I'm back again with another design trend that you should be aware of for 2019. Compared to the last one, this trend is even more direct and probably more obvious. I'm referring to the trend known as color-blocking.
What is "color-blocking"?
Color-blocking essentially takes two contrasting colors, usually complimentary colors, and sets them in juxtposition to one-another. The pairing of the color combination is intended to be striking, vivid, and crisp. Piet Mondrian is famously attributed to be the originator of this design style, commonly referred to as "Neoplasticism". There is some controversy regarding the accuracy of that assertment, but his work is likely to be more familiar with the public than his contemporaries.
However, outside the realm of painting and modern popart, the greater world of graphic design and advertising has revitalized this trend for contemporary audiences in a marketable way. I believe Japan, specifically, has been on board with the color-blocking trend for many years due to their minimalist attitudes toward economical design. This is especially true when it comes to interior design.
On my daily commutes, I notice many types of advertisements adopting aspects of color-blocking in unique ways. As I mentioned in the definition above, traditional color-blocking uses complimentary colors; i.e, red and green, blue and orange, purple and yellow, etc. The two advertisements below are each for a cram school. The one on the left uses "color-blocking" in a fresh and inviting way, challenging the audience's predisposition to the typical cram school advertisment seen right.
Other advertisements take an analogus approach by utilizing different hues within the same color spectrum. Take a look at this Pixar exhibtion advertisement. Each character is juxtaposed with a solid background color that works harmoniously with the overall design, creating separate cells or "blocks" of color at a distance.
We can also see color-blocking in ads for products and consumer goods as well. Pocari Sweat is a sports water brand here in Japan that notoriously utilizes bold blocks of blue in their advertising. This is a clear example in how the strength of color-blocking can be used to reinforce brand identity.
In other ads, the vibrancy of the color- block is greatly reduced to more muted tones that work well along side more natural elements, such as the sky. If you read my first entry about visual design trends, then you will notice that combination of the nature and color-blocking is incredibly effective at targeting consumers.
Finally, I can't talk much about color-blocking without mentioning its prolific use in fashion design and photography. The photograph below comes from a campaign organized by Lumine, a department store chain based here in Japan. Notice how the color-blocking is repeated beyond the clothing to encompass the background as well? This makes the image as a whole more graphical and visually striking; forcing the viewer to rest their eyes on the model's face, the only neutral space ib the composition.
Hopefully, through the given examples, you can be aware of what to look for over the year. The effectiveness of graphic design and advertising is largely psychological by nature, so it is important to know what techniques brands and agency are using to attract your attention. Having a bold, vivdly colorful block of advertising is more likely to grab you for those precious brief moments during your commute than a wall of text. Have you noticed any color-blocked ads recently? Is this particular trend appealing to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, don't forget to like and share this post~
Until next time,