Years after years, months after months and days after days are passing by at a lightning fast speed with industrial and technological developments at their peak. What seemed to be impossible yesterday, today has not only become possible, but is under-going continuous experimentation to make its latest version available to the world for use. Everything has gone through tremendous changes to reach at the point where they are today, and are still experiencing the changes with no stop button to it. These advancements are revolutionary that is sure to change the outlook of our future making our world turn completely digitised across all sectors.
We have just bid adieu not only to the year 2019, but also to a decade that started with the year 2010. From 2010 to 2020 the whole world has witnessed some really great inventions and discoveries. From Mars expedition to 3G & 4G discoveries, from invention of smart watches to Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, the world has happily accepted all. But, what we are more concerned about is the developments and transformation in the field of graphic designing that has led to an unexpected surge in the demand for the designers. With the basics of graphic designing remaining unchanged, rest of its elements or tools have under gone extreme changes.
We know that graphic designing is more related to technology and less to theory. And, both technology and designing are directly proportionally to each other. So, an unparalleled advancement in technology has also resulted in an unprecedented growth in graphic designing. To start with, computers in the early 2010 were not so advanced compared to what they are now. With limited RAM and software versions, computers then could only perform few functions for the graphic designers. After up-gradation in laptops and invention of tablets designing has become so quick and easy. With widespread popularity of smartphones due to ease of use and multi-functionality, development of numerous applications that directly assists in graphic designing has been possible.
All the changes that technology faced had a rippling effect on the graphic designing world. To start with, web technology and the invention of User Interface (UI) had maximum influence on the evolution of graphic designing. At the time of 90s and 2Ks when the web was brought into the human world, websites were designed based on the printed graphics. But now, the scenario has completely changed. These changes are so phenomenal that it has caused a spur in every industry to create a meaningful, vibrant and communicative design for brand promotion. For your deeper understanding all the major transformation which the graphic designing discipline has seen in the last decade are explained below.
Inventions & Developments in Graphic Designing Forte from 2010 to 2020
Whenever we recall our past, we wish we could get those days back and live that moment again. But, this is not the case in graphic designing as designers cannot stop praising and thanking the technology for making their work so easy, quick and dynamic. What was unimaginable for them 10 years back, is now on their fingertip when showing their creativity. Today, they are suggesting vivid ideas to their clients to make their advertisement, marketing and web presence strong and powerful. Let’s check these changes in details.
1.) Invention of Smart to Smarter phones making everything from Websites to Applications, Images to Videos, Responsive: The most instrumental invention that technology has made is the development of smartphones that has enabled smart living in today’s smart world. In fact, after invention of Internet, smartphones stands second in the list of the biggest inventions in human history. Introduction of smartphones led to a whole new set of smaller design spaces, and design categories for the designers.
Smartphones not only served as a medium of long distance communication, but also as a channel for browsing, sharing, and do creative things. With discovery of 4G technology in 2012, internet speed and accessibility skyrocketed, increasing the use of smartphones in our daily lives. Statistics say that in 2016 use of desktops officially dropped compared to mobile phone usage.
Smartphones and subsequent development of innumerable applications opened a new gateway for visual designs that raised the demand for responsive web designers and app designers around the globe. The last decade has also witnessed occurrence of minimalist design trends that focuses on sparse interfaces and easy readability.
2.) Invention of Tablets and Online Reading Applications: Not only smartphones, but tablets are also most innovative discovery of the last decade. It has helped gadget users to work smoothly and freely per their convenience and easily carry it as well. Smartphones overtook desktops and tablets were occupying the market for laptops. But, what was surprising to see were books falling as a prey to technology in this Information Era.
Devising of Kindle and other e-reading apps led to more business generation for designers as e-books completely changed the concept and approach of cover designs. Amazon revealed that for the very first time in 2010 the sale of e-books had surpassed the sale of physical books. And, with more usage of e-books trends in large typography and simplified images emerged to make the e-book cover design easily understandable even as a tiny thumbnail.
3.) Emergence of Virtual and Augmented Reality: AR and VR, a new immersive piece of technology has promoted graphic designers to their highest level for the time being. Google started implementation of AR to integrate app designs in 2014, which was followed by social media giants Instagram in their stories and Snapchat in their face filters and selfie lenses in 2016. It is these social media channels who have spread the use of AR and made it accessible to the designers. On its road to development, augmented reality has been combined with graphic design, photography and animation on a real time basis.
VR, which was primarily limited to the gaming world made possibilities for VR app designs after the launch of Google Cardboard in 2014. Two years later, in 2016 introduction of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift brought desktop VR to reality that paved the way for VR web designs. If VR keeps on progressing at the same speed, the world would soon be witnessing a revolution in UX trends. This would equip designers with skills to take users through a point where reality intersects technology.
