Computer Arts

Trends 2009

Find out what 40 of the hottest designers are backing to be the biggest trends of 2009.

Ben O'Brien
"For 2009, I think a lot more hand-drawn illustration and reworked traditional design techniques will be developed with a dynamic modern touch, by artists like Holly Wales and Andy Smith. We'll see increased depth and detail from the botanical world, with more realism on one hand, and more creativity on the other.

"With diversification being a key factor in design careers, I think we can expect more people to experiment with patterns for things such as wallpaper, textiles, packaging, clothing, art prints and skateboards. Traditionally, patterns are generally made up of organic or graphic shapes, but I think people will create patterns from characters, landscapes and typography."

Erik Spiekermann
"What I believe is that, after all the hype about the New Economy, we are going back to the original reason for being on Earth: to find ways to improve our lives, and the way we live together, and to preserve this planet. As graphic designers, we contribute to this by making things easy to use and pleasant to behold. That can be a website, a timetable, a magazine or even a legible and beautiful typeface. One example is the new website for the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra.

"I think we need complex information systems that enable the user to find everything effortlessly, while offering an aesthetically pleasing experience. I won the gold medal of the Federal German design prize for my family of typefaces for Deutsche Bahn (German Railways), because the jury recognised that this is not only a tool for reading and expressing the brand, but also an important contribution to the country's visual culture."

Chris Haines
"The trend I expect we'll see in 2009 will be a move away from the photo-montage illustrations that dominated 2008. I see design moving more into the digital realm as new technologies emerge. I find Radiohead's music video House of Cards particularly inspiring. No cameras were used, and images were captured purely as data, displayed in millions of points.

"A style similar to this idea has been emerging in my designs, where images made up of many small data points create a digital yet organic whole."

Tom Vining
"I think in 2009 we'll continue to bridge the gap between brands and their consumers, with more community-based concepts creeping into campaigns. In web design, I expect more lighter and faster sites, using clever hybrid combinations of technologies - but this won't mean a reduction in the use of any one technology. On the contrary, I think we'll just see them used more appropriately, particularly with the increase of clever Flash-like interactive features that can be achieved on a more accessible level.

"Hopefully - providing the context and situation is suitable - we'll see more site designs that move away from the conventional to a higher level of creativity. I think we'll see lots more minimal, straight-to-the-point layouts, with strong bold statements in the design and branding, and a decrease in clutter, or unnecessary content."

Bobby Pola
"I think in 2009 we'll see a lot of mixed-media images, especially illustrations and photos being combined. Together, they will make a futuristic dreamworld-like reality where everything is possible and all is well. The images will be showcased largely in magazines, posters and other print."

Chuck Anderson
"In 2009 and beyond, I believe and hope that designers who mainly use a computer and Photoshop to do their work will begin to simplify and tone things down. It has been a growing trend of late to simply fill compositions up to the max with collage work, random shapes, colours, paint splatters and random imagery. I believe the next trend, in digital design particularly, is that people will start to become more controlled and simplified in their work."

Andy Hood @ AKQA
"I expect the focus in the months to come to be less on destination websites, and far more on products and services that allow users to consume data and content remotely such as Nike's recent PHOTOiD application. There are more and more objects now connected to the web or to each other; when combined with the increasing array of different ways to pass information (such as RFID, Bluetooth and near-field-communication technology), it's possible to easily link physical devices with web-driven services, adding value to consumers' everyday lives."

Danny Allison
"Call it a hunch, but I believe the next few years will see editorial, advertising and branding companies frantically searching for styles that are both individual and unorthodox. Generic decorative swirls, vector silhouettes and the usual 'safe' styles will become over-saturated, while quirky styles will become highly lucrative. "This will force designers to attain a 'black belt' status in all related disciplines to give them the edge, diluting the boundaries between graphic designers and illustrators even more. Meanwhile, consumers will gain a better understanding of design. They will crave more detailed designs, and come to expect thought-provoking visuals as standard."

Gavin Strange
"I think typography is going to continue to be a strong element in the design world in the future, especially the art of making a spoken statement look beautiful. With the current social, economical and political climate everyone has an opinion, and with the aid of well-crafted typography and info-graphics, those messages are going to be seen and heard!"

