design trends 2023

Design trends for 2023: bold, opulent and automated

January 2023

Each member of elespacio’s design team has been searching the cosmos and gazing at their crystal balls to predict which trends we’ll see in the year ahead. As you’d expect, it is an eclectic mix of ideas. Will flared fonts be in fashion? Will we be trawling Pinterest for ‘morbid opulence’? Will there be a breakthrough in sustainable packaging? One thing we can be sure of is that  automation will continue its ascendance, and we will all need to learn to love artificial intelligence. Here are the top design trends for 2023, according to our design-industry oracles.

Bold colours and flared fonts

Bold colours and flared fonts

Jota Gonzalez, graphic and motion designer:

“We’re moving away from minimalism to a more lavish aesthetic. Perhaps, as we emerge from the COVID-19 era, we are ready for some positivity and joy”

Jota predicts that In the graphic design world, 2023 will be the year of the flared font. In recent years typography was dominated by sans serif fonts (Helvetica, Arial etc.), then in 2022 we saw serif fonts coming back. A flared font is a type of serif font with a flourish that emerges gradually from the stem. They have a ‘warmer’, less minimalist, regimented feel than a sans serif, and they will be everywhere this year.

Colour trends will see the pastel tones that have been ubiquitous in the past few years being ousted by bolder, more saturated tones. In 2023 we will see more “jewel tones” – expect lots of emerald green, ruby red, tile orange, mulberry, burgundy, and cerulean blue (somewhere between cobalt and turquoise).

The UX designer’s dream come true

The UX designer’s dream come true

Fernando Heller Vajda, researcher and lead UX designer: 

“New AI and machine learning tools will streamline the UX design process”

Fernando believes that this year we’ll see the emergence of predictive UX design. New AI and machine learning tools will use data and algorithms to predict how users will interact with a product or website, and designers will be able to create interfaces that are likely to be successful – without the need for extensive user testing.

Although there are already AI tools available that deal with either text or images, there are none yet that deal with both. But soon, design software such as Figma will have UX helpers or automaker features built in. 

We’ll also see more AI user research and testing platforms that analyse user behaviour data and give designers insights and recommendations, and machine-learning technology that recognises emotions during user testing.

AI art will take over

AI art will take over. And that’s okay

Bruno Sánchez, web designer and animator: 

“Playing with AI systems is going to become really fun. You’ll be able to do some crazy things and create whatever you want”

Bruno is looking forward to the rise of the AI image generator. He believes more artistic tools in the mould of Dall-E, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney will emerge and will become more sophisticated by the day. By the end of the year, in fact, the technology will be unrecognisable.

The design world is fretting (as it always does when faced with new technology) that everyone is going to lose their jobs and that artists will become extinct. But AI is just another tool that allows us to be creative in a different way. The results are only as good as the idea, and writing prompts that generate the best results will become an art in itself.  

Creativity will kill off plastic

Creativity will kill off plastic

Luis Niza, visual designer: 

“The intersection between packaging, sustainability and creativity will produce interesting results”

Luis hopes that In 2023, we will see a cross-fertilisation of ideas from different fields of packaging design, technology and creativity that will help brands move away from plastic. 

Some brands have already started going in this direction, with more online retailers using more sustainable materials such as paper and cardboard, and every year there’s less plastic being used.

But there is still a long way to go and eco-friendly materials are still used in a rather basic (i.e. ugly) way. Now is the time for packaging and product designers to think more creatively and come up with something that is easy both on the eye and on the environment.

The rise of morbid opulence

The rise of Morbid Opulence

Mara Sylvester, creative director: 

“A sensual celebration of luscious decay and disturbing beauty is a trend that will grow”

Aesthetic trends tend to reflect social and political atmospheres, and Mara believes that the Baroque paradigms of "carpe diem" and "memento mori" – a hunger for life in the face of disaster and the inevitability of death – have become noticeable again.

From artistic photography to its translation into advertising, the spirit of “morbid opulence” – a sensual celebration of decay and disturbing beauty – will be visible this year. She will be keeping a close eye on British artists Maisie Cousins and Nadia Lee Cohen, and the New-York based sculptor Kathleen Ryan. 

New recession, new opportunities

New recession, new opportunities

Agnieszka Sekreta, partner and head of design: 

“Marketing budgets might be reduced, but innovation and creativity will flourish”

A global recession is looming and that means some brands will reduce their marketing budgets. But agencies can not only weather the storm but thrive in it. We’ll see these trends emerge as the year progresses:   

· Creativity and problem solving will become more important than superfluous nice-to-haves.

· Data-driven decisions will be much easier to sell to risk-averse clients.

· While some clients will respond to the recession by curbing their budgets, others will invest in innovation. Not everyone will play safe, and this is an opportunity for creativity to flourish.

· Because of budget cuts, efficiency will become the word on everyone’s lips and because of this, automation will become much more common in every area of the creative and marketing process.

Diversity and inclusivity in design

Diversity and inclusivity in design

Maria Serra, designer:

“Including people of all backgrounds, cultures and abilities will play a decisive role in customer satisfaction”

Maria predicts a trend for inclusive design – the process of making design work accessible for, and representational of, as many people as possible.

Inclusivity in design is a constant work in progress. It means making online text legible for older users. It means providing a wider variety of demographic identifiers (race, gender, sexual orientation), and making sure emojis, illustrations and imagery represent a diverse population.

Hiring inclusive design teams is key to developing more inclusive products and services. And, as more of the world moves online, inclusion of people of all backgrounds, cultures, and abilities will play a decisive role in service and customer satisfaction.

Illiustrations: all artwork for this article was created with the help of the midjourney AI