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9 Brand Design Trends to Look out for in 2018

January 2, 2018 - fifteen

So 2017 is over and a new year is here. We have a feeling it’s going to be a good one. As a creative team, it’s a great time to be alive. Never before has design been so important. Especially in helping convey meaning to potential customers. For users to build a positive picture of your brand in their minds. Never before have we had such great opportunities to help design and build experiences to propel businesses forward based on trends. To help them get their messages out to the right people.

With this in mind, we decided to do a typical design trend blog post. Take the time to think about some of the design trends we are likely to be utilised in the coming twelve months. We’ve split our thoughts into 3 areas – “brand identity”, “technology”, and “Design styles”.

Brand Identity-Based Trends

In the Western world, we have a lot of stuff. Stuff is great but what most people are seeking is meaning. Ensuring that customers attach the right meaning to your products/company is essential. The following trends in brand identity are set to enhance brand recognition and experiences in 2018.

1. Adaptable brand identity

Example of Adaptable Logo
Examples of how users can interact with the snapchat brand identity
Source: wikipedia & Foodiepatootie

In the digital age – logos are no longer printed and set in stone – never to change again. As designers, we do not need to come up with a brand mark which can never change. In today’s world, we can now look for ways to create a design “system” which has limits. But allows variation whilst still being recognisable.
This is not altogether new. TV brands such as MTV and Channel 4 have been using the shape of their letters in variations for years.

The difference today is that technology is in the hands of customers. So, building brand identities which enable users to add their own stamps to their form is a great way of allowing your audience to feel a part of your brand.
In 2018 we see the opportunity for brand identities to be adapted and personalised by customers as huge. A brand which has done this well is Snapchat. In 2018 we will see more flexible and personalise brand identity models come to light.

2. Responsive brand identities

Example of responsive logo
Example of how the Guinness Brand identity has been considered for usage at different sizes

Responsive web design is now the norm. Websites now adapt to the device you are using to browse them on. Yet an often neglected element of this is how a brand identity should look at different sizes. In 2018 we see the potential for responsive logos.
We will see more focus on how brand identities look at different sizes and on different devices. This is to make sure a consistent recognisable experience for customers. See some examples of this in action here.

3. Animated brand identities

Animated brand example
Example of an animated logo by Javier Miranda Nieto
Source: Dribble

Brand identities no longer need to be static. Presenting a brand online gives us the opportunity to consider how an identity moves and expresses meaning. Also in how it loads and unloads onto a screen. In 2018 we see this trend becoming more popular and an integral part of the branding process.

Technology-based trends

Technology is constantly affecting how we design. As a creative team, we can never stand still. We must always be looking ahead at the new technologies that are emerging. Also how this might change the way we design interfaces and brand experiences. Here are three that will be huge in 2018.

4. Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality

A VR user
Researchers with the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany, exploring virtual reality for controlling planetary rovers and satellites in orbit.
Source: Wikipedia

One of the exciting things we introduced to our website this year was a virtual 360-degree tour of our office. We are recommending this type of virtual reality to enable customers to get a taste of a venue via. experience. As VR technology becomes more accessible – get set for more experiences that will give you a physical presence in a virtual environment.
Though this won’t be a thing in 2018 I’m looking forward to the day when customers virtually walk through websites!

Following on the heels of Virtual reality is Augmented Reality or AR. AR is already in use and is set to take off in 2018. With the rise of wearable technology and the use of better cameras in smartphones – combining the virtual with the real is only going to increase. The Pokémon Go game experience which utilised AR proved very popular in 2016/2017 but we predict that we will see more meaningful uses of this technology in 2018 (not that Pokémon doesn’t have its uses!). B2B uses would be more akin to helping consumers see how a product might look in their homes or look when they wear it.

5. Specialist printing

Specialist printing example
Example of some recent label we have done which won ‘label of the year’ in the 2017 UK packaging awards

In a world of clicks, pixels, avatars and online personas; the value of a tangible and “real” piece of promotional material should not be overlooked. For brands which value the personal touch – specialist printing can be an effective way of enabling your audience to attach real positive meaning to your brand. A well designed printed brochure which takes into consideration the feel of the paper used, personalised messaging and the “gift-like” appeal of its usage. In a considered sales experience can make a huge difference to the success of your salespeople.

Packaging and the experience of unwrapping and how it feels to hold a physical product is as important as ever. In these times of the “virtual”, we do not think print is dead. In 2018 specialist print will be more effective than ever.

6. Voice User Interfaces

Amazon Alexa
VUI is on the rise
Source: Amazon

Although the voice is not quite functional in web design yet. The rise in popularity of Amazon Alexa and Google Home, voice-activated commands are here to stay. Voice interface will impact on web design and digital marketing is yet to be fully realised. But as this technology continues to grow in its usage it does seem that we may need to begin to start to not only think about graphical user interfaces (GUI) but also voice user interfaces (VUI).

In 2018 we predict a start in the move towards interfaces which will both look great but where needed also have a voice component.

Design Style Based Trends

Design trends come and go but in 2018 the following will be big. See what you think:

7. “Glitch” Effect

Example of Glitch Effect
Example of the Glitch effect by Heitor Magno. Source: Flickr

It may seem odd that corrupted images which used to be so frustrating to users are now deliberately being created. In a perfect world, glitches stand out. The “glitch effect” is already quite popular and we are set to see this continue into 2018.
They convey a rebellious vibe of nonconformity. Also gives us a nostalgic feel as we mentally hark back to the days of aerials on TV sets and slowly loading internet images. How times have moved on…

8. Custom photography and illustration

Standard stock library images have their place. For brands looking to communicate authentic meaning custom graphics and photography is essential. At Fifteen we call this the “visual language” of a brand. Having this considered in the branding and creative process can make all the difference. Consideration of the type of brand story that is being communicated, the competition and the meaning of the brand in the audiences lives – all help to decide a unique style of presentation.
Having this allows a brand to stand out and be recognisable, even if their logo is covered up. In trying to present themselves as different and authentic – we predict more usages of custom illustrations, bespoke image treatments and authentic photography.

9. Double Exposure

double exposure example
Example of a double exposure image by PROJackie Crossle. Source: Flickr

Why have one image when you can have two? ‘Double Exposure’ is an effect which not only looks interesting but allows two ideas to be communicated at once. 2018 will see these types of images continued to be created and used.

So – that’s our 9 trends to keep an eye on for 2018. Have any more to add? Let us know!

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