At bob we like to keep a keen interest on the visual world around us. This week we look at some key graphic design trends for 2016.


Offhand illustration-style.

Once upon a time Quentin-blake-esque illustrations were rarely found beyond the confines of a Roald Dahl novel. However, the offhand doodle-style is finding its way in the world of branding, an early example being Ben’s Cookies bakery company (established in 1983), found in 6 counties across England. A recent example is Dropbox’s use of experimentally sketched lines and strokes which forms part of their simple yet effective logo. We’ve also been using this style in our recent work for Willow & Hall which you can see here


With Giffs, Tumblr and ‘meme’ culture sweeping the world and boosting the presence of multimedia, it’s no surprise that motion images are popping up here, there and everywhere. It’s true that their principal place is often in the realm of jokes and laughs, though this is not to say they cannot be used to create a credible and effective brand with a more ‘serious’ message.

Modern Retro

All you have to do is look at every 45 degree angle in some of your major U.K towns to notice that design-based shops are embracing retro all over again. A particular popular mis-match is the technology/retro crossover (the technology-themed block illustration t-shirts as pictured below). But this isn’t where it ends – this style exists across products such as notepads, aprons, clocks kitchen equipment and more.


Material Design Guidelines by Google

With the introduction of their Material Design, Google created a visual language that has ‘deliberate colour choices, edge-to-edge imagery, large-scale typography and intentional white space’ that ‘create a bold and graphic interface that immerse the user in experience’. It is also referred to as ‘Flat 2.0’ as it’s ‘an update that adds for a more tactile sense of realism’.

Bright & Bold Colours With Geometric Shapes

In-keeping with the retro theme of above, bright Andy Warhol-esque colours have been making a gradual comeback over the past few years and are certainly prevalent in 2016’s designs. True that the use of bold colours isn’t one that’s burst onto the scene in 2016 though it’s use alongside geometric shapes is certainly a more recent development in the world of design. Record label Black Butter have made good use of the concept to create really eye-catching designs that fit their brand perfectly (electronic and underground music).



Negative Space

2016 is a continuation of the notion that ‘less is more’ and ‘it’s not what’s on the page, it’s what isn’t’, especially when it comes to design. The use of negative space has a profound impact on the consumer, as they are given an incomplete outline (of sorts) and invited to decipher a logo’s shapes for themselves, placing emphasis on thought, the imagination and the subconscious.

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