Design Guides | Retail Trends: Top 5 Retail Trends of 2018 By RHDC - January 1, 2018 2018 is proving to be a readjustment year in visual retail trends. Designers and shop owners alike are collecting themselves as they reevaluate the good, the old, the new and what is actually important for the industry. For store owners, the the future will be about discarding the flamboyant or superficial and reconnecting with tried and true classics. Thus, as we begin the new year you can expect to see a fusion of old values and new. Without further ado, here are our top 5 Retail trends of 2018. 1. Natural Warm Organic This won’t be a surprise for most, but warm, inviting tones are more popular than ever in retail design. After every retail shop was over-injected with “Futuristic” design elements in the early 2000’s, it makes sense that sticking to an organic aesthetic feels much more “with the times.” Today, wood grains, brick and neutral metals are widely used and it’s our expectation that they will continue to be a go-to though 2017 and beyond. 2. Reinventing the Old 20’s – 60’s If you’re familiar with the fashion industry you’ll likely have noticed that taking cues from the past is the current gold standard for inspiration as tastes swing from old to new and back to old again. Just like fashion, retail design is not immune to this “pendulum” effect. That is why the second trend you should expect to see in 2017 is the use of “classic” materials like leather, tweed and broadcloth. It may hearken back to a bygone era, but we believe these textures are on their way to becoming popular once again. 3. Timeless Modern The first two retail trends of 2018 took us backwards to designs our parents or grandparents may have seen growing up. However, the third trend we expect to see is the continued embrace of what one might refer to as “Timeless Modern” design. Take the high-key, white, minimalist aesthetic that Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, pioneered for the Apple Store. It is an oft-requested look among our clientele and is the epitome of “Timeless Modern.” Another example is the branding and interior design for Julia, a women’s jewelry and fashion accessories retailer in California. Our retail design agency used clean lines, plenty of neutral colors and blended in touches of wood tones to attract and speak to aficionados of fashion-forward women’s jewelry. 4. Scandinavian Minimalist “Scandinavian Fusion” is a take on Art Deco and is the fourth emerging retail trend in 2018. It’s a summary of many things we’ve mentioned up to this point – the use of warm, natural materials, for example – paired with customer-centric design, usability, ergonomics and marketing. This is not just a style – it’s more of a holistic retail trend based on a foundation of sustainable business practices. It represents the epitome of our commercial zeitgeist: outsourced manufacturing, long supply chains, maximum value at minimal cost for the customer, strong brand and a tight understanding and respect between the company and the customers it’s servicing in terms of communication, product design, and customer service. You can take these features at face value and furnish your store with some stylish, modern and bold ergonomic displays clad in warm wood tones or polished metal, however we would urge you to look deeper and internalize the philosophies of Scandinavian design – it’s applicable to far more aspects of your brand than just merchandising! 5. Shopping As An Experience The fifth emerging retail trend would fall under the category of “shopping experiences.” It stems from a Northern European philosophy that urges us to consider our activity as part of a larger community and our customers as social individuals who would like to become intimately familiar with a retail brand before deciding to shop. Expect to see brands investing heavily on training staff to espouse the brand persona and for designers to cater to a customer’s preference for lounges, “livable” areas and an ambiance of comfort. A great example of this can be found in our work with The Four Seasons in Punta Mita, Mexico, where we updated a communal area around their retail boutiques that encouraged guests to explore, dwell and engage. To summarize, there are 5 retail design trends that you should be aware of for 2018: A focus on organic materials, classic finishes making a comeback, a continued embrace of “Timeless Modern” design, adoption of “Scandinavian Fusion” both aesthetically & operationally and a focus on shopping as an comfortable “experience.” Interested in learning more about where we see retail going and how it can apply to your business? Contact us today!