Best and Worst Trends of the Last Decade

The last decade we broke bad, popped tags, crushed candy, let it go, master cleansed, called you maybe, Moscow muled, Snapchatted, crossfitted, slimed, found Dory, blockchained, eclipsed the sun, flossed, shiplapped, and took horses to the old town road. 2010 to 2019 brought us many great things and a whole lotta horrible stuff, too. Here at PicMonkey we put our heads together to reflect on design, business, and tech trends that we’re tired of and those we’ll welcome into the 2020’s. 

Out: White walls

Along with chevron prints, Edison bulbs, and motivational signs (see below) the early 2010’s obsession with all-white decor is fading. White walls are fine if you’re renting and can’t paint, or if you live in Greece, but when there are so many options for color — even subtle shades — why not experiment? Colors can really set a mood: check out Color Theory: Choose the Best Colors for Your Projects to learn the meanings behind the rainbow.

In: Large-scale wallpaper prints

We’re seeing wild, wanton wallpaper designs everywhere we look lately and we love it! This isn’t momma’s rooster wallpaper from your childhood kitchen, this is large-scale art. Experiment with peel and stick wallpaper, or commit to a jaw-dropping more permanent design — but just be sure to use it sparingly in small places. Think: bathrooms, entryways, or single feature walls are enough to add major impact to your home without overwhelming.

Try in PicMonkey: Upload a pic of a room in your house and go to the Textures tab. Choose a texture, then click the paintbrush icon and erase the area where you don’t want the pattern to see how a bold wallpaper might look in your interior.

Out: Motivational text signs

Do you really need a daily reminder to live, love, and laugh tho? Or to EAT when you’re in the dining room? If so, keep calm and carry on with hanging these literal plaques around your house, but we’d like to suggest that you explore some of our fun fonts if you truly are in need of more signs. Like: do your recently arrived beach house guests know for sure you’d like them to exhale and relax?

In: Monoline drawing

Simultaneously dramatic and delicate, we’re obsessed with monoline everything. It’s a simple line drawing of a human profile, or of an object, and the effect is elegant, mod, and much more sophisticated than a lettered sign. We’re seeing it show up in fashion and home decor, too. Wanna make your own statement piece? Check out our monoline graphics to make a fresh piece of art.

Out: Belittling names for women entrepreneurs

Now that it’s 2020 can we all just agree once and for all that grown women are not “girls”? And just because a business is owned by a woman does not mean she must be called a “babe”? Unless she wants to be called a babe, then you best respect the boss’ wishes, yo, she’s in charge.

In: Women entrepreneurs

Who rules the world? Well, women entrepreneurs are certainly working on it. With their numbers flourishing, and more women deciding to open their own biz every day, there are growing numbers of successful women rising up to support new generations. At PicMonkey, we love our small business customers and are actively researching ways to best support them. Check it out: we just talked to 1,000 moms who also own a business about what it’s like to start and run their own operations.

Out: Back-to-the-camera Insta pics

Since Instagram launched in 2010, the little photo sharing app has grown to egomaniacal proportions. We get it, you want us to see what you’re seeing so you turn around and place your booty smack in the middle of the Grand Canyon vista while someone else captures it for the ‘gram. Please get out of your own way. We can see that you’re traveling, seriously good for you, really, just show us that gorgeous, enviable view…without your back to us, so we can truly see what you’re seeing.

In: Candid, authentic pics

Over-posed pics are so 2010’s, so turn around and let us see that smile! Showing your true colors — dorky or darling — is what others will most truly relate to if that is indeed your social media goal. Who would you rather have lunch with: a real person with real facial expressions, or a posed, blank-faced figure? Aspiring to authenticity is the real-real and we want more! Make your photos look their natural best with PicMonkey’s Photo Editing Tutorials.

Out: Overworking

Counting hours, clocking in and out, being glued to your desk, being on call 24/7, neglecting your other passions or, worse, your family and friends, gets a big nope from us. But we get it — in these modern times of instant communication, sometimes it’s hard to unplug. We like money just as much as the next capitalist, but we know what happens to Jack when it’s all work and no play and we like to SHINE, honey. The fact that flexible working schedules have so many benefits from increased productivity to improved health really begs the question: what do we make of the opposite?

