Metropolitan Hip

in arts & culture

trend briefing
last update: September, 2016

View image sources

Inspired by modern young creative professionals, independent thinkers and the early-adopters of new cultural trends (before they actually become trends), the Metropolitan Hip trend is perpetually fresh.
Just like the people who embody this artistic style, it is ever-changing – continuously on the verge of finding the next cultural wave and always one step ahead of the pack.

We have identified 9 design patterns which characterize Metropolitan Hip and are currently trending in the arts & culture sector.

We hope you will find these insights useful and inspiring for your design projects.

Scroll down!

1. Underline
Underline is a simple design pattern that consists of underlined text. It makes the important content standout. Considering that most of the Metropolitan Hip design work has a complex layout, this technique helps the reader to focus the attention. This poster designed by <a href='http://www.mmmmm.fr/' target='_blank'>Collectif 5M</a> (France) has a complex layout, so underlining the text at the left top helps direct the eye to that important information. In this poster designed by <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/The-Designers-Behind-the-UTS-Gradshow/13535391'>Olivia King</a> (Australia) for the UTS Graduation Show, the effect is the same. With numerous text spots, the underlined words stand out to clearly convey the message. Another example: </em>Boiler Room poster by <a href='http://sinpiruetas.tumblr.com/post/45926999991/boiler1'>Mathias Frisa</a> (Uruguay). <em>Another example: </em>The AF Bulletin by <a href='http://ah-studio.com/projects/theaf'>Ah-Studio</a> (Finland).
<
>
In this poster designed by Olivia King (Australia) for the UTS Graduation Show, the effect is the same. With numerous text spots, the underlined words stand out to clearly convey the message.
2. Frame
Another design pattern seen in the Metropolitan Hip style embodying graphic design is the frame. It helps to make a particular part of the design stand out putting a spotlight on vital parts or text to help the eye find what’s important. This is particularly important in a visually busy and complex designs. In these posters designed by <a href='http://kimberlyihre.com/Tradgarden'>Kimberly Ihre</a> (Sweden), our eyes are directed to the framed center, helping us read the main message amidst so many other visual elements. In these <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/LE-CINTRE-CO-POSTCARD-SERIES/2798135'>postcard series for Le Cintré &amp; Co</a>, Emanuel Cohen (Canada) has used frames with a purpose. The thick black lined frames here make the names standout from the images and text in the background, and also from the overlaying geometric figures. This helps focus attention on the important information. <em>Another example</em> of frames used in the editorial design for Paseo by <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/Editorial-Paseo/9846299'>Eduardo Paso Viola</a> (USA). <em>Another example:</em> No. 1 Selection by <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/17424819/No1-selection'>Judit Besze</a> (Hungary). <em>Another example:</em> <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/13562683/L-I-F-T-O-F-F'>Lift Off</a> by Joris Rigerl, Elias Tinchon, Christina Morell, Ivan Filippi and Martin Mackinger (Austria).
<
>
In these postcard series for Le Cintré & Co, Emanuel Cohen (Canada) has used frames with a purpose. The thick black lined frames here make the names standout from the images and text in the background, and also from the overlaying geometric figures. This helps focus attention on the important information.
3. Letterspace
<em>Metropolitan Hip</em> often incorporates broken typography ('letterspace&rdquo;) into the scheme. Words can be tiered, where one word is spread out over several lines or even further deconstructed with the individual letters cut into parts. The text isn&rsquo;t <em>read only</em> but rather a design element in itself. In these posters for <em>New Balance </em>designed by <a href='http://fino-studio.com/proyecto/new-balance/'>Fino-Studio</a> (Spain), we only see two visual elements: the letters and the background shapes. The way the letters are scattered through the poster’s space make them another visual element – they have the strength of an image, but use only the brand’s name. <em>Another example of letterspace used in graphic design</em>: <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/13562683/L-I-F-T-O-F-F'>Lift Off</a> by Joris Rigerl , Elias Tinchon , Christina Morell , Ivan Filippi and Martin Mackinger (Austria). <em>Another example:</em> MTHD by <a href='http://www.designbyform.com/MTHD'>Design by Form</a> (USA). <em>Another example: </em>Balkan Floods by <a href='http://www.cause.works/'>Cause.works</a> (Croatia). <em>Another example:</em> Mapping Festival by <a href='http://daily.youandsaturation.com/post/47042043101'>Jérémy Tourvieille</a> (Switzerland).
<
