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Color & Graphics Trends

It’s the new year and a good time to reflect on whats happening in art in design.

You may have noticed that Facebook is testing color status backgrounds. Companies are using more neon colors, desaturated neons and pastels that are often blended together in smooth gradients or are used in photographic duotone effects. This is notable in Spotify’s 2016 rebrand demonstrated by “the colorizer”. This proprietary app (on the fly) converts images to grayscale, allowing manual contrast adjustment and then reworks the source colors from a palette of preselected brand colors. This alternative open source web app demonstrates a similar effect. To achieve the exact same effect as “the colorizer” it takes a few extra steps in Photoshop and/or Indesign. Here’s a cool Photoshop template for building complex blended color gradients. Spotify’s brand color even looks like Pantone’s selection for the 2017 color of the year. The 2016 color of the year and Pantone’s 2016 spring fashion colors also fall into this trends scope of aesthetic.

Neo-Memphis Design is also trending with major brands and design schools publishing content with these distinct patterns. Some say we are copying the 80’s-90’s esthetic. That may be true to an extent with these trends having strong roots in the 80’s and 90’s. As a society who increasingly engages with technology, we are reflecting/re-interpreting technology’s “rise to power” that took place in the late 20th century.

But we are not just influenced by the past, modern graphic identity systems like material design are playing an increasing role on our daily visual stimuli. Looking to the future, design systems in VR hold promise as a whole new set of influence.

What are your thoughts on today’s trends in color, patterns and visual systems? What are we reflecting on and what does this represent culturally?