6 Design Trends in 2024

Published Feb. 16, 2024 6 Min. Read

Design isn’t just about aesthetic appeal; it’s about telling a story, making a statement, and shaping the experiences of tomorrow. As the indomitable force that design is, it perpetually reshapes our visual landscape, setting the scene for what’s to come. In this tumultuous year of change and innovation, how is design evolving to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead?

Here are six design trends that brands and creatives must keep a keen eye on in 2024 to stay relevant, stand out from the crowd, and make a meaningful impression with their audiences (and possible viral moment)!

1. Injecting Dynamic Sports Energy

2024 is a big year for sports, globally speaking. We’ve got the 2024 Olympics and Paralympic Games, the Masters, Wimbledon, Summer Games, and of course the Super Bowl. While some of these events are annual, others are not; so gear up for lots of locker room talk and professional athletes to grace advertisements this year.

The realm of sports isn’t contained within the arena — it’s a dynamic wellspring of energy that’s bursting into advertising, social media campaigns, and beyond. Whether it’s through live-action snippets from the field or bold designs inspired by team colors, sport themes amplify brand messages with unparalleled vitality.

Brands can leverage sports and the energy and momentum it brings without blowing entire marketing budgets and without offending the non-sports ball minded. To score a touchdown with your next campaign, try leveraging a recent sports meta trend on TikTok, incorporating a sporty metaphor for your promotional tagline, or set up a fun photoshoot to showcase your product or services in a way that relates to an athletic theme. You could even find a charitable or philanthropic partner with a local team or athlete for added credibility and authenticity. Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the arena!

2. The Authenticity Evolution

In a world where filters and enhancements once ruled the digital roost, authenticity is coming back to claim its place. Platforms favoring raw, unedited content are steering design trends towards a celebration of reality — imperfections included. Expect designs to showcase a diverse range of genuine people, experiences, and stories that resonate on a deeply human level.

We’re already seeing fewer requests to create a flawless photoshop treatment to faces, and more natural (as opposed to flawless) people being used in stock imagery downloads, including food, animals, scenery, and other various b-reel footage, even if they aren’t real life subjects (i.e. they’re either custom illustrated by a human designer or AI-generated).

Brands leveraging authentic content like micro-influencers, UGC, and curated, branded footage that feels real, continue to grow ROI on most platforms (outside Pinterest and X) and they’re not slowing down.

3. Politically Charged Visuals

Step into the political ring, and not just during election years. Brands are wielding bold design choices to align themselves with social causes and political stances, catapulting their values into viral conversations. It’s a high-stakes game, but the payoffs — from brand loyalty to unified movements — are substantial.

Consider the additional layers at stake when you plan a campaign with political ties or implications. For starters, there are different rules for paid media when a campaign mentions or is affiliated with a political candidate (even if it’s to sell your product, not solicit votes). In addition, we don’t recommend participating in a political conversation as a brand (say, on X or in a comment reply on another platform like TikTok) in a vacuum; consult your leadership, legal, and other key teams or parties.

Design Pickle proudly supports the American right to free speech and will design all party-affiliated assets with the clear guidelines that no false information, hate speech, or otherwise illegal activity is represented or contained within the materials requested or provided.

4. The Art of the Nostalgic Remix

Nostalgia is a powerfully emotive tool, and remixing the past with a contemporary twist has never been trendier. Brands are breathing new life into classic designs, capturing the hearts of fans both old and new. With the right blend of homage and evolution, a redesign can take on a viral life of its own.

Spoofs, remakes, remixes and throwbacks; no matter what you call them, there’s a fresh spin to re-awaken audiences for every generation. This tactic can be a fun way to design your way into more revenue with new audiences or expand revenue with existing audiences.

Not sure how to tap into this design meta-trend? Picture this: Your brand dives into the attic and dusts off the iconic floppy disk – remember those relics from the digital dark ages? Now, imagine splashing them across social media with a tagline like “Our storage solutions have come a long way since these bad boys.” It’s cheeky, it’s retro, and it’s relatable – because who doesn’t love a good ‘remember when we thought 1.44MB was massive storage space?’ moment. Plus, you’re subtly reminding your customers just how cutting-edge your current offerings are, without the chest-thumping bravado. It’s nostalgia with a wink and a nod – proof that looking back can sometimes be the best way to stride forward.

5. Vertical Video: The New Screen Orientation Standard

The rise of short, captivating vertical videos has reshaped not just how we consume content, but also how we design for it. These snippets hit the sweet spot, offering immersive experiences that captivate audiences on social media. By fully embracing the vertical orientation, brands can ensure their designs are as seamless and engaging as possible in this ever-evolving landscape.

So, you’ve jumped on the vertical video bandwagon, and now you’re left wondering how to dominate this towering visual format? Think bite-sized content with Godzilla-sized impact. Brands that conquer the vertical video realm craft snappy, eye-catching clips that are as scroll-stopping as a flamingo at a penguin party. It’s about nabbing attention with bold visuals, music that hooks you faster than that one catchy ’80s tune, and messaging so clear it puts grandma’s spectacles to shame. Want a pro tip? Caption your videos! Because nothing says “I respect you” like not forcing your audience to un-pause their epic playlist to get the gist of your ad. Remember, in the land of short-form video, the brands that get to the point without dilly-dallying, win the day – and the customers!

6. Design for the (Semi-)Realities

As technology blurs the lines between the real and the virtual, designers are crafting experiences that defy traditional boundaries. Immersive technologies like VR and digital universes are opening up new dimensions for exploration. Brands can pioneer these uncharted territories, creating engaging and unique semi-IRL experiences that resonate with consumers and attract the pioneers of what’s next.

The design landscape is a symphony of current events, technological advancements, and shifting cultural norms. Each trend is a note in the composition of 2024, resonating with audiences in its own right. However, it’s not just about following these trends; it’s about understanding the narrative they weave and utilizing them to sculpt your brand’s story in the most impactful way possible.

To delve deeper into these trends and their implications for the creative industry, check out our comprehensive 2024 State of Design Report. It’s an invaluable resource that provides the roadmap for designers and brands to navigate the exciting — and at times tricky — evolution of design in 2024.

Need a partner to help you execute your design ideas this year? Let’s talk.

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