The State of Design in 2016: Our Designers Tell All

Sarah
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The typical consumer is exposed to over 5,000 advertisements and brand exposures throughout the day. Whether it’s websites, company logos or the Starbucks coffee we brew in the morning, design is all around us. And as members of the advertising community, we all need to pay attention to these ever changing trends of design.

So, what exactly is the state of design in 2016? I interviewed some of Quinlan’s designers to see what they thought about the ever-changing trends and how they utilize them in their day-to-day work.

Let’s take a look.

1. Responsive design.

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Designers are building interactive experiences. According to Pew Research Center, 64% of cell phone users have a smart phone, which shows how imperative responsive websites are as more consumers are utilizing mobile devices to access the internet on a daily basis. With visual aspects and photography digitally changing each year, designers are constantly using different platforms when creating a piece of work.

Michael Belfatto, Quinlan’s senior web designer, shared his insight on how responsive design trends are different this year.

What do you think we should expect from responsive design in 2016?

“Websites need to be more and more responsive,especially as we see a steady increase in users coming from mobile devices and tablets. This trend is not going anywhere anytime soon. Interactive and simple designs will also remain a trend to make the users experience quick, easy and manageable. We will be implementing a mobile-first strategy before we create desktop websites, since that is where visitors are coming from.”

How have mobile trends changed from 2015 to 2016?

“In 2015, websites were minimalistic, simple and had a flat design. I expect to see a continuation of this, since smaller devices (mobile) will still require a simple website that has just the right amount of content for a user. In addition, I expect to see animation continue as a trend with more movable pieces on a website to add interaction.” 


The general guidelines of flat design will be widely spread around small brands and blogs artwork all over the web. At the same time, those on the know on graphic design will be moving on to Flat 2.0 (an evolution of flat design that incorporates some three-dimensional effects to make it more usable.)

Google now penalizes sites that don’t offer a mobile-friendly experience. As a rule of thumb, if users can’t fully experience your site while using their phones on their daily metro commutes, it’s time for a website update.

How do web designers and web developers work together? Is this something we will see more of in the future of design?

“Design and coding are very different, but they go hand in hand when it comes to responsive website design.. Being part of the creative process helps both designers and developers plan and execute a design.”

Millennials are requiring us to design the technologies of tomorrow, which is why it makes perfect sense that web design trends will adhere to mobile-friendly and simplistic themes.

 

2. Creative risk. 

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Design is all about creating something beautiful, unique and promising. The old, noisy designs are quickly fading while creativity and originality remain in demand.

Jillian Minderler, one of Quinlan’s graphic designers, explains her thoughts on the future of design and creative risk, which she hopes to implement into her work.

What is your biggest influence as a designer in 2016?

“I am constantly inspired by new trends. However, I believe my biggest influence will be to remain classic instead of staying too trendy. Experiencing new clients will also have a big influence on my work and the amount of creative freedom I can exhibit.”

What creative risks would you like to see happen in graphic design for 2016?

“I would love to be able to work with less rules and have more freedom. Stepping outside of our comfort zone is something designers should experience. I hope to see clients take creative risks to see if there could be more opportunities out there.”

Are there any design trends or techniques you would like to learn more of and see in the future?

“Education is endless:there is always more to learn. I would like to learn more about typography and utilize more playful techniques with design. Learning to use type in different ways would be an interesting experience and could also  help create more hands-on approach for design.”

 

 3. Strategic design. 

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There may be a new direction for designers as they become more acclimated to the planning and execution of a project. The demand for excellent designers won’t fade away anytime soon, but their role is evolving to include more and more strategy.

Krista Roberts, another one of Quinlan’s graphic designers, works not only with art strategy but also with the clients to develop a streamlined design process.

What strategy would you like to see designers bring to the creative process?

“I would love to see more input in the end result of a project. It’s great when everyone is involved in the process but there needs to be more of a ‘nurturing eye’ to fully understand the background of a design, whether it be traditional print or a digital ad.”

Now that designers are more involved with the planning process, how has it benefited them?

“Designers are now more valued and respected more than ever before. There’s a lot of background information that is required, and I believe it has taken a long time for designers to be considered valuable in general. We can now understand the client’s needs as we develop a plan and build trust in our relationships with clients.”

Are there any specific trends you envision staying in the future of design?

“That would be communication. Humans talking to humans: something so important and simple in a world filled with technology. There is no longer a ‘corporate’ structure when it comes to communicating and that is something that helps us work together as a community. Clients can also gain more from this approach. We are able to ultimately communicate better as professionals and it is something that will stay in the creative process for any design in the long run.”

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Trends will continue to change,- but the foundation of design is here to stay. Designers everywhere can agree that working together and experimenting can help their artistic and creative freedom down the road. Regardless of the obstacle that may come with new clients, trends or demands, designers still have the ability to create new and innovative pieces that can change the way we view art in advertising today.

 

What are your thoughts on the future of design? Tweet us @QuinlanCompany or find us on Facebook.

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