So we can all look back on the trends of the 80s, 90s, maybe the 00s a bit, although that’s trickier. We can all see what design styles ruled the decade – what was contemporary. So then we should also be able to take a step back from the right-now, from what’s contemporary today, right? We can see what we (graphic designers, art directors, interactive creatives, animators etc.) are working on this week, or this month, and we *should* be able to recognize the aspects of our creative work that are lining up to fall into that category of ‘contemporary’. Do we want our stuff to look and feel like everything else that everybody else is working on this week, or this month, or this year?
The problem is that ‘contemporary’ and ‘trendy’ are constantly blurring together. They’re really one and the same. When our deadline is tight, or our clients are unimaginative, or we’re too buried in work to apply our own imaginative abilities… we fall back on what’s cool right now, and we contribute to the larger body of ‘contemporary’ work that we’ll all look back on in 5-10 years and be embarrassed to have been a part of.
Wouldn’t it be great to create, sell-through, and champion creative work that breaks the contemporary trends that surround us? What are the barriers, project to project (because they’re always different), that keep us from doing the unique and imaginative creative work that we know we’re capable of producing?
This weekend, I’ll be blasting out some design comps that will, I absolutely guarantee, be trendy and cool, but unimaginative. I will have to rush my work, and I will fall back on established and expected solutions. I’d like to apologize in advance for my contribution to the cheesy design trends of the early 2000-and-teens. I’ll blow it all out and work some fresh magic the next time, I promise.