Design evolves year after year, naturally growing from changing styles and trends. Elements of design are appropriated from the past and refined. We take trends that seem over the top and scale them back, stripping away the audacity to craft subtlety. What was a trend 20 years ago becomes a visual element that informs contemporary design. The bold neons that pervaded design in the 90s are now used more conservatively. In retrospect, we can see that design with too much neon is outdated and looks overwhelming, whereas contemporary design that pulls in a little bit of neon can look clean, fun and modern. As designers, we learn from our mistakes and use them to elevate our work.
Though design is continuously evolving, people like to partition design trends by calendar year. The reality is that what’s currently popular in design has become this way slowly, and most importantly, it’s been cultivated by decades of previous trends coming together. Design in 2016 borrows from creative movements that span the last century. Elements of what was trendy in the 70s, 80s and 90s are treated with more maturity by blending them with design principles that originate from the Bauhaus School of the 20s and 30s. Clean lines and bold colors are accented with neons, pastels and hand-crafted illustrations. Bold type is complimented by hand lettering. Designers are taking bits and pieces of the good things from decades past and combining them together to create a powerful and aesthetically pleasing whole. The past is present everywhere in design in 2016. Take a look at the images below to see how design from the past is informing the present day: