There is something that every business should avoid when it comes to their brand design. I call it the trend trap. This is what happens when a brand has an overly trendy visual identity, from their logo to other elements of their brand.
Many companies get lured into the trend trap. They end up with brands that lean heavily on design trends, only to find themselves stuck with something that looks outdated a few years down the line. Money, time and energy sunken into something that no longer serves them. Ouch.
It breaks my heart to see this! I see the appeal of trendy design. There’s no denying it looks good. But it looks good now. Here are the problems with the trend trap:
You’ll look like everyone else.
Unfortunately, there are so many logos out there that are virtually indistinguishable from a sea of others. This does nobody any good. Part of the reason for this is the rise in brands and designers alike using “logo kits” which can be purchased online. I’m not totally against logo kits but I’m very against downloading a design file and changing some words. Without a unique approach, these end up looking mostly the same, even if they look nice. The goal of brand design is to help consumers visually distinguish your company from other companies. This is what will help people remember who you are! If they can’t do that, then your brand won’t be doing you any favours. Nobody wants to have customers mix them up with their competitors, and that’s why it’s so important to stand out.
Trends don’t last.
Inevitably all trends fade after a period of time and something new and shiny comes along. Just like how I never want to look at low rise jeans or jeggings ever, ever again, you will get tired of looking at that trendy logo. At that point, you might be disappointed to find that your logo or your brand looks dated and out of place. You want a brand identity that lasts the test of time. Think timeless over trendy. Your brand can still be current without leaning too heavily on trends.
Focus on purpose before fads.
As a brand strategist I strongly believe that design should always be rooted in a deeper meaning. Design choices should be intentional. Aside from looking good, design should always involve a decision-making process that is focused on your business goals. You should also be doing customer research to find out what kind of brands and visuals they connect with most. This is why you’ll often hear me talking about business-first design!
There’s a difference between being current and being too trendy.
You should always use the same logo suite for your business – you don’t want to change your logo unless you undergo a rebranding process (which should be approached with care, but that’s a post for another day). So you want to be sure to not have something too trendy. Your logo design and the other elements of your brand that don’t change should be as timeless as possible. Digital ads, marketing collateral, social media templates can be refreshed more often. This is where you can experiment with trends and keep your content current and fresh. Your brand should be timeless but your marketing materials should pay attention to trends.
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