Matt Booth
"Our monitors are getting bigger, screen resolutions better, and broadband connections faster. Because of this, I expect to see more websites taking advantage of full-screen imagery and video, without loss of experience due to download time or streaming issues. Websites will become more like TV channels than websites.

"This will enable photographers, artists or designers to display their work in far more dynamic ways than a small thumbnail linking to a slightly bigger image. Clothing brands will be able to show their products in more detail, and with the use of high resolution video rather than still imagery, food brands will turn their sites into the cookery channels."

Rob Chiu
"I think that over the coming year we will see a lot more motion designers and animators moving into live action, and directing shorts, music videos and title sequences, with a notable restrained use of graphics."

Ahoy There
"Self-promotion has been vital since our graduation in 2008. Along with determination and passion, it's key to standing out. We're seeing a rise in the efforts made, and the media used, to target clients.

"Sending visual (print or animation) attachments in emails is the quickest way to target companies. Mailing printed examples also shows that you can produce professional visuals and you understand print. Clients want to meet the creatives, so it's important to network as well - attend exhibitions and visit agencies to talk about your work and explain what you offer.

"The use of online portfolios and blogs for international exposure is increasing, as online creative communities are used for networking. Finally, contact lists are vital - the longer the better."

John McFaul
"I can only comment on what is happening to us right now. Clients are coming to us for a full service: a strategy across different media over a period of time. I don't know whether this is a sensitivity to the credit climate and us being in the right place at the right time, or clients actually understanding the ability of smaller design companies. But it's a refreshing change in awareness and something that could possibly herald a welcome departure from the norm."

Luke Prowse
"Rather than particular aesthetic trends, I see more designers taking what might be called a 'programmatic' route; programming and creating their own tools for each specific job, where relevant. This will enable them to seize better control of the methods of production, and therefore of creation itself."

Mark Wigan
"In the illustration/graphic artist field I predict a rise in the trend for live painting performance. It's been around for a few years and it is a constantly growing trans-global phenomenon. It gets illustrators out of the solitude of their studios and away from their computers, to collaborate with other artists and be part of a community.

"It's great to work on a large scale, with the discipline and sheer pleasure of big gestural brush strokes co-ordinating hand, eye, and brain. My first live painting extravaganza of 2009 will be a collaboration with graphic artists Austin from NEW and Pinky. We'll be hand-painting murals over 2,500 square feet of hoardings in a new hotel development."

Christopher Cox
"I think the biggest trend we will see moving into 2009 and beyond is 'less': less want; less greed; less fear (more love) - less of everything. Wanting less and attempting a more sustainable lifestyle will finally become more universally fashionable.

"We have witnessed the economic equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall in the United States; consumer culture will never be the same. This will undoubtedly be reflected in the design world with design itself tending towards minimalism, but you will also see it more in the messaging behind popular design and advertising."

Alexandr Deplov
"Every year, people are becoming more interested in the beauty of their surroundings, and this also applies to web design, as the internet is growing rapidly. Like all trends, web design doesn't stand still and must conform to the general trends in architecture, fashion, and art, to be in harmony with the environment.

"A new year should have a new direction in the art of web design. As Steve Jobs said, 'Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works!' Web design is not only a picture; the more information we see, the more difficult is it to understand. In Japanese designs, beauty and functionality are inextricably linked, and they successfully combine simplicity, beauty and functionality. Therefore, I believe in 2009 the biggest trend will be for minimalism, and simplicity of treatment."

eBoy
"We think that we are heading towards a time where artists will have greater independence by self-publishing their work. Digital and traditional media have become much more accessible already, and this will continue to increase to the benefit of artists. Our book Pixorama is a good example: we are responsible for its design, production and publishing. The number of ways to distribute our work is increasing every day, but new media opportunities such as our blog and shop, Flickr, Twitter and Ffffound! are also helping us to be heard."

Guilherme Marconi
"After talking to other artists and my managers, I have concluded that the next trends are images in orange, green, purple and red colours, following the fashion palette of 2009. There will be a chaotic language in very complex images, like the work of www.mulheresbarbadas.com.

