We’re six months into 2019 and it’s time to reflect on what design trends are taking off with corporate brands. One sure thing is that today’s designs are reflecting a need to stand out from the crowd. This year shows a proclivity for bold, adventurous, and eye-catching designs. With the average American seeing more than 4,000 advertisements per day(1), brands know they need keen appeal to attract someone to click, read, or ask to learn more about a company, service, or product.
Brands are finding it is imperative to use fonts that are easy to read, but hard to ignore. Fonts set the stage of any advertisement, brochure or website. So this year, when corporate brands are vying for attention, they are relying on bold, memorable fonts to engage their customers and invite their potential customers to keep reading. Shillington, a friendly sans serif, is a perfect example of a readable font that sparks interest with slightly informal letter sizing. Whether a brand is hoping to convey that they are trustworthy or hip or authentic, font choice will help convey that message.
Think Outside The Box
While technology startups try to think outside the box and disrupt their industry with innovative changes, corporate design is also ditching the box. Until recently most designs didn’t feel complete if there wasn’t a central focus, often enclosed by a frame, but today open composition is rising. Without a dominant central focus, open compositions utilize the whole screen or page; objects or shapes may even seem to float off the screen. When competing for attention in the hyper-visual digital space, open compositions stand out because the eye must move across the canvas in a different way than with closed compositions.
Honest Stock Photos
As noted above, the digital world is a visual world, which means the average viewer, inundated with visual information, must be able to quickly judge what is worth looking at and what ought to be quickly scrolled over. In 2019, bad stock photography is readily dismissed. Think of the cheesy grin of the professional person looking into the camera, arms crossed, and a tastefully blurred background. At one time this self-assured smile and perfect lighting may have communicated trust. But in 2019, these kinds of stock photos seem outdated and actually untrustworthy. The new honest stock photography must be visually interesting enough to survive on Instagram.
With corporate brands marketing across a plethora of media streams, in 2019, logos must adapt to their medium. Print and digital spaces all have different demands and logos must look like they belong to each one. For this reason, corporate brands are looking to variable logos that can change shape and even color so the logos can stand out on various social media platforms, an e-newsletter header, or on a business card without losing recognizability. The key to variable logos is having one key ingredient that remains constant throughout all versions of the logo, like McDonald’s golden arches.
Color Color Color
2019 is a year of passion and that is being reflected in corporate design color choices. For example, while traditionally banks and financial institutions have relied on steely blues and greys to convey trustworthiness, when Financial Alliance for Women rebranded this year, they dropped the blues and greys and opted for a bold and refreshing mint green. Along with bold color choices, corporate brands are choosing to have fun with color in their designs using gradient colors and striking contrasting colors.
The first six months of 2019 have set the stage for an adventurous year of design. We will see how these trends develop and morph as they are tested in situ as corporate brands use these techniques to tell their own stories, engage audiences, and market their products and services.