You may have noticed some design trends of the past reemerging today. As the saying goes “History repeats itself” and 2018 appears to be the year that graphic designers are rediscovering these trends and putting them back into use. When it comes to art, classic trends always make a comeback.
The primary trend we see from the past is gradients. While gradients once dominated the design world, they became shunned by designers as we embraced the era of flat design around 2007.
But seemingly overnight, gradients began popping up on websites, in ads and on logos everywhere. In fact, many of the more popular social sites such as Instagram and Spotify have helped to solidify their popularity. More and more, we’ll be seeing these vibrant color gradients and “duotone variations” incorporated into design to complement and enhance semi-flat illustrations.
We’ll also be seeing the term “color transition” used when referring to gradients. While the two aforementioned terms are very similar in application, “color transition” more often refers to color variations in a vibrant but flatter design.
The use of duotone variations is far more noticeable than color transition due to the simplicity of using only two tones. Since it fits so well with most modern flat design elements, the drawbacks to this trend are that it may be perceived as a copycat method of design, or it won’t stand out from the clutter the more it becomes overused.
Both methods, i.e. duotone variations and color transition, still use plenty of flat elements. Color is one of the biggest reason modern gradients tie in so well with flat design, as they borrow directly from the flat design palettes. Using these color choices gives gradients that modern feel that blends in so well with other design trends.
There are many ways to add variety, color and fun to your design. Some examples include putting gradients in the background of other design elements, using them as overlays for images, or melding subtle, slight gradients with various interface elements.
As with any design trend, if you use gradients, be sure to make the final design your own. It’s great to be creative, but don’t go crazy. Remember, your brand is your identity. If your branding has effectively stood the test of time, don’t take the risk of losing existing or potential clients for the sake of creativity.