>
In these posters for New Balance designed by Fino-Studio (Spain), we only see two visual elements: the letters and the background shapes. The way the letters are scattered through the poster’s space make them another visual element – they have the strength of an image, but use only the brand’s name.
4. Ethnic typography
Ethnic typography primarily uses san-serif fonts combined with additional elements that give an ethnic look to modern typography. Urban-modern is mixed with the hand-crafted for a unique effect. In <em>Metropolitan Hip</em>, letters become abstracted, words get s e p a r a t e d and geometry rules. The font itself becomes a visual element that communicates something more than just what the words say. This poster designed by <a href='http://cosmax.tumblr.com/'>Cosmax</a> (France) shows how a simple san serif font can be transformed to resemble an ethnic font by adding a few geometric elements to the letters. It adds a visual message to a simple font – and that stimulates us to think of other cultures and traditions – while still functioning as text with a specific message. Here are some Native American inspired fonts that could have influenced or inspired the previous work… 
<p><em>Above</em>: Paihuen Mapuche font by <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/11121691/Paihuen-Mapuche-Free-Font'>Benajamín Rivera</a> (Chile).<br />
<em>Below</em>: Mayo by <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/4203399/Maio-Visual-Identity'>Two Points</a> (Spain).</p> <em>Another example</em> of using ethnic inspired typography: No Format by <a href='http://www.ashleaoneill.com/TYPOGRAPHY/noformat.html'>Ashlea O’neill</a> (Australia). <em>Another example: </em>Milk poster by <a href='https://www.behance.net/pablosalatin'>Pablo Salatin</a> (Argentina).
<
>
Ethnic typography primarily uses san-serif fonts combined with additional elements that give an ethnic look to modern typography. Urban-modern is mixed with the hand-crafted for a unique effect. In Metropolitan Hip, letters become abstracted, words get s e p a r a t e d and geometry rules. The font itself becomes a visual element that communicates something more than just what the words say.
5. Overlay & transparency
With Metropolitan Hip, typography overlays pictures, images layer over each other, and random typography builds on itself. Transparency is sometimes added to overlaying elements. Such overlay and transparency presents content in a visually complex form. Curious space website designed by <a href='http://sociodesign.co.uk/curious-space/'>Socio Studio</a> (United Kingdom) overlays images, text and geometric figures, creating a visually complex look. Note that the orange squares are always on top, overlaying the images and creating a hierarchy that provides logic when reading the website. <em>Another example</em> where we can see overlay and transparency: Quaderns Anuari by <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/5948435/Quaderns-Anuari'>Two Points</a> (Spain). <em>Another example: </em>Stratigraphie, by <a href='http://www.helmo.fr/ongoing/--stratigraphie/'>Helmo</a> (France). <em>Another example:</em> The Practice of Making a Guide Book by <a href='http://www.kimchangpractice.com/index_e.html'>Kim Chang Practice</a> (Korea). <em>Another example:</em> Pixelcutters by <a href='http://confettistudio.co/pixelcutters/'>Confetti Studio</a> (Australia). <em>Another example: </em>One des Fa by <a href='http://www.tumblr.net/search/Ignat%20Makoto'>Ignat Makoto</a> (Russia).
<
>
Curious space website designed by Socio Studio (United Kingdom) overlays images, text and geometric figures, creating a visually complex look. Note that the orange squares are always on top, overlaying the images and creating a hierarchy that provides logic when reading the website.
6. Wiggles & geometric shapes
<p>Wiggles and geometric shapes<strong> </strong>are<strong> </strong>used as visual elements and given the same weight as an image, adding more visual elements to the design.</p>
<p>Geometric figures such as triangles and squares can appear to be cryptic symbols, and strong lines can jut into the design at rakish angles. When looser lines do appear, they appear structured and intentional as opposed to organic.  </p> In this experimental magazine designed by <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/Salt-Wood-Zine/13406541'>Oddds</a> (Singapore), lines and wiggles are the only visual elements we find in the design, but still they create a complete and visually rich composition. <em>Another example:</em> wiggles used in the poster by <a href='http://cosmax.tumblr.com/'>Cosmax</a>. <em>Another example:</em> Visual identity designed by <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/8824173/KE-Branding'>Ignat Makoto</a> (Russia). Here wiggles and lines are the key design elements and create the center of gravity of this work.
<
>

Wiggles and geometric shapes are used as visual elements and given the same weight as an image, adding more visual elements to the design.

