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In my last post, I shared some top design trends for 2018. While that article spoke more to product and technology design, this article addresses visual and delightful design.

Previously, I spoke about the demand for designers to think beyond the sticky note and create products that are truly personal, secure and valuable. Aesthetically, this challenge is equally important. The cultural trends influencing visual design in 2018 revolve around authenticity, unique expression, ingenuity, truth, depth, boldness and sophistication.

We can see these trends visually expressed in a number of ways and I’ll highlight a few that particularly peaked my interest.


Each year, Pantone declares a color of the year. In 2018, the color is: Ultra Violet, 18-3838. Pantone chose this color to reflect the dynamic time we are living in “…that requires inventiveness and imagination.” “Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.” “…Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”

Other trends in color will be seen in bold Duo Tone (see hero image) and Double Exposure Images and the continuation and expansion of bright gradients.

Pantone Color of 2018
Pantone’s Color of the Year, Ultra Violet (
Texture and Depth

Semi-flat and isometric design are the preferred visual methods – purely flat design is out. Designers are bringing texture and depth to their designs with shadow, layers, intersecting objects, unique patterns.

Texture and Depth
Currency Chicago use of depth, texture, intersecting elements and bold typography (

In-keeping with the overall trend for the year, bold typography will steal the show and the use of serifs will continue to grow. Designers will use typography, along with other design tools, to push boundaries.

Bright Media | Attitude
Bright Media uses Bold Typography, Color and Animations (
Insymbiosis uses Bold Typography (

A key element to standing out and making a unique mark for your brand and products is to integrate thoughtful movement. Movement can be implemented in a number of ways, including video, animations, and GIFs. The key to implementing movement is to make it thoughtful and valuable. Animations can enhance interaction and help guide users to better understanding and experiences and they can also delight an audience. Regardless of the way they are implemented, they should offer some sort of value to the customer and not be distracting. Trends for 2018 include, animated logos, responsive logos, product demo GIFs, animated data visualizations, animated click and tap interactions, animated steppers, guides and instructions, and more.

MailChimp Animation

MailChimp uses animation to feature a campaign and attract and engage its audience. (


Photography & Illustration

Culture demands authenticity and unique expression at this point in time and this can be seen in relevant, custom photography and illustrations. Audiences want to see unique imagery that reflects the company and product.

Slack Custom Illustration
Slack Custom Illustration (
Slack Custom Illustration
Slack Custom Illustration (
GE Transportation Authentic Photography
GE Authentic Photography with animated typography (


2018 is a great year to take risks and push boundaries while still implementing solid, thoughtful design and offering value to your audience.



10 inspirational graphic design trends for 2018, Mila Jones Cann,

2018 Graphic Design Trends + Inspirational Showcase, Jacob Cass,

10 no-nonsense web design trends for 2018, Ben Davis, Econsultancy,

Announcing Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet, Pantone Color of the Year 2018, Pantone,

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Amanda Morgan

UI Designer

Amanda Morgan
Amanda Morgan

Amanda Morgan

UI Designer

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