Last year in design: Memorable or Forgettable?

Meg Williams


Reinventing Retail

With the new year a distant memory and fully in the flow of a new decade we thought we would have a look back at the trends we saw take the limelight in 2019.

The year saw some prominent trends in both retail and graphics that have had an impact on how we shop and also disrupt what we see as the norm.


2019 saw the rise of the conscious shopper with an increased number, especially younger generations, seeking brands that share the same values.

“52% of millennials and 48% of Gen Xers feel it’s important that their values align with the brands they like,” Forbes,

Their concerns are not limited to materials and packaging but also morals and values. Brands like Lush have achieved a clever balance between the two with packaging free items and strong ethical buying policies.

It also saw the rise in recycled clothing and buying ‘second hand’ with high street brands like H&M offering incentives, and second hand sellers like Depop and Vinted.

This has not only hit the high street brands but also the higher end brands with Harrods creating a pop up ‘Fashion Re-Told’ in collaboration with NSPCC and the arrival of websites like ‘Bag Borrow of Steal’ allowing shoppers to have the luxury brands without both the price tag but also guilt of purchasing something new for one time uses.

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Bringing the customer to the forefront of the experience, prioritising their engagement over sales, creating an immersive and shareable experience.

Brands like Samsung have begun to present stores in a way customer’s can really immerse themselves in the products and also make use of the space with community/teaching areas and also coffee shops.

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The idea of creating spaces within stores that allows meeting places and other services has really become part of the consumers experience with brands like adidas adding ‘Sneaker Cleaning Services’ and also customisation stations.

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When done right customer experiences is a great way to engage with consumers beyond simple transactions, along with making the brand memorable and also shareable.

Graphic Trends

Bold Colour

Uses in both retail spaces and graphics, colour is something that is nothing new, however the use of colour though Last year 5 Last year 6

3D Design

The use of 3D design is nothing new, however, after years of flat designs 3D has become more and more prominent in the 2D world. The evolution of programmes such as adobe Dimensions now allows graphic designers to bring their fabulously flat designs to life. With abstract layouts, bold colours and a mix of materials, it has bought a new dimension to 2D design.

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2019 saw a considerable amount of big brands take on the mammoth task of launching a new brand identity, from the likes of high street bank Halifax to car manufacturer VW and everything in between including telecom giant BT and entertainment company Warner Brothers.

Last year saw a shift in style from elaborate and detailed to simple marks that can be optimised for use across all platforms as we are now entering a more digitally sophisticated age, with brands opting for simplistic logos to positions themselves as companies of the future and declutter.

A lot of these brands have opted for this clear look to compete in what has become a very crowded market and to stand out from its competitors especially for the likes of Halifax competing against new banks like Monzo.

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In summary, the year saw meaningful and dramatic trends across both 3D and 2D, putting sustainability and simplicity at the forefront, with consumers choosing brands that both share their values and stand out in a market that can sometimes be rather overwhelming. Brands can stand out and appeal by focusing on experience and how they can really immerse their customers in the products but also allow them to buy into your brand without the need to purchase. This can also be achieved by sharing values, and not being ashamed to tell your story, this is what makes you unique and you should celebrate this.

On top of this, and something that doesn’t seem to be slowing is simplicity and sustainability, it is becoming increasingly important to consumers and if your brand values echo this they are more likely to buy into your brand.

For 2020, some thoughts for brands for the year ahead: Share your values, don’t be ashamed to tell your story and celebrate what makes you unique.

Keep it simple, be sustainable, but be true to yourself.

Prioritising engagement over sales, enabling your consumers to have a truly emotive experience, that’s not only shareable but also memorable.

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