How nostalgia for the pre-smartphone period is driving design within the age of AI

Rooted in nostalgia

One of many driving forces we’ve seen on this 12 months’s tendencies is a way of nostalgia for the digital simplicity of the pre-smartphone, pre-AI period. We’ve designed your complete report round this craving for the analogue world; imagining every of our ten tendencies as worn vinyl LP covers, connecting every kind to a selected music style – from jazz to 90s hip hop to UK rave.

Music is jam-packed with cultural parts. File covers and labels have a wealthy historical past that’s influenced many areas of design and visible tradition – suppose Peter Saville’s Pleasure Division paintings and the ransom word letters of punk. The theme of music was, due to this fact, a pure match for typography, because it has lots in frequent with music – each are about freedom and creativity – and actually, a number of the finest kind designers I do know are additionally wonderful musicians.

However past the design of the report itself, nostalgia is a subliminal affect all through your complete report, connecting most of the tendencies. Kind tendencies like No matter exhibit a resurgence of ‘90s aesthetics, with typefaces encompassing a spectrum of types from nihilistic grunge to large daring varieties. From Barbie and Saltburn to new logos from Nickelodeon, Jell-O, and Slurpee, the resurgence of retro typefaces capitalizes on a broader wave of Y2K nostalgia that infuses music, trend, movie, and design.

A return to consolation and familiarity 

So why the transfer to playful designs harking back to millennials and Gen Z childhoods? Maybe it alerts an escape right into a time that appears distant from at the moment’s collective anxieties about change – from local weather change, to the rise of AI, to fragile international economies.

Different kind tendencies we recognized for 2024 additionally exhibit this collective choice to show in the direction of typefaces and designs that carry a way of consolation and familiarity, a return to conventional heritage and away from the minimalistic ‘blanding’ we’ve seen prevail over the previous a number of years. We as kind designers are significantly excited to see this transition right into a extra visually various kind panorama – even when it’s only a case of experimenting with serifs (see our Return of the Serif pattern).

We’ve seen actions in the direction of expressiveness, pleasure and playfulness, for instance Quirk – this pattern incorporates surprising particulars like flexible or curly letter shapes, or Counter Assault, which heroes unfavorable area in letterforms. There may be additionally the charmingly named Profeshinal, the place designers have injected a modest childlike or laidback spirit into initiatives, typically through handwritten scrawled lettering. I believe this pattern particularly, speaks to a need to return to fundamentals. If you see one thing handwritten, it feels a bit extra approachable and acquainted – it’s not intimidating and it’s not as futuristic and even post-future!

But… impressed by AI

As we curated this 12 months’s report, we noticed a curious dichotomy emerge between the nostalgia and craving for a pre-AI period and our immersion within the new AI-infused digital age by which all of us dwell in at the moment.

Maybe in response to the rise in generative AI that formed 2023, we’ve seen designers take inspiration from the chaotic surrealism of AI-generated artwork. The pattern Everythingallofthetime sees creatives use all the typefaces, textures, and know-how obtainable to them in a single design. Coca-Cola’s newest restricted version taste, Y3000, exemplifies this pattern completely – the staff leveraged generative AI to co-create each the flavour and the packaging design. The consequence? Coca-Cola’s iconic emblem made up of lots of of fluid dot clusters and complex patterns.

AI has discovered design from people, however maybe the tide is popping – is it our flip to study design from AI? Tugging on this cultural discourse, we turned to AI ourselves – utilizing Midjourney to create the imaginative and visually gorgeous vinyl covers that map to every pattern. Tapping into this instrument allowed us to delve into unexplored features of AI picture technology and animation, opening up recent avenues and areas of exploration for our inventive staff – reflecting on the way in which designers have been utilizing AI to unlock new potentialities within the inventive course of.   

So what does kind inform us about 2024?

It’s clear we’re in a interval of fast change, breakneck innovation, and instability. Maybe in response to previous years tendencies the place tech, and particularly AI, arose quick and in pressure, creatives wish to counterbalance the graceful, modern and clear results by the handmade, barely tough graphic parts and letter shapes. Making area for craft is a means for us to push again from the turbo pace of AI and shout about its a lot wanted and valued place in society.

But the attract of AI is just too compelling to fully flip our again on it – new breakthroughs in generative AI are offering a key supply of design inspiration. So whereas we might yearn for the instances earlier than smartphones and AI, we will’t assist however maintain one eye pointed in the direction of the longer term.

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