HMR Inspiration Report: Graphic Design // May, 2021

Have you ever stopped for a moment and thought about what Graphic Design truly is? It is a trade of complexity with a plethora of use cases. There are those who focus on brand identity, logo design, packaging, web and mobile design, renderings, print and a vast array of other intended uses, including ours: event design.

When trying to summarize what exactly it aspires to, we like the simplicity of this statement: “Graphic Design is the art of creating visual content to communicate a desired message or feeling.”

Being in both the business of design for social events (weddings, mitzvahs, dinner parties and the like) as well as experiential fabrication (corporate, brands, agencies, etc.), we see many projects with specific, strategic messaging requiring us to tap our proverbial graphic design bench for the latest trends, nuances and evolution of all things taking shape in digital design. Here are a few trends catching our collective eye.

David Epstein, Event Designer, finds inspiration in the liveliness and originality of digital collage.

“Lately I’ve been obsessed with the art of digital collage. What was once an exercise of cutting, pasting and layering of hard images is now more sophisticated and easier to produce than ever. An endless cache of digital content available at our fingertips, the art of fusing individual elements together is limited only by the imagination and technical prowess of the designer. The mixing of artistic mediums is where it gets really surreal and cool…everything is on the table from vintage photographs and iconic prints to paintings,  illustrations and even magazine clippings.”

Event Designer Jessica Griffin believes that minimalist design exudes luxury in its simplicity.

“There is so much noise surrounding us that minimalist design feels good and stands out. It by no means means it needs to be black and white. Simple typography with bold color and a smart font makes a major impact and provokes a feeling of luxury. Minimalism leaves something for the viewer to think about and feel. Simple designs, shapes and colors also make for easy impact and remembrance.  Less is more.” 

Marley Finnegan, Director of Sales + Partnerships, digs compositions created via the juxtaposition of natural vs. manufactured digital elements.

“The pandemic was a catalyst for many (myself included) to take a deep look inside themselves. For me, this instilled a much needed reconnection to the natural world. It appears to me that graphic designers also embraced this realization and the push/pull dynamic of matte color blocking in opposition to beautiful elements found in nature by leaning into these tensions, expressed in clean, artful design.”


Bari Singh, Event Designer, pictures herself in the wild world of graphic art brought to life by Craig and Karl.

“I’ve often envisioned my life as a “cartoon” and usually when I do, I picture my face as a Craig and Karl graphic illustration. Their artwork always brings me a smile. I take inspiration from their playful use of bold lines, color, pattern, humor and pop culture iconography. Their work bridges the commercial and creative worlds with a unique aesthetic that appeals to a broad audience without being boring.”

Nick Watts, Event Designer, is inspired by something off the beaten path, back en vogue: Psychedelic Design. 

“Psychedelic Design is a great inspiration for me at this moment. I met with a client today that, while wanting to have a jazz inspired party wants her friends,“who have seen everything,” to be wowed and weirded. I think that we sometimes have a hard time separating “impactful” from “pretty”.  Grabbing people’s attention from any emotional angle is a way to design, and coming up with a way to do that in an artful way is always a wonderful challenge.

I think it boils down to the  difference between embellishment and creation. Do we  soften/embellish the location/venue where an event takes place, or do we want to come from a place where we strive to drag the guest into a new world. It takes a brave and trusting host to allow that sort of design to run wild, and a creative/curious mind to execute it.”


Creative Director Bill Heffernan has always loved the idea of typography used as a visual art form.

“I am very interested in text as both subject and background. Both change the form and add poignancy whenever utilized. Any subject such as a face, building, or even a flower, filled with text or a simple line created with text adds newly defined importance. Utilizing text to surround and border an image makes the image much more intriguing, demanding attention and focus. An added element of interest is the endless abundance of typographic styles – fonts, sizes and colors offer near infinite possibilities.”

Burt Rubenstein, Event Designer is excited by bold, outrageously bright colors in today’s digital landscape.

“Graphic design is such an important tool in engaging the viewer and welcoming them to get involved in the message at hand. In my opinion, the current design trends are outrageous and bold to capture the attention in a world filled with plenty of competing noise.  By being more aggressive in design, the viewer is drawn in and engaged; leaving the less intense competition in the shadows.  Uniquely bold color, symmetry and repetition of gradients and pattern are all ways I am seeing this trend come to life. ”

Event Designer Natalie Walsh is also inspired to utilize layers of portrait photography and floral collage in her events, incorporating fresh floral and foliage to complete the look.

“I’m really drawn to colorful collage-inspired graphic work lately. The opportunities that could be inspired by the work of Marcelo Monreal are endless. The human subject matter pictured would be very easy to swap out with branded content for weddings, social, or corporate events, and provides a new backdrop concept for photo booths, escort cards, entrances, ceremony backdrops, bars…just about anything! I envision multiple layers and varying depths, with fresh floral springing forth from the images.”

Brittanie Ahrens, Event Designer, loves the hand-painted to digital patterns of Cass Deller Design. 

“Cass’ designs, for me, are synonymous with the calming beauty of relaxation. Her subject matter evokes the simplistic beauty of unwinding in paradise. Her neutral color palettes further solidify the tranquil nature of her work. I can picture her patterns used on everything from a summer dress to wallpaper to your favorite beach bag. For me, her work evokes positivity and that sweet feeling of your first day on vacation.”

All this said, we always welcome any and all feedback or insights you are experiencing in the wide world of creativity! Should you feel so inspired to connect further on this subject or any other we have covered, please send an email to – we always love a fresh perspective.

Tune in next month as we dive in on the wide world of textiles + stones, as we look closer at the awe-inspiring details brought to us daily by mother earth.