In: Work-life balance

The effort to erase mental health stigma has come a long way, baby. Now that wellness is (gratefully) mainstream, employers who understand that their staff need time away from work to refuel and pursue their own passions are often rewarded by having more enthusiastic and dedicated employees. Offering mental health and wellness benefits goes far in keeping a workforce sane and healthy. We’ve seen a huge upswing in companies supporting their employees working remotely which is great because some days you just can’t do it all — kids, home, work, commuting, errands — even if you are a superwoman.

Out: Grid design

If you’re unfamiliar with typical web design tenets, the 960-pixel wide column grid has been the starting point for millions of website builds since Web 2.0 days peaked in the early aughts. You know it when you see it: left navigation bar, center content, right sidebar. While it’s blocky, it is functional and gets the job done, but let’s face aesthetic facts: it’s boring and expected and it’s starting to look dated. We say it’s time to break free of the grid, shake up the usual styles, and explore different website design aesthetics.

In: Asymmetrical design

Yes, we realize that we just touted the mega-importance of balance above, but unlike work/life equilibrium, when it comes to aesthetics we’ll take our lewks une peau askew, thank you very much. In design, asymmetry draws the eye around the composition. The heftier side of a design can subtly convey more importance, while the airier side lends some all-important negative space, giving a little room to breathe.

Out: Cable TV

Remember way way back, before DVRs even, when you had to be on your couch on Sunday at 9 p.m. sharp to catch the next Sex and the City episode on HBO for which you paid a hefty monthly fee even though you only wanted to watch that one show? That’s some stone age entertainment right there. Even modern cable is losing its appeal — sure we could rewind, fast-forward, and record, but we couldn’t help but wonder: who has the time for all that remote controlling?

In: Streaming/On-demand video

Netflix launched streaming in 2007, Hulu followed in 2008, while Amazon Prime offered streaming before both in 2006, so we’re well used to on-demand by now and can barely recall life without it. When we get around to launching our own on-demand service we’re going to call it “Veruca.” Because why? Because we “want it now, daddy!” Spoiled brats aside, being able to instantly watch literally anything we want on our choice of multiple (and often wireless!) devices is living life pretty pret-tay pret-taay good as Larry David would say.

Out: Going to the mall

Nostalgic yearning for Bongo, Orange Julius and Miller’s Outpost aside, there’s not much reason to cruise the mall these days. Brick-and-mortar retail has taken a nosedive over the last decade as the convenience of online shopping asserted total dominance. While some companies like discounters T.J. Maxx, Ross, and Burlington are still successfully fighting the slump, traditional retail stores like Sears and JC Penney are on their last legs.

In: Shopping on social media

No doubt you’ve seen “Buy now” scrolling by in your social media feeds. With the average daily time spent on social media continuing to rise (153 minutes in 2019, nearly double that of 2012) it’s a no-brainer that brands would take their wares to where the people are. Noting this trend, this year PicMonkey has explained how to set up an Insta business account, we’ve covered how to sell on Instagram, and how to advertise on Instagram to grow your business.

Out: Viral disinformation campaigns

Do we really need to explain further here? Just be aware that in a sample survey of 6,000+ adult American social media users, over 50% reported sharing articles that turned out to be propaganda, with 68% of respondents in a Pew research survey saying that disinformation campaigns majorly impacted their confidence in both the government and in other humans. As this is primarily a social media problem, maybe just don’t get your news from unvetted sources?

In: Digging into podcasts

In this era of propaganda machines spewing blatantly misleading “news,” the bright side is that more Americans are seeking out trusted sources to fact-check the claims they encounter. Emerging recently in this past decade, podcasting has become a growing means of thoughtful investigation into current events, crime, society, and media. Only 22% of those surveyed in 2006 knew what a “podcast” was compared to 64% today. There is a still a way to go, however, with the majority of podcast listeners being overwhelmingly white. We’re looking forward to a new decade of new voices and new stories to draw in folks from all walks of life.

