Contrasting Architectural Trends in the UK and America

Architecture is a reflection of culture, history, and innovation. Over the centuries, the United Kingdom and the United States have developed distinct architectural styles that reflect their unique heritage, climate, and societal influences. In this blog, we’ll delve into the key differences between architectural trends in the UK and America, explore popular building styles, and discover some iconic structures that have left an indelible mark on their respective landscapes.

1. Georgian Architecture: A Classic UK Style

Royal Crescent in Bath

Georgian architecture, which flourished during the reigns of the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover (1714-1830), is characterised by its symmetrical facades, grand proportions, and restrained ornamentation. One of the most iconic examples of Georgian architecture is the Royal Crescent in Bath, England. Designed by John Wood the Younger and completed in 1774, it features a sweeping crescent of 30 terraced houses.

Interesting Fact: The Royal Crescent is not just a beautiful architectural ensemble; it also has a historical significance. During World War II, it was used as a place of refuge and recovery for European Jews who had fled the Nazi regime.

2. Federal Style in America: A Mirror of Neoclassical Elegance

In the United States, the Federal style, inspired by Neoclassical design principles, was prevalent from the late 18th century into the early 19th century. Monticello, the Virginia plantation home designed by Thomas Jefferson, exemplifies this style. Its symmetrical facade, columns, and domed roof showcase the influence of ancient Greek and Roman architecture.

Historical Titbit: Thomas Jefferson, a polymath and Founding Father, not only designed Monticello but also played a crucial role in drafting the Declaration of Independence.

3. Victorian Splendour in the UK

The Victorian era (1837-1901) in the UK witnessed a revival of various architectural styles, including the Gothic Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne styles. The Houses of Parliament in London, designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin, are a splendid example of Gothic Revival architecture. Completed in 1870, its pointed arches and intricate detailing evoke a sense of grandeur and historical romance.

Fun Fact: The Palace of Westminster, home to the UK Parliament, was nearly destroyed by a fire in 1834, which led to its magnificent reconstruction in the Gothic Revival style.

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Graphic Design Trends in the UK & US

Many of the world’s leading graphic design trends are derived from observations in the U.S. or U.K. and then filtered through an international lens to adapt to whichever culture they happen to land on. Of course, there are always certain nuances to each city’s graphic design style, resulting from the influence of different cultural backgrounds and the value that various industries place on design.

Graphic Design Trends in the U.K. & U.S.

Brands in motion

GIFs have become increasingly common in the U.S. and U.K. as an alternative to static imagery. Unlike static images, they allow the viewer to see a brand in action, creating a more engaging experience for users and portraying a sense of dynamism and personality. GIFs are also perfect for sharing online because they can be easily embedded into social media.

Breaking down (design) borders

The design of public spaces is undergoing a revolution as digital technology allows for new possibilities. The traditional way of designing public spaces is being disrupted by the integration of graphic design with interactive and responsive surfaces that respond to the people and objects around them. Furthermore, designers are now using technology to track users and their movements, allowing cities to communicate with residents in new ways.

Increasing interactivity

With the rise in popularity of wearables, all kinds of product packaging are also becoming increasingly interactive. Visual interfaces that are similar to those used on smartphones have become a standard way to introduce people to the functions of a product. They also make it easier for graphic designers to display product information.

Back in the 1990s

The 1990s are on their way back. Graphic designers are embracing the grungy and heavily stylized aesthetic that was popular in the early days of the internet, which has led to a rise in popularity for typefaces such as Comic Sans and neon colours such as yellow and pink. Another style that is making a comeback is stickers and decals to decorate products.

The new Wild West

Today, the internet is dominated by giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Still, despite their dominance and ability to shape the way we shop, they are not monopolizing everything. Innovative start-ups are providing alternatives to the big internet giants.


The U.S. and U.K. are becoming increasingly interconnected as more people move in and out of both countries, inspiring each other’s graphic design trends. The relevant industries in different regions also have their own particular graphic design styles, resulting from their residents’ cultural backgrounds and the importance they place on communication and interfaces that are easy to use.