In anticipation of the new year, we at 99designs sit down every December as a team to predict design trends for the upcoming year. Of course, we don't pull those trends out of thin air. We solicit ideas from our talented global community of designers, and we debate the merits of potential trends with great rigor.

The interesting part of that process? Design trends are often the result of shifts in technology, pop culture, and the political climate; as we explore, we uncover themes indicative of larger cultural shifts. And, this year, there have been some doozies.

With that, we present to you four of the most compelling design trends we see influencing 2018.

1. Organic

Demand for organic food and other organic products has been on the rise for years, and 2018 will be no different. That paradigm shift has heavily influenced design and will continue to do so.

Interestingly, organic design stands in contradiction to the mainstream desire for clean, minimalist design. For example, we see it manifested in vintage design, which can help brands achieve a top-shelf look with classic details that provide an air of distinction and sophistication.

Along similar lines, we think you'll see more organic design in the form of "doodles" and hand-drawn art. Their crafty feel evokes feelings of home and childhood and overall gives brands a serious case of warm, approachable nostalgia.

Finally, we predict that this organic trend will work its way into photography. Garnering inspiration from Facebook Live and other unfiltered, slice-of-life technology, photos are becoming less posed and more infused with realism, imperfections, and emotional moments.

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image of Pamela Webber

Pamela Webber is chief operating officer of 99designs, a global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love.

LinkedIn: Pam Webber

Twitter: @pamwebber_sf