Where Are We Going? Graphic Design Trends 2019

Top design industry execs on the upcoming graphic design trends in 2019

2018 was a year for design—there was the wild return of gradients, bold typography, the rise of documentary photography and duotones. The first poster design museum opened in New York, while one designer re-imagined the book cover for Fire and Fury and David Hockney created iPad-designed stained-glass windows for Westminster Abbey—not to mention an exhibit at the School of Visual Arts on political satire. As we look towards 2019, one has to wonder: What’s next? We asked a few notable School of Visual Arts design professors to pipe in on what we can expect to see in graphic design in 2019. Here’s what they said.

Stephan Henning / Unsplash graphic design trends 2019

Stephan Henning / Unsplash

An Ecosystem

graphic design trends 2019 heller

Steven Heller (Photo: Nir Arieli)

“Trends are fleeting. What I predict now may be over tomorrow. So I’m going to be more philosophical than predictable. I think that in 2019 there will be much more emphasis on experiences. At the moment “experience” is a buzzword, so what emerges may not be called an “experience” but I think designers are looking at holistically at design. It’s not enough to make a poster or book cover, design is about creating an ecosystem (another buzzword) that has a lot of working parts and is built by a team of people. So, is that a trend? No. It is a process that will take hold for a while. Maybe it’ll become SOP or maybe it will phase into something else. It’s foolhardy to predict but reasonable to imagine. I imagine that design will be about every aspect of life, thus the ecosystem metaphor is apt.

Steven Heller the founder and co-chair of the MFA Design Program at SVA, the writer of Print‘s own Daily Heller, as well as a leading art director, typography expert and author of over 170 design books.

Careless cool

graphic design trends 2019 trends anderson

Gail Anderson (Photo: Declan Van Welie)

“A designer in my office recently described what looks like the most current design trend as ‘careless cool.’ It’s sort of a non-design design that is less dependent on manicured type and even basic principles than it is an homage to MySpace. At its best, it’s supported by smart thinking, striking color and sometimes engaging motion. But it can be difficult to wrap your head around if you teach, and even harder if you love letterforms. That said, I’m intrigued. 

Gail Andersoncreative director of SVA’s Visual Arts Press, SVA’s in-house design studio and the 2018 National Design Awards Lifetime Achievement winner. Gail is also a past judge for the Print Regional Design Awards, which are accepting entries now!

Think in a new way

Richard Wilde (Photo: Nigel Parry)

Richard Wilde (Photo: Nigel Parry)

“For me, the question is to be able to have a career in design for the next 50 years. In order to move toward this possibility, what is necessary is to learn how to think in a new way. To not be subject to one’s automatic thought process of relying on the known, which always results in a cliched, trivial and banal solution, but to move past this habitual approach toward the world of the UNKNOWN. This is achieved by questioning, playing, experimenting and trusting the process by responding to the dictates of each phase of the design process.”

Richard Wilde, the founder and chair of the BFA Graphic Design Program and the BFA Advertising Program, Hall of Fame Laureate, Art Directors Club. 

Cluttered casualness

Carol Rusche Bentel (Photo: Nir Arieli)

Carol Rusche Bentel (Photo: Nir Arieli)

“Changes in our culture and economy are reflected in our architecture and interior spaces. The often-moving transitory inhabitant is creating a possession-less culture. More time is spent outside the home or apartment and with others in casual environments. The hospitality design field is exploding because of the increased population which is spending more hours in communal spaces. These communal spaces are casual, playful, and comfort is paramount. Forms are no longer made with 90-degree angles. Our methods of production no longer require a triangle or parallel drawing tool, as computer rendering and virtual reality capabilities have replaced them. The robust economy may unfortunately add a cluttered casualness to our current minimalistic white and gray environments. The increased use by non-designers to DIY and digitally select designs with the aid of virtual reality may remove designers of buildings and interior spaces from their central role.”

Carol Rusche Bentel, the chair of the BFA Interior Design Program at SVA, an architect, partner of Bentel & Bentel Architects/Planners AIA and award-winning restaurant designer. 

An emphasis on diversity

Milton Glaser (Photo: Catalina Kulczar)

Milton Glaser (Photo: Catalina Kulczar)

“It seems to me that we are all going through a period of great diversity. The ideology that created and sustained modernism has weakened to be replaced in part by a period of ornamentation and illustrative imagery of a variety of styles that adds more complexity. Yes. More beauty? I’m not sure.”

Milton Glaser, President and creative director, Milton Glaser, Inc.; acting chairman of the board, School of Visual Arts, co-founder, Push Pin Studios; co-founder, New York magazine 

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