2019 Print Design Trends – Ninjawards

Each year, Cubicle Ninjas’ reviews the industry’s creative highs and lows to publish a curated list of notable efforts in each specialty. Think of it as a highlights reel of the years’ best and brightest, along with some cautionary tales.

One of the core ninja principles is to always question the status quo. The Ninjawards provides a platform for inspiration, constructive criticism, and ultimately, recognition of bright new areas of design or technology. We hope our thinking unlocks new perspectives about the future of your creative in Print Design!

Want to download all of the 2019 Ninjawards? Click here!

Glitch Photography

Taking cues from motion and animation mediums, glitch and distorted photography has made its way into the print space. The result is a futuristic aesthetic that aims to deconstruct the way we look at products and content alike.

Dynamic Direct Mail

The days of boring, one-size-fits-all direct mail are over. In its place are dynamic pieces that can be custom tailored to each recipient, targeting their specific wants and needs, increasing the effectiveness overall. This trend is a great way to increase engagement with your consumers and audience while utilizing a tried and true format.

Specialty Printing

In an era where digital is taking over, it’s more important than ever that print design flex and offer experiences with pieces that can’t be replicated on a screen. Whether it’s foil stamping, embossing, or spot varnish, these tactile additions to your pieces create an extra dimension and leave a lasting impression with your audience.

Links in Print

Last time we checked, you can’t click on a piece of paper. We’ve all seen it, the mailer with a blue underlined link using call-to-action text with no context as to where you’re directing the viewer. Next time you’re wanting to direct your audience towards your website, consider styling the URL in a callout, including the www and the .com, so they can be sure where you’re wanting them to go.

Hipster Design Everywhere

Don’t get us wrong, this aesthetic is gorgeous. But, like everything else, there is a time and place for hipster design. We’re seeing companies adopt this style in an attempt to add a humanist tone to their brand or appeal to millennials, but the result is a muddy mess and lack of brand. Stay true to your brand and you’ll make a splash, even without the neat crest typography and sepia toned photography.

QR Codes

Without native QR scanning functionality and reliance on third party application, these just aren’t practical, and can, in some situations, detract from the messaging of your print piece. As we stated above, you’re better off having your page URL for users to be directed to. Apple just recently incorporated a native QR reader into their phone app so, while there may be hope on the horizon for the tech, it’s just not there yet.

Non-traditional Sizes

A great way to create excitement and lasting impact with your audience is to embrace non-traditional sizes when tackling your print design. Whether it’s using unorthodox dimensions or incorporating an unexpected fold, you providing your consumers with a unique experience once they get the piece in their hands.

Hyper-Simplistic Packaging

On the far opposite end of fluffy photography and bold swaths of color, these package designs are the very essence of utilitarian. Employing clean typography that harkens back to Swiss design, there’s no mistaking what the product is. You’d be surprised at just how much this utilitarian design sticks out on shelves, and we’re here for it.

The Digitization of Print

People have been saying that print has be dying or is already dead for years. In a way, they’re not wrong, but they’re also not right. It’s just moved to a different medium. While the older generations hold their newspapers dear, the younger generations embrace the digital landscape for all of their current events and articles. The digitization of print resources allows that information to be a tap or search away, rather than a page turn or the old skim and scan method.

Launch is the Beginning

Cubicle Ninjas is celebrating our tenth birthday this year. With thousands of design and development projects under our belt from some of the world’s greatest brands, we’ve noticed a clear trend: successful teams see the world differently. Project launch isn’t a finish line, it’s just the beginning. Companies that think this way see exponentially greater and more frequent success in every project they touch. As part of our mission to stop bad design, we wrote a book about this revelation. To learn how to implement long-term design thinking in your organization, download our 100% free eBook, “Launch is the Beginning”.

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