Tribe Leader of One Lady & A Tribe – Sheila McGillivray – thinks of graphic design as the corporate sister of art and says great design always flies a bold brand flag, telling the consumer it is unique and trustworthy. She discusses five graphic design trends she predicts seeing more of in 2020.

1. Break-the-rules palettes

’Colour is a power which directly influences the soul,’ – Wassily Kandinsky.

Due in large part to 3D animation and wildly responsive website design, the old rules about colour and matching palettes has flown the coop. As Full Stack Developer, Olga Stashenko said, ‘It has long been no secret that colours play a big role in creating the impression of a project. But right now this fact is beginning to be used to the full.’ We’ll see uber-bright and colourful elements popping up in 2020 – from logo design to websites. Scroll down Apple Music’s site for example, and see how the shades of ‘It hits all the right notes’ mesh – from shocking pink to purple to blue.

2. Bespoke typography

’Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form,’ – Robert Bringhurst.

If, as Neil Postman said, ‘Typography fostered the modern idea of individuality’ – 2020 and beyond will be stratospheric in terms of bespoke brand fonts. What better way to stand out than to have your own customised typeface. Graphic Mama goes into detail with her typeface predictions, saying design will be, ‘decorated with beautiful flowers, geometric shapes, and more creative elements. Artistic typography is certainly the perfect solution to nail the attention.’

An example of using storytelling through both typography and logo design can be seen in the work with the Nelson Mandela Foundation celebrating Madiba’s Centenary in 2018. In homage to the great man, the avatar is a combination of his own drawings and the unique font was created from Mandela’s handwriting and took some seven months to craft from letters he had written.

3. Personalised emojis and more

‘My idea was to create emojis that Africans can relate to,’ – O’Plerou Grebet from Ivory Coast.

In our selfie-obsessed world, it follows that design trends will become equally personalised or at the very least more inclusive than six shades of skin tone. For example, O’Plerou Grebet, a 21-year-old from Ivory Coast, has created more than 350 downloadable emojis with West African cultural references. Closer to home, check out proto-Joburger and design guru Bradley Kirshenbaum’s Instagram feed for a series of selfie emojis. It’s only a matter of time before the emoji goes corporate and becomes incorporated into more brand design.

4. Storytelling websites

‘Every great design begins with an even better story,’ – Lorinda Mamo.

I love these words by Mamo – however far down the rabbit hole we go with interactive design, good design will always relate to a story. As humans, we innately respond to something with we can connect – something which sparks our imagination. Using a storytelling mechanism is becoming particularly trendy on websites – where better to harness the power of a brand or personal journey?  Awwwards has a gorgeous selection of websites on their Storytelling Awards page for anyone looking for some creative inspiration.

5. Authentic images

‘I don’t trust words. I trust pictures,’ – Gilles Peress.

In a world of fake news, we crave realism and there’s a reason why Instagram has one billion monthly active users and looks set to overtake Facebook in 2020 – people love photos – the more authentic the better. While there will be amazing integration of photos with 3D design, images give an underlying authority to design.

In closing, something Alex Bigman predicts, ‘By 2033, stock photographers will have staged every humanly conceivable natural circumstance, so there will no longer be any need to have photographers.’ Could this be true? There were a trillion photos taken last year, so in a way, it just might be. But there’s no stock footage capturing my grandchildren growing up or my garden after the first Spring rain. Ditto any brand worth its salt using real-time authentic images.