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Print and direct mail3 min read 4 print design elements and how they're trending

Use these latest design trends to give your publication a fresh look.

July 29, 2019Judy Anderson, Art Director/Senior Graphic DesignerJulie Christian, Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer

We introduced last year's blog post about trends in print design by acknowledging we can't predict the future. Still, we're now seeing much of what we said we expected.

One reason for that is that design trends don't go through major, earth-shaking shifts so much as subtle changes that develop over time. And that's good. If you continue to use what works and sprinkle in new design elements as they arise, it keeps your publication looking fresh and modern.

Your publication can be a place where you maintain your brand but also have the opportunity to explore a variety of contemporary design styles that still fit within the structure of your brand.

Here are some trends we're seeing in print design this year and we'll probably be seeing them in 2020 too.

1. Photography

Black-and-white images. Black-and-white photos can be especially well-suited to one or two individuals. (Think: patient profile 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.

Dignity St. Rose

Dignity St. Rose Summer 2019

More inclusive photography. We're seeing this everywhere. Photos of nontraditional families. Photos that include people with disabilities as part of a group—not the exception. Photos that say, "This is you, this is the world you live in."

Strong color as background. A strong background color is a great way to make a photo interesting and intriguing. It creates immediate warmth and appeal.

Adventist Health Portland publication

Adventist Health Portland Jan/Feb/March 2019

Take 5 minutes for a health break

Kern Legacy Summer 2019

2. Fonts

Handwritten fonts. Last year we wrote about the handwritten typography frequently seen on Instagram. And that trend is still going strong, but less as a standalone and more as part of a mix of fonts. We're seeing handwritten fonts combined with other fonts, providing contrast and variety.

The handwritten font is often more of an accent to an otherwise modern page. It plays against the expectations of a digital, technical world. It can take a page from appearing clinical to feeling more compassionate.

Outline fonts. They add interest and can give a lighter feel to a page that might otherwise seem heavy.

3. Page design

Open compositions. We love white space, and we're not the only ones. Allowing for more white space on some pages is a great contrast to pages that are full of text or photos. White space gives the eyes a rest. It allows pages to be less overwhelming—and more approachable and relaxing.

Ketterin Health spread

Kettering Health Spring 2019

Boxes. These are great at saying, "This is a separate thought." But what we're seeing is a lot of variety in how boxes interact. Some are square, others are more horizontal—all in the same story. They work as another tool to move the eye through the page. The irregularity of boxes makes them stand out. It gives them impact.

Winter skin layout

Coffey Communications publication

4. Color

Simplified color palettes. We're talking about minimal color use interspersed with small splashes of bright color. The color doesn't overwhelm you, but instead leads the way. It's a good tool for drawing the reader's eye to a call-to-action.

Colorectal cancer spread

Coffey Communications publication

Strong contrasting colors juxtaposed. Speaking of overwhelming: Strong, contrasting colors can be very powerful and attention-drawing. But you want to use them sparingly.

Living Coral, Pantone's Color of the Year. We had to mention the Ruling Color of the Year! Love it or hate it, Living Coral is showing up everywhere—sometimes disguised as more of a peach or a pink hue. It may not scream, "Look at me!" But it's staking out territory.

Let's talk about design!

Find out how our design experts at Coffey can bring your ideas to life. We know how to design publications and websites that get results. Call 888.805.9101 or email us to learn more.