When you look at the list of 2022 trends in design, you can see that some of them have resulted from the pandemic and some have their sources in other domains. Last year showed us that life has not ended and it has not stopped. It simply goes on, just maybe in a slightly different direction.
In the article “7 graphic design trends in 2021,” we wrote that the year 2020 changed a lot, which would impact the trends of 2021. Right now, after nearly two years of living in the pandemic world, we are beginning to get a bit used to it and we start to think, “ok, this is what our lives look like now,” and begin to see this as the “new normal” in the full meaning of these words.
Does this mean that upcoming design trends are not relevant to the pandemic or to how it changed the world? Not exactly.
Back to the ‘90s
The repeatability of trends in fashion and design is a fact. Every few years, we can see inspirations from previous decades. In the last two years, we can see a trend we can call “the 80’s nostalgia” (and the influence of the “Stranger Things” Netflix series was not indifferent in this case), now it’s time for the 90s!
So what can we expect now? Bright, pastel colors, that “bubblegum feeling,” simple shapes and graphics, grainy textures, pixelated art, a revival of the kitsch, overloaded with graphic elements, early websites, and computer interface stylizations.
As we wrote at the beginning of this section, the repeatability of design trends is natural, but what else attracts people to the ’90s? David Newman, a nostalgia researcher at the University of Southern California, says: “Since everything seems to be more individualistic now and people are all having different experiences, we might have fewer of these collectivistic nostalgic experiences overall.”
What’s more, according to Deloitte, millennials will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. These people, who grew up in the ’90s, are now between 30-40 years old and are at the top of their careers and life energy. Looking for things they know from their childhood, from their teenage years, make them feel comfortable, remind them of the years where everything was easy – and these are the feelings they are looking for.
Product Discovery describes the iterative process of reducing uncertainties around a problem or idea, to make sure the right product gets built for the right audience. The process includes such steps as workshops, research, expert or user interviews, prototyping, and testing.
A year ago we decided to add the Product Discovery service to our offer. We always want to get ahead with news in various technological fields – design included. We believed that it would soon become a trend, and we were excited to see how our predictions have come true. During the last year, we noticed not only an increase of interest in Product Discovery services from a group of our clients and partners, but we have also seen more and more awareness of how many advantages it can bring to businesses.
The Product Discovery process helps companies and startups reduce risk and validate products early, reduce development costs and time-to-market as well as allow engineers to come up with more accurate estimates of the MVP.
If you want to find out more about how the Product Discovery process looks, read a case study of the work we did for Granular.ai.
With a growing number of distractions (news, push notifications, messages, etc.), it is even easier to lose your attention. According to The Guardian, the abundance of information is correlated with changes in terms of collective attention. An example of this can be seen in the fact that in 2013 a global trend on Twitter lasted for about 17.5 hours, while in 2016 it would last for merely 11.9 hours.
This shows us why the first impression is crucial, and it has to be fast. One of the ideas on how to do this is to make a twist in typography. Using this method users see something unusual, which can catch their interest, but this is also a great place to slip in some additional meaning hidden within the letter design.
As we mention in the above section – keeping the users’ attention in a world full of distractions is crucial for every webpage and app. So how can brands be more interesting for users?
According to Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing report, 69% of users prefer to watch short videos to learn about a product or service. What’s more, in 2018, people watched an average of 1.5 hours per day of online videos, and in 2021 this rose to an average of over 2.5 hours per day. It all shows how important it is to give users video content. So should we opt out of a website for a youtube movie? No! You can use finely animated content to give your website more life.
Normal scrolling is boring and predictable. Try to create a solution that reveals your story piece by piece with every scroll. It looks like a video but it is even better because the user is engaged with the plot’s progress, making each following element appear.
A great example of how shortening attention spans and the increasing demand for online video content can deliver new services turned social phenomenons, such as TikTok. The company delivers shorts – no longer than 15 seconds with the ability to string up to four, creating a string of a full 60-seconds. According to Business of Apps, the app has dominated the mobile app market, reaching a billion annual users in 2021.
AR & VR
It’s hard to not think about AR and VR as a trend for this (and the next) year, while Facebook (2.89 billion monthly active users) creates the Metaverse – a “place” built using virtual reality, augmented reality, and video, where users can “live” in a digital universe just like in the real one – working in virtual offices and spending time with friends in whatever way they like.
VR and AR are not terribly new solutions, but with the lock-down experience and Metaverse, they can’t be perceived only as nice, fun additions to real content. We are at a moment when virtual reality will become more real than ever. In this year, brands should ask themselves, “what can we do to give our users the experience which feels most real?” And this is also a question for designers.
Below you will find two detailed design practices which are part of one bigger trend. That being design materials and digital products with attention to an ethical approach.
Ethical design is about abandoning a user-centered approach for the sake of creating a design for a user who is a part of the wider world. The process respects the diversity of people, other cultures, all issues we should care about. This approach implies that the goal of a design is no longer to just sell, but to educate and sensitize.
Our mission at Tooploox is to improve lives through cutting-edge products and solutions, that’s why we are thrilled when we see more and more designs with an ethical approach. In order to see even more of them, we want to share our knowledge and experience, that’s why below you can find information about two ethical trends: accessibility plus diversity and inclusion.
We can’t continue to think that the internet, smartphones, and apps are for young people and that those who are not able to use them are just not our target. The fastest growth in the percentage of owned smartphones in the US is in groups aged 50-64 and 65+. Smartphones are no longer a toy but a necessity, and people 50+ are starting to understand this very well. Especially right now, in the pandemic world, when we’ve had to change our habits to keep social distance.
But accessibility is also about people with disabilities, which is more than one in four on the planet. As we can read in the 3rd Annual State of Accessibility Report by Diamond, after three years of website screen reader testing, the company has identified a positive trend – accessibility of the number of pages from Alexa’s Top 100 increased from 29% to 62%!
Diversity and inclusion
As was written in the above section, IT solutions have to be created for everyone, regardless of age or disability. But in the design process, we should also think about other minorities – not only in UX but also in graphics, marketing, and overall brand strategy.
According to Adobe, most Americans (61%) find diversity in advertising important, and 38% of consumers said they are more likely to trust brands that show more diversity in their ads. As we can read in McKinsey’s article – more than 75 % of consumers from Generation Z will end relationships with companies that run ad campaigns perceived as macho, racist, or homophobic.
But of course, ads are not everything, and more important is the brand promise and overall strategy, which should be visible in every aspect. According to Deloitte, 57% of consumers are more loyal to brands that commit to addressing social inequities in their actions.
We wish for all of us that this year will be full of these trends – that we will be as happy as we were as kids in the 90’s, that creative solutions will surround us and that no one will feel excluded. In the end, we hope one of these trends will stay only in the design field – and that we will all spend more time together in the offline world, not in virtual reality.