Geometric figures such as triangles and squares can appear to be cryptic symbols, and strong lines can jut into the design at rakish angles. When looser lines do appear, they appear structured and intentional as opposed to organic. 

7. Slash
<em>In identity design, it (slash) is a clean visual substitute that allows us to connect or build</em> <em>separation between concepts or entities. The mark appears equally comfortable in a typographic solution or maybe used with a bit more wit between icons/visual elements or both. The acceptance of the slash is reminiscent of the avalanche of solutions using the @ symbol a number of years ago. </em> - Bill Gardner, Logo Lounge In this poster designed for <em>Musiques Bienale </em>by <a href='http://les-graphiquants.fr/'>Les Graphiquants</a> (France), we see that a slash symbol is used to connect one message that overlays another. The black words at an angle are connected through slashes, helping the eye follow the logic and connect the concepts. In the poster for <em>San Gallen</em> theatre designed by <a href='http://www.bureaucollective.ch/#!/project/60/0'>Bureau Collective</a> (Sweden), we see the reverse situation - a slash is used to separate concepts to maintain the distinction between different sets of information. Here the slash is used as a connector to add an original touch to this book cover. Designed by <a href='http://bit.ly/17RMPqI'>Eduardo Paso Viola</a> (Argentina). <em>Another example: </em>logo design by <a href='https://www.behance.net/gallery/8824173/KE-Branding'>Ignat Makoto</a> (Russia).
<
>
In identity design, it (slash) is a clean visual substitute that allows us to connect or build separation between concepts or entities. The mark appears equally comfortable in a typographic solution or maybe used with a bit more wit between icons/visual elements or both. The acceptance of the slash is reminiscent of the avalanche of solutions using the @ symbol a number of years ago. - Bill Gardner, Logo Lounge
8. Retro colors
Retro colors<strong> - </strong>inspired by retro photography - is a common color palette in <em>Metropolitan Hip</em>.
<
>
Retro colors - inspired by retro photography - is a common color palette in Metropolitan Hip.
9. Neon & vibrant colors
The most up-to-the-minute examples of <em>Met Hip</em> include neon and strong colors like bright red, sun yellow and marine blue.
<
>
The most up-to-the-minute examples of Met Hip include neon and strong colors like bright red, sun yellow and marine blue.
Wrapping up...

Metropolitan Hip is the reflection of young society’s behaviors and needs.
Its complexity and abundance reveal an overwhelmed, demanding young generation who dwells in a rich visual culture and has the means to enlarge it.

They’re constantly connected, constantly aware, just like this visual trend demands. If you loose a piece of the information, you’re excluded. This is the perfect style to communicate to a young, au courant audience that demands quality in a visually rich format.

From the top-left to right:

  1. Poster for San Gallentheatre designed by Bureau Collective (Sweden).
  2. MTHD by Design by Form (USA).
  3. Mapping Festival by Jérémy Tourvieille (Switzerland).
  4. Poster for Musiques Bienale by Les Graphiquants (France).
  5. Poster for the UTS Graduation Show designed by Olivia King (Australia).
  6. Experimental magazine designed by Oddds (Singapore),
  7. Book cover designed by Eduardo Paso Viola (Argentina).
  8. Poster series for Le Cintré & Co designed by Emanuel Cohen (Canada).
  9. The AF Bulletin by Ah-Studio (Finland).
  10. No. 1 Selection by Judit Besze (Hungary).
  11. Boiler Room poster by Mathias Frisa (Uruguay).
My Visual Brief helps web & graphic designers and teams to set the right direction for a design project by creating a design brief quickly and visually.
© My Visual Brief 2016
Learn more
Get in touch
Drop us a line at hello@myvisualbrief.com
or let's stay in touch via