Well, that was quick. Somehow we seem to have found ourselves at the end of the year. Time then for the ubiquitous look ahead to 2015.

 

These are our design predictions for the year ahead.

 

Online typography gets interesting

 

Because up until now, even after the big HTML changes of recent years, it has been so bland. Brands are too scared to step out from the crowd and appreciate what print typographers have appreciated for over a century. Fonts can be fun and work.

 

As usual the Yanks got there before us. Take a look at SBNation.com. On the home page alone I stopped counting at six different fonts – and this is a site that regularly counts comments in the thousands.

 

Professional typography doesn’t necessarily equal bland typography. We’d expect more and more web sites to reflect this.

 

Digital to get real

 

When talking about their ‘Material Design’ revamp in June of 2014, Google mentioned that it was their intention to: “Develop a single underlying system that allows for a unified experience across platforms and device sizes.” Their whole approach is to design for digital yet allow themselves to be inspired by paper and ink. Google again: “The use of familiar tactile attributes helps users quickly understand affordances.”

 

Our understanding of this nutty, opaque language is that they have imposed real world like physical restraints on a digital design and sort of reinvented paper for the 21st century. Watch designers copy them like crazy in 2015.

 

And, in return…

 

Real to get digital

 

Of course print is just as heavily influenced by digital design as the reverse. Logo design for example is more likely to use transparent overlays now than ever. It doesn’t scream future (like it did in the eighties) and can look amazing online and off.

 

Skeuomorphism

 

Flat design has been the big story since Microsoft squashed their icons and everyone else copied them. While we don’t think flat design is really going anywhere, it is far too useful for that, it is worth pointing out that neither is skeuomorphism.

 

The whole point of skeuomorphism is that it helps the audience to get used to new technology. Apple iOS 4 used skeuomorphism, you might argue, because none of us really knew what was going on with a smart phone. It was a phone, yet it had a thousand other uses. We needed those icons to help us find our way. By the time we get to iOS 8, eighty odd percent of us own a smart phone and we all know them inside out. We are used to them. Now along comes the Apple Watch (which with its powerful processor is anything but), and – hey presto, skeuomorphic design. We need to get familiar with a piece of new hardware all over again.

 

Hand drawn design

 

Because, after all those vectors and geometric shapes that make you think of Tron, a hand drawn image reminds us that there was a human at work here somewhere and that the associated brand/product isn’t soulless.

 

Detailed line drawings and illustrations have never really gone away, but we reckon that 2015 is the year that more and more brands will use this technique to try and convince their customers that there is a personality behind the brand.