Graphic design – trends for 2014 and beyond

‘Less is more’ seems to be the mantra of graphic designers this year – and Catgraphics certainly agrees. Simplicity is vital.

Gone are the days of complex colours, copy, images and wizardry. Today it’s all about being clean, concise and clear. As Sean McQuaide of LunaMetrics puts it, “Uninterrupted content consumption will be the name of the game in 2014.”

In these times of information overload and ever-more complex technologies it’s vital to keep design simple. “ (T)hink of simple design as the yin to technology’s yang,” advises iStock’s infographic on design trends.

Simplicity, however, doesn’t mean designs must be crude and unimaginative. Sophistication can easily be achieved while keeping things simple.

We believe that, hand in hand with this return to simplicity, we’ll see more authenticity in design in 2014. We no longer want to see re-touched stock photographs in brochures, advertising or web pages. We no longer believe them. Readers demand images they can trust – photographs of real people in real-life situations, or hand-drawn images.

As our very own South African trends guru, Dion Chang, sums it up, “Consumer trust is at an all-time low.”

While some design gurus are predicting abundant use of large, or ‘hero’, images, others believe there’ll be a return to very concise copy – without accompanying images to dilute the message.

Pencilscoop’s Joe Howard believes this will be the year of copy for web sites, with more text and fewer images. “…as users are continually bombarded with hundreds of images a day while browsing the web, the eye becomes desensitized. A true intellect makes judgement on content not context, and in 2014 this will become more prevalent,” he says.


Here at Catgraphics we think there’s place for both – depending on what we’re trying to communicate and on which platform.

Infographics are big news today and will continue to be popular for the foreseeable future. Using minimal wording and clever use of graphics they inform at a glance. Want to know why they work so well? It’s because we’re visually wired, according to this great infographic.

And what’s trending colour-wise this year? Well, Pantone has chosen Radiant Orchid as their colour for 2014. According to the Pantone web site, “A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health.” You’re bound to see it a lot in advertising, brochures, websites and apps this year. Check out the colour here.

Whether you embrace Radiant Orchid or not, the trend is definitely towards fewer rather than multiple colours for a dramatic, simple look.

Finally, those of us from a traditional print background need to remember digital more than ever this year. Chances are whatever we’re doing on paper will also need to translate onto other platforms.

Happy designing!

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