Written by Anthony Del Gigante
Bachelor of arts degrees are a great way to get a strong foundation in the art—and business—of graphic design. At MDG Advertising, our designers constantly work to develop and hone their skills, and we’re always excited to share ideas and insights with design students and new designers.
Students majoring in graphic design will create dozens of projects as they learn the fundamentals. In addition to teaching you the basics, these projects will become the foundation of your professional portfolio.
If you’re searching for ideas for your design projects and coming up short, we can help. Exploring current design trends is a great way to get ideas for your design class projects. Check out this list of hot trends, put together by MDG’s design team. There are lots of ways you can use them to create designs that will help you as you pursue your degree.
1. Bright, but soft, colors
One hot trend this year is to use colors like Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year: Living Coral. Try incorporating this color into your designs to show that you’re paying attention to the latest news in the design world. Instead of bold primary colors, experiment with other mellow shades to add subtle color to your designs without overpowering them.
2. Decorative fonts
If your assignment asks you to incorporate text into your design, try experimenting with decorative typography. While the last several years have seen a focus on simple fonts, this year’s designs experiment with more decorative typefaces. We’ve seen this trend on billboards, splash pages, and product announcements. Try working with a few new fonts to find one that might be a bit flashier than those you’ve used in the past.
3. Very large text
Another idea for assignments with text is to vary font sizes. Our designers are seeing a trend toward very big text that contrasts with smaller text to grab the viewer’s attention. If you’re working on a digital project, scaling up the font on a title screen or headline is a great way to implement this trend.
Gradients have been popular for a while now, and that isn’t changing anytime soon. We’re seeing these move from the digital realm into signage and print collateral. Try using gradients in unusual places where you may not have considered them before. You could also experiment with unusual colors in your gradients to take your assignments in a new direction.
5. Open composition
The trend of open composition breaks through a frame and allows the design to flow beyond it. You can use this concept in powerful ways in your assignments. It works especially well with three-dimensional art. Let your audience imagine what’s just outside the frame. Sometimes the best way to demonstrate that you’ve mastered a rule is to break it. Just make sure it fits within the assignment’s requirements; you don’t want your professor to mistake your experimentation for lack of understanding.
6. Flat design combined with dimensional objects
This combination is a great starting point for advertising or digital art assignments. Combine real-life objects with the popular flat design trend to create modern takes on old themes. Mixing two- and three-dimensional objects lets you take your assignments in new directions with a futuristic feel.
7. Subdued movement
For your digital assignments, look for opportunities to add subtle movement to images. Many designers go big with lots of movement in banners and splash screens, but we’re seeing that less is more when it comes to movement. Just a small amount of movement grabs the viewer’s attention without becoming overwhelming.
8. Images made into icons
Icons are powerful tools in any graphic designer’s toolbox, so you’ll want to practice making images into icons. Experiment with telling a story using simpler images. Pieces that clearly communicate a story demonstrate your mastery of the visual language of graphic design.
Don’t forsake hand drawing in favor of digital art all of the time. We’re seeing a trend toward organic illustrations that contrast with perfectly polished computer-generated graphics. Look for ways to use handmade art elements in your next assignment. Rather than erasing imperfections and brush strokes, highlight them and the authenticity they can bring to your designs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anthony Del Gigante, Chief Creative Officer at MDG Advertising
Anthony Del Gigante is chief creative officer at MDG Advertising, a traditional ad/branding agency made digital, withoffices in Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York. Over the years, his unique talents in brand strategy, visual identity development, and brand activation have consistently delivered measurable results for a wide range of world-renowned clients, including American Express, Verizon, AbbVie, and Cushman Wakefield. A brand specialist, Anthony leads MDG’s creative development, working with clients to develop creative, strategic, and functional solutionsfor their brands.