With the first quarter behind us, we have been seeing some of the predicted trends taking center stage for 2018. From bold colors to bold gimmicks all working to make one brand stand out from another, 2018 is looking to be the year of the fearless.

But you have to ask yourself, “What will make sense for my brand?”

Let’s take a look at four graphic trends we saw gain traction in 2017 and are sure to pick up speed this year.

1. Bold & big colors

From eBay to Dropbox, we see brands starting to diversify their color palettes to keep looking fresh and vibrant. For brands with a more modest palette or tone, using flashy bright colors doesn’t make sense or feel true to their brand.

Instead, a colorful background in place of the standard white backdrop can disrupt the visual clutter and help your product or brand pop off the page.

2. Hand-drawn elements

We are seeing the return of the human element into much of today’s marketing and branding material.

In a digitally saturated world, it’s refreshing to see authentic hand lettering or hand drawings paired with the symmetry and predictable lines of computer generated graphic elements.

It’s a resurgence of an old art that reminds us we are not robots and has the added value of injecting emotion into every piece. Hand-drawn elements could work for almost any retail or lifestyle brand. But for professional services, this may depend on the personality of the company and could make the difference between cheesy and sincere communications.

3. GIF animations

There’s no better trend for the digital age than the GIF. Reacting to a post with a meme takes on a whole new dimension when animated as a GIF. But the trend for non-reaction GIFs are gaining speed and more brands need to jump in to take advantage of the extra capabilities that a digital environment provides.

GIFs can be used to inform an audience with tips like our friends at DHL and FSR have done in recent months.

4. Cinemagraphs

Photographs layered with a small element of video and used by fashion and luxury brands for the past few years, cinemagraphs are starting to get noticed by the general population for their added level of interest.

Companies should take note as well. These visuals are a great way to tell a story in a subtle and rewarding way for viewers. There’s really no negative side to jumping on this trend for any brand. Cinemagraphs can be made with huge impact or subtle appeal, and designed to fit the brand personality.

In Summary

A lot of brands are going bold and it works for them, but some brands need to consider their audience. For older readers, think about what might be painful to the mature eye, or what comes off as screaming on-screen to the younger demographic.

Don’t be tone deaf to your core following. When all others are going bold and vivid, tell a story and don’t be afraid to take a stand. Leverage the trends to gain attention, but once you have it take a risk and make a statement that truly resonates with your target market. They’ll love you even more for it.