This past weekend I attended the Y-Conference at University of San Diego. This annual conference is a great place to meet designers and other people involved in the design industry from all over the world.
In addition to all the great networking, the event had many strong speakers, including Brigid McCarren, Art Director of HOW Magazine. This is possibly the number one design related magazine in existence and they are known for identifying and displaying the best work from all over the country. I found her presentation on design trends of 2011 to be particularly interesting and wanted to share with you some of the key takeaways. The top 6 design trends she shared with us were:
In addition to sharing her picks for 2011 graphic design trends, Brigid also shared the thought process behind the 5-column grid that HOW Magazine uses. For those of you who aren’t graphic designers, the grid system helps designers make better decisions on where things should be positioned. It can be an extremely beneficial tool for any designer, especially designers for magazine layouts or websites. There are many variations of grids that vary by the number of columns in the grid structure. For a simple design, a designer could use a 2-column grid or they can choose a grid structure with a larger number of columns to expand their layout choices.
Brigid shared that she uses the 5- column grid because she believes that constraint is freedom. I couldn’t agree more on this. That being said, I will never choose an odd number for my layout. Why? I just love even numbers too much and then you can divide it by 2.
Brigid touched on one last point about color trends, which was interesting for me. She told us how fashion has influenced color trends in graphic design for many years and Brigid suggested that graphic designers should also follow fashion trends because they change frequently. You can check out this year’s color trend here.
As a designer, it’s important to keep up with the trends and evolve along with them. Knowing the design trends helps us make better design choices and, more importantly, when you watch trend cycles for long enough, you are able to spot potential trends before they happen, execute them, and then become a design trendsetter.