It’s a big year for sport. With two of the world’s major sporting events taking place, we are going to bombarded with brands cashing in. But like 2012, with the Olympics and The European Football championships, the year was dictated by the it’s branding and design.

Get ready for Brazilian and French flavoured design everywhere

But the problem with and Olympic year is so much gets overlooked. So what will be the design trends and undercurrent of 2016?

Well, trends tend to come into play gradually, so what’s already been under the surface for a few months will start to emerge. And of course in turn influence the mainstream.

Flat design as been with us while, even Apple have adopted the style. Flat, but vibrant shapes, with a nod to the 50s are gaining pace – modern retro. The same happened a few years ago when everything was steam-punk. Get ready for an 80s and 50s mash-up.

But the flat look is already getting a shake-up with added 3D. A Nike are already using this technique, the first of the major players to do so. It’s an effective tool, enabling product to ‘ping’ from the page or screen. But the big new player will be animation. With LED replacing good old fashioned paper in our highstreet, everything is moving.

Fast food outlet already have adopted this, and suits flat, vibrant colour. But surprisingly animation styles are more laid back, if everything is moving at a hundred miles an hour, everything gets lost and confused. Where a few years ago everything seemed to be fast edits and a lot of crash, bag, wallop. Now it’s, less is more.

Geometric shapes and illustration will also play a big part. Along with elaborate type 2016 looks to be the year of the retro. Quite ironic with the amazing technology we have at our fingertips. But perhaps that’s the key. We no longer need to be reminded we live in a tech-age. We’ve gotten over it. It’s now about how we use 21st century wow in the everyday. And our first steps in this acceptance of the now, is a look to the when.

With a 2015 packed with full screen websites with edge-to-edge images, a more of a subtle approach will be upon us. Apps are already becoming less in your face, and more retro in look and feel. Clive Sinclaire has already announced a new ZX spectrum hand-held to go on sale later this year. It was one the most trending articles when the news broke in early February.

So it’s about making yesterday, today then? Well, it looks that way. But we should not follow the herd too much. To standout you’ll need to be a little different. While everyone was growing beards and getting sailor tattoos, the smart money was on the classic look. So while by the summer the hipsters may be getting a shave, perhaps we should grow some stubble?

After the summer and the gold medals have been dished out, and Wales win Euro 2016 – well, I can dream – what will be the emerging trends? From vibrant modern retro we’d need a rest. If experience has taught us anything, the opposite will emerge. Deep, dark browns, misty reds, and dense greens may show it’s autumnal head. Whatever evolves, it will lead into the next year – has it always does.

But what can we learn from design trends?

If we over look them are we just copying what’s ‘in’? Isn’t good design practice just being aware of what’s out there and just keeping what we create in tune? It’s always difficult to be a design leader, or at least be perceived at one. But as long we still look professional, be loyal to the brand and don’t divert for the sake of it, we’ll always be fine.