The first couple months of 2021 haven’t really felt like a new start. For most of us January and February have felt like 2020’s hangover, launched by a Christmas we hardly remember and perhaps would prefer to forget. The first couple months of 2021 haven’t really felt like a new start. For most of us January and February have felt like 2020’s hangover, launched by a Christmas we hardly remember and perhaps would prefer to forget.
Let’s start with the new good news, shall we? From playfulness to vibrant colours, patterns and font, optimistic design welcomes a fresh start that represents freedom and inclusivity. This trend goes further in some cases by branching into vibrant psychedelic designs which echo both the chaos of modern designs as well as the dream-like optimism that primary colours bring. Vibrant psychedelics also connote the desire to shun conventionalism and as we enter the age of Aquarius, younger generations are determined to do one thing and one thing only: redefine!
February 2021 brought us one of the coldest days in the UK since 1955. In general, it boasts as the coldest British winter since 1995. Could this be encouraged by a year of planeless skies, reduced international travel and daily commutes? Expect to see more earthy palettes and natural textures and illustration in the months ahead. The emphasis on nature has also been spurred by our desire to spend more time outside as we find ourselves often spending 90% of the day cooped up with the central heating on.
Humanity is the focus of 2021 after a year of denied hugs, kisses and even hand shakes. The BLM movement and the incoming of Democrat Biden to the White House in January also set a new, more inclusive tone for 2021. Finally, the use of real people of varying cultures and ages will take the place of stock models and heteronormative, Caucasian-dominated illustrations in many cases. If there is one thing design should avoid, it is sameness.
The Surrealist Movement of the 1920s took inspiration from dreams to illustrate anxieties, hopes and desires. The pandemic has clearly had an affect on our subconscious brain as well as our conscious one. For this reason, trippy surrealism designs will take centre stage in 2021. The effect is to greet the strange with nonchalance, to accept impossible combinations as one. As a high concept approach, we expect to see this trend more frequently on image-focused media such as posters, album art, and book covers.
ɢʀᴀɪɴʏ, ʙʟᴜʀʀʏ ɴᴏꜱᴛᴀʟɢɪᴀ
ɢʀǟɨռʏ, ɮʟʊʀʀʏ ռօֆȶǟʟɢɨǟ
A grainy finish gives a sense of tangibility while blur, a sense of mystery. Together they produce a 60s retro feel that connotes nostalgia as well as sleek modernity. The benefit of this trend is that it allows foreground elements such as bold typography or evocative imagery to pop against a near indiscernible background. It’s also an effect that is easier to colour which allows it to evoke a multitude of moods.
If you’re an artist of any kind, you’re probably sick of hearing about how important it is to “brand yourself” and it can sometimes feel pressuring to hear so often that as a freelancer, “you are your brand”.