2017 Design trends – what’s been hot?

Well, with 2017 getting older and spring almost upon us, we thought it time for a little reflection on what trends have been popular this year. We’re looking at the usual suspects of colour, typography and layout and within each of those we have seen some notable standouts.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s been hot.

Colour at the forefront

Colour is in and in a big way. We are seeing bright, bold colour used in typography, backgrounds, graphic elements and as accents. It’s being used creatively, cleverly and in various manners – either via blocking, gradients or duotones.

  • Colour blocking has its roots in 2016’s flat 2.0 trend, but is still being seen today. It’s a simple but effective style that’s really working well in geometric and poly designs, and won’t be disappearing anytime soon.
  • Gradients have made a massive comeback thanks to the likes of Instagram and Spotify using them in their branding. But these gradients are not being used with subtlety like they were in the flat-design era; instead we are seeing vivid, two-colour gradients that are big on impact and providing individuality to brands and layouts across the board.
  • Duotone composition is another trend that’s using eye-popping colour in a big way. But as opposed to gradients, these colours are not merging seamlessly, rather they are working in tandem to grab our attention. And when done well, boy does it work. The colours might be complementary or contrasting, but whatever the palette, the impact is significant and in most cases, magnificent.


It seems we are in the era of bespoke type, hand-crafted lettering and bold typography. We want to make an impact, stand out and be original. Cheers to that, we say!

2017 has shown us a new type trend of font combining by blending families, integrating type with imagery and sharing spaces. This is allowing designers to let their minds wander and really unleash their creative genius, with some fantastic results.

  • It ain’t always easy to successfully blend font families – much consideration, thought & skill goes into making it work (see our previous post on font selection here). But in this case – one base font does the grunt-work and the other gets to play superstar. Use the superstar sparingly, and you’re on the path to success.
  • Integrating type with imagery is hu-yuge this year. Images wrapped within text, text included as part of an illustration, individual letters as image placeholders, and other methods of playing with type are being seen, and it’s really, really exciting! (if that’s your thing). Employing this trend is a very effective way of creating unique compositions related specifically to your brand, and, the results can be totally amazing.
  • Typography in shared spaces is creating massive impact with designs. Crossing the border between imagery and backgrounds, and across multiple elements, its weaving it’s magic and resulting in some stunning visuals. But it can be a little tricky to master. You’ve got to make sure that the type is strong enough to be easily read across the entire layout and having some consistency or similarity between the background elements will help (ie. colour or tone). Sharing your type across multiple spaces is a great way to unify a design and tie all the separate elements together. Like one big gorgeous family.


  • Geometric layouts are still popular in 2017, and with good reason. With flexible composition options, these layouts can be really eye-catching and have quite dramatic effects. And by combining them with the new colour and type trends described above, you’re bringing a tried & trusted trend into 2017 with a fresh new do.
  • Asymmetry is a staple design composition technique that we don’t see too often, but it’s finding its place in the sun this year. This technique has an uneven proportion, where vertical and horizontal component parts are not visually the same, but combine beautifully to create a sense of balance. A keen sense of proportion and placement by the designer can result in highly successful and stunning visuals.

So, that’s a wrap for 2017 (yep, we’re calling it early!). These trends have certainly made an impact across all facets of design, and personally, I think they’re all pretty stunning.  They’re versatile enough to be used in a variety of ways across a wide range of projects to create visual interest with a unique twist. And now that you’re in the know, you may just notice a few of these trends in some cool creative from our team. If you feel like your creative could do with a 2017 design trend update we’d love to help!