Mysticism in the Second Dimension _
Graphics and communication
Mysticism, defined as the pursuit of communion with or absorption of the divine, has been a source of inspiration for artists and designers for centuries. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in mysticism, which is reflected in the growing trend of mystical graphic design.
Characterised by its use of symbolism, Mysticism in graphic communication is used to evoke a sense of mystery, wonder, and spiritual connection. Zooming out from graphic design and observing the hyper-physicality macro trend, it’s evident that consumers are searching for purpose and meaning that is not necessarily grounded in the everyday. Mysticism responds to this yearning by offering a sense of connection to something larger and the opportunity for escapism from a world that often feels chaotic and uncertain.
In this blog post, we will be showcasing our top picks of mysticism in the second dimension, whether on-screen or physical outcomes. We will explore how the movement uses mystical elements to create unique, captivating and on-trend designs.
Our Top Five
1) Weirdo Whiskey
Weirdo Whiskey, a new brand crafted by Studio Ethur Ethur, is using mind-expanding visuals to create a standout bottle design that evokes on-trend mysticism and visual psychedelia. A celebration of the brand mantra “weird is wonderful”, they deliberately stray away from whiskey tropes.
Mysticism and visual psychedelia are two trends that are currently on the rise, and Weirdo Whiskey is one of many brands beginning to merge the two successfully. The use of mystical symbolism and imagery, such as the mind-expansion illustration, the rune-esque symbols, and the glactic background creates a unique and eye-catching design.
The Weirdo Whiskey bottle design is also notable for its use of mystic-adjacent fonts. These fonts are reminiscent of those used in traditional fantasy fiction, but they have been utilised in a modern execution. This helps to create a sense of familiarity and authenticity, while also making the design feel fresh and contemporary.
Tarot-o-bot is a whimsical online experience that uses the mystical signifier of tarot cards to foretell the future of studio life in a humorous and outlandish way. The random selection of three cards comes together to create a unique and often surprising prediction.
Visually, Tarot-o-bot leans into mysticism with classic tarot card looks and subtle animations. The cards themselves are beautifully designed, with rich colours and intricate symbolism. Infinitely fun to replay, the microsite anchors on the juxtaposition of eccentric mysticism and the every-day of the creative industries; leveraging the escapism of this trend to humorous effect.
3) Totem, New Earth Systems
Totem is a visually intriguing microsite that leans into the dystopian, ritualistic side of the mysticism trend to showcase how traditional pagan symbolism can meet online worlds for the betterment and continuation of humanity. Based mainly in the metaverse, Totem uses cutting-edge web trends to communicate a dark and disturbing future that humanity needs saving from. NFTs can be purchased to further the cause, which uses its otherworldly aesthetic to raise money and awareness for important on-earth causes.
Totem is a unique and innovative example of how mysticism can be used in graphic communication. The use of dystopian and ritualistic imagery is a powerful way to evoke a sense of mystery, intrigue, and foreboding. This is further enhanced via evocative language, such as the group self-referencing as ‘The Ecosystem’, its foundation known as ‘Prophet’ and its collaborations dubbed ‘Alchemies.’
4) Steven Rhodes
Steven Rhodes is a graphic designer and illustrator who has created a niche in recent times as an underground pop-culture hero. His vintage-inspired illustrations, which are applied to everything from t-shirts to card games, hark back to a time of Spielberg blockbusters and Halloween movie marathons, in a similar vein to the popularity of Netflix’s Stranger Things.
Rhodes’ work is characterised by its use of bright colours, bold lines, and retro imagery. He often incorporates mystical elements into his work, such as tarot cards, occult symbols, and crystal balls.
The dark overtones in Rhodes works are often softened by their inherent humour, with a tongue-in-cheek approach to messaging that’s accessible to a wide audience with shared nostalgia.
Mysticism meets cutting-edge editorial design, CYBR is a magazine and collective with its sights set on futurism and tech culture. This is new-age meets new tech. Heavily leaning into the macrotrend of hyper-realism, this ever-evolving commune uses futuristic visuals to display an ethereal view of humanity’s future, with its gaze focussed on our emergence from the mundanities of the chaos and uncertainty of the now.
The print edition of CYBR utilizes augmented reality to allow the content to pop out of the page in an exciting and engaging way. This is a perfect example of how mysticism can be used in graphic design to create a truly immersive experience.
CYBR also has ties with prominent future gazers and fringe commentators, such as Grimes and Julia Fox. These individuals are known for their subversive and often ethereal aesthetic. This perfectly aligns with CYBR’s mission to explore the intersection of futurism, tech culture, and mysticism.
So where do we come in?
Mysticism is having a moment in graphic design and consumer-facing communication, design is increasingly using mystical elements to create unique and captivating content. As we have found in our research and the examples above, the trend is being driven by a growing interest in spirituality and mysticism among consumers, as well as a desire to create more meaningful and engaging experiences.
As the trend of mysticism in graphic design and culture continues to grow, we can expect to see even more innovative and creative uses of occult visuals in the future. If you’re a brand or retailer looking for assistance with 2D graphics and campaign elements, we are here to help with the guidance of our talented 2D designers.