Visual media trends in 2015

Rob Carney (The Freeman) - January 8, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Leading graphic designers, illustrators, art  directors and creative  professionals reveal their plans for 2015, what's likely to influence their work and how their style may evolve this year.

For creative professionals, a new year can often mean a shift in focus - whether that's on a new aesthetic or on new technology that aids, or indeed sometimes defines, their work. In this light, the world's leading creatives in illustration, design, motion and more, reveal their plans are for 2015.

They share what they'd like to happen in this year, how their style will develop and grow, the new technology that most excites them and what skills they'd like to learn to take their work in new directions.

What changes would they like to see happen in 2015 and what would they be disappointed by?

Jing Zhang, Illustrator

"I would like to see more attention paid to the creative ideas, the story. I'd be disappointed by too much focus on technology and forgetting about the creative process or the story. The techniques might be important, but it shouldn't outshine the idea. I would like to see the back of flat design, minimalism, neutral colour scheme in web design… and [short, low-resolution animations]."

David Luepschen, Director, Illustrator and Animator

"I am always open for changes and new opportunities - but at the moment there is nothing particular I would like to change. A few weeks ago I just moved into a new studio which is a big change for me and an exciting start into the new year. I try not to worry too much about the future - I see a change as a chance."

Dean Johnson, SVP of Creative Innovation

"Greater opportunities for younger audiences to take part in the design process. It isn't about hands-on design or development, more to tap into the enthusiasm on offer from 'kids of all ages' and an unwillingness to accept compromises or restrictive barriers. I'd also like to see Apple Watch faces open to developers within the WatchKit SDK, the most creative canvas of 2015. I'd hate to see the continuing increase in screen sizes and fragmentation. I still want something the size of an iPhone 5 that folds to the size of an iPad Mini, not three separate devices. We're still moving further from this rather than closer and I want convergence, not more pocket-fillers."

Janine Rewell, Illustrator

"Usually, the process for illustrators is the following: advertising agencies develop the concept and idea, maybe even do sketching and once the client has bought and approved the idea they contact the illustrator. I would like to see illustrators being part of the original ideas process - because we know our style better than anyone else and we know the possibilities and limitations. We would, for sure, come up with fresh angles. Too many times I've been commissioned to illustrate something that the ad agency has seen examples of in my portfolio, instead of thinking what we could do that's new. Clients are still commissioning illustrators for traditional illustration mediums and even though the digital world is expanding all the time, I would like to see more use of physical media."

Erin Sarofsky, President and Executive Creative Director

 "In commercial production, I've noticed a trend over the last few years that pushes towards live action comedy - but almost to the point of absurdity. I can appreciate this style when it is appropriate for the brand and product, but it seems like it has jumped the shark. Now, I find myself watching commercials scratching my head, wondering why people are taking it so far for no apparent reason other than to be ridiculous. I am hoping the trend has run its course - and it seems like it has, based on the enquiries we are starting to get. There is still a push for comedy (as there always will be), but it's starting to become infused with graphics... using typography and illustration to help carry the story. This is exactly where I hope things go in 2015." (Sarofsky's team is the creator of the film titles for "Guardian's of the Galaxy.")

Chuck Anderson, Artist and Designer

"Something I've been spending a lot of time thinking about lately is the need to evolve creatively. The struggle is that I, and many others, have built a very solid reputation around a strong style; which is great, but usually leads to getting hired for the same thing time after time. 2014 was really a big year for me in terms of rediscovering my love of photography, something I put a lot of time and energy into on a personal level throughout and is just beginning to pay off in terms of clients actually asking for that. My hope is that more artists and designers open themselves to change, exploration of other artistic mediums, and make sure to give themselves a chance to thrive in areas they're not currently experts in. That's how we grow and, in turn, affect the work we put into the world. A few other changes I'd love to see: fewer design contests, more designers empowering their businesses via finding project managers or doing whatever they need to get more money for their work, and the death of spec work."

Matt H Booth, Designer

"With the culmination of turning 40 in August and the 20th anniversary of working in the creative industry in December, 2014 was meant to be a big year of change, where I move away from my main area of business - web design related projects - and concentrate on my personal graphic projects. However, with all the best plans, work got in the way of me taking step. So my plans for 2015 are the same as 2014, carry on pushing my personal work, move into new and traditional technologies, make real things, collaborate, move into the music and fashion worlds and see what happens."

