Imagine how bland advertising would be if all the ads followed the same pattern—the same colors, the same fonts and the same caption style—year in; year out. We’ll be stuck in a time warp. Thankfully, there’s nothing more flexible than creativity in the ad universe, which means we can look forward to some new, exciting design developments in the coming year.
In 2023, brands will embrace nostalgic designs to keep up with people’s yearning for some degree of control in the face of economic and political uncertainties. But, more than visuals, they’ll give more thought to how their designs affect the world around them, and the audience they want to reach.
Read on to know what advertising design trends to expect and how you can tap into them!
First, let’s look at some of the advertising design trends we’ve seen over the years.
Bubble fonts made a grand return in 2022! No surprises here because the year was filled with maximalism — highly-saturated colors, bold fonts, and repetitive patterns.
Instead of the typical minimalist fonts like Times New Roman and Calibri, most brands, especially those with a Gen Z audience, experimented with cartoon-like fonts plumped up like balloons and pool floats.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with advertising, animated ads stand out from the crowd. Animations instantly capture and hold your audience’s attention, boosting user engagement.
So far, some of the best animated campaigns we’ve seen are this Starbucks ad and this one from Slack. While the Starbucks ad matches the animation sequence with compelling narration, Slack’s ad has cartoon-like characters that show how their app makes your typical work day more effective.
A flat lay is the go-to ad design method for fashion and lifestyle brands because it allows them to showcase their products in a simple yet aesthetically appealing way. You’ll mostly find these types of ads on Instagram and Facebook.
The key to nailing this trend is to use a minimalist background for your photos, so that the background does not distract the audience. You can add your logo and a call-to-action but don’t go overboard with design elements.
Source: Flat Lay Example from Baby Clothing Brand; Hejlenki
Contrasting fonts are part of the maximalism trend. They’ve been around for some time but only became popular last year because people want more exciting designs; no thanks to the uncertainties of the post-pandemic world.
There are several ways to pull this off. Pair modern fonts like Signore with Serifs. Or combine Scripts and minimalist San Serif fonts like Calibri and Arial. The bigger the contrast, the better result.
Brands realized that talking about their products themselves wouldn’t cut it anymore. People wanted direct and authentic feedback from users—hence the rise of User Generated Content in advertising.
User Generated Content (UGC) is content from your customers — like reviews, recommendations, and testimonials — that you can use to promote your brand. For example, you must have seen simple Facebook ad designs that only have a Trustpilot review from an actual customer — rather than the typical brand value proposition or statistics.
Wayfair’s #WayFairAtHome campaign is an excellent example of UGC advertisement. The company asked customers to share pictures of home decor purchases with the branded hashtag. The company reposts these pictures on Instagram. There are more than 56,000 Instagram posts with the hashtag presently.
What can we expect from the future of ad design? Some of the old trends, like animation, will make a comeback, but we will also have new additions like AI art and more focus on designing for accessibility.
AI-generated art will become a core part of the creative workflow for mainstream advertising. Businesses are already testing this out. For example, 10 Days, a London-based agency, recently recreated popular ads from Gucci, Colgate, and KFC, with Mid Journey — one of the most popular AI art generators, and the results are exciting!
AI-generated art will not eliminate the need for human creativity in advertising; it will simply make our creative processes more efficient. Brands will use AI tools to generate and test ideas faster, using fewer resources, but they’ll still need humans to vet, nurture and build upon the AI's ideas.
Think about it this way: During ad brainstorming sessions, creative teams will use AI to visualize different ad concepts in multiple ways in real-time. They’ll vet these ideas quickly to know which ones are worth pursuing. And then, a human can develop and refine these concepts to meet the needs of the brand’s target audience.
Businesses are already using memes to drive engagements, spark social conversations and promote their product and services. But there’s a problem: most of these memes are not customized — anyone can pick it up and share, with little or no recognition to the original creator. Branded memes solve this problem.
Branded memes have the company’s visual elements, like logos, colors, and illustrations, to aid brand recognition. So, when your target audience comes across these ads, they immediately know the source because of the carefully placed logos, colors, and images.
The best part of using memes for advertising is that, when done right, they do not feel like ads — and that’s what people want today. Everyone loves a brand that sparks conversation and engages with its audience rather than spamming them with dull, salesy content.
In addition to branded memes, businesses will focus on hyperlocalization to deliver more personalized advertising to customers. Hyperlocal memes reflect the socio-cultural experiences of the different segments of people in your target audience, like memes about a particular city or the experiences of a specific age group.
Ads based on shared experiences help brands to connect with their target audience better and build more authentic relationships.
Similar to HubSpot lead scoring, ad scoring is a method of evaluating advertising creatives based on qualitative and quantitative factors to determine how well they'll perform when they go live.
In the past, brands put out ads with multiple creatives and depended on performance metrics over a period to determine the most effective ads. With the looming recession and lower budgets, brands want a proactive way to test an ad design’s effectiveness before putting it out. This is something we take pretty seriously at Superside, as a matter of fact.
We have just begun the work of building a proprietary "Ad scoring" methodology that takes what we (Superside) believe to be the best practices for ad creative design and integrate it as a quality check step in the design process. The objective is to score the ad creative on its assumed chance of success before we hand it over to the customer.
Minimalism has had a great run so far. Many brands embraced the “less is more” mantra for everything ad design—from illustrations to images and colors.
But it looks like this trend has run its course. We predict that more brands will shift to bold colors like red, green, and blue in infographics, videos, and illustrations in their ads.
So why is this happening? Two reasons:
In 2023, privacy and 3rd party cookie tracking restrictions will tighten further to improve data protection. And advertisers will lose visibility on user-level clickstream and conversion tracking.
Without access to targeted audience data, brands will rely on broader demographic targeting with more generic and impersonal creatives for advertising. Jo Bjordal, who we quoted above, expects this will increase digital ads' cost per action.
Vintage and retro ad designs are also making a comeback! People crave connection and authenticity in these uncertain times, so brands want to evoke feelings of nostalgia in their customers with these vintage designs.
Retro and vintage advertising takes us back to the age of The Matrix — the late 90s and early 2000s — when social media was becoming a thing, and there were a lot of conversations about technology and its impact on human society. It uses glitters, metallic, and futuristic design elements.
Designers are embracing retro creatives in different ways, including:
Did someone say cyberspace? We did this for our client Salt!
A Simon Kucher report shows that more than 33% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainability. With the global warming crisis, consumers are more intentional about buying from pro-climate businesses to create a more sustainable environment.
Businesses will prioritize putting out ads with eco-friendly themes. Designers will use eco-friendly colors like green, blue and brown for ad backgrounds and illustrations. They’ll also use more weightless content—like PNG images—to reduce data transfer.
Accessibility is another critical aspect of creating eco-friendly designs. We’ll talk more about this in our next point.
Read on for more advertising design tips:
Beyond aesthetics, we expect brands to prioritize creating accessible advertising designs in the coming year. Designing for accessibility means creating inclusive digital designs that meet the needs of all users. It allows users with special needs to easily navigate and understand your ad and take the required action.
The designer must ensure that every member of their target audience can access what they create regardless of abilities, contexts, or circumstances. As you create your ads, ask yourself two crucial questions:
The answers to these questions will help you make beneficial ad design decisions like adjusting your color palette to have an easily readable contrast ratio or eliminating flashing effects in your animations.
The world is diverse, and your target audience consists of people with different unique needs. In 2023 and beyond, brands that create inclusive designs will win. More accessible ad designs create better experiences for everyone.
Ad design is fluid, and frankly, it is hard to keep up with rapidly changing trends. To help your brand stay ahead, encourage your designers to:
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