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Digital design trends of 2018

by Jess Gunawardana
on 8 Aug, 2018 4 min read

It’s 2018 and the possibilities of digital design are endless. New technologies, programs and attitudes are being developed every day, challenging and inspiring designers across the globe.

In the midst of a digitally charged year, we take a look at current digital design trends that are influencing our work, projects and creative perspectives.


1. Unconventional and Brave Colours

The bolder, the brighter, the better.

Colour has been everywhere this year. Bold colours are 2018’s response to minimalism and it’s been refreshing to see a little more life injected into major graphic design projects.

Even the most conventional companies are splashing out with colourful re-brands that are pushing the limits of their long-standing image.


Colour is no longer reserved for ambitious startups and quirky small business’ (such as our own!), with big names such as eBay and Dropbox amping up their traditional style with bright colours and contrasting artwork.

Ebay rebranded GIF featuring bright pink, green and blue text.
eBay’s newest campaign imagery.


GIF that demonstrates the evolution of dropbox's blue logo to bright alternating colour changes.

Dropbox’s evolution into a multi-colour brand.

Even these icon-status companies aren’t safe from the over-saturated competitive landscape of today’s markets. Brands are turning to colour as a means to stand out from competition and this is proving to be particularly effective when approaching the cluttered social screens of consumers.

Bold colour ties into multiple points on our trends list for 2018 and is proving to be the most impactful digital design tool this year.


2. Custom typography

Font is a make or break design consideration that often poses the greatest challenge to designers. Even with the unending variation of style, weight and size available to designers, existing material can still fall short of making an impact.

Custom typography has exploded in 2018. Proving to be both the creatives and the perfectionists dream, the potential of custom type is limitless.

Whether cropped, chaotic, modern, freeform or illustrated, a tailored font can transform a campaign.


New Monash Children's Private Clinic logo with fun animal print and animal theme influenced letters.
Custom type developed for the logo-redesign of Monash Children’s Private Clinic.

One program bridging the gap between custom font and classic type form is Adobes OpenType technology.

OpenType allows designers to vary text in a way they never have before. By adding a custom weighting tool, designers can take existing fonts to a new level and customise to exact specifications. This tool will also provide a platform for early graphic developers to test the waters of custom type.

GIF showing Adobe's Opentype font variation.
Adobes OpenType variation technology.


3. Isometric Design

Isometric design is a type of illustration that plays off three-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional format, forming a unique visual perspective to the eye.

Depth and realism are major characteristics of isometric design and for this reason many designers are using the style as an engagement tool.

The power of isometrics is that they cut through the clutter of campaign messaging and guide the user journey through websites in a way that distinguishes brands out from the crowd.

Illustration of a construction worksite building the word 'brand' in pink

An isometric hero image from our blog ‘Branding: 5 simple tips to help you build strong brand equity’.


4. Custom illustrations

Custom illustrations add an incredibly distinctive design feature to any project.

Designers are moving away from overused stock images and are differentiating themselves through unique illustrations in 2018.

A perfect example of this stems from our Thirst Creative brand page which features 12 custom illustrated brand archetypes.

Illustration of 12 custom brand archetypes including 'the lover', 'the innocent', 'the wizard', 'the hero' and more!


We also frequently use custom illustrations for many of our blog headers, here are a few favourites!

Custom illustration of two security guards protecting a vault filled with digital secrets.
‘Cyber Security: How to keep your website safe’

Custom illustration of the evolution of monkeys to humans with the final form being the 'logo sapien'.
‘Rebranding: How to evolve your logo’

Just as illustrations are enriching image based content, GIFs are moving away from generic ‘reaction’ and ‘meme’ based usage. Designers are starting to use GIFs with purpose and in turn we are seeing far more custom GIFs in mainstream marketing.

GIFs are an incredible media to amplify marketing messages and have an incredible amount of engagement potential.

Trotters Bistro GIF that displays various sections of their new website including 'our story' and 'menu'
GIF promoting Thirst Creative client Trotters Bistro’s new website used across social media.


5. Responsive Logos

Mobilisation is an unstoppable force that is pressuring brands more than ever to change their digital processes, strategy and attitudes.

Mobilisation is forcing brands to adapt to changing formats in ways they’ve never had to before; in response, brands are turning to their most iconic assets for a mobile-ready transformation.

It’s no longer enough to simply scale an original logo to a smaller screen. Exposure and retention are primary marketing goals of many brands and miniature text is a major roadblock in this objective. The need for adaptive logo variations is no longer an option but an obligation, as market leading brands release ‘responsive’ logo formats for different devices.

Coca Cola

Coca-Cola responsive logo progression.


Looking to keep your business on trend?

Contact the team at Thirst Creative today for help in implementing your design strategy and vision. Our team of talented and creative designers can shed some light on what your brand is missing and will show you the power of impactful, design-led branding.

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