Design Trend Insights for 2018

12 predicted trends for the year to come

At the start of each year we’re on the hunt for the standout design, product and homeware trends that will take everyone by storm. This year was no exception and we scoured the premier retail tradeshow for creative lifestyle buyers, Top Drawer, for indications as to what’s rising in popularity. Here’s what we expect to see more of this year.


Bright Colour Blocks

You may have seen Pantone’s recent announcement that their colour of the year is ultraviolet. Certainly, we’ve seen the shade popping up here and there, but what’s also clear following last year’s fashion catwalks is that lately we love bold, bright colours with abandon. Red, yellow and blue are prevalent, as well as the secondary shades orange and purple. The trend brings to mind the colour field painting of artists such as Robert Delaunay, as well as the style of Bridgeman Studio artist Eliza Southwood.

Read more: Pantone Colour of the Year 2018




Geometric Surface Patterns

Patterns will never go out of fashion, but recently the focus has been more on geometric, clean shapes. Perhaps we’re inspired by the seats on London transport! Combine this with the bright colour trend and you have a recipe for success.

Read more: Louisa Hereford’s geometric images licensed for a Fred Olsen cruise ship




World Maps

Maps have had longstanding popularity but lately we’ve seen them appearing on bag prints, light stands and various other products. Maps are indicative of an artistic exploration to make sense of a constantly changing planet. From historical, vintage maps to informative graphics, we’re all searching for new interpretations and impressions of the world we live in. We also want to look well-travelled… hence the rise in ‘scratch maps’.




Modern Nomad

In the modern nomad’s home you’ll find a plethora of Moroccan, Indian and Peruvian carpets and textiles. Again, this ties perfectly with – in fact all of the trends mentioned above. Bright neon colours, zigzag patterns and pompoms echo a yearning for cultural exploration and bring a sense of the exotic into our homes without being too outlandish. This trend is also a part of our growing engagement and interest in the origins of crafts and the skilled tradespeople around the world who make authentic, hand-made designs.




Hygge, aka Danish Cosiness

We started hearing about hygge around last year but the trend is still going strong – who doesn’t love the comfort of faux furs and the serenity of natural wood? Designers have been taking inspiration from Scandinavia a lot since they’ve proven themselves to be a pioneer of timeless or innovative design. There’s really no arguing with the booming success of Tiger stores.




Contemporary Art History

We’re ever more fascinated by art history and how it has shaped our perceptions and ideals today. This trend incorporates classical sculptures and iconic figures with a modern twist or context to draw interesting comparisons about body image and everyday life.




Plant Power

Following the jungle trend that hit fever pitch recently comes a slightly more subdued botanical or ‘leafy’ trend. Jungle themes are still about, particularly flamingos and pineapples, but broad green leaves are more versatile and perhaps more up-market for interior design. There’s also a fervour for house plants that you ‘can’t kill’ such as succulents and cacti.




Frida Kahlo

The female artist has become a huge brand and this is perhaps a reflection of the times – where femininity, sexism and self-empowerment are being drawn to the forefront of social discussions. It helps too that Kahlo has such a signature look – her trademark monobrow and hair adorned with colourful flowers are unmistakable and easily translatable to various design mediums. We’ve also seen aspects of Mexican culture such as the Day of the Dead inspiring recent product designs.




Under the Sea

If David Attenborough has taught us anything, the depths of the sea and its fantastical creatures are truly a wonder to behold. Designers seem to agree and want to take water elements and splash them onto wall hangings and book covers. Octopuses and squids are particularly prominent and can be used to create wonderfully unusual and decorative patterns. Alternatively, Hokusai’s famous shunga work featuring an octopus and a woman has also seen fresh relevance and increased art historical importance in light of the prevalent discussions about feminism and sexual misconduct.

Read more: See the Squid Empire cover – winner of our Book Cover Design Awards 2017




Calm and Solitude

In all the chaos that we find ourselves in, sometimes we just want to be reminded that we can be on our own, and enjoy it at that. Reflect this trend in your design projects through calming watercolour paintings or picturesque photography.





We are in an age of reaching new heights of space exploration and general discovery. We love to idealise the future or escape reality by dreaming about the make-believe – from starry, galactic images to the insistence on the existence of unicorns.




VR and Digitising Imagery

With great tech comes great possibilities. VR is revolutionising the way in which we can experience images, from immersive exhibitions such as Damian Elwes’ show to one of our clients, Meural, creating a modern digital art frame with curated, changeable visuals. We love images that animate or that we can interact with on new levels.

Read more: A Glimpse into Future Technologies




Your Copy of the Trends >>

Click the link to view or print a condensed version of our trends post


Share your thoughts

Let us know what trends you expect or hope to see this year. For free research or queries relating to your design projects, get in touch at

Follow us on Instagram @BridgemanImages to check out what tradeshows we’re at or the latest company news

Back to Blog

Related Articles

Spring Fair Trends: interiors, homeware, fashion and products – bridgeman blog

Account Manager Flora Spens discusses the top trends for interiors, homeware, fashion and...

Fashion Week: 2018 Fashion Trends – bridgeman blog

As UK and US Fashion Weeks are on there way, we thought we would have a look at some of the key...

Art & Design Licensing Trends – bridgeman blog

We love to monitor all the industries we serve and see what trends are prevalent and could become...

Back to top