As a graphic designer, I am always looking for inspiration to inform the work that I create; it never happens in a vacuum. From the high-fashion trends that I see on the runways, to an easily accessible yet inspiring walk among downtown’s vibrant street art, creativity is truly everywhere.
A simple scroll through my Instagram feed can usually bring instant visual inspiration. Online, I follow popular brands and publications from disruptive and bold Gucci and the delightfully colorful ban.do, to the “Fashion Bible” and lifestyle magazine Vogue. I also follow contemporary cultural pop-ups like the Museum of Ice Cream and artistic institutions like MoMA that are ever responsive to pop culture and innovative design. Offline, I meander through stores like Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters (probably too often, I might add) to keep my fingers on the pulse of what’s new and in style—or more likely, coming back into style.
Fashion and art have always been passions of mine, even before I chose to become a graphic designer. I’ve found that, when you scan a bunch of sources, patterns and trends start to emerge… and let’s face it, staying on trend is decidedly important and relevant for brands that want to attract progressive customers.
I’ve always been fascinated by brands—from the behemoth to the boutique—and was really excited to see that a lot of vendors in our promotional space are adopting these developing yet durable retail trends and offering products that are truly elevating the branded merchandise industry. With that in mind, along with support from the Operations & Marketing teams, I created the 2018 Trending Lookbook. Inside you’ll find 5 key retail trends and product collections that will guide your promotions in 2018. Keep reading below to see some highlights that will surely help you build Brand Love with your customers.
Trend #1: COLOR THEORY
We know people are deeply affected and influenced by color — both psychologically and emotionally. With this in mind, color continues to be a key influencer in fashion and product trends for 2018. In response to consumer desire, designers are showing more colorful collections with new hues and unexpected color pairings. This trend promotes the opportunity for increased expression through branding and product, plus more color-matching capabilities.
Trend #2: ATH-LUXE
Take the spirit of sportswear and combine it with luxury fabric (i.e. leather and velvet), metallic details, and high-fashion tailoring to achieve the ever-popular “ath-luxe” look. Ath-luxe is the definition of modern, comfy, and cool. From vests to bomber jackets, gym totes to wellness accessories, this effortless yet fashionable trend can be spotted anywhere from the spin studio to the office to after-hours cocktails. No sweat necessary.
Trend #3: LIFE CONNECTED
The evolving relationship between humanity and technology continues to be a trend that is influencing today’s consumer culture, creating a substantial demand for smart objects and immersive tech experiences. In an age of growing social media influence, new networking platforms, and social travel trends, the sharing economy and constant virtual connection fuel a desire for the cutting-edge, the Instagram-worthy, the uniquely personalized, and the creatively intuitive.
Trend #4 MORE IS MORE
From bold detailing to clashing prints and excessive layering, maximalist styling is here for 2018. The “more is more” trend embraces the idea that demure minimalism isn’t the only player in modern design; the audacious mixing of material, texture, and pattern is creating visually enticing products. Color-changing technology, light-up options, and customized decoration, as well as a general hybridization of features, reflects this cool and bold trend. In “more is more,” fortune favors the brave.
Trend #5: NOSTALGIA
As the years go by, everyone develops a degree of nostalgia — that yearning for yesteryear — but recently, the nostalgia trend has been breaking into entertainment, fashion, food, and product like never before. Smart brands are engaging with consumers, especially Millennials, through retro roots as we’re seeing vintage brands achieve new life. This timely trend is also supported by emerging social media lingua franca like “Throwback Thursday” (#TBT) and “Flashback Friday” (#FBF). Here’s to the throwbacks.
We hope you are as inspired as we are by these contemporary trends and product selections. Branded products are so much more than just putting your logo on a product; they are truly about making a poignant impact by giving away items that forever associate your brand with that warm fuzzy feeling (we call that Brand Love!). Cheers to 2018!
Want to learn more about 2018 trends? See the full lookbook here!