2016 Events to Influence 2017 Design Trends

2016 Events to Influence 2017 Design Trends


It won’t be wrong to say 2016 was a year of upheaval. Like it, or love it, there’s one major event we can single out. Not only will it impact the world on a social and political level—but will filter down to every other aspect of our lives as well. You may have guessed it; we’re talking about the US election 2016. The way we view the world directly impacts the way we create art, so it should come as no surprise that 2017 will be a design year like no other.

We’ve already seen some of the changes in design trends happening already. The design has become bolder, more direct, and in many ways, much more inclusive. Embracing diversity, not only culturally, but artistically will certainly be a theme of 2017.

Game Changer: The 2016 Election

Both last year’s election and this year’s inauguration have led to some interesting inspirations for design. From the shocking beginning to the numerous scandals, and policies that have been enacted, there’s been lots of fodder to work with.

Choosing Sides: Love him, or hate him, it’s safe to say the new president has at the very least spurred on the artistic nature of designers, drawers, and other lovers of art. From graffiti, to design, to commercials, and satire, the creative mind is blossoming, and it’s a joy to witness its birth.

Additionally, with such a loud and front-and-center type of president, his antics tend to be spun into art with a message; often in opposition. Every week since taking office, there’s been something new to resist, oppose, and bring to light. We can sense that this isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

The Women’s March on Washington

If the Women’s March on January 21, 2017, was any indication, it’s safe to say there will be strong opposition to the stances of the current administration. As new events unfold throughout the year, they will bring about their personalities and design influences. Here’s a couple from the successful Women’s March they may take inspiration from:

  1. Shepard Fairey: The artist who created the iconic “Obama Hope” image has been back at it again. This year, crafting designs for the new era. Relying heavily on the American sentiment, and embracing diversity, the new images are already being hailed and accepted symbols of the resistance.
  2. Pussy Hats: A now iconic symbol of resistance, these are much more than just a hat. Not only are they homemade, a symbol of defiance in an age of store-bought everything, but they’re also synonymous with solidarity for those who see it.
  3. March Signs: If you haven’t seen some of the ingenuity in art and design happening in protest signs, you’re missing out. While there’s certainly the standard, preprinted phrases, many activists have taken an individualistic and ultimately artistic take on getting their message out.

In addition to election year antics, there were plenty of great design-based events to keep your eyes on as well. Getting creative ideas and being around like-minded individuals is a key way to keep motivated and inspired. Plus, there are always tons of amazing ones to check out. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. 99U Conference (May 5-6, New York City). If insights and tips are what you’re looking for, this is the conference that delivers. Last year‘s event even had time to work with career coaches right there. This year’s event takes place June 7-9.
  2. TYPO Berlin (May 12-14, 2016, Berlin, Germany). This was the 20th year celebration, and arguably Europe’s largest design conference. While the name may imply a typographic feel, the event actually covers a much larger spectrum of design topics. This year’s event takes place May 25-27.
  3. What Design Can Do (June 30-July 1, Amsterdam, Netherlands). This year’s event takes place May 23-24 and will center on the topic of climate change and how design can address this urgent issue.
  4. PopTech (October 20-22, Camden, Maine). This unique event gathers designers, scientists, artists, filmmakers, engineers, corporate and civic leaders, and policy-makers for a weekend of creativity. This year’s event takes place Oct 19-21.
  5. Adobe MAX (Oct 31-Nov 4, San Diego, California). For those wanting to keep up on their technical skills, while being inspired and entertained, this was and is the event to have on your list. Sometimes, even celebrities join this large crowd of creative minds. This year’s event takes place Oct 16-20.

While 2017 has only just begun, keep your eyes on all of the designs that mirror some underlying sentiment surrounding the 2016 election. If you attend any of this year’s design conferences, like the ones we have listed above, you’ll likely to see and hear about its reach and effects on the current deign trends. As our art and design styles shift to accommodate this new era, it will be interesting to see what comes out of it. Will there be more iconic images that history will look back on? Or will it become so inundated with a common theme, that it all gets conglomerated into one big overarching theme? Only time will tell.

– Artwork Abode

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