Colour is vitally important for any brand. It becomes something that they are known for, something that makes their logo stand out. For example, everybody instantly recognises the Golden Arches with the red background as being McDonalds. However, if that was just black and white, it would blend in, and become something that people just walk on past or don’t even think about. That is why colour is so important. It also helps to set the mood and style of a brand. For example, a brand that uses bright colours that pop, will normally be associated with something fun or perhaps kids products. On the other hand, a brand that uses darker colours, like blacks, reds maybe even silvers, will be associated as being more sophisticated. Take a look at the colours used the next time you see advertisements for mens aftershave and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about, darker colours, that give off an air of sophistication and mystery. In this sense, companies such as Pantone take a look each year at what they think the popular colour of the upcoming year will be, and select theirs.
Pantone, in their own words are ‘the world renowned authority of colour and provider of colour systems’. Each year, they set about choosing their colour of the year, the colour that they think will make it big in the design world for the upcoming year. Their choice for 2018 is Ultra Violet: 18-3838. Laurie Pressman, vice-president at Pantone, had this to say when the colour was announced, “The Pantone colour of the year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.” In saying this, she is completely right. Colours for design should follow the way the world has moved/ is moving and what industries are going to be focusing on, not just ‘we are using this because it looks good’ although, it certainly helps if it does!. Ultra Violet takes great ques from musical legends such as Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Prince and can continue to take inspiration from the present day, such as advancements in recent space exploration, providing a sense of mystery and wonder of what is out there in the cosmos. If designers are using this colour, it will give the design of their product or service that mysterious quality. This colour really pops, and if put against a lighter background, is really going to draw customers in, making sure whatever is it your are selling really stands out.
In saying this however, Pantone aren’t the only ones to have a colour of the year, as PPG and Olympic and Gidden also announced theirs, but have taken a different direction. Both companies have decided to choose Black as their colour of the year, although not Black in the classic sense, but shades of it. PPG have chosen Black Flame which is described as ‘mixing black with deep tones of indigo’. Olympic and Gidden however have chosen Black Magic, which is described as being ‘more saturated and having hints of charcoal throughout’. The reasoning behind these choices was almost one in the same, as black is one of the most perfect colours for creating a sophisticated look about something, especially when it is paired with another colour. It can look great either taking a back seat to the main design or being full on and up front. In this sense, it will also work great with the other colour design trends of 2018.
While there can often be a lot of graphic design trends throughout the year, as every company has something that they like and want to stick to, there are a few which more often than not, a lot of companies tend to follow, or more specifically industries. One such trend is the use of bright, flat colours. This design trend certainly isn’t something new, however it has evolved into flat 2.0 and is set to continue it’s way in 2018 and beyond. The use of flat and bold colours has been around in print for years, simply because it works. There are a lot of different colours that work together, and it helps to keep the design clean while also giving it a fun and sometimes quirky vibe. However, it is only in recent years that it has made its way into digital design. It was Google that kicked off this trend, using it within Material Design on their Android Operating system, and it has only gone from strength to strength as others have followed suit. But it is still within print where it’s strengths lie, as it immediately looks better in the hand, than it does on a screen.
Keeping in line with the flat and almost minimalistic design of the bold and bright colours, another trend which is coming into its own is that of using Pastel colours. Pastel is great for minimalism, almost like the older brother of bold and bright, it provides you with the same effect, but in a more subdued and sophisticated manner. Using pastel is great for companies who want to re-introduce colour into their brand. Perhaps you own a company which makes bespoke cards, and want to add a bit more colour to your branding. With this type of product you might be deterred from going towards the bright and bold colours, but still want the same effect, then the use of pastel colours would be perfect for you.
A final trend that has growing momentum this year, specifically in web design, is that of Brutalism. Just because something doesn’t look the nicest doesn’t mean it won’t work, which is undoubtedly the case for brutalism. Often seen as ugly, raw and uncomfortable to look at, it’s certainly a mystery how it has gathered a niche and continued to grow, but that just might be the reason that it has. Sometimes we are drawn to that which shouldn’t work. We get bored with what does, and want to try and goes against traditions. That’s exactly what brutalism is doing, going against traditional design trends. It’s where colours clash, placement if off and almost longs to be back in the beginnings of web design in the 90s. However, it’s starting to filter through to print. But is this such a bad thing? It’s an attention grabber, people will notice it. And isn’t that what we all want when marketing?