Ready to make your branding brand new again? Reinvigorate tired branding with the biggest brand design trends of the year so far.
In this day and age, building a brand is key to business success. Branding provides businesses with an identity beyond products and services alone, creating something unique that customers can connect with. Whether you’re a business owner or a designer working on a branding project for a client, creating a strong, relevant and recognizable brand is essential for growing your business and building a loyal, scalable customer base. Read on to discover how to nail your branding, as well as the top branding trends you should be watching out for this coming year.
On a base level, branding is the process of researching, developing, creating and iterating on the perception of your brand to accurately communicate your vision, mission, personality and purpose. Encompassing everything from a brand’s visual identity and design to messaging and tone of voice, branding is made up of all the external perceptions, ideas and concepts that distinguish a business from its competitors.
Your branding is essentially the personality of your brand, as well as the unique selling point that enables what you do to stand out. With new products popping up all the time, first impressions count – and as the profile of your company, your brand should represent and immediately convey who you are, and what you do and stand for. Done right, branding can promote your business, elevate your products, keep existing customers engaged and capture the attention of new ones. But done wrong, it can ruin the chances of a brand succeeding in the market.
Firstly, your branding should be clear, original and memorable. It should also be consistent everywhere your brand is visible – including in your marketing and advertising, your business stationery and product packaging, your social media channels, website and email communications, and of course, your products and services.
Perhaps most importantly, your mission or vision should be strong, coherent and woven into every element of your branding. Behind every great brand is an even greater purpose, and to craft a successful brand you need to know exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. As your business evolves, it’s important to continue developing your brand, to ensure it aligns with your purpose every step of the way.
And just as brands themselves grow and change, branding trends also evolve over the years. There are, of course, branding rules and guidelines that are best to stick to, but keeping up with the latest and greatest trends is a surefire way to stay one step ahead of your competitors and remain modern, fresh and relevant.
If you’re doing a branding project or redesign but don’t want to start from scratch, fear not! From social media templates and branding packs to customizable business cards, logo designs and unique typefaces, Envato Elements has everything you need to take your branding to the next level – quickly and easily.
Ready to make your branding feel brand new again? If you’re looking to create a brand, give a brand a makeover, or simply stay up-to-date with the hottest branding styles of the moment, here are the big brand trends to watch:
Brand activism is by no means a passing trend or fad. Wearing your heart on your sleeve and demonstrating how you’ve committed to the things you believe in (rather than just paying lip service) has never been more important. Consumers want to interact with brands that share their values, from sustainability to social justice. Leaning into brand activism is all about communicating your commitment to making positive change – and following through!
“How a brand ‘fits’ in with your values, beliefs system and lifestyle will arguably determine whether you buy into that brand,” explains Envato Brand Designer, Sophie Dunn. “A brand’s mission and purpose plays a huge part in who you repeatedly buy from and choose to align with.”
Patagonia is a great example of a brand that aligns what it says with what it does. The Patagonia website clearly showcases the steps the company is taking to minimize its environmental impact, including blog posts, videos and statistics that clearly explain its programs and progress. The content and messaging strongly reflects the Patagonia values as well as a genuine and authentic commitment to change.
“There’s an increasing expectation among consumers that brands don’t just exist to make a profit,” Sophie continues. “Their values, wallets and loyalty lie with brands who endorse, advocate and contribute to a greater good. It’s one of the easiest, most powerful ways for consumers to feel they’re playing their part.”
From LGBTQ+ rights to gender equality, support the causes you care about and introduce them into your brand DNA with design tools and templates in our Activism Collection. Items featured include customizable posters and flyers alongside Instagram post templates and stories; essentially, everything your brand needs to take a stand.
Upholding the less-is-more mantra, minimalism is based around using only the essential elements – such as basic shapes, simple text, limited color palettes and empty space – to create an uncluttered aesthetic. This graphic design and web design trend, which often features organic design elements, is perfect for brands who want to get back-to-basics, convey an uncomplicated personality, or simply let their products speak for themselves.
