The D5 Graphic Design Blog.

The future is a well kept secret. In design direction, creative analysts and futurologists predict, with a great deal of accuracy what will be ‘on trend’ for the coming years. But if you really dig deep, you realise, as designers, we’re carving our own paths. Let’s take S/S 2015′s biggest emerging macro-trend and compare it to the work being produced by emerging designers.


“Over the last four decades we have witnessed dematerialisation in various fields: money became credit, brand names became more important than products, art became concept, and our lives moved, at least partially, online. We are now witnessing a growing interest in “thingness” (a term referring to objects that have physical presence, create an emotional response and have a connection to the place they were made). Artists, designers and consumers are seeking a more tangible appreciation of the world around them.” -WGSN

So in layman’s terms, not necessarily a shift from digital design to real world objects but certainly a ‘look and feel’ that represents this. We will be seeing more ‘real-world’ design but digital design will also look more ‘realistic’.

What we will generally see in design:

  • - A shift from regimented boxes and grids to more organic forms.
  • - Hand-drawn illustrative work, intentional mistakes, uncensored humanisms.
  • - An attention to hyper-real detail.

In print design:

  • - Tangible, playful items, textured surfaces and folding things will invite us to fiddle.
  • - Finally, stock imagery that isn’t corporate, we’ll see emotion, nature and detail.
  • - Traditional print shops and boutique printing services will firmly stand their ground.

In digital design:

  • - HDR imagery of the natural world, real life but better.
  • - Intuitive interaction, technology becomes an extension of the human process.
  • - A celebration of the symmetry in nature rather than the perfection achieved with technology.

Online design:

  • - An acknowledgement of the true nature of the end user, a human, not a machine.
  • - Natures imperfections will creep onto the web.
  • - Natural effects of science will become more popular, i.e. parallax, inertia & fluid layout.

Other universal themes, not just in design:

  • - An increased interest in the art of story telling.
  • - Narratives and themes that revolve around the idea of exploration.
  • - A shift in the perception of the future from the space age to a new tribal age.

This may all sound like outlandish claims based around a single theme but futurologists didn’t just pluck these ideas out of thin air. They looked at popular emerging themes of great newly surfacing designers as well as some established innovators…

In 2012 Universal Everything created “Made by Humans”, an installation piece where human movements influenced a digital output. This year, the photographer Janne Parviainen has published a set of images painted with LED’s, we’re starting to see the connection here, right? The blurring of lines between the digital and organic worlds…

Design Trends Neo Materialism Light Paintings 2


Design Trends Neo Materialism Light Paintings 3


Design Trends Neo Materialism Light Paintings


Emerging Designers.

Here are some designers I think are really influencing the emergence of Neo Materialism. This is not to say they’re doing it consciously or are part of some bigger agenda. Their work is simply brilliant and inspiring others to work in similar ways, tackling similar subjects.

Depthcore Collective:

Perhaps exploring the darker side of the natural world in digital design, Depthcore’s artists tend to work with intense CGI imagery, but their latest ‘chapter’; ‘Primal‘ explores that new aesthetic of the future I was talking about, combine that with their signature HDR style and an exceptional attention to detail and this is what you get:

Design Trends Neo Materialism Depthcore Collective 1

Design Trends Neo Materialism Depthcore Collective 2

Design Trends Neo Materialism Depthcore Collective 3


Piotr Tarka

Continuing the HDR / CGI theme, Tarka uses 3d rendering software to produce these tangible pieces of design, the subject isn’t necessarily always an organic one but even material objects take on an organic form. These images certainly invite us to reach into the screen and grab the typically energetic objects. Even in Tarka’s digital discipline, we see a definate ‘hyper-realism’.

Design Trends Neo Materialism Tarka 1

Design Trends Neo Materialism Tarka 2

Design Trends Neo Materialism Tarka 3

Chris Labrooy

Again with the CGI, Chris Labrooy creates typically typographic posters with a definite hyper-realism factor. Note the fluid, liquid forms, the stickiness, the visible physics of the imagery and the energy portrayed through the notion of capturing a still moment from what looks like what could be a moving image.

Design Trends Neo Materialism labrooy 2


Design Trends Neo Materialism labrooy 3


Design Trends Neo Materialism labrooy


I realise the imagery I’ve shown in this article very much revolves around the digital realm, but don’t forget we’re talking about a trend set to emerge in 2015 here, these are but the fundamental roots of what will be a trend that dominates everything from design to fashion, film and TV to technology and product design to architecture.

Trend analysis plays a very important role in the design process, large corporations pay huge sums of money to futurologists and specialist analysts but designers by no means need these services, we’re the ones providing the data from which these predictions are made, a truly critical and intuitive practice is always the best start when attempting to achieve the latest ‘on-trend’ aesthetic.