Creative Fads

What have they been? Why are we obsessed with them? Why do some last and some don’t? What will the next fad be?


Some advice from well just about anybody’s Mum ‘just because everybody else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to’ and it definitely doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. These words of wisdom are just as suited to those working in the creative industry, as they were when my Mum was trying to convince me that platform shoes, an emo fringe and a nose piercing were not a good idea. Of course I listened to just one of these three pieces of advice. We all know how this argument goes ‘if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?’.

So where does the compulsion to follow the crowd come from? Why is the world so obsessed with Spice Pumpkin latte’s and Pokemon go all of a sudden? I’m sure there are a dozen papers written on the phycology of social conformity that explore all the ins and outs of the human mind and our need to be expected, belong and feel secure within a group. This papers would explain why we match our attitudes and behaviors accordingly in order to fit and not be segregated from the group but this is not one of them as I’m merely a Creative Account Manager and not a Phycologist. What I do want to discuss here is the graphic design equivalent of the Macarena, hyper-color t-shirts, the cabbage soup diet, planking, velour tracksuits and the dab. ‘Yeah I had to look up the last one too’, basically let talk creative crazes.

What have the fads of recent days been? We have all used them don’t be ashamed some of you used them well.


Cheesy stock images
We have all seen them the images of people so overcome with joy it radiates off the page. The team of accountants that seem to be in love with their jobs, each other and the ball point pen they are holding in the annual finance review, the child that look as happy as Christmas morning in the Dentist getting their braces tightened or the women that is smiling at a bowl of lettuce and celery sticks as if it were an ice cream sundae. Social icons on print media – while social icons for facebook, Instagram and twitter work online as a reasonable call to action in digital media they really have no place on a flyer promoting a two for one deal at the local pizza shop.


QR codes
Ok I think the idea is brilliant they are way to combine a print and web marketing campaigns, but do clients really thing their customers are scanning the tags on their tea bags, the back of a bus or a billboard as they wiz down the high way. Has the world gone QR code crazy?


Complicated logos
Logo evolution of nearly all big brands prove that flat design is in and complex logo design is out the question on all of our lips what’s next? Will pantone colours alone equate to brand recognition.


Dramatic drop shadows
Clip art anyone? This technique just screams laziness and an ill thought out design, the default effect is over used and out dated there are so many other skilful ways to give your design depth. So what fads are we moving onto next? it’s hard to tell whether these are going to be a fad or last the test of time however here are my fad predictions. Flat design – if we are doing it with logo design I see these happening elsewhere minimal poster design, book covers and design perfectly 2D websites, no gradients no drop shadows. Minimal designs maximum message. Multi-type layouts – now good typography is timeless and I’m not talking about hierarchy. I’m talk about type diversity in one text block. This type of mix typography I foresee as a novelty, I say enjoy now while we can, but let’s be sensible and appropriate.



The peak of the gif
Sure they have been around for years 25 in fact, yep I know what you are thinking how can a 25 year old medium be a fad? Well I believe we are reaching the peak of the gif, never before have we been able to share across so many platforms. Everyone from the creative producer to Directors are sharing them in business emails why because ‘a gif can say a million words’ and humour is a great way to cement those business relationships. So if we are reaching the peak and they are this popular it is inevitable that someone somewhere will butcher them for advertising purposes and we all know that is the beginning of the end for a trend.



As always in the world of design, we should be conscious of how we are using every element on the screen/ page. Is this necessary? Can it be simplified? Does it move us closer to our project goals? If we can justify everything, we are doing something right. If we are using styles and elements simply because we saw someone else use them, we are embracing the unhealthy pattern of following fads, to the detriment of ourselves and our clients.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.