"This style represents big metropolises such as New York, Tokyo and S£o Paulo, with all the information, people, situations, advertisements and colours. People are used to this chaos, but it hasn't yet been developed into a real style that's pleasant to look at, and this is what I hope to see happen in 2009."

Lawrence @ kja-artists
"In the future you don't really know what you'll find, and there's no going back once you get there! I think we should prepare to see an explosion of creativity, as artists are liberated from the tyranny of the technical that currently bedevils 3D modelling. Software like ZBrush and Mudbox will make it possible to realise one's creative vision without first getting NASA training.

"My prediction for the future is that 3D modelling and rendering software will be to photography in the 21st century what photography was to painting in the 19th century."

Vince Fraser
"In illustration, muted tones, lighting effects and 3D abstract shapes are the way forward. I think there will be a shift from the overused combination of vector art in photo-illustration, to an emphasis on 3D integration and typography. Experimenting with 3D elements will give illustrations more depth and add an extra dimension."

Luke Hayman @ Pentagram
"In the future, editorial print media will continue to suffer due to a lack of advertising, compounded by a lack of accountability associated with the adverts. Media buyers have become enamoured with the measurability of the web."

Elliot Jay Stocks
"It's so hard to predict trends because such things invariably flow in waves, with styles going in and out of fashion on a regular basis. Web design in 2008 has been very elaborate, filled with lots of colours and textures, so I think we might see a return to minimalism in 2009; a shift of focus back to the content. Great design is about what's best for the content, and they say that the best designs are the ones you don't notice. I'm not sure that's always true, but what you leave out is just as important as what you leave in."

Sam Gilbey
"I feel it's important for designers and illustrators to remain true to themselves. That said, a trend I really hope we see in the near future is a return to illustrated movie posters. It was great to see Drew Struzan's work for Indiana Jones IV, but that's just not enough to balance the crude Photoshop identikit posters produced for most movies these days.

"Illustration that implements more thoughtful graphic design would be welcome in 2009. Darren Firth's Now Showing project in 2008 gave top creatives the chance to design new posters for classic movies."

Studio Output
"There's a current trend for complex set designs that are treated as illustrations in themselves. I predict that this will be an on-going trend for designers in 2009, but I imagine the set pieces will become even more complex and more sculptural."

Evgeny Kiselev
"My thoughts about where design will go in 2009 - or, at least, the direction in which I would like to develop this year. It consists of a mixture of mathematical geometry and technical biology, with some simple figures, and a slight taste of chaos. I think the future of design will involve the same well-known ingredients, but used in unexpected combinations for a new interpretation."

Niark 1
"I think design will become more crazy and colourful, and we'll see stronger graphic elements mixing with typography. The inverse - minimalist design and abstract shapes - could also occur though! Industry trends change and advance continually, so it's hard to predict which style will become the biggest - but I'll be keeping a close eye on all the evolutions!"

Andy Martin
"As cheaper equipment becomes available, it will allow designers and animators to produce unique self-motivated projects, and show off their individual visions without third-party influences. I think this will happen more and more as - doom and gloom - work becomes less available due to the credit crunch. We should see some really interesting, unusual and individual work appearing."

Tnop
"I think we'll see more designers seeking inspiration from specific art movements in the past, and bringing them to life with a modern twist - such as Neon Modernism or Noise Impressionism. The work will be very individual, on a small scale, and will focus on a single-minded or direct message, using specific shapes, colours or textures to represent the idea."

Matt Willey @ Studio 8
"In 2009 it'll be interesting to see how magazines and newspapers continue to evolve. The web can deliver instantly up-to-date news, cater for your exact interests, and has moving images and sound. There's a lot of apocalyptic noise about print, magazines and books being things of the past. I disagree: magazines will have to adapt and work harder to stay relevant.

"Magazines like Esquire, for example, are trying to add value for subscribers by using great subscriber-only covers without straplines, and more appealing, less commercially-driven cover shots."

