embossing can create a fantastic balance between simplicity and luxury.
5. Buxom Serifs
While illustrations lighten up, fonts are beefing up. While sans-serifs aren’t going anywhere— especially in digital— 2019 will be the year of the serif. The last few months has seen a range of gorgeous serifs emerge that hark back to the days of cast-metal type, and this is the year that the range and diversity of serif fonts will continue to bloom.
Custom type will take center stage as designers start to view the clean sans serif as “soulless” and “characterless,” and brands want to tap into the character and personality that burst out from these new buxom serifs.
As a small business owner, you want any visual assets you create to reflect your brand while still feeling relevant and up to date. Even if you’re stretched for time, why not refresh your look for 2019 by picking just one of these design trends and adapting it to reflect your brand and personality in a unique way?
Pamela Webber is Chief Operating Officer at 99designs She is passionate about using data to derive customer insights and to find “aha moments” that impact strategic direction. In addition to her experience as a marketer, Pamela brings a host of first-hand experience as an ecommerce entrepreneur and working with fast-growing startups. Prior to joining 99designs, she founded weeDECOR, an ecommerce company selling custom wall decals for babies’ and kids’ rooms, and also worked as an executive marketing consultant for True&Co, a wildly successful ecommerce startup specializing in custom-fitted women¹s lingerie.