Design trends we have seen in 2017

As we enter spring and gear up for summer, the countdown to Christmas begins, (is it too soon to mention Christmas? I think not, last night I saw a chocolate Santa parked next to the checkouts)  and I thought it would be cool to reflect on the design trends that we have seen in 2017.

The biggest colour trend that has been everywhere, has been the bright colours.

We have seen the two-toned colour transitions everywhere, more commonly is the warm pinks and yellows but almost equally the blue and green cool tones. Think the Instagram logo with the warm yellow and pink and the slight contrast of royal blue, giving depth.

Bringing it back to the local area, I’m sure we can all remember the fuss around the ‘C’ created to brand the Waikato town of Cambridge. Looking at the following design trends from 2017 the creators have followed the bright colours, and the incorporation of hand lettering to give a personal touch alongside bold typography.

Aesthetic of Boutiques and Craft Brands labels, packaging and logo design.

In early 2016 we saw the rise of the craft brands and boutique, almost ‘hipster’ cafes and places to visit. With this came a new style of labels, packaging and logo design that reflected ‘old school’ hand-lettered pharmaceutical labels, minimalistic and paired back to simple lines and stamped hand-lettered type. In 2017 we saw more geometric block patterns added in and the introduction of organic shapes (perhaps this was a natural flow on from the inspiration drawn from the Pantone colour of the year; Greenery). From these organic shapes, we have also seen hand-lettered logos, built on and escaping from, structured grids, see the Lewis Road Creamery Logo.


Locally we have seen the combination of hand-lettered type and geometric shape presented in the Good George brand and their label designs. Their combinations of bold typography, lettering, illustrated banners and motifs have reflected the trends of 2017.

Hand-drawn illustrations and floral infused jungle patterns

Subsequent to the hand lettering and shapes, brought hand-drawn illustrations, icons and buttons which added a personal/natural feel to pieces. Especially on the web, we have seen the use of non-mechanical lines breaking up the harsh content of screen media, through the use of natural colour palettes after the announcement of 2017 Pantone colour of the year-Greenery.

Patterns emerging from hand-drawn illustrations have included florals infused with jungle patterns and the extension of the typical mandala pattern. Perhaps with the theme of greenery kicking off this year has created a lust for getting back to nature and shying away from harsh, sharp and cold patterns. The print on the clock below designed by Erin Simpson gives the sense of style we have seen explored (see what I did there… ) in the jungle/greenery/organic theme in 2017

Lizzie Snow who runs forty-one hundred creates beautiful mandala patterns. Examples of geometric patterns, evolving around centre points, with symmetrical features. The ‘classic’ mandala theme has been intertwined with geometric shapes, lines and modern patterns.

Moving into Web Design

We have seen simple non-busy feature images with dark or gradient overlays and contrasting bold typography which helps the type stand out against the photographic backgrounds. This has been seen a lot on website home pages and print media including flyers and posters. The example below is a common style that is used for these photographic image overlays. Contradictory to the bright colours trend, we have seen these overlays mostly in cool tone colours, blues, greens and navy. Also, purple and green have been matched giving an 80’s grunge vibe. Think David Carson and Ray Gun.

Attention seeking fullscreen videos and movement (think transitions, gifs, hovers)

The Fonterra NZ website hosts a great example of a crisp storytelling video which draws the viewers attention. Full width, whilst still keeping consistency with the site. It automatically starts playing and contains no video controls which is a direction we have seen being taken, especially on landscape/touristy websites this year. Hover transitions on pieces of information help to break up individual chunks of content to help it stand out.

It has been a busy year for design in 2017. It definitely has been exciting in terms of new elements that have added more interest. I think that in 2018 we will definitely be seeing more earthy tones being introduced following on from the greenery theme. Think rich reds, dark greens, navy and mustards, portraying the colours of exposed cliffs, but let’s see what happens.

What design trends do you think we will be seeing in 2018? If you have any ideas or this post has sparked a design question, be sure to contact us or pop in, we love to have a good chat!

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