Design in 2019 – what will print design look like?

As part of our series on design in 2019, Chris Clarke, deputy creative director at The Guardian, looks at what will happen in print design over the next 12 months.

What do you think 2019 will hold for print design?

Progressively throughout 2018, we started to see print media being used to disrupt, agitate and artfully communicate, free from the noise and saturation of a crowded digital landscape.

Galvanised by our current political climate and accelerated by our congestion of digital media, it is becoming increasingly difficult to discerningly seek out the truth. As a result, we’re seeing specialist publications flourish, where truth and credibility is the currency that cuts through the noise, and the finite consolidation of information offered by print becomes increasingly more appetising.

With our political fabric as a backdrop, the need for credible disruption is needed even more. I feel there will be a tide of courageous, authentic, reductive design, which highlights the importance of true craft, free from over-embellishment of process, decoration and anything that ‘gets in the way of the message’. This will come into sharper focus with the centenary of the Bauhaus art school, reminding us yet again that less is more.

What was your favourite print design project in 2018 and why?

This is not necessarily my favourite piece of print design, but a favourite in reminding us the value of print, upsetting the status quo and utilising the mediums available to communicate in the most effective way.

During the 2018 presidents’ summit in Helsinki, Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat took control of 300 billboards and advertising spaces on the routes from the airport to the summit, filling them with headlines and inflammatory statements, from president Trump’s attitude to press freedom. These all had the sign off: “Welcome to the land of free press”.

With more and more examples of the truth being distorted, and often being lost within the dissonance of the media, what Helsingin Sanomat was able to do was extract the conversation away from that silo and speak directly to the public.

The printed medium is still a very powerful place to agitate and engage conversation, from placards to magazine covers. We truly need to hold power to account, encourage meaningful, fair and equal conversations and display alternative arguments to those who may not share the same.

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  • Nathan Tiller February 14, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Thanks Chris and Alina, this is a really great piece. I’d expand slightly on Chris’ point about the power of print – as screen fatigue sets in, there seems to be a realisation that print is a more trusted medium, especially for in-depth analysis. We’re helping some of our clients to return to print, with many finding that relatively low volumes really do work as the latest machinery is making it very cost-effective.

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