A Look at New Design Trends: Incorporating Flat, Filtered and Lifestyle Images
The proliferation of online media is having major impacts on graphic design and, therefore, on POP design. In the following, GSP’s Design team takes a look at some of the ways that current POP graphics reflect common design trends in online media.
Designers often rely on the use of gradients and lighting to make images appear closer to real-life: a technique known as skeuomorphism. For example, in the “on” button pictured on the right, a designer has made the image look like a real button with special lighting effects. However, in online media, designers are replacing skeuomorphism with “flat” objects like the Off button pictured on the right. Led by changes in app and software design to help browsers and apps look more visually appealing and load faster, downloads of flat design elements have increased by 200% over the past year. “Flat design” is mainly the term given to the style of design in which elements such as drop shadows, gradients and textures are not included.
Designers have moved toward flat design because of its crisp and modern appeal. Simple, flat images allow the design to focus on what is most important: the content and the message. By removing the extra design elements that can easily date their work, designers “future-proof” their creative so that they become relevant for longer periods of time. Flat design also seems to make things look and feel more efficient, by cutting out the “fluff.” Clean, simple and effective—less is more.
With the popularity of mobile apps like Instagram, searches for filtered images soared 661% in 2013, and the trend shows no signs of abating. Adding a filter can give an image a unique feel (i.e. sunny, antique or rustic). These manipulated images can help set the tone of the design for not just a sign, brochure or web site, but for an entire campaign (like the Starbucks campaign shown).
Designs that incorporate lifestyle images with people and products in authentic real-life settings are also a big trend today in online and mobile app advertising as well as in-store graphics. These types of photos are increasingly in demand, up 347%. These images help consumers establish an emotional connection to the design—and essentially to the product advertised.
This growing trend represents a desire for stronger emotional connections. We can all relate to the spectrum of emotions found in these often un-posed compositions: joy, enthusiasm, fun and happiness—making them approachable and enticing for the consumer to try the product.