“We’re in an era of a new kind of homogeneity enabled and amplified by data and AI. That is, the popular, the best-selling, the top–according to stats–get more popular, and the look of the most popular marginalizes all other expressions and creates a monolithic identity: from font choices, colors, illustrations, to photography. Think about everything from the ‘millennial pink’ that was in vogue to the recent trend of the ‘startup look’: hyper-clean, sans-serif fonts typed out—literally—as a logotype, placed on a solid-colored background with a silhouetted product shot. It’s kind of amusing and alarming to see that we ended up at a point where one look can be applied to anything, sell anything: luggage, toothbrush, shoes, cosmetics, pet products, lingerie, insurance. You name it.
“In 2018 we’ve seen a big comeback of the ’90s in fashion. It’s a kind of nostalgia but beneath the surface it’s a signal that people crave differences in expressions. Wildly different expressions. We will see that yearning for expressions evolve in all areas, especially in branding, which pretty much dominates the contemporary visual landscape. We will see designers go through an awakening and go back to a rich history of expressions in the pre-mobile era, and brands will have to learn how to tap into that genius part of designers: the part that is a human being.” —Natasha Jen, partner, Pentagram