10 Cool Design Trends to Incorporate into Your Print Work

Lot’s of people say that all of the cool design trends happening these days are solely online. Most graphic designers choose to give up on their aspirations for a print career and decide to opt for a career working on websites and some of the best free iPhone apps and Android apps instead. While it may seem like graphic design for print is a dying form of art, practitioners are actually getting more creative than ever with their work.

Because clients and audiences rely more and more on web and mobile for information, creating print artwork that actually stands out is more important than ever. Check out magazine layouts, advertisements, flyers, posters, direct mail and brochures and you will see that graphic designers are taking some chances and questioning the status quo more often than ever before. If you’re a graphic designer looking to kick your print game up a notch, make sure you’re following these cool design trends for the most effective print production.

Flat Design

Back when designing for smartphones and web 2.0 was all of the rage, a term called skeuomorphism became the graphic design standard. This led to icons and programs resembling what they actually were. For example, bookshelves on iPhones looked like actual bookshelves, calculators looked like calculators, and icons for YouTube apps looked like televisions. Now that everyone is familiar with their smartphones and other devices, the trend is now leaning towards a term called “flat design” which uses 2D shapes more than 3D ones meant to look like actual products.

Flat Design1
Flat Design

Cool Paper Textures

If you’ve been stocking up on cool Photoshop textures and backgrounds, now is the time to incorporate them into your designs. Because print design is less common than web and mobile, people expect a higher quality from it. This means either using more intricate stocks for brochures or direct mail pieces, or giving the effect that you did with awesome textures.

Cool Paper Textures
Cool Paper Textures

No More Social Media Icons

Just like skeuomorphism, print designers tried to incorporate tons of social media icons into their work. But why? What’s the point of having a Twitter icon or Facebook link on a poster or advertisement if someone can’t click on it? Why have a QR code on a billboard if no one can practically scan it. When you design for print, make sure to stay within your medium and try not to make it more than it actually is.

No More Social Media Icons
No More Social Media Icons

Lighter Gradients

People know when they’re being lied to in advertising. They also know cheap shortcuts that graphic designers use to make their work stand out more. If you’re using the basic Photoshop tutorials to apply harsh gradients to your work, it is not going to be as effective as if you use a more gradual gradient or a solid texture with light color.

Lighter Gradients
Lighter Gradients

Simple Logos

Bevel and emboss is a Photoshop feature that graphic designers should never use. If you take a look at some of the logos for corporations from 10 years ago, you’ll find it all over the place. Now, you’ll find companies like Yahoo! and Amazon.com using more simplistic logos that are easier on the eyes and let their products do the talking.

Simple Logos
Simple Logos

Less Stock Photography. More Vector Illustrations

Do you get a little agitated when you see a generic scene from a corporate office in graphic design? If you answered yes to that question, you’re not alone. People just can’t relate to these images because they are inoffensive, bland and completely milquetoast. Instead of using bland stock photos, rev up your design chops, open Adobe Illustrator, and create some compelling vector illustrations that will really add life to your print work. If you must use a stock photo, find ways to incorporate vector images to make it a unique and custom experience for your audience.

Less Stock
Less Stock Photography. More Vector Illustrations

A Straightforward Approach to Readable Typography

We are living in the age of Helvetica, Arial and Verdana. If you want people to read big globs of text in your print work, stay away from fonts they can’t read like cow.cow and Lobster. Use these fonts when you are creating huge titles that are easy to consume.

A Straightforward Approach
A Straightforward Approach to Readable Typography

Contrasting Fonts

Using readable fonts is a must for print graphic design these days, and using a lot of them will get you attention. Typography is becoming just as important as color theory for grabbing the attention of your audience. Combining a couple of different cool fonts that complement each other will give your work a kick.

Contrasting Fonts
Contrasting Fonts

Vintage Backgrounds, Vintage Wallpaper, Vintage Everything

One of the coolest print design trends of recent times is going back to the golden era of print and stealing some of its techniques. When you apply vintage backgrounds, vintage wallpaper, vintage logos and other vintage elements to your print work, you give the viewer a sense of authority that harkens back to a time where the printed word and printed artwork were the be all and end all of everything.

Vintage Backgrounds
Vintage Backgrounds, Vintage Wallpaper, Vintage Everything

Experimental Approaches

When it comes to your print work standing out, make sure to take chances. People are glued to their smartphones throughout the day and are hard-pressed to look up. Make sure your work is capable of grabbing attention and doesn’t just blend into the other print work crowding magazines, mailboxes and metro stations.

Experimental Approaches
Experimental Approaches

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