Doing your best creative work means balancing design principles and core brand identity with current trends. You don't have to jump on every new style, but if you're looking to freshen up an existing identity or launch a new one, you'll want to try one of these tips.
Brand storytelling is a mainstay of modern marketing. Companies use the power of narrative to show how their values align with their customers and how they can meet their customers' needs. In brand stories, the customer is the protagonist.
For example, a car company might tell a story about how people who drive their cars rediscover the joy of the open road and the thrill of driving. This emotional connection helps brands stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Graphic designers can use storytelling with visual elements that reinforce key story concepts and evoke emotional responses. Few fields are as closely linked as graphic design and marketing, so use the marketing story's goals to guide your imagery.
The example narrative above incorporates ideas like "freedom," "excitement," and "exploration," so stock images of a winding mountain road would better support the story than a dense city block or familiar suburban street.
Stock photography is essential for many projects, but it's also common that designers are starting to seek alternatives in custom illustrations. This trend started in tech with the flat, simple lines of Alegria-style illustrations, designed for Facebook. Alegria is Spanish for "joy," and the artwork usually depicts cheerful everyday activities.
The dynamic feel of illustration supports brands' desires for authentic and approachable stories. As the practice evolves, designers and illustrators have cultivated more visually complex styles to help brands get noticed. Cartoons, abstract designs, and photo collages have all seen a recent surge in popularity.
GIFs are cool again—at least, your audience thinks so! With the integration of Giphy into everything from Facebook to Slack, the venerable GIF has become a form of visual communication as much as photos or infographics.
Short animations like GIFs are just the beginning; with video, motion graphics, and virtual reality integrations, brands can use the attention-grabbing quality of moving images to focus potential customers on their message, even in the noisy world of social media.
Almost every design project involves the written word, so graphic designers spend a lot of time thinking about typography. Alongside other expressive, artistic trends, bold typography spans industries and styles. Companies like Samsung and Adobe have integrated heavy, oversized text into recent campaigns. Cutting-edge designers are creating custom fonts for clients who want a type-only approach to visual branding. Designers with motion graphics and 3D modeling skills have introduced the world to kinetic type and isometric type renderings.
If your brand identity is more "soft and organic" than "bold and graphic," hand-drawn letterforms and decorative typography are also having a moment this year, especially in the food and personal care industries. There are more ways than ever to be creative with text as designers push the limits of what words can say.
After years of vivid colors, designers are turning to more organic color palettes to express better the simple, genuine stories brands want to tell in 2020. Muted colors are making an appearance with big brands like LinkedIn and Fast Company. They don't have to be pastel or dull; many designers are turning down the brightness just a little to create a mature, sophisticated, and reliable identity for their clients.
If you're not sure where to start with a brand update, making small changes to the color palette is a great choice. Without changing the hues customers associate with a company, you can create modern tones that work with existing collateral.
Graphic design is an ever-changing field, so keeping up with new styles is a key part of the job. Brands in 2020 are focused on creating an authentic, involving story to appeal to their customers. Several contemporary trends support this goal, helping you keep significant brand identities current and create new ones that reflect customers' needs.
Until next time, Be creative! - Pix'sTory made by Garrett Penn