It’s that time of year where you’ll see countless articles listing the top trends for the year. They’ll list everything from colours, to graphical styles, fonts, you name it. Though take these articles with a grain of salt, just because they’re becoming the next best thing, doesn’t necessarily mean you should be rushing to include them into your brand style.
Whilst it’s good to keep an eye on them and stay current, we’ve gone rogue and decided to list 3 reasons why you shouldn’t stay on trend.
How are you meant to stand out if what you create blends in with the crowd? With such a cluttered market, staying different is quite hard to do. So, it’s important when everyone is going right, that you try to steer left.
This is evident with simple things like an Instagram feed; you’ll notice that some of them look very ‘samesy’ with colours and style, and there’s no real point of difference when you compare to other brands. This is also common with Canva templates. Whilst we think Canva is great tool for allowing brands to continue developing their own creative on the fly, it’s important to set guidelines in regard to fonts, colours and layout so that it runs in line with your branding. If you aren’t changing the template to stay consistent with your guidelines, it’ll look the same as every other brand that uses the same template and you won’t stand out.
On the other hand, when it comes to logo development, what we’ve noticed is a huge rise in san-serif logos, and whilst we know that a brand is not a logo, it’s also important to note that it still is an identifier. So, if it looks the same as every other logo, how do you expect it to stand out on a page filled with logos that look just like yours?
When creating and maintaining a brand, versatility is something that needs to be considered. What if your brand introduces a new product, or takes a whole new direction? Will your visual identity and positioning transition easily?
Be unique, take elements of the trends, but remember that they’re just that, a trend. Eventually they will go out style and if you’ve created your whole brand identity on something that’s temporary, how do you expect it to remain timeless.
And there’s that word, timeless. This is something good designer’s challenge themselves to do all the time. It pretty much means to create something that is unique, but versatile, so it can be carried across the ages. A perfect example of this is the Coca-Cola logo (see the evolution of the logo here). You’ll notice they tried to change it in 1890-1891 but it was changed back to the original handcrafted script. Over the years they tweak it ever so slightly so that it remains modern, but the consumer still recognises it.
When bigger brands update their identities, a lot of the time they change progressively. Did you noticed that Trip Advisor had changed from a forest green to a ‘teal’ green over the last few years (along with tweaks to their other colours)?
They do this progressively so that that the identity doesn’t drastically change but it continues to evolve, stay updated and remain timeless.
3. Brand Direction and Alignment
It’s important to note that your brand direction and alignment should play a huge role in your brand identity and collateral. Fonts, colours and layout all depict meaning through visuals. Fonts are huge with setting the tone of your brand, using the wrong font can completely change the way you communicate certain messages. Likewise, with colour. You wouldn’t go creating a government document in rainbow Comic Sans, it would look unprofessional and childish. But it would work with marketing material for a childcare centre.
Just because there is a hot new font on the block, doesn’t mean you should go rushing to use it (we’ve seen this with a certain script font that is so overused it’s not even funny). Unless it completely aligns with your overall communication and brand direction, don’t follow the trend.
A complete rebrand, on the other hand, is necessary when the business wants to change direction and create an identity that assists with that change. A recent example of this is the Mailchimp rebrand. Love it or hate it, they have a direction that they know about and are aligning their identity to tell that story (read more about it here).
Just remember, if you’re constantly chasing trends, you’ll never have your own brand style, and consistency in market is huge when it comes to brand recognition. And you know what? I get it, it’s hard to stay on the same track when you see other brands doing really cool things. Just remember, we’re all on different journeys trying to achieve different goals, so if we’re constantly trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ how are we meant to path our own direction? Imposter Syndrome is real guys, just shake it off, focus on your goal.
And, just like the Apple tagline says, ‘Think Different’.
Tara Ladd is a Premium member and the Founder and Creative Director at Your One and Only, a brand design studio that helps brands to communicate meaning through creative strategy and design. In other words, they help to make your brand look awesome. You can find her sharing insights about brand, design and marketing on Instagram and Facebook.
Connect with Tara here.