Or, What’s Out Is Out, Part 2

Want a look that says you never left the 90s? Get a bowl of half-decaf caramel latte and try these trends:

  • Minimalism
  • Asian influence
  • African influence
  • Other faux ethnicity

  • Pastels
  • Grungy white
  • Orange

  • Plaid
  • Shabby anything
  • Medical-inspired
  • Techno, digital

  • Casual Fridays
  • Long flowery skirts
  • Slouchy comfort

  • Papyrus (the typeface)
  • Grunge fonts
  • “Pixel” fonts
  • Swooshes
  • Ovals, esp. around a logo

  • Faux woodcuts
  • Sponge painted walls
  • Faux painting
  • (Faux=90s?)

  • Mass-produced “home” cooking

And though you weren’t going to come in to work this way (I hope):

  • The unwashed look

That’s the Little List of 90s Don’ts. Can your company make tasteful or tongue-in-cheek use of an element from this list? Maybe, if done with skill. Maybe, if you know your Ideal Customer very, very well.

Whether starting up or considering a redesign, be cautious. These tired color, fashion, and furnishing trends have been done, and mark your business as uninformed. Using interior design, graphic design, and staff uniforms/grooming standards from another era can limit your customer base to people who have positive associations with the decade in question.

I could have linked to all sorts of examples, but I don’t want to be in the business of calling people out. I see unwittingly out-of-touch design all over as I travel, both in the real world and the Internet, and so do you. If the 1990s were all about faux, the new millennium is all about authenticity. Keep the African masks on the wall, if you are serving African food. Not if you think it might attract African Americans. It’s just not enough. If you’re guilty, take charge today and start planning a revamped Customer Experience!

Moderation in all things, and if you’ve got to have that “Tuscan” mural on the wall (oh, please don’t!), find a way to renew, revitalize, and take the concept into this millennium. Time warps are only funny to a very limited market!

Care to agree, disagree, or add to the list of dated 90s design trends? Leave a comment below!

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


‹‹ Part 1  What else is out?  Part 3 ››