One thing we often think about at Springbot, is ways designers can adapt brands to keep up with new trends, or even if it should adapt. In our minds, a lot of recent design trends have an intrinsic value but end up being overused and too-closely followed. Just because a new design trend is all the rage and is used in a certain way doesn’t mean it can’t be modified or experimented with on your store’s site. Of course, personality and character are extremely important elements to preserve in brand design updates. Good design should highlight personality, not cover it up.
How can brands incorporate new design trends and elements to stay relevant? Check out our four tips to get you started:
Tip 1: Don’t Just Go With the Flow
Too often designers go along with trends without really figuring out how it can apply to their brand voice and identity. Take flat design for example – it’s so widely used now that the reason for its use is not fully understood. Flat design is meant to be simple and eliminate anything that is not adding to the design and function of your site. However, when flat design is overused, it can remove personality from your brand and look bland.
Google does a great job of incorporating flat design principles into their branding without letting it completely take over. Their design style, known as material design, draws from flat design but also allows for depth and skeuomorphism (the design concept of making elements resemble their real-world counterparts). To take a cue from Google and adapt a design trend to your brand, start with the principles the design and work up to the aesthetic of it while retaining your core brand elements. As Dieter Rams once said “Good design is as little design as possible”.
Tip 2: Take Your Time
Design requires thought, so take the time to figure what you want your brand to represent. What you want it to be ultimately decides how it’s going to impact the user and your overall success. Color is the most essential element in branding, and each color should have a specific function or callout. There’s a mental domino effect that occurs for a user when approaching the color scheme of a particular brand. A certain demographic might respond better or worse to a specific color’s connotations, so it’s important to think about the chain reaction of thoughts and emotions that occur. How do you want your customers to feel when visualizing your brand?
For example, the primary color of your brand is important in a particular way. Like our Springbot green (#3eb049), it can be a way of identifying action or overall brand identity. Using it as a color or underline for a button can help train people how to use your site or product. It helps to think of color as a function and not just a visual identifier.
Tip 3: Unify Your Aesthetic
Once you’ve figured out how you want your branding and identity to be approached and what kind of design you want to incorporate into it, take care that it is unified and not just a patchwork of unrelated design elements. Vision is extremely important and needs to be constant when going through the process of creating or updating branding identity. How things like color and typography are balanced with each other need to be constantly kept in mind. The more thought and consideration you put into it, the more consistent your brand will be.
Tip 4: Tell a Story
In our experience, design can be about building a narrative. Whether you’re selling or describing, you have to lead the user through the steps of what it means. Begin with the content you currently have and decide how to restructure it to convey your brand’s mission or voice. From that point you should be able to develop the rest of your design appropriately. Just as trends should be modified to make something new and interesting, branding should be modified, however slightly, to stay relevant to its target market.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, you shouldn’t shy away from updating your branding. Doing so will ensure that your marketing has a fresh look that will appeal to your key customer segments. When updating your brand’s design to reflect current design trends, start from the most basic elements and work your way up until you’re satisfied with the look and feel. Remember that less is more in this case. Take the time to consider how your brand will be perceived by your target market, and be sure that all of your changes look unified and are full of purpose. In everything you do for your branding, keep it simple, keep it interesting, keep it creative, and most importantly, track the results.