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  • Ashley Goodine

Trendy vs. Timeless

Exploring the advantages and drawbacks of design trends

After taking art history and graphic design history courses in school, I've become interested in what styles of art and design stand the test of time. There are many design aesthetics that are popular for certain eras, but would look totally out of place in today's design landscape. Contrarily, there are styles from the past that always seem to come back in style. This is something I'm trying to keep in mind as I start my career in design, since I want my work to have longevity for the clients I work with.


Although design trends may lack longevity, they can definitely be useful to designers. Being knowledgable of design trends is important if you want to be seen as someone who is tuned in to what consumers want. It shows your client that you know how to promote their business to the modern marketplace. Out of date design trends can also be useful in evoking a sense of nostalgia in consumers. If you use a style reminiscent of a certain era, you can appeal to a demographic that remembers when it was in style. In my opinion, some of the most interesting design trends in history are trends that simply wouldn't be seen today. Take for example the work of Alphonse Mucha, whose advertisements and posters were visually beautiful but wouldn't necessarily be the best choice for communicating information today due to their intricate, often cluttered appearance.


Having a catalogue full of trendy material may become quickly out of date in a matter of years, making it difficult to develop a presentable portfolio. Even though design trends can make a reappearance, it can take decades for that to happen. Trends such as gradients and word art that were popular as recently as the early 2000s are the very things that designers cringe at today. There are certain aesthetics that luckily seem to last the test of time. For example, minimalism is an ever-popular style do to its uncluttered appearance and clear communication of information. Although no design is guaranteed to look modern forever, sticking to a minimal aesthetic is a safer bet.


Although I don't see the harm in experimenting with different design trends, longevity is something I want to remember going forward. Especially when developing a portfolio, I want to be able to present designs that will be considered beautiful for a long period of time. I think that's why so far in my design education I've gravitated to minimalism and muted colour palettes. However, I'm sure there will be many designs I produce in my classes today that I will perceive as outdated in the near future.

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