The past, the present and the future of graphic design

  • Article by

    Amie Whale

From design for print to digital design and AI.

Using popular culture references, we explore how graphic design has evolved and why it’s integral to your business’ success.

As we enter a new decade and more artificial intelligence (AI) technology and ‘DIY’ solutions continue to emerge, where does this leave graphic design?

While it might not feel majorly important from the outset, analysing the history and current state of design, plus how they integrate, will in fact, determine the success of your business in the future.

Here’s how.

The Wyman effect

In an eye-opening lecture from creative design pioneer, Lance Wyman, he discusses his life’s work and his ground-breaking creation for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

The mesmerising Olympic poster and event icons set the bar for graphic design fifty years ago. This example shows that the secret to success wasn’t in the now-outdated technology/tools he used back then. It was his ability to create lasting visuals that stood the test of time.

As Wyman points out in his lecture, both his icons and use of silhouettes have since been used as a basis for Apple’s current day iconography.

future of graphic design - eighty3 creative

The present roaring 20s

Thinking about the current day and over the next decade, there’s no denying that graphic design and marketing, in general, will take many new forms.

Interestingly, Ridley Scott’s 1982 iconic masterpiece, Blade Runner, predicated a lot of things – such as video calling prominence and AI creating objects from different angles.

However, one of the most accurate predictions is the fact that homes are getting smarter. Which takes us onto the importance of voice search now and in the future.

Over the past two years, the number of homeowners who owned a voice-controlled digital home assistant device, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home, doubled from 11% to 22%.

Looking ahead, industry-experts believe ownership figures are set to reach 41% in the next five years. It seems Blade Runner has hit the nail on the head.

But how does voice-controlled digital home assistant devices affect the future of graphic design and marketing campaigns?

future of graphic design - eighty3 creative

The future has already happened

No, this isn’t some weird Interstellar, different dimension stuff. It’s just a simple case of the past shaping the future – like it often does in the fashion industry, with clothes from another decade resurfacing some 20-30 years later.

In this particular case, having smarter AI-powered homes will create a dominos effect for businesses in the world of advertising and marketing. They’ll have to find bigger and bolder ways to be seen.

You see, voice-controlled digital home assistant devices provide convenience for consumers and businesses. If people need a product or service, they’ll simply ask their device to order it. Or if they’re searching for an answer to a question or a local business to complete a service, they’ll ask these devices for recommendations.

Voice search is and will become increasingly important, in the same way Tik Tok will in the social media world.

However, that doesn’t mean you should abandon graphic design and branding. In fact, printed collateral and other forms of digital marketing will still play a pivotal role in the long-run.

It’s just a case of being smarter with your branding and marketing moving forward. Pay attention to the visuals, as well as the content.

You can easily get swept up with the latest cutting edge technology and take the Blade Runner example at face value. But failing to address the core visual identity of your company is a mistake.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and throw all of your digital marketing budget into short-term fixes.

In most cases, remixing an old prototype will suffice – especially when it comes to graphic design and branding. Apple did it using Lance Wyman’s Olympic icons and they’re still serving a purpose in the design and marketing world some 50+ years later.

It just goes to show that there’s no replacement for quality design. If you get it right, it’s a timeless investment that’ll help make your brand stand out in a crowded and technological world.

At Eighty3 Creative, we may have started as a design for print agency and moved into the world of digital design, but our principle of creating eye-catching graphics remains the same.

Technology will continue to change over the next decade, but remixing tried and tested formulas are still an important part of creating a visual identity for every new marketing format, both now and for the foreseeable future.

If you need any help creating quality design for print, improving your branding or optimising your digital presence, we’re here to help.

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