Branding constantly evolves and changes with trends. If you don’t update your image on a regular basis, you risk becoming dated and irrelevant. Branding is more than a colour scheme and a font family; it is the visual projection of the core values of your brand.
As the world shifts closer towards austerity, companies are presenting authentic, traditional-style branding and an emphasis on an emotional connection to nostalgia.
Branding is important for creating a first impression but is also a critical part of your marketing. Keeping your brand personality, voice, mission and values updated to reflect social trends shows that your company is connected with societal trends.
Expressing your brand personality and its growth requires attention to many aesthetic representations of your brand. This includes understanding social media channels and sharing, how to reach influencers and what messaging will connect with your customer persona. Let’s take a closer look at what is trending in 2023.
Top branding trends of 2023
Monochromatic branding is minimalist and refined. Using various shades of the same colour keeps your branding looking clean. To create a monochromatic start with a base colour and add different shades through font, images, icons, materials, etc.
Monochromatic colours create a sleek and cohesive look. The primary colour forms the base of the colour palette and tones add layers of complexity. Choosing your primary colour is an important step in branding. Using colour psychology is a good way to determine the emotion you want to communicate. For example, many fast food brands use red because it is associated with triggering hunger. Luxury brands are using beige and pastel tones as they are associated with femininity and wealth.
Photos are used to create an emotional connection between the customer and the brand. People like to see themselves in product advertising. In 2023, brands are recognising the need to diversify their range of models, including people that more accurately reflect their customer persona.
Thanks to the continued success of influencer culture, many brands have opted to create campaigns that mimic the amateur nature of online photography. Brands are moving away from studio photography to attempt to capture the simplicity of life that young consumers crave. Outdoor shots, impossibly beautiful nature and clean urban environments soak online advertising and scream at consumers from billboards.
Making a brand accessible using amateur-style photography has been popular in marketing for many years. However, it is still connecting with audiences. The feel of authenticity and inclusion that this style of photography adds to a brand personality is essential to the success of a brand that wants to communicate ‘community.’
Customers are drawn to anything that feels unique. ‘Bespoke’ is the buzzword of the current consumer market. Brands are opting for a holistic look in 2023, attempting to develop a connection with customers that feels genuine. Driven by the loneliness and depression of lockdowns during the pandemic, customers are seeking brands that hark back to a time when things felt simple and safe – like childhood.
Hand-drawn cartoons and illustrations have a genuine feel that connects people with a simpler time in their lives. Illustrations feel human and connected, something people have been craving since the lifting of restrictions imposed worldwide during the pandemic.
Not all brands and not all consumers are seeking out a cottage-industry theme. Some brands recognise the celebration that is capitalism and embraces bold fonts, striking colour palettes, and careful use of negative space.
If minimalism is based on bleeding and calm, maximalism is about smacking your eyes with big, bold statement pieces. Choose one design element, like a colour palette or font, and make it big. Clashing colours, bold, ugly fonts and a focus on a few key elements make a statement piece.
The bold approach is for brands that are prepared to make a scene, stand out and be known for their appeal to a very key demographic.
Branded packaging is a powerful tool, especially if customers do the work of sharing your brand online for you. Unboxing is still a ‘thing’ on social media, so if your sell and deliver a physical product, one of the best investments you can make is in a great unboxing experience for your customer.
However, you need to do more than place the purchased item in a pretty box. You need to add elements of surprise for your customers. Making the packaging tactile, adding cutouts or placing layers inside the box make the unboxing experience more appealing for an audience that has shared it all online before.
For online products, making your website a layered experience can also be the exciting equivalent of unboxing.
Although this branding trend is for physical branding, the same idea applies to layering on web pages. Have images that people click to reveal more, or go deeper, and place easter eggs on pages to make your website experience more fun and interactive. It could be a landing page or even a section of your website. Done correctly, it is certain to get traffic moving on your site.
A mascot or brand ambassador can help create an emotional connection with your audience through a character. There are many examples of mascots that promote brands, such as the McDonald’s clown or the Disney mice. Modern brands also use celebrities to boost their image with ‘collaborations’ and sponsorship.
However, mascots and ambassadors come with some issues. Diversity, inclusion, messaging and appropriation are all issues that brands have faced with using a character to represent their image. It is important to do market research for mascot ideas to ensure they are not offensive or exclusionary, and they are not already in use by another company.
Businesses that use environmentalism and sustainability as selling points have also had to struggle with the muted olives and browns that marketers believe are indicative of nature. Surveys suggest that 57% of consumers would change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact. For this reason, your brand needs to promote any sustainable practices or environmental principles it has.
Brands that focus on sustainability and environmentalism, no longer need to package the brand in olive greens and dank browns. Tropical colours, patterns and florals are all trending in the sphere of brands that purport to be environmentally conscious.
A unique font and a catchy business name make a brand. This type of lighting in a bottle is rare, and most businesses work extremely hard to create a brand. Using a designer font is one way to set your brand apart.
Type designers are font artists who understand the art behind font type; what makes them readable, appealing to certain audiences and unique to a brand.
The replacement of letters with images, such as a doughnut in place of an ‘o’ or a number in a word, is trending in 2023. Lettering that is whimsical and suggestive of movement is also on point this season. Typography is being used as a main design element. The addition of shapes is also a great way to give your brand name a little edge that helps people remember your business name.
In 2023, brand activism for diversity, inclusion, and sustainability is trending. Brands are embracing an ‘authentic’ style by using conversational tones in ad copy and leaning into the power of influencer marketing and UGC.
People want brands to connect with them, not talk down to them, so using the language of your target audience is important for accessibility.
Designers are adding animation to the brand experience. Web designers are adding small moving elements like sliding colour blocks, slides, parallax scrolling, and more. These design trends add depth and interactive elements to your website and help create a more memorable brand experience.
Animated elements are a modern way to approach online branding. They increase traffic time on the page, click rates, and your overall ranking on search engines.
However, animation can slow your page loading speeds. The animated elements take more resources than static pages, so it is important that you ensure your server has the capability before committing to major design changes on your website.
Branding best practices in 2023
To stay in business and on the right side of capitalism, it is important to stay connected with your customer’s interests. The world right now focused on subjects like diversity, inclusion, health and wellbeing and value systems.
The internet has helped people to feel more connected. It has opened people to the idea that we are all just human, even if we look different. People want to see themselves represented in brand advertising. They want to see themselves wearing your shirt, drinking your coffee or creating using your software. An emphasis on inclusive advertising means including;
- People of nationalities, differing abilities, ages, and sexual orientations in your imagery.
- A language that makes everyone feel included.
- Ways to make your online space more accessible.
Brands are including more photos without perfectly airbrushed and curated images. People are still hooked on Instagram and TikToc. They use social media platforms to upload content and gain attention by wearing luxury brands and creating unlikely scenarios. Brands that understand this desire make use of UGC to add authenticity to their content and connect.
Maintaining your brand means understanding and setting trends. You need to remain fresh and relevant. Big brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Starbucks do this through products, refinement and connection. While you might not have the money of these brands to put into marketing, you do have creative agencies and consultants ready to help you with the process. This year, guide your brand towards;
- More sustainable practices
- Diversity and inclusion in your brand photos, messaging, and identity
- Focusing on authenticity and UGC to connect
- Your audience and customers as brand ambassadors
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