Design and creativity trends you can expect to see in 2016

The start of the year is always a time for setting new goals and modifying old ones. Since pretty much all I do, both work and play, has to do with design and creativity, I’ve decided to modify my goals and learn more. I believe the key to personal growth is to gain experience and learning from people you admire and who inspire you.

This is why I wanted to do a bit of a research regarding the design and creative scene and find out what the trends are going to be in 2016. I asked seven creative persons from different places around the world what they think. Here’s what they came back with:

Victoria Pavlov

Victoria Pavlov, Atlanta, USA Digital painter, photographer, designer

2016 will be great and all about Mobile Apps! (Design workflow using your mobile app for mobile to mobile & mobile to desktop). We will be seeing more of “I can develop my vision – anywhere at any time” and this is so awesome!
In addition, I believe 2016 will erase all borders between traditional and digital art. Regarding web design, this year will be all about responsive design. In photography we’ll definitely see more “art” and a “story telling” type of style in photography.

Ville Toriseva

Ville Toriseva, Helsinki, Finland Chief Strategy Officer/Founder Partner at CEO Helsinki

I believe innovation and creativity will meet clarity and simplicity in 2016. Game changing big innovations are however yet to come. A user centric approach is the core and the green fee for any innovations wishing to become reality. What I hope to see in 2016 in regards of innovations is sustainability and compassion. That is what the planet would need from innovations both right now as well as in the future.

Daniel Bruce

Daniel Bruce – Stockholm, Sweden Designer

First of all, I’m convinced that the trends from the last couple of years will continue to flourish. Simple bootstrap sites with a focus on marketing for small business, material design inspired apps, large hero images, super clean shopping sites and so on. I do not see anything revolutionary that will take everything in a new direction on the horizon at the moment. But obviously there will be some new trends and directions with the potential to grow over the coming years. But if I was to list a few things that will happen in 2016 I would go with these:

  1. One or two new geometric sans that will be the choice for almost all new identities and sites. Much like Circular in 2015.
  2. Video instead of text and images to sell and explain products and business.
  3. The start of an 80’s and 90’s revival where young designers start looking at work done by people like Neville Brody and Terry Jones.

That said. These predictions are for the current common viewports and user interfaces. But with the emerge of virtual reality and augmented reality, products like Google Project Tango, Oculus Rift and the Microsoft HoloLens we will see something completely new. At first visual design inspired by games and sci-fi interfaces, but further on design more suitable for different interior design concepts and personal preferences.

Bram Vanhaeren

Bram Vanhaeren – Antwerp, Belgium Digital artist

I believe in 2016, authenticity will play a big role.
We are all well educated and the tools are getting better with the years (Remember Adobe MAX). We will have more time to focus on the “why” because we are winning so much time with improved workflows. Sketch for example – coming this year!

Aldis Hodge

Aldis Hodge – Los Angeles, USA Watchmaker, actor

The budding design trends for the past few years have been compartmentalism (grouping as many gadgets and assets as possible into one thing), remote A.I. communications (replacing real human interaction with digital communication via apps, texting, social media, etc.) and green tech (electric cars, self efficient gadgets). I think trends tend to be cyclical though, so while these will remain, they will however constantly evolve.
I hope green tech will continue to grow. Hopefully A.I. communications will begin to fade because it’s very important to unplug and reconnect in a humane way. I hope our next generation (who already seems addicted to phones and laptops) finds a balance between the two worlds. And as for compartmentalism, I feel like it will continue to persist just because of the curious nature of humanity.
As a watchmaker of fine haute horology (strictly old school mechanical, not digital) my first priority is to make the best working machine with the most awesome design possible. Most of the time I have to force myself to simplify my work because I’m always challenging myself to add more complications. But in my heart I know, I’ll never stop. It’s the curse of an inventor: How much new cool tech can I add and still make it look effortless?

Jan De Coster

Jan De Coster – Mechelen, Belgium Character design and HumanRobot relation expert

I think there will be a shift in the themes creative people are working on.
People are going from following popular social media campaigns about climate change or clash of cultures, to treating these problems as serious issues. Nobody wants only to look good on Facebook, but to take the challenge as creative people. Furthermore, I’m hoping for more pink and purple and more robots! 🙂

Elaine Finell

Elaine Finell – San Francisco, USA Engineer, martial arts instructor, musician, writer.

1. An increasing blending between digital and analog processes. With better tools, both hardware and software, traditional artists will have improved access to digitize their media at many different points in the process, not just at the end.
2. An increasing willingness to talk about process and not just a desire to show the finished product. With an increasing emphasis on design thinking on all fronts, designers will need to communicate their design process to not only other designers, but also to clients, engineers, and stakeholders.
3. Teamwork. Historically, teamwork on creative projects has been crippled by the limitations of software. But the latter is quickly catching up and providing an increasing set of tools to collaborate and increase the speed of the feedback loop.
4. Subtlety. With the increased emphasis on microinteractions, interaction design is beginning to focus on the subtle feel of their designs as people interact with them. This means less wild, eye-catching animations and tinier movements that respond to the user’s actions in a satisfying way.

My conclusion

In this age of technology, the main trend seems to be all about going back to basics. The tools we have available are now so advanced, they actually allow us to focus more on the workflow itself as well as the creative process and making the world a better place – and what could possibly be more awesome than that!