4.) Spectacular Graphic Designing Software: At the inception of 2010 designing meant Adobe and vice versa, just like Balance Sheet meant for Accounts. But, it was in 2011 that Adobe changed the meaning of designing by reshaping their business model and releasing Creative Cloud. Saying good bye to single purchase software, Adobe’s Creative Cloud allowed all its users to avail all its products for a subscription fee. Adobe even added features, like on-demand availability of updates and mixing between products. Soon, Adobe came up with more than ever frequency update on its applications.
Few of their most notable updates, include Adding of Live Corners in Illustrators in 2014, Multiple Layer Styles in Photoshop in 2015, Illustrator’s Curvature Tool in 2017 and more.
To give a tough competition to Adobe, many competitors came up with their new versions of designing software, which created problem of choosing the best for the designers. These different pieces of software were not only rich in features, but also made graphic designing applications affordable, and less time consuming that made their use flow like wild fire.
5.) Prototyping Applications: Invention of various new prototyping applications, like 2010’s Sketch, Invision in 2011 and Adobe XD in 2017, meeting different sizes and maintaining dominancy of numerous product pages through evolving screen technology was possible. These new prototyping tools have exceptional features, such as simplified canvases, drag and drop interfaces, and animation process. With such features prototyping apps made showcasing and testing of prototypes in rapid-fire come true. Amongst all the tools, Sketch became designer’s favourite for web designing leaving Photoshop behind in the race.
6.) Flat Design: It was the desperate need of making the digital applications more accessible and clean that gave rise to the biggest trends of the last decade, Flat Design. Microsoft launching Windows 8 version in 2012 and Apple’s iOS 7 availability the very next year using flat design was the first step that led to abolishment of skeuomorphism and birth of flat interface. Today, none of us even bother to have a glance at something that lacks minimal vectors, geometric sans serif fonts and flat colors.
7.) Animated and Communicating Brand Identity: Branding had become multi-faceted in the 2010-2020 decade. Because of enormous digital spaces for the logo to occupy, there was almost nothing that a logo cannot do in the process of branding. This led to a new line of animated and interactive logos that redefined branding. For example, Spotify – the music app’s Music campaign in 2017 used live user data and profiles and developed shareable branded imagery with its help. In the process of creating branded imagery, they made their contributions in the trends of duotones, photo filters and color transitions.
8.) Rebranding: 2010 decade was disruptive in terms of inventions that were obviously positive. Another great feat that got engraved in the history of that decade was evolution of start-ups that was upheaval in almost all the major industries. This made pre-existing brands re-establish itself by capitalising the situation and rebranding themselves to survive in the market.
Here, the question was to withstand the competition to keep their share of market safe. This question even haunted the start-ups soon after their establishment who also started rebranding itself to stay ahead in the race. For instance, Airbnb in 2014 had their logo changed several times. Entering this rebrand game was an online dating company OkCupid who changed their logo in 2017 to a cozy host of lovable illustrations. Throwing lights on older brands, Burberry rebranded their logo to a cartoonish monogram for the first time in 20 years of their business.
Be it a start-up or any former brand house, rebranding focussed on making the company’s brand image easily understandable, communicative and simplified. All the brands just wanted to show what the business does and how it is beneficial for the customers. Just like Instagram’s rebranding in 2016 by incorporating gradients in their brand name brought back gradients once again to the designing world.
Whether this rebranding process continues to spread its wings in 2020 will be known in future. But, if MasterCard’s rebranding in 2019 to a nameless logo is taken as an indication, aesthetics design trends may continue in 2020 and head towards minimalist designs.
9.) Online Freelancing: Exponential advancement in internet and internet speed has enabled designers to spread their work online and do design remotely from anywhere in the world. With formation of many free as well as paid websites that only has digital office has made graphic designing grow on digital platforms. Sites, like ‘Freelancer.com’, ‘Dribble’, ‘Behance’ to name a few have helped designers to acquire designing work online and get paid online through various safe and secured e-wallets and other payment options. Designers are also powered to create their web profile and make a convincing portfolio, highlighting and impressing the online clients through their outstanding work. They even have flexible deadlines with no fixed working hours or peer pressure.
10.) Google Fonts: In 2010, the launch of Google Fonts collection by Google gave access to its users to use one of the first available 19 fonts for free on their own website. Google even allowed its users to check its Fonts without the need to install it on their desktop/laptops. Gradually, these fonts turned to 800 in number, giving its users the most vivid and largest range of typography.
The above points are the major and most recognizable inventions or developments that happened in 2010s that played an integral and constructive role in the rise of demand of graphic design and subsequently the designers. These changes in the last 10 years have successfully placed graphic designing at the top of the career list. Now, what needs to be seen is what the 2020 decade holds for the designing world? What more it can offer or bring back to life?