Design, like most everything else, changes with the times. There are landmark art and design movements that we are taught about in school. These come about as there are massive shifts in technology and popular culture.
There are also more fleeting, yearly and even monthly design trends that can be a lot tougher to keep up with.
So should you even try to keep up with the latest trends?
Keeping up can be a very positive thing. It makes the work you do seem cutting edge. This in turn keeps your clients on trend which will no doubt keep them happy.
That being said there are a few things to keep in mind before trying your hand at the latest and greatest design trend.
A note from Preston: As a reminder, Ben (the author of this post) has just joined the GDB writing team and will be contributing regularly. Please join me in giving him a warm welcome by leaving a comment on this post.
Get the basics down.
There are golden rules to design. These are basic principles to build off of and work from as a foundation for all of your work.
These fundamentals are what make timeless designs.
If you jump on a trend, ignoring the fundamentals of design, you will end up with a finished product that lacks substance. Once that trend is over, the design has no
more value and just looks dated.
Use the fundamental design principles as a foundation, and particular trends only where they are appropriate and you will end up with work that looks good, and up to date even once the trend is on its way out.
Do what’s natural.
Most people have a specific style, so work within yours. Just because a certain aesthetic is very popular doesn’t mean you should try it.
A smashing design, in a less popular style will beat a forced design in a popular one, every time.
This isn’t to say that if a trend is different than your normal style you will be bad at it.
You might be amazing at it, so by all means give it a try.
If it feels forced and phony though, it may be best to avoid it.
Know what’s worth paying attention to.
It can be overwhelming to keep tabs on all of the different trends going on at one time.
Try and differentiate between styles that are likely to be a flash in the pan, and ones that have some staying power. No one wants their work to be out of style before it’s even finished.
Flat design, and striped down simplistic looks are very popular currently, but have their roots in the broader Minimalism and Functionalism movements that have been around for decades.
Trends that stem from established and well liked movements are more likely to stick around and be successful.
Consider your timeline.
Depending on what you’re working on, it’s not unheard of for a lot of time to pass before it will see the light of day.
If you think this may be the case, it may be best to avoid really on trend styles, in favor of something a little more classic.
On the other side of this, a lot of work for the web has a short life span and can be designed without worry of it sticking around long after a trend is over.
What about you?
How close an eye do you keep on the latest design trends? Leave a comment on this post and let’s talk more about how you balance following trends with building your business.