The Future of Brand Design

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Brand Design has come on leaps and bounds in recent years as it adapts to the world around it. So what will Brand Design look like as we move into the future? 

Branding was originally defined by design. For consumers this was often the only way they could decide how authentic or trustworthy a brand was. But branding, as everything, has moved on.

Brand design must now help consumers understand the values and the ethics of a company, and how they like to operate. Brands need to operate across multiple channels, utilising different techniques and adapting to a range of cultural and technological issues.

Branding of yesteryear has focused a lot on our brave new digital world and the ‘always-on’ consumer. So much so in fact that this has become the minimum when considering brand design, i.e. how your brand is represented online.

So, if that is the past and the present, what does the future look like for brand design?

Be Honest & Be Ethical

Your brand design should tell consumers not just about your company, but about your values, how you operate and the things you believe in. You should be thinking about what’s true about your brand and try and represent this.

Modern consumers have so much choice that good products alone often aren’t enough – they want to buy from and interact with brands that are responsible and authentic.

A 2015 study found that 91% of consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also to address social and environmental issues. And a whopping 90% said they would boycott a company who they found to be irresponsible or deceptive. this study demonstrates just how conscious consumers are of a brand’s personality, ethos and values, and therefore, how conscious you should be of representing them.

Master Your Trade and Your Brand

With so much competition in a crowded marketplace, consumers want to feel confident in the brands they are interacting with. Historically, consumers would trust larger brands as this seemed to represent reliability and trustworthiness.

Increasingly though we will see a move towards trust in smaller brands and services instead. Consumers will want to trust a selection of brands that are focused on one, or a small number of ‘things’ and doing them extremely well. And brand design will develop to reflect this. Think simple designs that focus on one or two aspects and a branding style that conveys mastery and confidence.

The Importance of Packaging

Well designed and branded product packaging risked falling out of favour with all the hype around digital. But those wishing to future-proof their brand design should think of packaging as a blank canvas to express your brand’s personality and convey your message.

Here’s some of the things we think will set out the most forward thinking branded packaging:
  • Neutral colours and designs. Neutral is the new luxury, with plenty of negative space. Think warm earth tones and soft pastels. Gender-neutral packaging will also become more commonplace.
  • The use of nature. Natural imaging has been around for a little while now, but as brand design develops, the use of nature will become less realistic and more illustrative,taking designs to the next level.
  • Sustainable materials. With so much public condemnation of single-use plastics and concern for the environment, the best, and most future proof packaging will make use of sustainable materials.
  • E-commerce optimised packaging. E-commerce accounts for %17 of all retail sales here in the UK, but the amount of companies using branded packaging optimised for this is astoundingly low. This is the perfect place keep pushing your brand.
The e-commerce optimised packaging that we designed for Pure Maple.

‘Real World’ Branding

Another trend we will see more of as brand design develops is ‘real world’ or physical branding. Similar to the resurgence of packaging, consumers will increasingly crave a more physical, real-world interaction with brands.

Primarily focused on those industries that have physical locations (retail, hospitality etc), real world branding will focus on how customers interact with your brand throughout their entire time with you, not just the sale or interaction. Retail space will transform into brand experience space. For inspiration, brands like Lego and Nike are ahead of the curve on this one.

Our Conclusion

Brand design has developed almost unrecognisably in recent years with the advent of the digital age. And it will change again as digital cements itself as the norm and we find new ways to interact with brands, consumers and each other. A lot of these developments will directly reflect larger cultural trends - the increased prevalence of gender neutral packaging is a great example of this.

Consumers will also increasingly hold brands and designers to higher standards. Not just in terms of visuals, but with particular focus on the environment and sustainable packaging. Brands who persist in using single-use plastics will be left behind by eco-conscious consumers. The future of brand design could find itself with a unique opportunity to shape wider issues, such as the environment.

If you need help ensuring your brand design is future proof and properly represents you, we’d be happy to chat through your ideas! You can get in touch with us here.