We know we’re a little late to this party, but assessing greatness and predicting trends takes time.
We’ve said farewell to the good ol’ days of 2022 and Pantone’s Very Peri, and ushered in a new era that may look a little bit too familiar to some. With TikTok taking so much of consumers’ scroll time, and AI art generators making quite the grand entrance, we’re expecting 2023 to be big year full of extraordinary changes.
More than any other year, we can safely say that come New Year’s Eve, the design landscape is going to be very different from what we’re experiencing today. In this blog, we’re going to dive into the top ten design trends to look out for 2023 and how brands can get ahead of the game.
The year of the anti-brand.
What is anti-branding? Well, to put it simply, anti-branding is a marketing strategy that deliberately distances a brand or product from traditional advertising and branding techniques, in order to stand out and appeal to consumers who are increasingly skeptical of corporate messaging and overt marketing.
Instead of following traditional advertising methods, anti-branding uses humor and creativity to catch people's attention. It's a way for brands to stand out and show their personality in a world where there's a lot of noise from all the other ads and promotions out there.
Our 2023 prediction: As more brands hop on this train, and more consumers demand it, we’re likely to see things like more ‘localized’ experiences that cater to a specific demographic, depending on where they live, where they hang out on the internet, and their humor or specific preferences.
AI art generators
If you’ve been on the internet at all in the last month, then you definitely know what an AI art generator is. Some creatives are quaking in their boots while others are embracing it with open arms and playing with the possibilities.
Imagine being able to create a unique piece of art with just a click of a button. AI art generators use computer algorithms and machine learning to generate works of art in a variety of styles and mediums, from digital paintings and illustrations to photographs and animations.
Our 2023 prediction: This is going to be one of the most instrumental and pivotal things entering the marketing and design arena in 2023. More and more brands will use it’s popularity to generate fun ideas, create spins on old marketing campaigns, and embrace the quirky side of AI-generated art that has gone viral on social media.
3D design elements.
3D design elements are like the cherry on top of an already delicious sundae when it comes to marketing design. They add an extra dimension of excitement and bring products to life in a way that 2D designs just can't. 3D elements also evoke a sense of 90s nostalgia for the days of Gak and Nick at Nite.
Not only do 3D design elements make products look more appealing, but they also make the design more interactive and memorable. They allow the viewer to explore and engage with the design, making the experience more enjoyable and leaving a lasting impression.
Our 2023 prediction: Slowly but surely, we’ll see brands utilize these elements in their advertisements, websites, and packaging design. 3D elements can give your marketing design the extra oomph it needs to stand out and leave a lasting impression. It's like adding sprinkles to your sundae - it just makes everything a little bit better.
We have watched the rise and fall of the crypto market, but did you know that NFTs are still just as popular as ever? Especially when it comes to brand marketing.
They add a unique and one-of-a-kind touch that sets a brand apart from the rest. This is something that we’ve already witnessed with several big names like Taco Bell, Pepsi, and Anheuser-Busch just to name a few.
NFTs also bring a new level of authenticity and transparency to brand marketing. Customers can easily verify the ownership and authenticity of a product, creating trust and building a stronger relationship between the brand and its customers.
Our 2023 prediction: With NFTs, brands will create limited edition digital collectibles that are truly special and cannot be duplicated. They will use NFTs to reward loyal customers, host exclusive events, or sell merchandise in a new and exciting way.
So, whether you're a musician creating limited edition digital albums, a fashion brand releasing exclusive virtual fashion shows, or a sports team selling collectible digital trading cards, NFTs will take your brand marketing and customer engagement to the next level.
Nostalgia, vintage, and all things old.
If there is one type of content that consumers, no matter what age they are, love to see, it’s something that feels nostalgic and like it was pulled from the archives and dusted off the world to enjoy once again.
If you spend any time on TikTok, you’ll notice trends from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and Y2K (more on this later). From Abba going viral after decades, or that trend ‘Things only (insert generation) kids will remember’, to Y2K fashion coming back as millennial nightmare fuel. People love to find old relics and make them feel new again.
Our 2023 prediction: The brands that haven’t yet, will start exploring old typefaces, color palettes, logos, and photography that feels vintage and nostalgic. This is going to be used to elicit a feeling of comfort and safety, a feeling that this particular brand ‘feels like home’.
For example, a fast-food chain might bring back it’s loud 80s logo for a limited time and sell it on a t-shirt as a collectible. Or a retail brand may bring back the magazine fonts from Seventeen magazine circa 1995 to evoke that nostalgic feeling.
Because 2023 is set to become the year of things that were old becoming new again, we predict that branded illustrations are going to make a comeback and in a big way.
One great example of brand illustration are those little Headspace zen monsters (or creatures) wearing cute headphones in a park. Consumers wouldn’t have to see Headspace’s name, logo, or branding to know that the monsters belong to Headspace. Brands that currently use great brand illustrations are Slack, Mailchimp, and Redbull.
Our 2023 prediction: Whether it's a cute cartoon character, a series of fun graphics, or an eye-catching illustration, branded illustrations bring a brand's personality to life and make it more memorable and likable.