Poke
"Something that we're already in the grip of is massive fragmentation. We need to get our heads around how to create bite-sized, context-independent interactions with people."

Peskimo
"Bold vector illustration has spent a long time online and in niche publications, but recently a number of high profile campaigns have been using a wide variety of artists who all work in bold vector and character-based illustration. This saw contemporary character design and illustration explode, so even our mums were commenting on it!

"We are looking at bringing more texture into our creations, and contrasting this with bold and colourful character designs. Taking inspiration from screen printing and other traditional techniques, we think you will see more combinations of these styles with modern vector work, with the outcome ranging from the subtle to the extreme."

Mark Verhaagen
"I think designers will get more and more versatile: illustrators will be animating their own work, and graphic designers will illustrate their type, for instance. The fact that people work outside their main discipline is interesting, because when an illustrator starts to animate, he or she comes up with different solutions to those of a traditional animator. This situation of overlapping disciplines will result in more creative and experimental work, and will provide designers with new possibilities."

Tom Baker
"I think designers will get more and more versatile: illustrators will be animating their own work, and graphic designers will illustrate their type, for instance. The fact that people work outside their main discipline is interesting, because when an illustrator starts to animate, he or she comes up with different solutions to those of a traditional animator. This situation of overlapping disciplines will result in more creative and experimental work, and will provide designers with new possibilities."

Jan Kallwejt
"The last few years in design, illustration and fashion have been a big celebration of colour. I have seen vibrant, variegated compositions everywhere, and photo-collages rich in abstract elements. I believe a future trend will be to limit the palette, focusing on single colours, or mixing only two or three at one time. I hope to see illustrations based on simple, bold and iconic elements, which can be strong in their simplicity, or multiplied and used as patterns or combined in complex compositions."

Craig Ward
"I first heard about Processing - an open source programming language - back in February of last year. Far more than 'the new Flash', Processing serves as a kind of digital sketchbook. Several of my past projects have involved juxtaposing organic elements with clean typography, but the end-result has always been static and controlled. With the right code, Processing allows you to 'grow' designs and inject an element of the truly random into a project.

"Recently, I've been working collaboratively on typographic treatments that reflect this, with brothers Sean and Karl Freeman who have been experimenting with Processing's capabilities for a while. Over the next 18 months, I expect to see a raft of designers handing over more responsibility to Processing to see just how creative this program can get."

The Silent Giants
"The past is becoming present in a new way, with the work of early designers and traditional craft-based arts increasingly influencing today's aesthetics. The blending of these traditional techniques with the digital medium is giving contemporary artwork a more personal touch, and its own unique style. Elements such as colour and texture are highly evocative, lending each piece a sense of ontological completion and an emotional connection with the viewer.

"We believe that the strength of an idea must be matched by an equally simple and accessible execution. Simple designs representing complex ideas are easily accepted yet highly stimulating."

Lawrence Zeegen
"Despite the financial meltdown of 2008, the year ended on a positive high with the election of Barack Obama in the USA - how will this affect future trends in design and illustration? For this new period of hope and change, we can all be less self-centred, less style-obsessed, less painter and decorator, and far more content-focused, socially-aware, and environmentally-driven instead. I think we can operate as commentators and catalysts for change."

David Talavera
"Design is a lot like fashion, in that old trends come full circle every few years, sometimes with a slightly different element added to fit in with the current climate. My design style is brash and colourful, and quite retro as I rely heavily on the influence of old movie and rock posters.

"I can't see this circle of trends changing in the future, although eventually everything will become one big variation of the same idea. Some areas of design are like this today - there's not much in the way of innovation at the moment, and a lot of design looks too polished and clean. I love quirky, bold design where the concept shines through but doesn't rely on visual trickery."

Mark Todd
"For me, 2009 is all about the serif font. The sans serif has dominated far too long, and I will be using typefaces like Beaufort Pro in a great deal more of my designs. It has become too obvious to reach for a sans serif, but with D&AD not allocating a graphic design award in 2008, the message is clear that (in their view) design is moving in a tired loop. The trusty serif font could be just the tonic to shake some life back into design, and inspire new ways of thinking about its place in contemporary design."

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