There are so many gorgeous brand trends to avoid because absolutley everybody’s doing it.
PRETTY IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS AUTHENTIC!
It is a great time for design right now. Good, beautiful, really nice design is more accessible and than ever. It’s more affordable and there are more ways to get it, whether through platforms like Creative Market, which is super cheap, or Canva, which has a free option. There’s so much out there and there are tons of ways to see what other people are doing, especially on social media.
The good: you have so many more options for nice branding, especially if you’re a business owner without a lot of resources
The bad: everyone’s shit starts to look the same!!!
It can be so easy to straight-up copy someone, fall into a trend that’s just a passing fad, to take on something that you might like but isn’t actually true to you or possibly your audience. None of these things are authentically you, so they’re not going to be beneficial to your brand in the long run, even if they look good.
I don’t normally want to be a hater. I don’t like to talk shit about other people’s brands, and I’m not going to… but I am going to say, here are things to consider when you’re building your brand so that you don’t end up copying someone else’s shit and looking just like everybody else. This is especially important because most of these trends I’m going to talk about today are geared towards women. They’re portraying some vision of femininity or used for brands that try to target women. Frankly, that shit just pisses me off because women can like all types of stuff. It doesn’t need to be this stereotypical or this limiting! So that’s just my little pet peeve thrown in.
Trend #1 Bohemian Design
Some of the characteristics of this are line art, hands, crystals, stars, moons, and plants; this kind of thin, delicate, charming line art coupled with warm, natural, earthy palette. Think tans, deep reds, and all different neutral colors. And like I said, these are beautiful. They’re really, really gorgeous designs.
One of the reasons they’re so accessible is because a lot of really talented designers are creating these and selling them and, you know, go ahead, get your money, but they’re everywhere now. They’re everywhere, and it’s starting to look really generic. However, if that is true to who your brand is, if it’s the appropriate look for your whole personality or your product, and your auidence is going to deeply resonate with that — fantastic! But it’s not the case for everyone, and there are probably other, more unique ways to express that identity.
Trend #2 Matisse Inspired Abstracts
Matisse is an incredible artist from earlier in the 20th century. He’s one of my favorite artists. In fact, for years, I’ve wanted a tattoo of one of his cut-outs which is exactly what inspired this trend. He created paper and would cut-outs of nature, leaves, women’s bodies, things like that.
They’re really simple, abstract, and colorful and have sparked a massive trend of using this kind of rough abstract cut-outs and line style art – which he also did – as the basis for your graphics. Once again, it’s gorgeous. It’s really cute. I love it. When I was first exploring reading brand processes, I even found myself pulling some of those into mood boards or my Pinterest. But then I started realizing that it was everywhere. SO many people are doing it.
While it was really original when he did this in 1940 as a totally abstract expressionists artist, not so original today. It’s being used to represent soft, natural, feminine things, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Again, it’s great, but it’s just really, really, really, really, REALLY overused.
Trend #3 Clean and Girly
Now I will admit, I am not the girliest person in the world. I love me some pink, but all those kinds of stereotypical, what a girl is “supposed” to like types of things generally aren’t for me. But there is a particular look that has emerged over years and years: light and bright and white and pale pinks and marbles. You know what I’m talking about.
Um, it’s often associated with “girl boss” business ownership that you have to be that clean and polished and feminine to be a woman in business. And that’s what I don’t like about it is become such a distinctive look. Many people think if they want to market or reach women with their business, they have to do something like that. It becomes super limiting and bullshit! Women like all different types of colors; we don’t just like pink and white and girly. Some of us do, and it’s still beautiful, crisp, and polished, but it’s SO overdone. So, reconsider, think about doing something a little different. Explore another option.