So, whether it's on a website, social media post, product packaging, or advertisement, branded illustrations are going to be a big thing in 2023 as consumers crave a more humanized approach that tugs at their heartstrings.
Y2K is back…
If you were to throw 90s fashion and a futuristic aesthetic into a blender, you would get Y2K. Think Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century. Think That’s So Raven. Think Lizzie McGuire and Kimpossible.
This era is making a huge comeback, and brands want to pay attention. Especially if you are targeting a GenZ audience.
The Y2K aesthetic often includes elements such as glitter, metallic, neon, and futuristic designs, as well as references to popular technology and pop culture from that time period.
Our 2023 prediction: Brands will take advantage of the Y2K trend by incorporating elements of the Y2K aesthetic into their marketing and design. This can include the use of retro-inspired graphics, incorporating references to popular technology and pop culture from the Y2K era, and creating products that have a futuristic or technological feel.
For example, a clothing brand may release a Y2K-inspired collection featuring bright neon colors and metallic fabrics. A tech company may create a marketing campaign that features references to popular Y2K-era technology, such as flip phones and futuristic design elements. A beverage brand may create a series of advertisements that feature bright neon graphics and futuristic product designs.
Considering the state of the economy, brands will want to tap into the nostalgia and desire for a simpler, more optimistic time and connect with a younger, trend-conscious target audience. It's a way to differentiate from competitors and create a unique and memorable brand experience.
Extreme minimalism and…MAXIMALISM.
You’re confused? We’re confused!
No but really. Both of these once standalone trends are back, and brands better pick a side. Why are both minimalism and maximalism gunning for the top design trend of 2023? Because of TikTok and a (very) saturated market, of course.
Brands are realizing that either they need to be bold, loud, and fearless in order to stand out. Or, that they need to be uncluttered and clean to appeal to their target market.
For beauty companies, you’ll notice that their design choices tend to stay in the beige, white, black, and metallic color palette (look at Fenty Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics, Charlotte Tilbury). Back in the early 2000s-2010s, they were much more colorful and vibrant like Benefit Cosmetics and Limecrime.
Whereas for retail and service-based brands, their markets are so saturated, that they need to find a way to be unique and memorable, especially when consumers are being pulled in every direction but will only spend with one brand due to the state of the economy.
Our 2023 prediction: As more and more brands embrace maximalist design choices, minimalism will become a thing of luxury and exclusivity. Brands that cater to a higher tax bracket aren’t likely to embrace neons and loud fonts.
There will be more emphasis placed on the user experience, but not in the way that you think. Minimalism initially had designers in a chokehold because the spotlight was on “minimalism makes for great UX”, but it isn’t just going to be about that anymore.
Maximalism will appear in areas where the UX isn’t front and center (think ads and commercials). While a brand may choose minimalism for the website (once users are already there), they will embrace maximalism in their marketing efforts to make them memorable.
2D logos are becoming increasingly popular among businesses these days, and it's easy to see why. For starters, they have a simple and clean look that makes them easy to recognize. Plus, they're super versatile and can be used across all sorts of marketing materials, from business cards to websites.
With the rise of digital marketing, it's important for logos to look great on all screens and devices, and 2D logos have got that covered. While 3D design elements may be trending, logos are the only exception to that rule.
A great example of this would be to look at the evolution of car company logos. For nearly all of the ones showcased in this article by [COMPANY], we can see the evolution of the 2D trend and why it works.
Our 2023 prediction: For marketers, 2D logos are likely to continue trending for a few reasons. Firstly, as technology continues to evolve and marketing strategies become more focused on digital channels, 2D logos will continue to provide a clean and modern look that is well-suited for use across different devices and platforms.
Secondly, 2D logos are versatile and can be easily adapted to different design styles and color schemes, making them suitable for a wide range of industries and audiences.
Finally, 2D logos tend to be simple and memorable, making them an effective tool for building brand recognition and establishing a strong visual identity. So, if you're a marketer looking for a logo that can keep up with the latest trends, 2D is definitely worth considering!
We love AI just as much as the next creative company, but there is no denying that people and companies alike are pushing back on it. Whether it’s due to a flawed or fear-based perception of AI, or the concern that overusing it will cost us many jobs. Consumers are wary. They want that human touch that could only come from…well, a human.
This isn’t to say that marketers can’t benefit from using AI in their marketing design, it just means that they’re going to have to work hard to infuse humanistic elements into those ideas.
Our 2023 prediction: Humanist typefaces, organic forms, more intentional use of photos that include people’s faces, and copy that feels personalized to your target audience. This is what we mean when we say putting in the work to humanize your brand.
People want to be sold and marketed to by people.
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The world is evolving and so should we.
The design world is constantly evolving and it's important to stay up to date with the latest trends to stay ahead of the game. From bold maximalism to 2D logos, the design trends of 2023 are shaping up to be an exciting mix of creativity and simplicity.
We hope this top 10 list has given you some inspiration and ideas for your next design project. Remember, trends are meant to be a starting point and not a rulebook. So, don't be afraid to put your own spin on things and create something truly unique and memorable.