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1. Multiple brand color schemes

Traditionally, companies have a few colors that they use across all of their branding and design work. This helps people recognize them out in the world, on social media and other places online.

But I think this design “tradition” is going to be completely upended as brands look for more ways to stand out in 2018 and beyond.

In fact, companies rebranding with a plethora of colors schemes is one of the first trends that I see really taking off.

Spotify started doing this a few years ago in all facets of their design but they were one of only a few.

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2. Color gradients are making a comeback

Whenever I think of color transitions and gradients, I can’t help but remember the bad word art from Microsoft Word over the past 20ish years.

As kids, we thought this was the best way to make your report on dinosaurs look professional. And I think that we were on to something back then.

Because in 2018 color gradients will be literally everywhere, from websites to Twitter headers, and even presentations. Instagram, always ahead of the curve, has used it in their branding and logos for the past few years, actually:

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Now, the rest of the world is catching up.

3. Better branded social media images

Last year I talked a little bit about using more authentic photos in all parts of your design and marketing strategies. This year, I really want you to focus on extending that trend to your social shares as well.

Readers and consumers use social media to distract themselves from what is happening in their life.

They don’t want to see a tenuously relevant stock photo that you picked in two seconds for the sake of having an image. That shows readers that the person who produced the content didn’t care enough about their work to find an impactful image.

If the person who created the content doesn’t care, why should you?

For example, if you were scrolling through your Twitter feed, would you click on the tweet that used this image?

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4. Unconventional colors everywhere

As we have seen so far, 2018 is the year of taking risks in your design.

One of the best places to start taking risks is in the colors that you use.

That doesn’t mean that you need completely rethink your brand’s color palettes, like some of the brands I’ve mentioned already. Instead, be ready to inject some more risky colors in your design projects this year.

Bold colors are the most common driving force that we have seen behind each of the design trends this year.

Sticking to the traditional corporate blue palette isn’t going to cut it this year. Also, if you noticed, minimalism and neutral color schemes are on its way out.

Instead, I recommend going a little off the rails with the colors you pick–within reason.

Find a few colors that you can call your “unofficial brand colors” and use them across all your projects. This way, you can do something new and exciting but still stay close to your core values in other places.

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5. Bold & handwritten fonts dominate

Another way to add some eye-catching features to your designs is to use some bold or handwritten fonts. This is another trend that seems to come from the design world, moving away from boring minimalism as a whole.

Bold and handwritten fonts are going to stand out against the simple or overused fonts that your competitors are using. And they will help your content jump off the screen on social media–whether it’s infographics for your blog, Facebook ads, or motivational quotes on your social media.

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6. More custom illustrations

Over the past year or so I have seen designers move away from cookie-cutter graphics to more custom icons and illustrations. And I could not be happier.

This movement started to take form last year with the rise of hand-drawn illustrations and icons.
But these illustrations and icons will become even more unique in 2018, as brands look to differentiate themselves even more. I mean, look at how Strikingly has used the illustrations to make their blog headers look amazing:

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