“Minimalism can be a great way to make sure the viewer is focusing on exactly what you want them to focus on in your branding,” says Sophie. “By leaving a lot of open space and sticking to one focal point, minimalism can help your main subject have a lot more impact. It’s an ideal style for projects with stunning photography – when the images can speak for themselves – or in branding when a unique font is the star of the show.”
Nu Makeup are masters of minimalism, with simple yet aesthetic two-tone branding, which draws inspiration from the brand’s two highlighter products – soft dusty pink and sandy white. This color palette features everywhere from their product packaging to their marketing materials and social media posts. By keeping their branding neutral, clean and luminous, Nu Makeup tells the consumer everything they need to know about their products.
To try out this stripped back style in your branding, check out the Minimalism Collection on Envato Elements. Featuring everything from minimalist business cards and magazine templates to customizable PowerPoint presentations, these uncluttered and uncomplicated designs demonstrate that minimalism can still have maximum impact.
If you’re tossing up between the simplicity of minimalism or something a bit more eye-catching, read up on the pros and cons of these opposing design styles in our Minimalism vs Maximalism debate.
Quirky branding incorporates everything from hand drawn illustrations and bizarre imagery to overlapping elements, asymmetry and chaotic design. It’s a trend that’s been adopted by a wide range of brands – including in traditional industries such as finance and health insurance. Quirky branding is all about ripping up the rulebook and using unexpected design elements to create a sense of fun and individuality.
Often featuring DIY elements, collage, odd imagery or artwork, fun typography, illustration, colliding elements, bright or clashing colors and distorted shapes, quirky branding techniques help brands make a statement. As well as being fun and eye-catching, these “quirks” can demonstrate a more accessible, personal side of a brand.
Up Banking is a great example of a brand using quirky branding to be more relatable, while completely subverting the stereotype of the grey, boring financial institute. With its bright color palette, sunset-red debit cards and eye-catching website, Up Banking ensures users are flooded with 80s nostalgia through the use of tropical neons, retro-inspired gifs and memes, and effortlessly cool icons – which are so laid back they are practically horizontal.
Illustrations are great for adding a quick quirky touch to your branding. Many businesses are now featuring quirky people of all shapes and sizes in their branding, which aligns to an illustration trend commonly referred to as ‘odd bodies‘. To inject some individuality into your branding, check out this flat illustration pack of quirky characters featuring overlapping elements, distorted proportions and disproportionate dimensions.
“Odd bodies are the new normal,” says Envato Designer, Taylor Conacher. “It’s refreshing to see a wider range of representation in branding design illustration. The global advocacy for diversity and inclusion is positively shifting design trends, and we’ll definitely be seeing more of this in the future.”
However, if you’re keen to go down a more rebellious route, this anti-design inspired social media kit from Envato author dirtylinestudio will be sure to introduce some creative chaos to your Instagram feed. Featuring wavy text, inverted colors, overlapping elements and textures such as ripped paper and crinkly plastic, these 18 post templates will help inject some punk into your brand.
The Bauhaus design trend was born from the famous German art school of the same name that rose to popularity in the early 20th-century. It embraces elements from both art and industry, manifesting in geometric shapes, strong lines and sharp corners. Bauhaus has a minimal, modern, and functional feel which draws on elements of retro design – making it a perfect and versatile choice for branding design.
For example, the branding of online collaboration platform UKO – a tool that connects teams and streamlines workflows – features distinctive Bauhaus elements such as bold shapes, fine lines, and other geometric elements that create a colorful, eye-catching effect. Harnessing both static images and animated illustrations, UKO’s branding conveys that the product is all about organization, connectivity and problem-solving.
Digital design agency Puercaba uses similar elements of Bauhaus design – namely bright colors, geometric shapes, fine lines and delicate fonts – to communicate an entirely different brand focused on art, design and creativity.
They started out as a fun feature of Powerpoint and Microsoft WordArt, but color gradients are now popping up everywhere from design and digital art to social media posts, websites, presentations, and – of course – branding. One of the reasons color gradients are so popular is because they’re incredibly versatile with a wide range of creative applications.
We’re seeing gradients used in various contexts – such as in photo overlays connecting images to a brand’s color palette, as a way of adding extra visual interest to text or type, and as subtle or standout backgrounds to illustrations.
