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Graphic design trends of 2014

Graphic design agency trends this year reflect a wish to return to simplicity and a sense of authenticity. The old ‘real world’  skeuomorphic design look with drop shadows, real textures and realistic objects is out, with cleaner, brighter and easier-to-scan web design taking its place.

2014 graphic design trend #1 − Flat design

In late 2013 Apple released IOS7 with that came the design aesthetic known as “flat design”. IOS7 sees an operating system that doesn’t use drop shadows or gradients, giving it an updated and clean look. Apple are seen as a big trendsetter in the design world, which everyone seems to be happy to follow. We think flat design will be seen in almost every piece of design you see this year. If you want a clean, fresh and updated, look but don’t want to re-invent the wheel then removing all drop shadows and gradients in design maybe the first thing we’ll look at.

Flat design emphasises functionality and ease-of-use over looks. But that doesn’t mean it’s boring. Bold blocks of colour draw the eye and make websites look punchy and bright. The Oxygen homepage and blog page are a case in point. We moved from an old-fashioned ‘splash’ design with sliders (bad for SEO as spiders can’t crawl them) to our new crisp and colourful flat design look last year.

2014 graphic design trend #2 − Large images

The simplicity continues with a trend for large images. These reduce the need for embellishments. But flat and simple doesn’t mean boring as there are other ways to attract the browser’s eye this year, with the use of larger, full size imagery. For this trend to work in your favour, you need good photography, it needs to be simple but eyecatching.

2014 graphic design trend #3 − Parallax scrolling

While there were some websites that took advantage of this incredible new 3D effect in website design, we’re likely to see much more of it in 2014.

Parallax websites add movement to flat, 2d web-pages. A Parallax site involves a background layer and foreground, which when you scroll, the background layer moves at a slower rate than the foreground layer to give the illusion of action.

As you can see from this example https://www.spotify.com/uk/ parallax websites are very eye-catching and interesting. They make you want to look at the whole page to see what happens next. The example shows you how the different layers move at different rates. The example is also a responsive parallax website which means you can view it no matter which device you are viewing it from.

2014 graphic design trend #4 − Gifs and social media videos

With the launch of Vine in 2013 − the Twitter owned site dedicated to six-second looping videos – the popularity of short social media video is likely to rise.

Vine is the new media platform where you can create your own 7-second film with just a touch of a button. Short videos and gifs are on the rise for 2014 and it’s all because of this new networking platform. Whatever your message is you’d better make it short and sweet as you have only 7 seconds to express it. This is a highly successful way of marketing.

2014 graphic design trend #5 − Interactive infographics

Well designed infographics have always been a great way to convey complex information in a memorable way. We’ll see infographics become more fun with some elements becoming user controlled, keeping them engaged for longer.

2014 graphic design trend #6 − Mix and match typography/handwritten fonts

Classic flat design uses crisp sans serif fonts in larger sizes to emphasise its simplicity. However there’s a growing trend for mixing fonts, even within headlines, in order to draw the eye and highlight certain words. It can help designers to display lots of content without pages seeming cluttered.

Handwritten fonts are also hot this year. They look great both alone and with sans serif styles, and seem to represent the new desire for an authentic, handcrafted and personal feel to websites. Popular handwritten fonts include Sketch Block and Nakata.

Oxygen will explore typography when working with brands. Some brand require a special typeface specially made for them, other brand we can adapt what we already have. Experimenting with typefaces are big this year and you’ll see much more interesting logos and fonts on all kinds of media.

2014 graphic design trend #7 − Large type

Increasing screen resolutions mean that 12 point type is no longer as readable as it once was. With the increasing emphasis on intelligibility and content over aesthetics, larger point headlines will become more standard.

More and more people now own tablets and these screen require larger text so it’s legible. You’ll soon notice this change from small, hard-to-read copy to large, easy on the eye copy!

2014 graphic design trend #8 – Instagram-style photos

Users are warming to photos that look as if they were taken on a friends iPhone. The Instagram app allows users to apply effects to the photo’s they’ve just taken and uplaod it straight to the world wide web using twitter as a main outsource. Instagram style photography will become widely used not only on social media but on web design and printed media too.

2014 graphic design trend #9 − Hand-crafted vectors

Part of the ‘authentic’ and ‘hand-crafted’ trend, artist drawn vectors remind users that there’s a real person behind the process. Hand crafted vectors designed by a skilled designer can make your website go from bland to AMAZING! Hand drawn vectors will give any brand it’s own style which is clever and personalised. You just have to ensure that this route suits your brand and it’s message.

2014 graphic design trend #10 − Colour predictions

Every year since 2000 Pantone release a ‘Colour of the year’ that expresses what is taking place in the global zeitgeist. This year they’ve chosen Radiant Orchid. Pantone have said The captivating, magical and enchanting Radiant Orchid. An invitation to innovation, modern and versatile Radiant Orchid encourages creativity and originality. Imbued with a harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and its rosy undertones emanate great joy, love and health.” It seems Pantone have chosen a colour to revitalise the creative side to our brains. So let’s get creative and share that joy, love and health with one another by keeping radiant Orchid at the front of our mind when thinking about colours and design.

Fashion is at the forefront of the colour industry and always determines the colour trends for the year throughout the whole design industry. Below shows a chart of colour for Spring/Summer 2014.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of Pantone Colour Institute said “This season, consumers are looking for a state of thoughtful, emotional and artistic equilibrium. While this need for stability is reflected in the composition of the palette, the inherent versatility of the individual colours allows for experimentation with new looks and colour combinations.

When thinking about your brand, bare these colours in mind to be bang on trend this year. At Oxygen we think pastel colours are going to be very trendy this year. Colours will be toned down and muted to give a fresh and clean feel, after last years bold and brash colours of the windows 8 era.


If your website is looking tired why not get our award-winning designers to update it for you? Give us a call today on 0845 2606 255. We’ll get your business complimented on its looks….


Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.