Inspired by modern young creative professionals, independent thinkers, and the early-adopters of new cultural trends (before they actually become trends), this style is perpetually fresh.
We have identified 9 design patterns that characterize the Artsy style. We hope you will find these insights useful and inspiring for your design projects. Scroll down!
Underline is a simple design pattern that consists of underlined text. It makes the important content standout. Considering that most of the Artsy design work has a complex layout, this technique helps the reader to focus the attention.
This poster designed by Collectif 5M (France) has a complex layout, so underlining the text at the left top helps direct the eye to that important information.
In this poster designed by Olivia King (Australia) for the UTS Graduation Show, the effect is the same. With numerous text spots, the underlined words stand out to clearly convey the message.
Two more examples below:
Another design pattern seen in the Artsy style embodying graphic design is the frame. It helps to make a particular part of the design stand out putting a spotlight on vital parts or text to help the eye find what’s important. This is particularly important in a visually busy and complex designs.
In these posters designed by Kimberly Ihre (Sweden), our eyes are directed to the framed center, helping us read the main message amidst so many other visual elements.
In these postcard series for Le Cintré & Co, Emanuel Cohen (Canada) has used frames with a purpose. The thick black lined frames here make the names standout from the images and text in the background, and also from the overlaying geometric figures. This helps focus attention on the important information.
Artsy often incorporates broken typography (“letterspace”) into the scheme. Words can be tiered, where one word is spread out over several lines or even further deconstructed with the individual letters cut into parts. The text isn’t read only but rather a design element in itself.
In these posters for New Balance designed by Fino-Studio (Spain), we only see two visual elements: the letters and the background shapes. The way the letters are scattered through the poster’s space make them another visual element – they have the strength of an image, but use only the brand’s name.
Here are a few more examples of letter-space used in graphic design:
4. Ethnic Typography
Ethnic typography primarily uses san-serif fonts combined with additional elements that give an ethnic look to modern typography. Urban-modern is mixed with the hand-crafted for a unique effect. In Artsy, letters become abstracted, words get s e p a r a t e d and geometry rules. The font itself becomes a visual element that communicates something more than just what the words say.
This poster designed by Cosmax (France) shows how a simple sans serif font can be transformed to resemble an ethnic font by adding a few geometric elements to the letters. It adds a visual message to a simple font – and that stimulates us to think of other cultures and traditions – while still functioning as text with a specific message.
Here are some Native American inspired fonts that could have influenced or inspired the previous work…
5. Overlay & Transparency
With Artsy, typography overlays pictures, images layer over each other, and random typography builds on itself. Transparency is sometimes added to overlaying elements. Such overlay and transparency presents content in a visually complex form.
Curious space website designed by Socio Studio (United Kingdom) overlays images, text and geometric figures, creating a visually complex look. Note that the orange squares are always on top, overlaying the images and creating a hierarchy that provides logic when reading the website.
Here are more examples where we can see overlay and transparency:
6. Wiggles & Geometric Shapes
Wiggles and geometric shapes are used as visual elements and given the same weight as an image, adding more visual elements to the design.
Geometric figures such as triangles and squares can appear to be cryptic symbols, and strong lines can jut into the design at rakish angles. When looser lines do appear, they appear structured and intentional as opposed to organic.
In this experimental magazine designed by Oddds (Singapore), lines and wiggles are the only visual elements we find in the design, but still they create a complete and visually rich composition.
In this poster designed for Musiques Bienale by Les Graphiquants (France), we see that a slash symbol is used to connect one message that overlays another. The black words at an angle are connected through slashes, helping the eye follow the logic and connect the concepts.
In the poster for San Gallen theatre designed by Bureau Collective (Sweden), we see the reverse situation – a slash is used to separate concepts to maintain the distinction between different sets of information.
Here the slash is used as a connector to add an original touch to this book cover:
8. Retro Colors
Retro colors – inspired by retro photography – is a common color palette of the Artsy style.
9. Neon & Vibrant Colors
The most up-to-the-minute examples of this style include neon and strong colors like bright red, sun yellow and marine blue.