Forward Thinking: What will 2024 bring for the creative community?

2024 is going to be as impactful and experimental as ever. To welcome in the new year, we look ahead at the trends, topics and insights set for the next 12 months.


It’s Nice That’s 2024 Forward Thinking series is supported by AKQA, the globally renowned design and innovation company. AKQA is at the forefront of creative technologies, telling unforgettable narratives across service, experience and product design that capture the imagination.

From geopolitical tension to economic uncertainties, the creative industry found itself navigating through a new set of challenges in 2023. It wasn’t the easiest of rides, to say the least, but it was certainly made easier thanks to creativity.

For many, creativity became a lifeline and powerful tool, with collaboration and inclusivity becoming a central focus along with an uptick in work that contributes to a more diverse, equitable and sustainable future. For others, it was a remedial distraction, a way of spreading awareness, getting your voice out into the world and attaching meaning to something. And this sense of purpose isn’t going away anytime soon. In 2024, we’re imagining a creative world that’s filled with more impactful and experimental work. Only this year, we’re taking matters into our own hands and using all the tools, tech, materials and processes available to elevate our practices even further.

This means we’ve arrived at a crossroad. The continued reign of AI has been met with a resurgence of analogue techniques, offering a dynamic exchange between the digital and the tactile. As this ongoing integration of tradition and innovation prevails, it leads us to wonder how this will continue to shape our future, as well as the way creatives conceptualise, produce and share their work. Luckily, this series of Forward Thinking has some answers. In our first feature, writer Ritupriya Basu explores a trend that’s been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, fingers and pencils: the return of analogue. Crafty design first caught our attention last year, and since then we’ve noticed the increasing grip that hand-drawn typography and puppetry have had on the creative industry. From stop motion animations crafted for Adam&EveDDB’s Marmite campaign to Studio Chenchen’s sketches with charcoal, this insightful article explores the reasons for the trend’s soaring popularity and whether or not it’s here to stay.

The new year has always been an ideal time for a little sprinkle of self-reflection. So, if you’re finding yourself in the midst of a complete brand refresh, wondering where to turn to next or you’re trying to get out of a rut (we’ve all been there), Olivia Hingley and Yaya Clarke have put together a handy survival kit that will get you pepped back up again and ready to take on the next year. The kit includes tips for disconnecting and getting offline; experiencing the great outdoors and appreciating nature; sorting out your posture (anyone else got a bent little finger?); giving back to communities; and seeing what happens when you sit with your ideas rather than tossing them out. Elliot Ulm has also provided a mini-brief for getting motivated, featuring a few easy steps for kickstarting your own creation.

Elsewhere, Lucy Bourton and Liz Gorny have put a different hat on our yearly trends piece and investigated the big waves that are particularly resonating across typography, illustration and graphic design. Alongside graphic windows, which dominated the branding world, they’ve forecasted visuals that are simple, soft and nonsensical. Other predictions include cursive typography and a steer towards kidcore – think doodles, colour, cartoons and, of course, plenty of nostalgia. Then, in our next feature, and as we eagerly await this year’s Olympics, writer Lilac Burrell explores the much-loved intersection of graphic design and sport, discussing how this corner of the industry is moving away from tradition and becoming more experimental. We hear from some big-game players like Nomad Studio’s co-founder Stuart Watson, who talks us through the recent Premier League identity, and Happy Ending’s creative director Ross Popejoy, who reveals all about the BBC Cricket rebrand.

And finally, we’ve called in some help from experts at AKQA to explore how new technology will enhance creative projects in the next year. With insights from five members of the team who are at the coalface of these changes, the feature navigates how tech will affect big industries including health and wellbeing, gaming, travel, automotive and luxury. The key takeaway – new tech is nothing to be afraid of, and instead, we should be taking full advantage of its capabilities. We’ll leave you to it!

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima. 

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