On branding, typography and UX design.

This article is part of the interview for UX Pin with Katerzyna Kempa.

As you may have seen, so many predictions have been shared on the web for this new year.
Although the general scare caused by the spread of COVID-19, I am still very curious what 2020 will bring to the world of design. So I’m going to share some of my own predictions, for the design topics I love the most: brand, typography and interaction.

Q. Is the UX designer job disappearing? What new titles are going to be trending in job offers?

THE UX DESIGNER CARD

A. In 2016, Fast Company asked design leaders to answer a similar question. They predicted that the UX designer title would have disappeared.
But four years later, we are still wondering when it will die!

Now, I am wondering: is the title dying slowly, in its last attempt to solve an excruciating problem?

My thoughts are these; as long as there’s a need to make communication/interaction between humans and technology as pleasant, immersive and accessible as possible, the UX designer won’t disappear. However, it will definitely evolve as technology moves forward.

Diversification and specialisation are, therefore, the words I would use for the UX designer of 2020.

For many years, the UX designer was a very undefined figure. Now, it is taking on a far more interesting shape.

I have even thought on how a UX designer might be (humorously) re-named in the coming future:

  1. DX Designer: Drone experience designer
  2. EIX Designer: Emotional-Intelligence Experience designer
  3. HEX Designer: Human-Empathy Experience designer
  4. SEX Designer: Slow-Experience designer

Q. How will brands respond to the demand for device-dependent design?

THE DEVICE-DEPENDENT DESIGN CARD

A. The nature of the brand experience is flexible and adaptable.

Brands have always been tailored to the user’s needs, and their interaction has always taken place on different levels (such as packaging or advertising).
In this, nothing has changed. Brands need to continue building experiences, keeping in mind the exact platform on which they will be consumed by the user.

Imaginative brands will capture the user’s attention by creatively exploiting the unique interactions each platform/device can offer.

So the big challenge brands will face in the coming years is: how to change, add novelty and personalise the experience while remaining consistent with their brand promise.

Q. Where in your opinion is the trend of real-life beauty (with scars, stretch marks, and freckles) in photography coming from? And will it stay?

THE REAL-LIFE BEAUTY CARD

A. As a woman who is approaching her forties, I say: let’s hope it will stay!

In 2004, Dove created a huge marketing campaign on Real Beauty which was widely covered by the media for being ground-breaking and disruptive in the fashion world. Unfortunately, behind the brand Dove, there was the giant Unilever and for many, including me, the message therefore sounded awkward and dishonest.

So, let’s learn from Dove’s mistakes: “Real-life beauty” will stay, if the brands embracing it have at their core the willingness to create a “true connection with the user”.

Otherwise, it will be just another fleeting trend, and a buzz word that will help brands to sell more…

…until their failure-inducing trick is discovered.

Q. We had a year of Helvetica, a year of Anonymus, let’s not recall the year of Comic Sans ;) So which fonts will be popular in the 2020s? Do you think custom typography will be a significant trend?

THE TYPOGRAPHY CARD

A. This question brings me back to 2008, when I gave a talk about the power of typography in delivering messages and emotions. It was deliberately provocative, to attract a large audience of developers in joining a design talk!

2008 was also the year of Gotham typeface, designed by Tobias Frere-Jones, which under Barack Obama’s presidential campaign soon became the representation of values including hope, change and freedom to the world (not only in the US).

In 2019, I saw many websites taking a type-only approach, and I must confess I was begging for this to happen!

So, 2020 will confirm the power of expression through typography.

Variable fonts will go mainstream, and custom typefaces will be shaped and adapted to help brands communicate effectively, distinctively, and to the point.

Q. Minimalism or maximalism — which party are you in?

THE MINIMALISM VS MAXIMALISM CARD

A. Both. I like minimalism in design, in terms of making content accessible and easy to be absorbed by the audience.

I like maximalism in creating rich and engaging experiences that cut through the blandness of minimal design, and the inflexible UI patterns.

Q. What will be hot in logo designing?

THE LOGO DESIGN CARD

A. The 80s are back, and the boom in successful Netflix series like Stranger Things and Dark in Europe are only confirming my prediction.

So I expect that the aesthetic of the 80s will extend to logos, adding fun, colour, neon-light shapes and pixels. Oh, the nostalgia all this will bring!

Animated logos will be also an interesting trend to explore.
Because brands can be experienced on screen, the ways in which a logo is able to appear can be endless!
This wouldn’t be possible in print, of course, so I guess logos will become even more sophisticated!

2D and 3D animations will be part of branding communications to better express personality, with more animated parts to create a more appealing and memorable look.

Q. What is your favourite emerging trend in your field of design or industry?

THE TRENDS CARD

A. Brands that stand for a cause. Their stories are becoming more real.

Brands want to belong and mean something, not just to the individual, but to a community of people.

2019 was just the beginning of brands standing for real issues, such as global warming, political status, sustainability, gender and sexual equality.

In 2020, we will see more brands bravely declaring their beliefs, embracing their values with real effort, and actively supporting causes they care about with more funds.

Q. What are your professional goals for 2020?

THE KEY CARD

A. Just a few months ago I wrote my resolutions for 2020.

The first one is about sharing my knowledge, writing more blog posts, and hopefully having the opportunity to talk at some interesting conferences.

I am also thinking about launching a workshop on one of the most important phases of design-thinking: ideation, with focus on how to unleash creativity with purpose.

Finally, along with the predictions I have shared here, I hope to have the guts to embrace the unpredictable without fear, and use my creativity to beat the odds.

Watch my interview for UX Pin with Katerzyna Kempa on YouTube.

Founder and Art Director of Until Sunday. She has many years of experience in brand development. In 2016 she launched her new adventure, The Pattern Tales.

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