Graphic design is an ever-changing industry that sets trends and creates new styles for folks to follow. In this article we will be Exploring the Future of Graphic Design.
Design principles change when new technology hits the market. This is more true today than ever before, as AI has sharpened some designer’s skills and helped others enter the industry for the first time.
The future of graphic design is also driven by an ever-deepening understanding of human psychology. Consumer psychology is a flourishing field that has already yielded valuable insights for graphic designers and marketers alike.
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Generative AI has rocked the content creation world. Programs like Midjourney already boast over 16 million users and 23,000 more people sign up for the service every day. This means that folks are able to generate creative designs without ever working with a professional illustrator.
Folks who use creative and generative AI can also lean on the tech to complete data set reading that improves their understanding of consumer trends. Computer vision programs are even capable of extracting patterns from images online, meaning graphic designers will become aware of emerging trends sooner than ever before.
However, AI is unlikely to replace graphic designers or illustrators any time soon. In part, this is due to poor consumer sentiment surrounding AI-generated content. AI programs are currently incapable of replicating the kind of feedback-driven creative content that graphic designers produce day in and day out.
Instead, AI tools will serve to support graphic designers and embolden their plans. For example, graphic designers who are responsible for creating and publishing social media posts can outsource caption-writing to programs like ChatGPT and edit the AI-generated content. This speeds up the content creation process and frees up time for folks to focus on more challenging aspects of graphic design.
Graphic design programs are notorious for having a steep learning curve. Programs like Adobe’s Photoshop are intimidating to the uninitiated and seasoned pros still have a hard time navigating the various stamp tools. It’s all too easy to lose hours of productivity while trying to manipulate an image or navigate a complex user interface (UI).
However, this all seems set to change soon. Programs like Canva offer a streamlined, simplified UI for folks who are new to graphic design and Adobe is set to release their own simplified version of Photoshop named Adobe Elements.
While this won’t impact experienced designers who whizz through layers at light speed, it does mean that folks at the entry level of design can produce higher-quality graphics sooner. This is great news for busy young professionals who may not have the time to master every tool available on more complex programs.
Additionally, some programs are starting to make use of AI to speed up the editing process. AI programs trained on stock images can fill backgrounds, edit out glare, and generate more content based on the existing image. This is great news for designers working with demanding clients who have a clear vision of what they want.
Understanding consumer psychology is key to getting ahead in the graphic design world. Designers must understand their audience before pushing new branded content on social pages or websites. Failing to adhere to consumer expectations can create a disjuncture between the business and the perception of its brand.
A strong grasp of consumer psychology is already changing the way designers approach typography. Typography is about more than picking a fun font; effective typography sets the mood and changes consumer perception. Consider, for example, if a luxury brand like Rolls Royce removed the serifs on their typeface and squished the lettering together. The result would put off consumers and derail their branding efforts.
Graphic designers can also tap into the emerging field of colour psychology. By dividing colours into an electromagnetic spectrum, designers can pick out branded colours that align with their business goals. This helps folks find palettes they need to reflect a brand built on calmness, excitement, or optimism.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have changed the business world for the better. Nowhere is this clearer than in the graphic design field, where more designers are taking their responsibility seriously and representing folks from all backgrounds. However, designers must continue to learn about their audiences and adapt to become more inclusive to stay relevant in the future.
Graphic designers who are responsible for creating web-based content can use universal design principles to guide their decision-making. Universal design puts accessibility and inclusion first and ensures that all users have a fair chance to interact with the content. This approach can save plenty of time down the road, too, as designers won’t have to make accommodations for every individual difference. Instead, they can lean on a universal approach that bakes inclusivity into the core of their projects.
Designers who are unfamiliar with inclusive design must up their understanding as soon as possible or risk drawing the ire of savvy consumers. Failing to adapt to the more inclusive future of graphic design will damage their brand reputation and may make it difficult to find work in the freelancing world.
The increased adoption of augmented and virtual reality tech means that designers have to rethink the way they interact with their audience
Fortunately, immersive design isn’t a new concept. The term was actually coined in 2007 by British designer Alex McDowell. This means that aspiring graphic designers can lean on a rich history of immersive design examples and principles when crafting content that resonates with folks who use augmented reality (AR) devices or virtual reality (VR) headsets.
The key to successful immersive design is ensuring that interactive elements are intuitive and add meaningful value. Simply put, consumers will skip over immersive experiences if they’re just trying to hard sell a product or promote a service. Instead, designers must create engaging experiences that support the business brand image while engaging consumers.
Folks who work in the homeware industry are particularly well-positioned to make use of immersive design. Big brands already have AR apps that let folks overlay furniture, paints, and decor over their real house. This tech can be leveraged by designers working for businesses that want to shake up the market and convince consumers to choose them over their rivals.
The future of graphic design is always a little murky. However, it’s clear that AI, immersive design, and inclusion will have a major impact on the way that graphic designers work. But what styles will designers of the future opt for and how will they deliver on their promise to boost brand reputation?
Research collated by Exploding Topics suggests that hand-drawn illustrations and minimalist colour palettes are in vogue right now. This is likely because today’s consumers want to align with authentic brands that focus more on people than profits. Opting for cooler tones and straightforward graphics shows that firms are focused on being clear and relatable while providing a personalized touch.
Similarly, many consumers show an increased interest in seeing the data behind the brand message. This is particularly important today, as many businesses are aligning themselves with progressive policies on climate change and DEI schemes. Consumers need to know that they can trust their favourite businesses in an age of misinformation and will appreciate a well-crafted infographic in the coming years.
The future of graphic design looks bright. Folks who are new to the industry can lean on an array of user-friendly programs while they get up to speed and consumers are keen to support brands that foreground inclusion, equity, and authenticity. Designers who want to stay ahead of the competition should consider upgrading their immersive design skills, as it seems that AR/VR is a trend that is here to stay.
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