Written by Delilah Zak, Katie Edwards, and Justin Durkin.
The Leff design team recently sat down as a group to discuss this list of 2019 graphic-design trends. We chose five that we’re particularly excited about—here we discuss the ways these concepts can elevate B2B content.
This trend gets a resounding “YES!” from our team. As designers schooled in European modern typography, we’ve always been fans of compositions that break up space. Design elements that get cut off unexpectedly or move close to the edges create tension, which makes a piece feel more active. This practice also creates a modern and inviting feel, because the design isn’t closed off with a frame. There’s also an element of playfulness, which, when done well, can add surprise and intrigue without being goofy. Assets created with this open-composition mind-set can inject B2B content with energy and life.
3-D effects haven’t always been well-regarded by designers with a certain aesthetic—using 3-D effects often looked amateur and sometimes even corny. However, 3-D trends have changed, and today, skilled 3-D illustrators create compositions that look like real, tangible objects. Very detailed renderings of objects—especially typography and logos—can boost your brand look to the future at hyper-speed, and in a sophisticated way. With much of the current B2B content focused on trends such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Industry 4.0, pairing technical content with thoughtful 3-D illustrations can be really effective. It will grab your audience’s attention and help your brand look, dare we say, kinda cool.
Unfortunately, people are afraid of color, especially in business writing. Often we see B2B brands keep to blue and gray tones because they are safe (read about our own color journey here). We strongly believe that quality content needs to be thoughtfully designed, exciting to look at, and engaging. What better way to grab a reader’s attention than with color?
Good typography and experimentation, combined with open composition, can make for some great design. B2B content loves large data callouts, infographics, and data-heavy interactives. B2B subject-matter experts have rich data and analysis to share, and they invest a lot in creating a compelling narrative from their findings. The next step should be investing in a good visual presentation to help that narrative come to life and add depth and texture. We think “maxi”mized data content is a great way to present that information.
We’ve commissioned work from a number of talented illustrators, and we love specialty artwork. B2B content tends to lean heavily on stock photography, so including a custom piece is a surefire way to stand out. For articles about manufacturing or emerging-market consumers, stock photos can work really well and provide the real-world feel that the content needs. However, finding good stock photography for topics that are more conceptual—”organizational challenges” or “strategy” for example—can be challenging. This is where more abstract art or specialty-made illustrations can really highlight the perspectives of the authors and create a unique and distinctive look and feel.
It’s easy to assume that new trends or exploratory design concepts are reserved for B2C designers, but our experience tells us otherwise. Both the B2B and B2C audiences are looking for creativity and engaging visuals to draw them in. When companies break free of the notion that B2B design is exempt from new or bold treatments or concepts, their content is more likely to stand out from the pack.