Trends come and go in the creative industries and the graphic design sector is no different. Once something is found to work it can spread fast. 2016 is marching on and so we thought it would be interesting if I sat down with Barry and looked at the design trends the industry bloggers were predicting a few months back and compared them with our work here at Teapot Towers.

Retro and Contemporary Blends

Early digital design has been given an opportunity to make a comeback. Perhaps it’s the popularity of all things 80s but the reappearance in certain quarters of the retro style video game graphics certainly seems on the same theme with the bright colours and the affectionate yet ever so slightly ironic wink at the recent past.

Teapot’s view – Clothing and then music was where the 80s revival began but it has found no home here at Teapot. When it is right for the client and their brand however we’ve successfully created retro style designs. For Joes Motor Pool this was a 1940s American military look and then moving forward into the 1960s for the Mod inspired look of website and branding Scootopia (see below).

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Bold Typography

This can either be a utilitarian headline typeface to make a no nonsense statement, or a more playful and exciting approach using unique styles. A perfect example is the project created by Stockholm agency Snask for the Washington Post readers favourite edition back in 2015 outlined here in a recent Design Taxi post.

Teapot’s view – Barry explained that if you get a creative brief that demands a left field approach combined with a budget to match then doing something as radical as this becomes an option. In the real world however, eye-catching typography is one of the tools in every graphic designers kit and with the constantly evolving ranges of fonts, how you turn these into a striking title or logo is something that Teapot know how to do.

Material Design and Flat 2.0

Light and shadow, intense colours and an apparently simplistic style are all hallmarks of Google’s Flat 1.0 material design principals of 2014, which themselves had evolved from Microsoft and Apple designs. Flat 2.0 is characterised by the greater depth it gives to the ‘flat’ appearance of the earlier style.

Teapot’s view – We’ve been following these design guidelines for the last couple of years and implementing them in our sites. Simple animated features and easy to follow user journeys styled in the Flat format can enhance the user experience but as with all the Flat styled graphics, they are characterised by their gentle nature.

An example of how we’ve integrated the Flat principals into a Teapot built website can be found in the Somerset based sports nutritional supplements company Calleva Nutrition (see below).

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Geometric Shapes

They instinctively appeal to the human eye and in some cases exert a peculiarly mesmerising effect so it’s no surprise to find that geometric shapes have been discovered to be a useful design tool for screen based and traditional graphic designers. Versatile enough to be used in a modern context or when seeking to create a nostalgic feel through the design.

Teapot’s view – Two projects that showcase Teapots use of geometric shapes in design are the aforementioned web and branding project for Calleva Nutrition (see above) and interior designer Lucy Clemas (see below).

Geometric Designs

Modular and Infinite Scrolling

The new arrivals on the web scene, modular and infinite scrolling, offer a way of allowing different parts of the screen to move independently of one another. As a way of presenting graphic imagery without much text it is an effective technique for online marketing holding the viewer on the page before guiding them into the site.

Teapot’s view – As of yet here at Teapot we’ve only really dipped our toe into this new world of design. A site like the one we designed and built for Ride Strong Tours (see below) is an example of how we’ve used modular scrolling in certain parts of the site. As time goes we’ll see more of our websites moving in this general direction for for in web land nothing stays still.

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Custom Illustration

A sure fire way of making your design stand out from the crowd is to add an illustrated touch. All sorts of techniques and styles are available from the cartoon to the sketch with a popular use being to blend the hand created with the digital or photographic.

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Teapot’s view – Due to the amount of time that is needed to deliver an illustration based design project, cost can quickly become a limiting factor. Some stand out examples from the last few years here at Teapot are the work we did for Wainwrights (see above) with their enhanced stock illustration and Ocean Style’s ‘from scratch’ single line graphics and most recently the floral design work for tammason.co.uk (see below).

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Print Inspired

It seems the presence of hundreds of years of printing history and amassed techniques can’t simply be forgotten about by designers and instead have found a welcome home in the web. Typographic styles, column layouts and grid systems for images in websites add to the reader experience by giving a sense of familiarity.

Teapot’s view – I created a wood cut print effect for our clients at Blackdown Shepherd Huts (see below) and their brochure we designed for them. Taking inspiration from the past as they do with their Victorian shepherd huts but recreating it using modern technology it works well for their brand.

Graphic design is an ever-changing industry. Who’d have predicted that back in the 80s when the first computer aided design packages were being developed that they would now dominate design to the extent they now do. Perhaps it is this ability to use traditional techniques as well as the flexibility of computers that now means for designers dreams can become reality.

Tea Fuelled Creativity

For a proper taste of what our design team get up to when they’re not guzzling tea, take a look at the Teapot Creative design portfolio. It’s chocked full of tea fuelled creativity.

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