If you’re a good designer you simply don’t ignore design trends. Some of them can have a dramatic effect on your work and change your ways of thinking about a project. But should you always follow them or create your own?
When you’re designing concepts for a new website or branding work, it’s so easy to start copying a new trend that’s emerged from an online blog or a retweet. Maybe you’ve started jotting down a few ideas of your own, derived from the creative brief, then suddenly decide that wouldn’t it be cool to include that nice icon or typeface you saw being shared around on Twitter. We’ve all done it, I’m certain guilty of it on lots of different levels. But is it the right thing to do?
Design has been emulated throughout the years, and undergoes considerable changes from time to time. Some of these trends have been influenced by new technologies and will undoubtedly continue to develop all the time. The current trend in the mobile experience world has changed the way designers think about how a website is developed and delivered and how that information is presented in a unique, desirable way. There are lots out their who are simply following the ongoing trends and building sites that become more or less duplications of each other. This is understandable to some degree, as this technology is constantly changing and end-users struggle to adjust to diverse inconsistent interfaces.
But think about it – without designers thinking outside of the box, we wouldn’t have the advances in creativity that have progressed to this level. Even the toolbox of a designer is built by software houses that take note of these trends and adapt their applications to make the thinking & decision making process easier. What about Instagram type filters? Yep, there’ll be a Photoshop Plugin for that. Like a working studio shot similar to what other companies have done on landing pages? Easy. Choose one from a selection of 3,468 on the stock photography site and then download.
So should you follow a trend or your instinct? Well, always think about the client first before you make a giant leap into a trending design, after all they’re the ones handing over the cheque to the project. What might seem be a good idea in your mind may not always be the right thing to do for the client or their brand structure. They’re the ones who have approached you to help improve their business and in doing so have placed their trust in your hands. Respect the customer and their brand and your design style will shine through. Focus on their specific needs and understand their goals and objectives, if they want use an existing trend that’s their choice. Don’t be arrogant and take a designer ego trip using that image or colour swatch you really liked on a website, save that for a personal project if you find yourself expressing that challenge.
The design world will continue to evolve, trends will appear whenever we see a fresh approach to a creative technique. But putting your clients expectations first should always be top priority in your mindset, your skills to produce great work and the versatility in your style will last a lot longer than these changeable influences.