Out: Staying at a job you hate 

Gone are the days when our dear grandparents gave 30 years of their lives to the company. These days the unemployment rate is so low that job shopping is becoming commonplace in competitive industries like technology and healthcare — and for good reason, too! If your current job isn’t doing it for you or making you unhappy, there are plenty of other opportunities out there to explore, including following a personal passion and starting your own business

In: Starting your own business

As noted above, entrepreneurism is on the rise with woman-owned biz growing and women of color leading the way. Historically, women struggled to crack the glass ceiling in the workplace, or to reenter it after having children. That was just one (major) element of why sisters started doing it for themselves, and with women-funded/ women-owned enterprises succeeding, this juggernaut has accelerated and we see no slowing in sight. Working on your own business? Check out our guide to Marketing Your Small Business where we show you how to make business cards, logos, branding materials, ads, and more.

Out: Beauty homogeneity

Pressure on individuals, especially women, to look and act a certain way is finally finally finally letting up as corporations have lost the monopoly on dictating beauty ideals in this past decade’s explosion of everyone-can-play social media. Just this year, Victoria’s Secret discontinued their annual lingerie show, perhaps a sign of the times in reaction to more brands honestly celebrating size inclusivity and racially-diverse bodies. See Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty twerking, stomping, goodtime of a fashion show for proof.

In: Beauty diversity

We’re all for diversity in style and opinion, and while we still have a long way to go in fighting against bigotry, misogyny, and racism, we’re thrilled that the last couple years have seen a massive burgeoning of diverse representation in pop culture, the arts, fashion, and more. Plus-sized and differently-abled models are joining the runway, transgender characters are more visible in the media, Black women like Lizzo and FKA Twigs are topping the music charts, while the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team continually makes history on the pitch.

Out: Gendered color options

Just like developing preferences for certain foods or speaking in geographical accents, stereotypes about gender are usually learned within the immediate family. As more folks challenge “pink is for girls” and “blue is for boys” (it used to be the opposite, BTW!), the less society will ascribe to these rigid parameters. Color is color, and while we still like pink and blue, of course, and so can you, we love all the hues in the rainbow and how each color can convey an emotion that anyone is free to experience.

In: Colors for everyone

It’s not just pink and blue, everything non-binary is trending when it comes to gender. Pinterest reports that searches for “gender-neutral haircuts” rose 625% in 2019, while Gen Z’s rising buying power coupled with a demand for gender-fluid shopping options is encouraging the increased availability of less gendered toys, clothes, and decor.

Out: Data centers/Servers

Maybe if you’re hosting large videos or you get excited about building your own server for fun or for security, then you may still have a big ‘ol server kicking around your house. Generally, though, home servers and their bigger corporate cousins, data centers in remote geographic locations, are a thing of the past as individuals and businesses adopt cloud technology at a breakneck pace. Even businesses that sell servers, like Microsoft Azure or Rackspace, are now offering them via the cloud.

In: Cloud computing

Of course we’re gonna say this as a SaaS company (that’s Software as a Service, it means we live in the cloud, accessible from anywhere), but it truly is wonderful up here! Having all your work and contacts and money and medical records and photos and music and everythingelseinyourwholelife available from any device at any time is pretty dang convenient. Small businesses today can easily take to the sky with public cloud services and, when they do, 94% say they like the added security it brings, and 80% report saving money by using cloud technology that they can then reinvest in their biz.

Out: Millennial pink

Last but certainly not least, here we are at Millennial Pink. Since spiking in early 2017, this soft pink and rose gold thing has run its course and now the fever is breaking. We’re not saying we’re totally sick of the hue, it’s just that it’s everywhere, all the time, on everything. (In fact, it was one of our most popular colors used last year.) Soft pink clothes, sunglasses, handbags, sheets, sofas, jewelry, hair! Let’s put it this way: if you ate delicious sushi burritos every day you’d get sick of them and that would be a tragedy. And so it is with Millennial pink—there are other good colors, too.

In: Bold & bright colors

Close your eyes and picture Mediterranean blue, banana yellow, bamboo green, and mango orange…and now you’re mentally transported to a faraway tropical location that’s simultaneously exciting and soothing, a fruity rum drink in hand, the waves crash and wash away, it smells wonderful, and oh! is that a little ukulele tune drifting through the palm trees? Yes, color is magical so give us more, more, more color in the next decade.

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Sarah Gonzales

Sarah Gonzales is the content marketing manager at PicMonkey. Before this she worked at Intiut, and before that started a non-profit, and before that had a radio show, and before that worked at Ms. magazine, and before that went to UC Berkeley, and before ALL of that grew up in Alaska.