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40 Predictions From Creatives For 2016

There are a lot of ideas that designer’s are predicting for 2016. will they evolve and happen or just be a prediction that doesn’t see the light of day?  The predictions involve design, illustration, color interactive and more.

A lot of the ideas will probably help you in your design process and others might give you some good ideas. No matter what they do they are worth reading about. Here is the story:

Animation and Motion Graphics

Audiences have grown weary of flashy overly-rendered 3D CGI. The remedy: 3D/2D hybrids that aim for a more graphic, stylized, and illustrated look. When 3D CGI modeling and rendering are mixed at the right balance with 2D animated elements, a strange mix of dimensionality and flatness occur. That flatness can bring with it an earthy and familiar warmth that is poised to catch on in the year to come.
—Liz Blazer, filmmaker, art director, visual artist, designer, animator and educator

Animation continues to play in integral role in both enhancing user experiences, as well adding a powerful options for visual story-telling. As interface and user-experience design continues to command more of a designer’s time, the need to to take more control over animating, or mocking-up transitions for interface design, will increase as well.
—Chris Converse, partner, designer and developer at Codify Design Studio
* Check out Converse’s session at HOW Design Live 2016.

We no longer design static logos—we’re thinking about how it will be animated, whether a brand needs a GIF, what it will look like as an icon, whether they need an emoji. Designers are thinking about these moments of brand expression right from the start.
—Connie Birdsall, senior partner and creative director at Lippincott

Animated documentary is especially important now with so many social and political issues swirling around social media that require visual explanation. The success of recent animated docs by StoryCorps, Vox and TED Ed have paved the road for more mainstream use of the genre. We should see much more of this in 2016.
—Liz Blazer

I think that use of animation in web sites will increase dramatically in 2016 as agencies try to fill the void left by the death of Flash and the tools and workflows for complex HTML5/JS animation become more mature. We’ll probably see a stream of sites that would have been at home in the heyday off Flash sites — complete with loading screens and intros. However, I think we’ll also see an marked increase in animation used thoughtfully in a way that helps communicate meaning in a UI. Moving forward, web teams will increasingly need to consider the role of animation as an integral part of their Uis.
—Bart Johnston, director of digital at Archrival

Twenty years before Vine and Snapchat, artists cooked up animated GIFs as bite-sized servings of content that could be looped, enjoyed and savored. As Facebook incorporated them into their feeds this year, we’ll be seeing a greater variety of animated GIFS everywhere, including in infographics and advertisements.
—Liz Blazer

Business + Design

Business is annexing design in the way that it integrated marketing before it. As a result, our creative jobs will become even more essential to business than in the past. What exactly does this mean for our daily job responsibilities?

Let’s start with what we weren’t taught. As creative people, designers, art directors, writers, and those studying to become creative professionals, we were taught how to solve the creative portion of the client’s problem. And we are good at it. So good in fact, that clients reason since you’ve come through for them so many times with the execution—you must know strategy!
The problem with this expectation is that it zeroes in on the very area that is outside the scope of what most of us were taught in design school: Strategy. In D-school, we were taught to focus on the tactical parts of strategic decisions without even knowing what these strategic decisions entail. So when posed with a client’s, “tell-me-what-to-do, this or that” question, we may feel pressure to give a tactical, this-or-that answer. Without any understanding of the marketing or business considerations that should shape this answer, any answer is at best incomplete.
On the other side of the brain are the suits. As a member of business, marketing, brand, or account management, many B-school programs are adept at imparting analytical thinking, competitive strategy, and marketing tactics. And they’re good at it. Yet, none of this teaches the skill of how to communicate in a way that gets the most out of the creative team. Communication should be the common denominator among the creative and business players in the project, but this is where what we weren’t taught makes the process harder.

