As more businesses adjust to the new normal of COVID-19, it has become increasingly important for designers to create owned content in an aesthetically appropriate and tasteful manner.  From microsites to playful colors, below are our top 5 take-aways for design in the COVID era.

1.Microsite, microsite, microsite

Almost all of the leading companies in the finance/consulting space have created microsites to showcase the research and thought leadership content they’ve produced during this time.

In most cases, this means a custom URL and personalized homepage to host these insights (see: McKinsey, Bain, Morgan Stanley).

Other companies have simply integrated COVID insights into a category on their blogs (see: Goldman Sachs). While this may be less prominent in the short term, we believe that it is the direction most firms will go as COVID becomes the new normal and blends in with the range of other topics financial companies cover in their day-to-day.

2. Pick your stock images wisely

From a visual standpoint, we see companies using a blend of stock imagery to highlight the disease, such as masks, doctors, remote-working, and abstract depictions of the virus itself. Unsurprisingly, images of patients are rare.

Since custom photos are hard, if not impossible, to come by these days, most leaders in the space are applying some sort of consistent treatment to these photos to make them on brand.

McKinsey is a great example of this, applying a blue tint to black and white images and videos to create a cohesive feel throughout their site.

3. Don’t be afraid to use warm colors

While it may seem early to determine a COVID-19 color palette, popular paint brand Dunn Edwards has done just that. Based on research conducted through a consumer survey, they identified six common sentiments, including the need for “comfort and physical and emotional connection” and “honoring nature.”

Given these trends, designers should not be afraid to incorporate warm colors into their COVID color palette, such as orange, pink and red. You can see the full color palette, appropriately named “Playtime,” below:

4. More infographics

International design school Shillington has put together a list of the top nine design trends we should expect to see in 2020. No. 1 on their list is “Design for Good” – in other words, educational material to raise awareness and promote activism.

Traditionally, this has meant posters, signs, and videos. In the financial sector, however, we should expect to see a rise in infographics, covering a range of COVID-related topics, such as how to manage your business and handle your finances during a pandemic.

5. Minimalism

Last but not least, we should expect the trend of minimalist design to continue into 2020. Also on Shillington’s list, this design tenet is hardly new. However, COVID-19 has added emphasis to the importance of clear and cogent information that is legible to even the quickest reader’s eye. Expect to see more sans-serif fonts and high-contrast color pairings in the coming weeks, allowing critical information to be front-and-center.

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