Jason White, Executive Creative Director, Leviathan

"During the past year, we've seen an incredible rise in interest around immersive new media installations within the advertising space, which resulted in a flood of new, highly creative projects for our studio. Some of these new projects were for first time clients bravely experimenting along with us. I'd like to see more opportunities like this in 2015, but beyond the experimentation phase with some very committed clients, so we can keep pushing the boundaries of new media beyond what we know."

Radim Malinic, Art director, Illustrator and Graphic Designer

"I would like to see designers and agencies engaging more with people who need 'creative' help. The current approach to work and clients can appear more like glory hunting rather than putting the cause or client first. I would like to see creativity used as a tool to help others."

Neil Stevens, Illustrator

"I would love to see more forward thinking. In illustration and in design there is still a lot of emphasis on nostalgia, vintage and the retro. I'm as guilty as the next man in being heavily influenced by the past so from a personal and general perspective it would be great to see more barriers broken. Things never seen before. Creatives taking risks. Actually I bet many creatives love to take risks but maybe at the cost of attracting clients. So in fact it would be good to see clients taking risks and trying new ideas. Don't get me wrong though, there are a handful of great vintage type designers, and illustrators who excel at the vintage style, but a lot of it can get copied, watered down until it is nothing new or interesting at all."

 Adam Jenns, Media Director

"I'd like to see clients take more risk with the work they commission. 2014 has been the year where clients have really started to explore interesting content as a marketing tool but there's a long way to go. A piece of content we have recently finished for Harrods has been used as a cinema ad, on its in-store network, on outdoor digital posters, across all of its social media channels, on its iPhone and iPad app and as press adverts in magazines like Tatler and Vanity Fair. It was a brave commission and it worked out very well for the store. In 2015 we could do with clients being more realistic with budgets and timelines. Huge competition has meant that clients are in a position to expect excellence for pretty small budgets. The best talent quite rightly command big salaries and while these and kit software prices continue to rise, budget continue to fall. I hope this trend doesn't continue."

Paul Boyham, Client Services Director

"I'd like tablets and phones to be considered separately when planning app development. Too many apps are released universally, without consideration for how people use these devices. Most people have their phone with them at all times, then use a tablet when in the office or relaxing at home. These contexts should be considered when developing apps for these devices - don't include a step counter on a iPad app and don't build an app which includes masses of information for the user to analyse on an iPhone app."

I'd like to see the back of tiny screens in 2015. While the iPhone 6 Plus might be a little bit too big, the iPhone 5 and 6 screens sizes are a pleasure to work with. However, having to cater for the iPhone 4 screen causes design headaches and compromises. Only a small percentage of active users are still operating an iPhone 4, so hopefully this will decrease further in the coming year."

Emily Alston, Graphic Artist

"I would like clients to take more risks, so there is more opportunity to be as creative as possible. I think as online content is becoming increasingly important to brands and companies, this value should be reflected in fees too."

Rebecca Swift, Creative Planning Director


"[I want] more love for hard-working photographers. We are so used to photography that sometimes we forget the amount of preparation and effort that goes into what on the surface seems like a simple shoot. [I'd hate to see] cheap or free winning over crafted and appropriately priced."

 Tim Smith, Lead Designer

"We do a lot of user interface design, and have strong teams in place for each project or product, much like the UI design industry in general. Within a team you'll traditionally have each core discipline represented. You'll have a visual designer such as myself creating the interface, user experience designers working on the user journey and flow and there'll be a developer building the product. I'd like to see that segmentation blurred somewhat and more hybrid designers; individuals who cross disciplines, be it a visual designer with user experience skills or UX designers with development skills. There has been an emergence of software and applications recently that are making that easier and easier.

"On a design level, we're seeing some new ways of thinking in design that are pioneered by the likes of Apple with their iOS7 and 8/Yosemite patterns and Google with their Material Design. These are big steps in attempting to lay down some foundation for an otherwise somewhat anarchic landscape of UI design. I'd like to see more meaningful thinking like those exemplars in digital design."

Amy Harris, Illustrator and Set Designer

"It would be great to see illustration and visual communication being used in new contexts, and for these disciplines to continue to develop and be valued." (

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