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12 December 2023

2024 Hotness! Predictions for next year’s trends

What's hot for 2024 - predictions from the D&F team

As the end of the year approaches, we look forward to a bright new year of opportunity, innovation and fun, we wonder what 2024 might have in store for us, for you, for everyone…

I asked the team for their thoughts on things that will be hot, hot, hot in 2024!

 

Amy – Designer, wears Pink on a Wednesday

Barbiecore was of course the massive trend in 2023, and I think it’s only going to continue into 2024. It’s fun, frivolous and sits well with so many other colours. It’s a massive antidote to everything not so wonderful happening in the world right now, so exactly what we need for the year ahead!

The graphics we saw in the film, were so nostalgic, (if you want a big serotonin hit have a browse on the BarbieMovie Graphics Instagram page.

I love the idea of the colour being reclaimed; it’s no longer seen as silly or immature. I’ve started seeing a lot more graphics using the colour, and pairing it with black and darker tones, giving it a bit more of an edge. Tina Fey’s Mean Girls Musical has been adapted for screens and is also due to hit cinemas early next year. Which I think only means we’ll being seeing a lot more of the colour going forward… as on Wednesdays, we wear pink.

 

Ben – Studio Director, total Apple fanboy

Back in July 2022 I wrote about a change that was happening in agencies as they began to exploit the power and opportunities that had come with Apple’s M series of processors.

18 months on, and looking forward to 2024, the rise of web apps like Figma have only enlarged the gap between those with and without these new chips. But things are about to take an interesting turn.

As Apple fully gets into its stride with the M3 and, likely in 2024, M4 processors using market-leading technologies, stalwart Intel is re-entering the race with a new generation of processors aimed at maintaining its still-leading raw performance (but not when it comes to many real life workflows) but dramatically reducing power consumption.

That’s big, because right now if you want unbridled power you can still go with a monster PC desktop setup. But if you want it in a laptop, as many creatives do, you’re stuck with Apple, because all PC laptops I’ve seen substantially reduce their performance when unplugged from the wall and, worse, still only manage hours of battery life in the single digits.

This competition will benefit us all. Honestly, from an agency perspective I think Apple and its M series computers have won the coming year. The MacBook Pro is a triumph, and the Studio and Pro desktops cater to the niche that either prefers a fixed workstation or simply has workloads that need those last few drops of performance that Apple silicon can manage.

Yet giving PC manufacturers the ability to innovate with their form factors again is hugely exciting. Apple’s computers have barely changed, really; it never even embraced the touch-screen or convertible laptop (fine by me). Whilst Apple silicone’s success has commoditised agency computing, creatives will always crave a tool that reflects their own ethos and identity, and that return to diversity, and the potential for new creative outputs as a result, is something that we can all look forward to.

But, for now, we’re doubling down on being an exclusively M-series agency, because right now that horse is so far ahead in the race that anything else simply isn’t good enough for our clients.

 

Daval – Developer, future proofing code

  1. More talks around Data Engineering — from a perspective of how businesses can make sense of their data and use it for social good.
  2. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) — Progressive Web Applications becoming the new standard when building web applications.
  3. More focus and awareness on building websites and web applications with user mobile-friendly designs first. Making this the standard when designing and building.
  4. Single Page Applications (SPAs) — more companies and design agencies adopting the single page application architecture and development approach. Tools like Next.js , Nuxt.js, Remix, Astro are leading in this area of development. Many companies are slowly adopting this approach.

 

Tony – Creative Director, always thinking bigger

Sustainable design

There has been a significant growth recently in the commitment by brands who are taking environment responsibility in design, climate change and, in particular packing, seriously.

With that a flurry of agencies are turning to B-corp status, and pressure mounting on brands to do better in the environmental forum, designers are facing multiple challenges and will need to find creative solutions. For example, with reduced or package-less items, how will we effectively communicate brand and product messaging? Colour, simplistic layouts and smart graphics could become the norm.

Designers will also be thinking about sustainable material choices, ink usage and all the finer details which will help brands close the gap between talking about change, and actually doing something to make a change.

Expressive type

After years of brands following the crowd with the sans-serif approach to type, we’ll see a new waves of expression being used as brands utilise type to allow their personalities to shine through. Brands will want to connect in expressive and unique ways and typographic will be the focal point. Variable fonts, motion and 3D all offer stylistic choices and creative freedom.

Dark mode

One of the main drivers behind the rise of dark mode is the increasing amount of time we spend looking at screens. Whether it’s for work, entertainment, or socialising, we spend hours each day staring at our devices – that’s not likely to change in the near future! So we’ll see an increase in dark themed websites in a bid to alleviate some of the reported issues (think eye strain and fatigue amongst other issues) while gaining the great little perk of significant energy savings as it takes less energy to power darker pixels. That’s a little more of that Netflix boxset on each charge, marvellous!

 

Andrea – Digital Director, already super human

ChatGPT, mid-journey and Copilot were big in 2023, people have started experimenting with these AI tools, but I think 2024 is the year people start integrating these tools into their own workflow.

There are loads of great AI tools out there for designers and developers that we can initialise in our workflows. AI is not going to take over our jobs, but AI tools will enhance us, and make us super human!

 

Marianne – Designer, smart design thinking

The future of packaging is here. Reaching beyond mere protecting and preserving products, smart packaging applies new technology, making it more communicative, connected, and active. By using these new technologies smart/intelligent packaging has the potential to create value and disrupt the status quo by providing a wealth of insights, which in turn help companies improve how they design, develop, manufacture products, and reduce waste.

Types of smart packaging:

Active packaging – uses advanced materials to change the condition of the packaging and extend the shelf life of perishable products. These include compounds which control the growth rate of microbial bacteria, moisture retention and temperature control helping to extend the products shelf life and reduce food waste.

Intelligent packaging uses sensors and indicators which can communicate information to the consumer about its status.

Design led packaging – Package design which improves form and function, supports value perception and enhances the customers experience. Pumas ‘Clever Little Bag’ is a classic example of reducing plastic packaging by creating a protective cardboard box within a reusable bag.

Connected packaging – allows brands to connect with their customers through packaging by integrating tags, sensors and QR codes. These can generate and collect data, giving the company a better understanding of their customers behaviours. An example is Ricca Terra Wines, they use NFA labels to connect directly to a customer’s smartphone creating more marketing opportunities.

Using these types of technology within packaging solutions creates significant advantages in sustainability, anti-counterfeiting, authentication, big data, and data visualisation. Smart packaging has enormous potential to create value, disrupt traditional business models, creating opportunity and customer engagement.

 

Katie – Marketing Director, making coffee strategically important

I like to keep it simple. My idea is not new, not even something you haven’t thought of yourself already, but it is something you often lose sight of. It’ll be front and center next year, and the year after, and the year after that.. yes it’s.. the customer.

If you don’t know your customer, and I mean, really understand them, then you are limiting your business potential. Without knowing them, you cannot fully understand their challenges, so you can’t innovate and develop the best solutions for them. You can’t create the USP that sells your positioning. You can’t develop the brand and the perfect messaging that gets the awareness that brings in the revenue – there’s a pattern here 😉

All roads lead back to the customer. So get chatting in 2024, follow up, send a survey, meet for a cuppa, get the buyer involved in your product development, just find out more. It’ll take you places.

 

Here’s to a fabulous 2024, whatever it brings!

 

 

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