Creative Democracy: A Vote for Brilliant Colours and Pure Joy

by The Adobe Stock Team

Posted on 06-25-2019

For our third visual trend of 2019 — Creative Democracy — we’re watching a swing of the pendulum when it comes to colour and mood. While the early 2000s were all about getting outdoors for back-to-nature selfies, or channelling your inner lumberjack at a rustic, nature’s natural mono-toned dinner party, we’re now returning to fun, saturated colour, vibrancy and joy. It’s a rebirth of the neon hues of the 80s and 90s, paired with the bold colour-blocking aesthetic of the 60s.

Image source: Pixel Stories / Stocksy / Adobe Stock (left), milamila / Stocksy / Adobe Stock (right)

This return to colour comes as we all grapple with weighty cultural, environmental and political issues. In response, the Creative Democracy trend is a sanity-preserving space where we can get playful. To see the trend at work, visit our curated gallery of Adobe Artists to bring a little visual joy your way and inspire your next design.

Swinging back to joy and colour

After years of neutral shades of the Pacific Northwest and Brooklyn aesthetic, we experienced a little homogeneity (so much so that hipsters may not even be able to recognise themselves anymore). In contrast, the Creative Democracy trend traces its roots to Piet Mondrian’s turn-of-the-century explorations of primary colours and geometric shapes, and later the Mod craze of the 1960s, with today’s version bringing its own 2019 personality.

Colour blocking is all about joyful exploration with palettes of contrasting, saturated colours. It’s also an invitation to set aside technically perfect design and palettes. Creatives are embracing offbeat colours like mustard yellow, clashing shades, and a notably anti-design approach.

Image source: yahya / Adobe Stock

We’re also seeing a return to the photography studio. Creatives are moving away from found colours, in favour of planned, crisper shades and controlled studio lighting.

Exuberance in design, experiences, and beyond

Design studios are embracing the Creative Democracy trend. For example, Atlanta-based Tropico Photo is garnering attention with its strong lines, unexpected colour combinations and decisively fun attitude. Similarly, creative studio JUCO is bringing bold colour and irreverent looks to their global client roster, from Coca Cola and Teen Vogue, to Apple and Lexus.

Brands are adopting this bold approach to colour as a way to connect with consumers who are weary of the too-cool, monotone aesthetic. Take, whose product line includes a rainbow of brilliantly-coloured planners, shoes, clothes, and even retro pink roller skates. The company proudly proclaims, “we encourage joy.” Fast-growing beauty brand is winning over customers with deep pigments and cosmetics — including their Neon Lights collection — that let consumers transform themselves with colour. Even WeTransfer, a company that allows users to send large digital files, is using simple, bold colour to add joy to everyday tasks.

Image source: Stefanie / Adobe Stock (left), Addictive Stock / Adobe Stock (right)

But Creative Democracy isn’t just reshaping brands and studio shoots. People are collecting colour and pleasure in all sorts of places. Consider, for example, wildly popular participatory installations such as Color Factory and 29ROOMS. They’re designed to engage visitors’ senses, surround them with colour, and invite them to play.

Camp, colour, and laughing our way through

While every year’s Met Gala is extravagant, this year’s theme was Camp: Notes on Fashion, described by RuPaul as a place for, “The people who can break the fourth wall, who can see beyond the façade of life — and that’s really where life begins — when you can see it as a construct and then have fun with it and laugh at it.”

Like camp, Creative Democracy is all about re-framing reality — those complicated conversations and conflicts that surround us — so we can find the philosophical space for joy.

Takeaway for brands and designers

There’s simplicity in Creative Democracy’s fun – brands can extend the trend with large fonts, simple type, get-to-the-point messaging, and models with unique, fresh looks that help us celebrate individuality beyond stereotypes.

By tapping into the Creative Democracy trend, brands can offer a much-longed-for invitation to use the expression of creativity to create something to the point, and on point.

For more on the Creative Democracy trend, check out our gallery of Adobe Stock_ and stay tuned as we talk to artists whose work pops with colour and joy._

Topics: Visual Trends, Design, advice for creatives, advice for designers, Creative Democracy, Inspiration, Trends, UK, UK Exclusive, Creative EMEA

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