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Itu Chaudhuri

Many of us look for upcoming trends to be ready for future demands of customers or clients. You already must have read many articles on predicting trends at the beginning of each year. Here read on for a very unique view on design trends by Itu Chaudhuri, founder and principal at Itu Chaudhuri Design.

It’s a modern, seasonal disease. The new year brings with it a thick flow of trend forecasts, cheery and sweeping, and we read them with the forgiving spirit that the holiday season demands. For Deep Design, it seems foolhardy to indulge, yet churlish to desist, so here’s a holiday smoothie on trends themselves.

Some trends forecast, such as those in fashion, are meant to be self-fulfilling. The great and big among the fashion industry make them. Thus buyers know what colours and styles to buy, and retailers know what to stock. The media is in it at the start, happy to report what the well-dressed citizen will be wearing. The consumer, she of the clued-in, independent mind, is eager to confirm: it’s only fitting. Paris/Milan/Mumbai know best; empty shelves help no one.

Trends

The communications industry, unlike those that stock things, doesn’t face the risk of empty shelves. Yet trends there surely are. The dozen or so portfolios and the artfully designed CVs that our office reviews monthly give a clear view into what the bottom of the food chain has been eating. A set of colour palettes, a certain taste in typefaces, and a tendency to gratuitously quantify, in order to contrive a graph to replace text (give yourself a 75% hardworking score, or three and a half stars).

But unlike fashion, there’s no Big Design, no dominant source heavily invested in the forecast. Pantone, a widely used colour communication system, comes closest to announcing trends, along with paint manufacturers who try to drum up interest in their new shades, a hue and cry, if you will. For the most part, these graphic trends result from simple imitative impulses. This may account for the relative stability of these design trends.

DESIGNERS (WHICH INCLUDES COMMUNICATORS, MARKETERS AND POLICY MAKERS) SHOULD CONTINUE TO TAKE THE TRENDS THEMSELVES WITH A GRAIN OF ETHICALLY-PRODUCED, IODIDE-RICH, ROCK OR SEA SALT.

But common to all trends forecast, and trend commentating, is the theorising that identifies and proposes the driving currents. Inevitably, large, global turns of politics and their economic, social and cultural facets are called out as driving forces: Brexit, Trump and unless you are observing news fast (another micro-trend) you know the rest. Deep Design, too, has indulged early and often, such as linking the discontents behind the rise of the US prez to those boosting the rise of Patanjali long before the final elections, not to imply direct link but to speculate on a similar mood driving both.

Trends

Anti-globalisation and nationalism are the most familiar labels applied to this phenomenon. Commentators hear the voices of groups who feel ‘disenfranchised’, speaking with eerie simultaneity across continents. These voices have exhausted their patience with the ruling intelligentsia, and abhor its factual (or specious, or false), well-articulated utterances: better a mis-spelled, ‘feeling’ untruth that promises action, than an unproductive, pedantic truth. Going further: a suspicion of democracy, technocracy, complexity and balance, and the citified, corporate or university culture that spawns them; a yearning for viscerally inspired gestures. (Other strands omitted for brevity).

The trends forecast that respond to these may be summarised (in a post-truth kind of way!) as a return to roots and basics; a preference for imperfection; the recycled; rough and natural finishes (call them unfinished). The broad theme: authenticity.

Pantone’s Colour of the Year is Greenery 15-0343, to represent ‘fresh beginnings’ complemented by earth and mineral tones, and upcycled materials. Primary colours (from flags, and nationalism) remain in force. Expect packaging to be literally and otherwise transparent, to convey the authenticity of provenance (add: bucolic-ness and humanity). Photography, it says, will be more ‘real’ in terms of the human subjects, with emotion (add: imperfect skin) getting extra marks. The trend towards active, sports-inspired wear continues (cementing the general trend towards informality)

Despite the smell of truth about the causes that drive these trends, designers (which includes communicators, marketers and policy makers) should continue to take the trends themselves with a grain of ethically-produced, iodide-rich, rock or sea salt.

