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September 7, 2023   |   5 min read

Future of Websites Part 5: Aesthetic Escapism

Shaping the way we perceive the world, aesthetics are a powerful force crucial to the design process. Anyone in marketing can attest that a cohesive and consistent visual identity can effectively influence a product’s utility and perceived value. Take the age-old example of the common shaving razor. A change from blue to pink here; a wider handle arc, a final flower on top and voila! A gender-neutral hygiene apparatus is transformed for the female target persona. Of course, the world isn’t so black and white – or pink and blue. In the realm of CX design, aesthetic decisions transcend mere visual appeal to bridge brand identity with market resonance by cultivating emotional and cognitive pathways. With 2025 in sight, aesthetics are a vehicle of escape – where pixels are portals, and a scroll is a rocket ride to another world. This article examines a few current creative design trends as well as how AI art is elevating consumer expectations in all design mediums.

Inspired by Nature

Drawing inspiration from the natural world, we anticipate an abundance of design motifs borrowed from botanical realms. Websites will come alive with the graceful integration of organic shapes, textures, and hues reminiscent of the great outdoors. Web designers will reinterpret the wild of plants and the delicate poise of flowers to the intricate interplay of wood grain, the vast expanse of skies, the mystique of flying insects, and warm heartedness of woodland creatures.

In an exemplary display, Dutch department store De Bijenkorf – meaning the beehive –brings their brand DNA to life by inviting users to embark on a honeybee’s flight through an enchanted forest to escape from boxed-in shopping experiences – all set to green noise..

     De Bijenkorf Christmas Admire & Amaze holiday 2021 campaign. 


Hand Drawn Elements  

We're forecasting an influence of artistry of traditional mediums—paper, paint and watercolor—as they imbue an intimate human touch, forging connections that resonate with audiences seeking balance, calm and simplicity. Utilizing in-house created illustrated elements and imagery is a great method for boosting a sense of authenticity among consumers. Hand-drawn line art conveys originality on the part of the business. It provides the personal, unique approach that today’s consumers desire. 


Retro Fonts  

Serifed fonts and vintage poster-style typography are poised to step into the limelight once again. As the currents of creativity flow, we find ourselves drawn to the allure of yesteryear, a magnetic resonance with an era that exudes timeless charm. Serifed fonts conjure sentiments of authenticity and elegance that transcend the confines of time.
An image showing various typography styles
     A resurgence of serifed fonts and Y2K nostalgia spells is pushing web design aesthetics to the edge between fantasy and practicality. 


Gen Z is leading the throwback to 90s retro aesthetics, enkindling a ghost-nostalgia to the time their parents thrived. Whether it’s brand the opportunity to originate a unique blend of the familiar and the contemporary.  

The AI Influence 

In the social space, a captivating metamorphosis is underway as AI image generators like Jasper Art, Midjourney and DALL-E 2 have empowered creatives to architect fantastical worlds in a matter of minutes. AI is emerging as a transformative force that's reshaping the way we interact with visual art and influencing web design.

The melding of human creativity and machine intelligence is giving rise to a new breed of artistic expression that transcends the confines of traditional mediums. Retro-futuristic, fantasy derivative, AI influencers have become the nexus where innovation converges with creativity and out-of-this-world brand collabs. 

We think Sienna O’Rourke, designer of Planet Fantastique said it best in the June issue of I-D Magazine: “We all have distinct ideas of what the perfect utopia might be, and AI presents an opportunity to reflect these perspectives. Whether that be a hedonistic place of self-expression and carefree abandon or a nostalgic wonderland with family and community at heart, it is all about beautiful escapism and that human drive to seek something beyond ourselves.” 

A graphic quote that reads: "It's all about beautiful escapism and human drive to seek something beyond ourselves." --Sienna O'Rourke, Designer of Planet Fantastique

     Source: @planet_fantastique


Image Generation Is Influencing Offline Design 

Architectural image created by AI, courtesy of @Benny_Drop

     Image source: @Benny_Drop 


Viral images of Midjourney generated product collabs and architecture renderings are hurling digital and environmental design to new heights and along with it, consumer demands. People are wanting the products they see populating their Instagram feed, and the weirder, the better, like the Ikea X Patagonia tent, the Pope Coat and the McDonald’s X Omega watch.

And get them they may as production agencies outfit creators with the tools to bring an image to life. The integration of AI in interior design is revolutionizing the industry, providing designers with intelligent design assistance and data insights to create innovative and immersive spaces. The same effect is surmounting in the fashion world as sourcing companies are adept in making AI images a reality.

For example, Cala is a fashion supply chain interface that combines design, development, production and logistics into a single, digital platform that not only generates images but also offers production facilities. Product renderings are sent to its stable of 15 ghost designers who create patterns and specs on a per-piece basis. The program has 80,000 inputs to create a pricing model for an item, then sends it through to its partner factories in 13 different countries. So, you could own that Pope Coat after all. 


Future Outlook: Challenges & Considerations 

As we journey into the future of web design, brands will be driven by an unyielding pursuit of authenticity and content that ascends the ordinary. 

Custom Content  
The age of stock selections will yield to an era where meticulously curated in-house images, videos and illustrations take center stage, encapsulating the essence of each brand's individuality.  

The Multiverse of Trend
Websites will cater to this emerging generation's unique tastes and individualism. Social media, intertwined with generative AI, is amplifying the trendsetter narrative to an era where individual taste and aesthetic preferences develop wide subcultures and niche markets. To put it simply, everything is trending all at once in the multiverse of trend. Maximalism is just as popular as minimalism, Japandi interior design as Rococo, and Y2K fashion as quiet luxury.

However, with a recent federal judge’s rejection of generative AI artwork copyright claim, more legality surrounding authorship and intellectual property is becoming complex. As the amount of content a brand is expected to publish is ever increasing and the affinity for imaginative creative grows, brands must proactively seek to balance dynamic imagery and ownership. 

Knowing Your Audience 

As digital storytellers and brand custodians, we’re excited about this transformative time, where our utility of these tools can forge authentic connections and unleash new user experiences. We’re equipped to lead our clients through the multiverse of trend to the most important entity driving your design decisions – your audience:  
Our Customer Core® methodology seamlessly bridges the gap between your campaign objectives and your audience's needs, using a blend of client data, primary research and secondary insights. The result? Tailored customer Personas, Journey Maps and a comprehensive Impact Chart that guides your brand towards a holistic and impactful customer experience.

Beyond that, our Storylining empowers your brand to establish authentic connections across all content channels, be it paid, earned, owned or shared platforms. Our innovative narrative-driven approach crafts stories that resonate deeply with your audience, while remaining focused on your marketing objective. 



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