Five Interior Design Trends and What They Mean for Visual Communications in 2014

2014 January Whitepaper

Design trends don’t just affect fashion, beauty and interior design. Their influence actually extends far beyond those fields to virtually every creative corner, including advertising, marketing, graphic design, art—any form of visual communications, including graphics and signage. As design evolves, trends shift and notable practices emerge. Here’s a look at five interior design trends for 2014 and what they mean for visual communications in the new year.

Design Trend 1: A Minimalistic Approach

More doesn’t mean better. Sleek, structured white is making a powerful minimalistic statement in interior spaces for 2014, and this translates well to interior graphics and signage solutions. A simple backdrop can allow concise, precisely-crafted content to stand out and truly shine. In fact, in signage, where the highest amount of contrast means the most visible message, the effective utilization of white can make messaging even more prominent. “A white background is a good choice for any strong contrasting color.”

White also works very well as a text color on a dark background. However, it’s important to note that unlike in interior design, white on white or white with light colors does not translate well for signage; not only is it not eye-catching, it is too challenging for the consumer to interpret.

Design Trend 2: Pop of Color

While the utilization of white is a simple way to make a powerful statement, don’t write color off altogether. A pop of unexpected color can add personality and vibrancy to an otherwise neutral palette. “One bright color can add interest and complete a look” While companies often choose to incorporate their branded color in signage, there may be opportunities to branch out or strategically introduce an additional color. If you’re looking for inspiration, consider “Radiant Orchid,” a purple-hued shade selected by color authority Pantone as the 2014 color of the year. According to Pantone, Radiant Orchid is “an invitation to innovation” that “inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.”

Whether opting for Radiant Orchid or another bright shade, all types of designers are poised to incorporate splashes of color in innovative and significant ways.

Design Trend 3: Going Natural

The natural world will serve as inspiration in 2014, with designers looking to rustic and organic elements to incorporate in ways both big and small. “Insiders assert that the creative inspiration for 2014 will come from the beautiful aspects of nature…Wood, metal and stone work are still present but these have a more rounded and relaxed feel, which can be complemented by earth shades, raw metal finishes, and distressed wood treatments.” Examples of this trend can be seen in most farm-to-table restaurants, which reinforce their commitment to organic food by using organic environmental materials.

At Image360 - Middle River, MD, we also embrace this trend as evidenced by design standards for our centers that include wood barn doors and flooring. “Add the presence of Mother Nature into indoor spaces. Express it through motifs inspired by local and exotic flora and fauna as well as design elements reflecting man’s interaction with his surroundings. Think of it as combining man made interior design elements with natural elements.” Though this assessment is primarily referring to interior design, this trend can take shape in other visual communications, as the incorporation of natural elements in both creative concepts and material selection can be tremendously versatile for both indoor and outdoor signage and displays.

Design Trend 4: Eco-conscious Elements

Not only do designers want to emulate the natural world, they want to help it, too. “A growing number of customers and employees want businesses to go green. According to MIT Sloan Management Review’s survey of 3,000 businesses, ‘sustainability credentials are having an increasing influence on employment seekers,’ and ‘customers [are] a powerful force in shaping the new business landscape.’” Because of this, businesses will continue to prioritize environmental issues, meaning that designers in all disciplines will increase their use of eco-friendly materials and manufacturing. “Inks, lamination and other processes used for graphics and signage in your institution can have a significant impact on the environment.”

This mirrors the interior design trend of incorporating good-for-the-environment elements in homes and businesses. From upcycled art to energy-efficient lighting solutions, the planet is a major factor in design choices for 2014.

Design Trend 5: Multifunctional Design

As anyone with a small room or closet can attest, the incorporation of multifunctional pieces is critical to the structure of the space. Further, a prioritization of efficiency and usefulness, which is a continuation of both the minimalistic and eco-conscious trends, means that designers are considering both function and form more than ever.

“Home decorating ideas that improve functionality of home design create comfortable and contemporary living spaces that change their functions or feature different functional zones, allowing to use rooms for different tasks.”

This same philosophy can be applied to signage, as a single sign can be used for multiple purposes. A well-designed sign, for example, may establish the business name, introduce the brand, demonstrate the company aesthetic and even identify communication channels such as a website or social media presence. Visual communications in 2014 are not only fulfilling multiple roles, they are making a statement. By using streamlined color palettes, environmentally conscious materials and simple-yet-meaningful messaging, the savvy designer can generate contemporary visual communications that speak to—and motivate—their intended audience.

In 2014, look for these design trends to manifest in the creative community in ways big and small. For those in the signage industry, the incorporation of these trends will pave the way for innovative opportunities in the year to come—and the design trends of the future.

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