Looking back at 2023, what project or design moment stands out to you the most and why?
Brent: Since at this point in Fusion’s lifecycle I’m most responsible for the business side of our creative studio, the reintroduction to two of our oldest clients, Purolator and Intact Financial, were the biggest wins for our small team, offering more opportunities for our corporate reporting and digital communications capabilities.
Elmira: In 2023, our top moment was the BECL project. Winning the RGD Branding Award showed our team’s creativity and effort. I definitely loved working on it, and the amazing result was a big milestone in our journey.
Natasha: The project that stands out to me the most is Eva’s Taste matters cookbook. This was an initiative started by the communications team at Eva’s to get good nutritious foods into the hands of their youth. After the completion of the project we we’re able to join the team and benefactors at the launch event where we could see the positive impact that our consultations and work had on the project and the community.
Sarah: When we won an RGD branding award for our work on the Black Excellence Community Library. This was such a fun project to work on, it involved a lot of colour and illustration—which are two of my most favourite things!!!
Melissa: DesignThinkers in November really stands out to me. The feeling of renewed motivation on our team was so exciting and inspiring. I am very grateful to have experienced it with the team.
What design trend from 2023 do you think made a significant impact and why do you think it resonated with you?
Sarah: I’ve noticed a lot of design approaches that feel very nostalgic. There’s warm colour palettes that could have been pulled right out of the 1970s and there’s playful shapes and patterns that feel 1990s and Y2K. Since we now live and design in a world with AI, maybe we’re all just trying to find something that feels real.
Natasha: Ai photoshopping. This allows us more flexibility when designing with stock photography, we’ve all had that moment of finding a great image but the dimensions just don’t work. Now that’s a non issue, it’s so easy to expand the background to fit our design needs and allows us to keep creative beautiful and accessible designs.
Melissa: Y2K style design absolutely blew up in 2023. Pastels, chrome and techy illustrations were everywhere. I think it resonated pretty strongly with me because I grew in the 2000s, so it was all very nostalgic while at the same time feeling new and modern. I think the trend will stick around a little longer, but probably fizzle out soon because of how big of a trend it was/currently is.
Brent: Obviously, AI has been one of the biggest topics of conversation in our industry over the past couple of years. There continues to be a lot of fear amongst designers that this technology will take away work, and therefore, jobs. But in the many, many, many conversations that I’ve had in the past year on this subject, the reality is that this is no different that when the Mac came on the scene, or how the internet gave way to a major increase in digital communications, resulting in a great reduction in printed materials, or how COVID and remote-working changed how and where creatives get work done. All of these things were something to adapt to; to use as a means of growth, education, and new opportunities. AI is simply a tool that we need to learn to use to make our lives easier.
Elmira: Last year, the growing trend of 3D design in websites really stood out to me. As a fan of innovative and creative ideas, this trend is exciting because it’s all about pushing limits and offering endless possibilities.It’s gaining popularity and has turned websites into more engaging, modern, and visually stunning experiences.
Getting into 2024 now, what emerging design or tech trends do you predict will shape the industry?
Natasha: The trend I’ve noticed the most and think will keep developing and be seen throughout 2024 is more complex and interesting grids, there seems to be this appetite within larger brands to get more indie and trendy but working within an international brand means you need rules, and one of these freedoms these brands are giving their employees and partners are unique but standard grid systems.
Lia: As discussed extensively at the Design Thinkers conference, it was clear a strong trend in the coming year would be the introduction to AI in design. I see this technology evolving ideation, offering instant prompts and eliminating the challenge of starting with a blank page at the start of the creative process.
Sarah: AI has really gained a foothold and I think there’s going to be a lot of continued exploration into what it can do. That being said, I feel like there’s going to be a return to “the craft” of design, as a response to this use of technology.
AI Integration: AI is expected to be integrated into almost every aspect of technology, revolutionizing how we approach problems and solutions.
Focus on Cybersecurity: With a noticeable increase in client interest, cybersecurity is predicted to become even more crucial in tech.
Melissa: I’m predicting that design will head in a more fluid, natural and doodle-like direction. Moving away from that Y2K tech and glossy AI generated feeling, my guess is that designers will opt for more hand lettering and more scribbley illustrations.
Brent: I worry that the “retro” (or as I like to say, “recycling”) trend has spread from movies and fashion into design in the recent past and is becoming even more prevalent in visual systems developed in the past year that are now hitting the public, so they are getting more press, and thereby increasing the impact of the trend on more and more design, driven by client demand. Not unlike all of the remakes in music for which the current younger audience doesn’t even know that there was an original to be remade. LOL! It begs the question, is unique thought beginning to disappear? How do creatives keep pushing past the trends, to ensure that the weird and amazing and magical ideas continue…?
If you could use one word to describe the past year for Fusion and one word to describe what you hope for this year for Fusion, what would they be and why?
Brent: Successful. Bright.
Melissa: My word for 2023 would be growth because our team really grew in skill, in accomplishment and even in size. My word for 2024 would be harmony because our team really came together well to tackle a very busy year and I really hope we continue to stay in tune with each other for this one and hopefully spend more in-person time together.
Sarah: Growth. This past year, we really came together as a team, pushing ourselves to take Fusion to the next level: individually and as a team, with both our work and clients. That’s laid the foundation for this year: Thrive. I hope for Fusion to continue down this path, where the team feels good, the work is good and we keep finding success along the way.
Lia: Looking ahead for Fusion in 2024, my one-word aspiration is “collaboration.” As a new member and junior designer, I am eager to learn from the team and collaborate to create exceptional work together.
Natasha: 2023 Fusion to me was about Growth, I think this is in terms of the business and clients we have but also as individuals we saw a lot of steps being made into bettering ourselves and how we come together as a team. Because last year was all about growth I think this years word will be sustainability. I mean this in the sense that we’ll be coming into the growth we experienced and learning how to maintain what we’ve learned and gained while sustaining our habits and positive work environment.
Elmira: Last year was all about success for Fusion. We did some great work and have more exciting stuff coming up. This year is all about innovation. We’re ready to try new things and shake things up!