When I think of African design a whole host of warm hues, imperfect shapes and textures come to mind. I see more of an artistic approach rather then clean cut contemporary graphic design look, however things on the sun soaked continent seem to be changing. As of late I’ve come across many a great graphic designer from Africa producing beautiful and professional pieces of contemporary graphical communication.
These pieces show off great skill with a western approach leaving behind the stereo typical artistic image that we see of Africa in our heads. Is that a good thing though?
Africa’s identity is very much “nature” and naturally focused with a heritage of strong and vibrant images but that history also comes with a blood bath of bad memories and events that still exist today but luckily the identity of Africa lies with its beauty and regardless of changing times those rough textures and varied rhythms of design will always remain a part of its identity.
These are the design trends of African design
Every continent was built upon tribes but it seems like Africa is the only one which still holds strong imagery with it and in doing so the design style created from those tribes have managed to impact Africa’s Identity and influence the world of design.
From sun setting dusky landscapes to the face masks, face paints and fashion, each piece of tribal design shows a natural flair for shape, space and rhythm making any tribal piece iconic and identifiable by design.
It’s core elements have had a huge impact on traditional and contemporary design much making it the basis of an identity for African design.
Amongst the wilderness of tribes was a natural habitat so it’s only natural for nature to echo in the design trends of Africa. From plants and trees to colours and animals, all of Africa’s wildlife plays a role in creating the textures, shapes and tones that we associate with African design.
African design is often associated with earthy hues that naturally occur from the continent such as browns, creams, oranges and yellows but contemporary design tends to stretch the spectrum, infusing new variants to old, making more of a festival of colour in African design.
The only rule is that the colour values must be deep.
The patterns of Africa descending from the tribes is probably one of the most significant and iconic elements of African design using line, shape and unification to produce unmistakable patterns with an eclectic and vibrant feel which pretty much sums up our last identifier…..
No matter what piece of African design you’re looking at, the biggest and most talented component tends to be a rhythm which is created like no other piece of design from around the world.
Each piece of work define a strong rhythm whether it be uplifting and varied or solemn and ambient.
The key to African design:
Deep colours + Natural shapes + patterns + strong rhythm