Top 10 Design Trends of 2016 and What to Look for in 2017

As 2016 is coming to a close, and 2017 is right around the corner it’s important to look at design trends to help predict where the trends will go in the future so, we, as designers can stay ahead of the trends instead of behind. For this weeks blog post I wanted to spend some time reminiscing on 2016 design trends in all their goodness and do a bit of predicting what I think 2017 has in store for us. That’s right folks, I’m breaking out my magic crystal ball and seeing into the future. Just kidding, I’m looking at what trends have lingered around the most for 2016 and predicting what will stick around for 2017. Let’s take a look, shall we?

  1. Modern Retro Style – This is by far one of my favorite things to have come back from the early 1950’s. This is a fun trend that will likely last well into 2017 as minimalism is becoming a bigger trend.Blog Element-01
  2. Speaking of minimalism– That was a huge part of 2016 design trends that I don’t foresee going away anytime soon. When our society is bombarded with stimulants from every aspect. Turning to minimalism is almost a natural effect from being overstimulated from the internet, movies, music, and more. Keep your minimalistic graphics close on hand for 2017.
  3. Bright bold colors was huge in 2016. The pop of neon color is reminiscent of the 80’s. But,  don’t hold your breath. With the increase of minimalistic trends – neutral colors will start to become more and more visually appealing.
    2016 Design Trends
  4. Geometric shapes – Going along with the minimalistic trend comes minimalistic shapes! This is a really fun element of 2016 that I think will transfer over into 2017.
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  5. Use of Negative space – Using negative space was quite successful in 2016. This helps focus the viewer to the content instead of getting lost in the design. Negative space is definitely going to cross over into 2017 – I’d venture to say for a lot longer than 2017.
    You can see more use of negative space here!
  6. Fun Typography – It’s been fun, Type. It really has. But you’re no longer cool in 2017. As 2016 comes to a close, I think we’re going to see a rise in sans serif fonts and a decrease in fun and quirky fonts. Blog Element-06
  7. Abstract Elements – Again, minimalistic elements, like abstract elements has been huge! As the 2000’s continue – abstract art is on the rise. I would say abstract design elements is here to stay for the foreseeable future.Abstract
  8. Watercolor – This was such a fun trend. Thousands upon thousands of designers have used watercolor elements in a recent design, myself included. But this trend is on it’s way out. It simply doesn’t have a leg to stand on in 2017 when minimalism is on the way up.
    Blog Element-08
  9. Handwritten Elements – Calligraphers – you all inspire me. Seriously. Calligraphy in and of itself is an art form. This is here to stay. It’s reminiscent of pre-1800’s and I would say this art form is back and back for good.
    Blog Element-09
  10. Whimsical Illustrations – This also came into play when watercolor elements were big. I think the whimsy is on its way out. But, I don’t think it’ll happen in 2017. I would say whimsical elements will stick around for a bit longer and then slowly die out.
    Blog Element-10

This has been quite the year, hasn’t it? I’m looking forward to what 2017 has in store for us and to see if my 2017 predictions come to fruition. What do you think are going to be the biggest design trends of 2017? Let us know in the comments below!

Ashlee is an Intermediate Instructional and Graphic Designer on the Learning and Professional Development team and has a background in Graphic Design and Photography. With over eight years of Photography and Graphic Design experience, Ashlee brings a unique talent and perspective to the team. She joined the Learning & Professional Development team in 2014 as a student worker and now works full time as an Instructional & Graphic Designer. She primarily works with Adobe products and is using her knowledge to help develop exciting new trainings. This opportunity allows Ashlee to reach out to the NAU community and create interactive ways students and staff can learn.

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