A design can’t be both timeless and fashionable

If you want to improve your visual design you will need to spend lots of time around other visual designers. Many of them will make fashionable design.

Fashionable design is novel. It wants to be noticed. It is expressive. It reflects a timely attitude. It excites people, and that includes designers.

You might want to make fashionable design as well. This is fine. But be aware of the choices you make.

As a fashionable style becomes popular, people lose interest. What was novel is now common. Another expressive style comes along and the attention shifts. Trends do not last. Designers will need to shift as well.

Timeless design is different. This is good and bad.

Timeless design styles and skills will be relevant for years. You can spend more time on your craft and less time on trends. People have a subtle but deep appreciation for timeless design.

But timeless design is generally plainer, simpler, less immediately impressive. People don’t notice or talk about it as often.

In practice, you can do both. You don’t need to decide on one or the other. But if you choose both you will spend more time keeping up than those who choose one.

We like the use of primary shapes and primary colors because their formal values are timeless… We like economy of design because it avoids wasteful exercises, it respects investment and lasts longer. We strive for a design that is centered on the message rather than visual titillation. We like design that is clear, simple, and enduring. And that is what timelessness means in design.

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