2018: A year for the risk taking designer

What design projects do you have planned in for this year? Because according to Venngage, 2018 is the year we are going to start taking risks, both in life and in graphic design.

And why shouldn’t we? In our ever changing and ever shocking world, that may be the only way to get ourselves, and our work, noticed. There are so many stories, news article and engaging cat videos flooding our social media and news networks that to enable your brand or product to stand out, you need to take your design to the next level.

So, what do we need to do to take our audiences’ eyes away from that gripping cat video?

We need risk! In both the colours we use, the design concepts, the gifs and even the imagery (within reason).

Say goodbye to the boring and shout hello to the wonderful world of risk with fun and engaging content.

So let’s be a bit more specific. What do we need to be doing within our designs to beat the ratings of the cat video? Well here are the some of the top points to get you started


Usually, brands have a specific colour scheme that is seen across all their marketing networks and products. But Venngage predict that this year will see brands shy away from their usual corporate colour palette and explore new realms by adding brand new and diverse colours to their marketing materials to try to stand out and engage with their consumers.

A couple of large companies explored this technique with great success several months back; Dropbox and eBay. Both companies had previously had a very limited colour palette for their branding so through the rebrand they expanded their colours substantially.

Ebay added lots of bright and vibrant background colours that worked brilliantly alongside subtle pastels to allow the product imagery to shine, as it should do.

Dropbox too added new colours to their brand but mainly developed their illustration use, adding more colour to them and a larger level of detail.

Both had very positive reactions and allowed posts to stand out on social media.


What does a coloured gradient make you think of? Microsoft Word? School homework and trying to take your project to the next level? Yeh, that sounds about right. Well they are BACK this year!

Just look at the Instagram logo! It’s filled with a brightly coloured gradient. And now more people seem to be catching up with them.

A coloured gradient is a popular choice for a background, where the alternative, boring option is a solid plain colour. Adding a second, and sometimes even a third or fourth, adds another level to something that is otherwise plain. It adds texture.

Gradient image overlays are also rising in popularity; a simple way to add a filter to an otherwise quite boring image.


Now this is one of your main pathways into people’s minds … the imagery you choose to use on your social media feed.

JUST SAY NO! Say no to the ever-boring stock image of the beautiful tidy desk and laptop, and spend some quality time developing your own style of your own social media imagery and graphics that’s going to get your article/post noticed instead. An image speaks a thousand words so use that space to your advantage. By engaging your followers with that image, they will be much more likely to spend their time reading what you have to say.


This is all about expanding your brand using “unofficial brand colours”. Those colours you weren’t brave enough to use as your official brand colours could now be the ones to use! Ditch the grey and the bland beige and opt for something daring and different instead.

Use a bright background to frame your product or add colour accents to your imagery with overlays or again, backgrounds. Bright text and titles or call to action bars and shapes, will all enable you to stand out from the crowd. Using grayscale imagery with bright text and colour blocks also creates an eye catching combination which is sure to get you noticed.


Go on … choose those unusual fonts that your OCD minimalistic self wants to choose. It will do you the world of good because this year everyone else will be doing it too!

Choose the bold. Choose the handwritten or scripted fonts. Go on we dare you!

Your content will JUMP off the page and into the minds of those who you want to be remembered by.


Another word of advice is to shy away from stock imagery. Why not explore the world of illustrations? Whichever level you are experienced in within the area, there is sure to be some route of incorporating some great illustrations into your designs this year.

Whether it’s a simple comic version of yourself and your team, a detailed scene/layout or some kind of overly complex digital scene, give it a go and make it as personal as you can to your team and message.

More social users are looking for authenticity in all parts of their digital life now, so play on it and illustrate yourself.


This needs to be the year you perfect GIFs and take them to the next level for your company. We have seen a huge increase in the use of GIFs and even the simplest or shortest of reaction GIFs on FB are always popping up on my timeline. But do you use them for business? If not, why not?

A GIF will stand out against a static image or text post any day, regardless of the content, as it has movement and intrigue to engage your consumers. So take that and run with it. Create some branded ones. They don’t have to be complicated, just make them move and have some fun along the way.


Leading on from GIFs are their much more refined cousins, cinemagraphs.

In essence, a cinemagraph is a static image that has a tiny section of movement on it. The steam of a hot coffee or the pouring of a glass of milk. At first glance, they look like a normal image, but then they engage as you notice that this isn’t just a static image but something much more than that.

So there you have it, guidance and ideas for the year ahead. Which one are you most excited about exploring? When you’ve made you mind up, let us know!

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