Trend #4 Dark and Moody Editorial Look
This is a tough one as it is inherently very, very timeless. If you’ve seen my video or blog on luxury branding, this look is rooted in so many of those elements. It includes things like a black and white color palette; fashion-y, high-end photography; sleek, high-contrast typography, like a serif font you’d see in a magazine. Those are amazing, beautiful design elements that I actually absolutely love. And while generally, they’re timeless, they’ve been taken from great design studios like Wildflower Design and High Moon and just copied all. over. instagram.
And again, I love the look of it. It’s gorgeous. It’s so, so nice. And it conveys sophistication and sexiness and all these things. But so many people are just ripping it off. You can take parts of it and make it your own, or do it in a new way that’s unique or add something else to it that makes it special, like a different typeface. But a lot of people are just straight-up copying. Like, literally, there’s a Canva template of a stolen Wildflower Design creation. When everyone does the exact same thing (again literally in this case), it becomes WAY too overdone.
Trend #5 Delicate Monogram Wordmarks
I couldn’t come up with a better way to describe this, but when I show you, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
It’s beautiful, subtle, and nuanced sophisticated type with a bit of custom wordmark or a custom icon right above it. This is getting more specific cause it’s more of a logo style, but also it’s just great design. It’s a thing; I looked on Pinterest, and I saw a whole bunch of them in a row just sitting there right in a row.
We can be better than this. We can be different.
Trend #6 70’s Modern
Also a logo trend, this style pulls in retro, sturdy, kind of quirky, chunky Serif typefaces, inspired by the seventies. Using these typefaces with some personality and pairing them with a vibrant color palette.
Again, it’s super cute, and it conveys like lightheartedness and playfulness while still being polished and sophisticated. But it’s just gotten really, really overdone. It’s like “a look” now that I see constantly.
I think with some more perspective of time, be looked back on as a trend. Personally, I don’t think brands should ever be trendy. Meaning they evolve with fads. You want your brand to be timeless. Even if you evolve it a little bit over time and make tweaks, you don’t want just to reinvent it constantly to fit with the trends because they’re not the most important thing. What your audience wants is the most important thing. And what is authentic to you is the most important thing.
So I hope I don’t sound like too much of a hater again. It’s beautiful, but we can do better. We can do better than looking like everybody else.
What’s the solution to all of the sameness in these beautiful design trends?
If you already have branding:
If you’re already using some of these, don’t trip! Look, I’m not telling you to forget it because it looks great. It’s polished it; these are great design concepts, that’s why everyone loves them so much. But, as you grow and evolve, make sure that this look and feel aligns with who you really are and who your audience really wants. And definitely that it’s not the only look out there and that you’re really standing out from the crowd. [inaudible]
If you don’t have branding or if you’re looking to rebrand:
The first thing you can do is figure out your personality. Knowing your personality, what your brand stands for, and what your audience expects is really important to the first step to figuring out what the right look and feel for you is.
You can still use affordable resources, templates, or done-for-you logos if you have to. I will never say don’t do it If those are the only options you have. But, you can customize them or look for ones that are a little more unique. Try to go against the grain more than just what’s the most popular out there. Be mindful of what other people are doing so that you can try to stand out.
And finally, always the best approach (if you’re in a position to take it) is to hire a designer. We, as designers, are going to create something for you that is totally custom. And hopefully (if you have a good designer), there’s no chance that it’s going to be copying someone else out there. And it’s going to be inherently true to you because it’s created just for you. So that is always the best option, but if you’re not there yet, that’s okay. You’ll get there one day!
Just Be Your Fucking Self!
In conclusion, these are my beautiful brand trends to avoid going forward in your brand. And my final takeaway is just to be your fucking self. I mean, it’s really easy to copy what’s out there. It is really easy to think something is gorgeous and want it for yourself. It’s happened to me too! But at the end of the day, pretty is never as effective as authentic. Being truly unique and aligning that with your audience is absolutely the most important thing.
If you need help figuring out the personality that is right for your design style is right for your brand and forget these trends, check out my Brand Archetypes Guide.
Until next time, stay badass!