angel and monster

Tell Your (Real) Story

Consumers have reached a saturation point. Fatigued by an increasingly noisy, chaotic, and complex world, they will continue to invest in fewer brands. Constructed brand narratives will become less effective and outdated, as more informed consumers seek out labels and brands that bring real value to their lives. To be successful, brands will need to embrace authenticity, and commit to creating quality products that genuinely provide tangible benefits for their audience. — Joe Flory, Design Director – FINE

The Empowering Itch of the Creative Niche

To a zealous degree, curiosity is advertised as a cardinal quality to behold across design disciplines. A staple ingredient (in the steadfast portfolio of desired designerly traits) to generate creative ideas, tap into creative angles, embark on creative paths—all toward executing a creative vision.

On the job, curiosity is a designer’s intellectual edge. Beyond the job, curiosity is the compass pointing to new directions in the creative form of side projects.

Adjacent to their daytime roles, UX Designer, Liz Wells, collaborates with brand communications manager, Katie Puccio, to publish the newsletter “Desk Lunch,” issued to the communities of creative women and non-binary folks. Graphic designer, Matthew Wyne, seized his obsession with cocktails by illustrating the collection “Letters and Liquor,” where he dives into the history of lettering associated with cocktails, from the 1690s thru 1990s. Carissa Hempton, with her husband, Paul, co-launched “Print Prologue,” a series of tangible and web-based tools focused on the details of small-format printing.

Curiosity, paired with conviction, flows through these examples of designers exploring diverse interests. Along with scratching one’s itch, harvesting a creative niche helps keep one vital mission alive: to never stop learning and growing. For designers, side projects are not merely pet projects, they’re passion projects. Creative freedom maximized. — Nate Burgos, UX Designer & Content Strategist –

Less Is Still More, But…

I see minimalism sticking around in print, packaging, and digital. It’s a classic design choice, and it’s not going anywhere, but I would like to see a resurgence of vivid color mixed in with minimalism. Typography is going in bolder directions with unexpected font pairings, and even messy typography looks are becoming the norm since they make people stop and pay attention in a world of waning attention spans. I also see more doodles and hand-drawn personal touches popping up in design, for a more friendly style (that I actually really like). — Ashley Milligan, Art Director – FINE

‘Fluid’ Brands

Is it just me or were we able to break more brands in 2018? I’d like to see this trend continue in 2019 as brands finally realize that they need to loosen up their rigid self-indulgence and become team players. 

Consumers don’t buy a single brand anymore: they subscribe to a lifestyle, and a lifestyle will always demand more complexity than any single brand could ever provide. This means big brands need to rethink their traditional tactics and outdated campaign models (saying goodbye to the overpriced, overhyped ‘big ad’ moments), instead looking to interesting partnerships and curated collaborations that are born from the consumers integrated lifestyle.