The New Bold: Studio C&G’s Trend Report for A/W 2016

Hi everyone, and welcome to our A/W 2016 Trend Report, where we’ll be talking about design trends for this coming season.  Join Christina as she discusses upcoming design trends in colour, font, and texture that you can start using today and spark your creativity.

Autumn and Winter are the best time of the year, in my opinion, and it always seems like a time for being bold.  Projects usually start to ramp up, we start to feel a little more adventurous now that that there’s less than half the year left, and we start feeling optimistic about all of the great things that are to come in the new year.  Like most A/W seasons, A/W 2016 carries on the tradition of being bold in design, but takes on its own personality by trying to secretly rebel against tradition.  Cheeky!

Indeed, based on what we’ve seen in nature, in culture, and on line, we can see that the trend for A/W 2016 in design is going to be one of being traditional and rebellious all at the same time.  Here’s what’s special about this season:

#1 – Desaturated is the New Bold: Rust, Grey and Mustard

Typically, Autumn and Winter are times for bold and rich colours.  Deep burgundy, bright orange, and rich browns usually dominate end-of-year colour palettes, with royal hues and warmer greens taking on complementary roles at Christmas time.   However, the desire to rebel against tradition is culturally strong in North America, and the only way to fight against bold colours is to desaturate them.

Rust, grey and mustard are our picks for this season: the desaturated and, in this case, even bolder relatives of traditional A/W colours.  Invoking imagery of comfort food (think classic mac-and-cheese), rebellion (think concrete walls smeared with graffiti), and general badassery (think leather anything), the nature of rust, grey and mustard are a reflection of the cultural desire to be something different and make your mark.

Trend Report AW16 Colours

#2 – Bold is the New Bold: Bold Capitals vs The World

When it comes to type choice, cursive, especially of the handwritten variety, is the favourite of S/S.  Popular especially among the wedding crowd, an entire industry of hand letterers has emerged over the past year, specializing in hand-drawn type.  This so-called modern calligraphy, while pretty, is too delicate and rule driven for the rebellious and irreverent New Bold.

It should come as no surprise, then, that bold font—capitalized, heavily weighted, and usually reserved for yelling—is making a comeback.  Perhaps we are still reeling from the Olympics, as this style is usually associated with sports teams, the thicker, louder look of these fonts are appearing again in design against minimalist or soft backgrounds in order to make a mark.  As a cheeky nod to tradition, serif over sans-serif is currently ruling the day, though both are still lovely, in my opinion.

Trend Report AW16 Bold Font Choices


#3 – Heraldic is the New Bold: Creating Emblems and Symbols

The UK has been a big news maker these days: everything from Brexit to Harry Potter is sure to be found in the local news, and something that will probably be on a lot of people’s minds for a while.  Though it’s no British Invasion, we’re starting to see a lot of interest in what our friends across the pond are doing, and more particularly, what they have done in the past.

What we’re seeing as a design development is the rise of self-made heraldry, creating crests and emblems that symbolize companies, countries, and values in one, glorious image.  They don’t have to look like you’re designing for the Mint either: these new crests and emblems have taken on the ultra-modern look of flat vectors and don’t always need to be displayed in full.  Fun overlays and partial masks make for great design, and are wonderful ways to play with this new heraldry.


That’s it for this season’s trend report.  Tag us with #studiocgtrends and at @studiocandg when you use any of our tips!  We’d love to see your results!