So here’s what I’m proposing we do about it:
To be a successful, relevant or working designer in 2016, you’ll have to “think how they think, to do what we do.” Learning the language of business and marketing will become key to creating better creative work. Companies will look to designers to inject creativity into the beginning of a business problem instead of relegating creativity to the execution or the end of solving a problem. Though I can’t predict the future, I’m certain about this.
—Douglas Davis, Author of Creative Strategy and the Business of Design, June 2016 from HOW Books
* You can hear from Douglas in person at HOW Design Live in 2016. Read more about his session, From Insights to Executions, and register by Feb. 5 for the best price!


As more young designers graduate, it feels as though there’s been a shift in the way that designers think about not only their work, but also their belief in themselves. I’ve seen so many talented designers take the jump from working full time for a large company to working 100% for themselves. If you compare this to 10 or 20 years ago, I don’t believe that this was as common.

Perhaps this is because the younger generation has grown up with an encouraging support system that has told them that they can accomplish anything that they can put their mind to. Or perhaps the younger generation is a little less patient and would rather work for themselves that try to conform to a corporate structure that might not be the best fit for them.
Whichever end of the spectrum, you can see that with the types of companies that are emerging, the industry is supporting this trend. Companies like Xero and Freshbooks are there so that the creative freelancer can stay on top of their finances and invoicing. Adobe Creative Cloud and its monthly subscription is a great affordable way to have the most up-to-date software.

Conferences and meetups are tailoring their content to appeal to more of the freelance world. Podcasts and blogs echo this movement as well. Companies like Squarespace and Behance make it easy and affordable for non web designers to showcase their portfolio., Skillshare and HOW University are an affordable way for freelancers to keep their skills polished. And social media allows us all to connect with each other for jobs, encouragement, education, and support.
I don’t have anything against working for a large company. There’s a lot to be said about working with a great team of people, not worrying about your paycheck, and honestly, you will probably work less hours with a full time gig. But for some designers, being able to be independent and work for yourself is something that now, more than ever, within reach. I predict a lot of designers will start working for themselves, and a lot of the job market will start opening itself up to remote work and relationships.
—Wendy Lee Oldfield, designer and author


We’re seeing more and more use of RGB color. RGB provides a much more saturated, rich way of presenting color that brands are really having fun with.
—Connie Birdsall

I think the biggest shift will be in the use of the color, where we’ll see more of a departure from the 60s era color palettes and evolve into the richer colors used in the last two decades of the 20th century.
—Joel Kreutzer, head of design at Archrival

I have always tried to create designs that use no more than one or two primary colors. I think we’ll start to see more of this in 2016. Allowing the product, photography, video, etc. to carry the weight. Choosing one color that you’ll use for links allows for a consistent experience for the user. We shouldn’t overwhelm them with multiple colors and patterns. Since we are minimizing the colors, we can get bold with the one or two colors that we do use.
—A creative at Paramore DigitalCraft

Real attention to detail, not just in the traditional sense of drawing and making physical objects, but in the digital interfaces and digital services. Designers and engineers and paying attention to every facet of the user experience, including both visual and verbal language, but also experience … where is your Uber car and reciprocal review systems for digital services such as Uber and Airbnb.
—Connie Birdsall


Today’s brands have embraced language in all its forms, from motion and sound, to words and images. Human Era brands are now engaging on a more emotional level, shifting from what they want their audiences to know to what they want their audiences to feel. Brand voice now helps to drive a more interactive relationship and embraces more adaptive and responsive design systems.
—Connie Birdsall

Logos will continue to be diverse, user-centric, and malleable. We’ll see more and more logos become responsive, both on the web and in print.
—Brian Smith, art director at Visual Arts Press, SVA

I am predicting that the vintage-craft logo design trend which has been widely used over the last few years will start to slow down and be implemented with selectiveness. We will see the transition to a timeless, modern logo design style that incorporates the best parts of the vintage-craft logo design trend—approachable marks with feeling. These design traits coming together in the next phase will make for elegant marks in which we will look back upon fondly in the years to come.
—Jesse Conte, art director at Archrival

Learn more about brand and identity design in the HOW U course, Brand Building 101: How to Build, Manage and Market a Brand.

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