For one thing, many of these trends are old and long-running. Look at restaurants that have opened in the last ten years in your metropolis, and note how similar many of the trends you spot in the concept and the design of the space. Exposed air conditioning ducts, cocktails in jam jars (Deep Design’s pet peeve), rope, rough-hewn wood, local produce and food fusion. And watch for authentically brush drawn lettering on menus, coming soon to a grubhouse near you.

Further, trends forecast are popular because they feed our confirmation biases; many may well have other less (or more) obvious causes, preventing a proper understanding. Several trends run concurrently and play out differently depending on cultures (defined by geography and age).

LONG-TERM TRENDS MAY EXERT A MORE STRATEGIC FORCE WITH WHATEVER YOU ARE DESIGNING. BUT IT’S BEST TO BE ALIVE TO THE BABEL OF THE CONVERSATIONS WITHOUT BEING IN A HURRY TO ISOLATE ANY ONE SIGNAL, IS THE GOLDEN PATH.

This means paying attention to the invisible drivers behind the trends. For example, the most valuable lesson from post-truth is an ancient one: that the tendencies of people to think through the filter of their identities, anxieties, and pride trump all others. In this state, they will ignore ‘good design’ as a source of meaning. That’s what Trump’s diabolically plain election identity conveyed—nothing—which may have resonated with his voters as authentic, much better than the professionally designed, pointing-ahead, promise-laden ‘H’ from a Capitol-ist they didn’t trust.

Issue 45

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. And with many expert interviews, we got various unique viewpoints, as Elephant Design shared the importance of having a well-thought packaging design for products. And on another hand, VGC gave an insight into, how a brand should be created for the Millennials. But to top it all, with very deep logical design thought, Itu Chaudhuri says that the trends are a modern seasonal disease, and we designers should continue taking it with a grain of ethically-produced, iodide-rich rock or sea salt. All-in-all this issue is a very interesting and a must-read, if you’re looking for greater clarity and want to start your year with a lot of deep design knowledge about the brand development to packaging design, user experience design, to storyboarding and more.

 

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Veteran Illustrator and designer, Anant Kulkarni, takes us through a visual journey by illustrating and explaining how imagery is a powerful tool of communication. He describes how one can keep an audience intact and engaged through the still medium.

Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Ganesha Design 4
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Person
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Bird Typo
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Symmetrical Graphic design

CG. What is the main intention or idea you desire to achieve through your work?

AK. It is my responsibility to get as close as possible to the audience, communicating through visuals. So, I always keep myself engaged in creating visuals that are a part of my study, besides assignments. This practice really helps every creative person, whether a student or professional. I try to express my views through every picture, conveying the same message through different visual solutions and like to keep my audience engaged in the visuals, maintaining their curiosity. As every artist has his/her own way to express, in my case it is visuals, and visuals only. I look up to each day as a new challenge and start thinking of something new!

Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Ganesha Graphic Design 2
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Icons
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
All About by Anant Kulkarni
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Art Prints

CG. What role do aspects like geometry and symmetry play in your visual works?

AK. I’m always searching for new things to execute through visual forms. Geometrical design patterns are a part of my study – a technique developed over years of consistent practice. Though I don’t know much about technical geometry, except the basic shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, hexagons, lines etc. provoke me to explore them in all possible combinations. I started creating very simple forms, and it became a habit while trying to convert objects into forms, using geometrical shapes. Symmetry and asymmetry are principles of design, but I ignore these terminologies while working, as they may disturb my visual thought.

Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Food Typo
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Icons
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Visual Language.
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Ganesha Graphic Design

CG. How do you choose your colours and apply them to be balanced across geometric patterns?

AK. Visual concepts and drafting are very important; colours come later. The use of colour has its own purpose, and it depends on various factors. Of course, it is a choice of the artist, as to which colours to choose as per the concept. If you observe, a lot of famous artists can be identified through their colour palette. The use of colours helps to enhance the beauty of your visuals. Some artists use and apply particular colours to convey messages and create moods. I try to keep my designs bright, eye-catching and more attractive, but I give maximum attention to the visual form. The only care I take while using colour is to not disturb the image.

Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
City Life
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Parrots
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Scary Sketchbook
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Ganesha Graphic Design 3
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Bird Typo 2

CG. What, and how much, does proportion contribute to what you wish to execute?

AK. Proportions, in my illustration and compositions, play a vital role. They are a part of design principles, too. When I plan composition, I always think of it as a sequence – “What is going to be seen first? ‘What has more emphasis?’ I then think of other related visuals that would keep the audience engaged through the entire picture. Harmony, movement, and size of the forms are other important aspects of design.

Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Mug Design Applications
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Crockery Design Applications
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Tag Design Applications
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
T-shirt Design Applications
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Coasters

CG. How necessary is the white of the background in your illustrations?

AK. It is very important. Positive and negative spaces are the two main important aspects of every composition. This helps you enhance and beautify your image. Leaving white spaces in design, or any picture or composition gives relief to the viewer to grasp the image very easily. White spaces help a lot in finding out the subject in a clear manner, even in text, if you have proper spacing; it helps in reading more comfortably. In the end, it provides the all-important visual comfort.

Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Pencil Typo
Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Bags

Cover Designed for Issue 39

As the festivity is all around, every brand or business is trying to impress the Indian audience. But what really works for us Indians? What is an Indian design? And how we can make designs for India? To understand it, we interviewed some Indian creatives who are successfully creating designs for the Indian audience. This issue of Creative Gaga is a light read for someone looking for inspirations or insights on Indian design and how the Indian audience can be enticed. So go ahead and order your copy or subscribe if you want to keep receiving a regular dose inspirations!

 

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The current generation has been a witness to the considerable shift and scale of change in technology and, thus, the way in which we do things. This is a time when there is little distinction between reality and fantasy, as the line in between is geting blur.

With so much ease, one can instantly send a photo, miles away; speak to someone, face-to-face; communicate effectively with multiple people, or even get things delivered at the doorstep. Which such ease at our fingertips (literally), design becomes highly essential, as it complements how we carry out these tasks and, so also, what we choose do, itself. Bearing this context in mind, here is a brisk and swift compilation of the most relevant and likely trends that are taking over in the digital dream, this year, 2017.

1. Mobile-oriented

As we go further and further with “better, faster, smarter” phones, everything digital is constantly being designed to increasingly improve, enhance and suit people’s experiences on the “small screen” (which, notably, has conveniently shifted from being a reference for the television to being one for a phone). This is primarily owing to the accessibility of just about everything through the phone, be it all-inclusive websites, videos, sharing, etc. something that was unimaginable until only a few years ago.

trends
Image source: http://fugenx.com/

2. A Rise in Interactivity and Motion Design

There seems to be a continuing, urgent and immediate need to include interactivity as a basic component in design, mainly because that’s what currently appears essential in order to hold an audience’s attention. Motion design is one powerful way of doing that, keeping the viewer/user engaged and interested with movement across the screen, while appealing images may be eye-catching but insufficient.

Image source: http://www.awn.com/news/9-squares-collaboration-explores-motion-design

3. Ultra Minimalism and Bold & Crisp Fonts

With so much information, out there, ultra minimalism that delivers the content quick and effectively seems to be the ideal trend to go by. Simple, neat colours; bold, clear fonts, and the likes, just enough to convey a message in an appealing yet straightforward and no-nonsense manner look to be just the need of the hour.

Image source: http://parananoivas.com.br/letras-para-os-convites.html

4. Need of Relevant Imagery

Visuals are gaining power over the written word. In a world with abundant photos for almost everything, pictures nowadays speak even “more than a thousand words”. No more needs to be written to depict the core idea or essence of a concept at a glance, isn’t it? What cannot be said in a thousand words, can be conveyed through a visual.

Image source: https://thefutureorganization.com/visuals-important/

5. An UI and UX focus

Everything is going “App”. Be it groceries, clothing, and everything in between and beyond. With this influx of online purchase, it becomes all the more necessary and important to focus on UI and UX, as that is what will determine the user’s experience through the process of usage.

Image source: http://www.conceptualize.ae/
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