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Print and direct mail2 min read The power of imagery and color: 4 print element trends for 2021

Choose eye-catching images and colors that inspire emotion

May 20, 2021Julie Christian, Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer

When it comes to your publication, looking fresh and modern is a must. You want a contemporary look that matches your state-of-the-art facilities and patient care.

But just like other design elements, photo and color trends change. And, as we’ve noted before, those changes tend to be subtle and gradual. So you can continue to use what works while recognizing that the past year was anything but typical. We’ve seen a few unexpected and faster changes related to the pandemic and social justice awareness.

Here are some imagery and color trends we're seeing this year, and we'll probably see them going forward too.

  1. People connecting virtually.

From social gatherings to remote work to telemedicine, the pandemic has had us all connecting online. Many in-person activities have resumed. But Zoom meetings haven’t ceased, and, for many visits, virtual healthcare appointments are here to stay. And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been busy relaxing masking and social distancing guidelines for fully vaccinated folks, you’ll want to continue to depict people following appropriate COVID-19 precautions—like masks in healthcare settings.

Image source: Getty images

Image source: Getty images

  1. Black-and-white images. Ansel Adams knew a good thing. Black-and-white photos can be especially well-suited to one or two individuals. (Think patient profiles or "meet the new doctor" pieces.) It allows the text—which is often in color—to really pop and draw a reader's attention.

Black-and-white photography also simplifies a page. And it can be a tool for working with a photo that has some problems with color. You can improve the quality of an iffy photo by making it black and white and allowing the text to shine.

Image source: British Vogue, March 2021

Kootenai Health, Issue 3, 2020

  1. Embrace diversity.

Use photos and other images that celebrate a diversity of backgrounds, from different skin tones to various ages and abilities. The ideas is to embrace what’s unique, awesome and authentic about individuals.

Image Source: New York Times Magazine, Dec. 19, 2020

Image source: Texas Monthly, April 2021

  1. Juxtapose strong, contrasting colors.

While we see color used in a variety of striking ways, here’s one that really catches our eye: strong, contrasting colors. Why? This combination can be very powerful and attention-drawing. Strong, contrasting colors are easiest to work with if you keep the number of colors limited.

The Guardian Weekend, Sept. 01, 2020

Entertainment Weekly, February 2021

Credit: Ryan McGinley/Vanity Fair, April 2021

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