“Gradients often come with a bad rap, but when done well, they are beautiful statement-pieces,” Sophie explains. “A well-crafted gradient is seamless and non-jarring to the eyes. A good rule of thumb is to use three or more colors that are complementary, monochromatic or analogous. While radial and linear gradients are the general go-tos, tri-angular gradients have multiple light sources for depth and dimension – giving you a more contemporary, timeless look.”
One brand giving ground to gradients is Lithuanian confectioner Laroché. Wrapping its decadent chocolate creations in fluid colorful packaging, the brand uses gradients to perfectly visualize the unique explosion of flavors customers can experience when devouring their products – representing tongue-tingling tastes like raspberry, caramel and bittersweet.
In contrast, music festival concept High Life uses colorful gradients to create a chill yet vibrant atmosphere that oozes fun, energy and excitement. Blending bright yellows and pinks with splashes of aqua and blue, this use of gradients perfectly captures the vibe of the brand.
To add a flowing gradient or a modern splash of color to your social media feed in no time, try out these ambient sunrise and sunset themed Instagram Gradient posts and stories.
Our collective obsession with nostalgia has become a dominant force in branding and marketing. For many brands, the past continues to be a rich source of inspiration, and as a result many are putting a fresh spin on much-loved symbols and instantly recognizable icons. Take the branding for this Manila-based bakery Hey Miki, which shares a 70s free love vibe with its peace signs, heart-shaped glasses and ‘flour power’ stickers.
We’re also seeing a resurgence of design elements and pop-culture references from more recent history – namely the 1990s and 2000s – popping up in films, TV shows, marketing materials, branding and social media feeds.
“The nostalgia trend is nothing new, but it’s been exacerbated during the global pandemic when people have spent more time indoors, rewatching their favorite movies and boxsets,” says Envato’s Content Marketing Manager, Julia Fernandez. “Even Gen Z, who didn’t even experience the show the first time round, are indulging in Friends marathons. Brands have been keen to capitalize on our love of all things nostalgic in their marketing, whether it’s Microsoft’s iconic Child of the 90s ad back in 2013 (is that retro in itself now?) or a recent slew of Super Bowl hits. Nostalgic branding is familiar, comforting, and safe–and who doesn’t want a bit of that right about now?”
Featuring throwbacks to high-school soap operas and handmade mixtapes, this Back to 90s Instagram Pack unashamedly taps into the 90s aesthetic with its geometric shapes, clashing colors and retro vibe. For more branding inspiration, from distressed textures of grunge to the psychedelic swirls associated with rave culture, take a step back in time with these nostalgic 90s graphic design trends or, alternatively, give a nod to the Y2K aesthetic.
An innovative trend that’s shaping up to be an essential part of brand storytelling, immersive brand experiences are all about welcoming audiences into your world, inviting interaction and building a connected and engaged community. Whether it be through hosting a themed event, creating an online game or interactive experience, or going above and beyond with your product packaging to create an unparalleled experience for your customers, there’s no doubt that immersive brand experiences are the way of the future.
Take this Stranger Things immersive experience, for example. Located in both San Francisco and New York, it drops fans directly into the Hawkins Lab featured in the show, where they can “discover the secrets within the walls”. Marketed with a slick microsite featuring illustrations inspired by the show and behind-the-scenes images of what to expect on the night, the experience is truly mesmerizing and further solidifies the viewer’s connection to the Stranger Things brand. Another example is from Exhibition Hub, which is offering a worldwide immersive gallery experience, allowing art lovers to step inside the paintings of famous artist Van Gogh, featuring 360-degree projections, 15,000 foot screens and virtual reality.
Whether you are hosting an event or an experience online or in real-life, a well designed landing page can make all the difference when it comes to building anticipation and boosting ticket sales. Brands can create omnichannel customer experiences across real-world and online touchpoints using generated dynamic QR codes, creating memorable branded experiences. To give your customers an interactive, augmented-reality tour of your brand or products, check out this Ozisti | Augmented Reality WooCommerce Theme by ThemeREX.
When it comes to communicating your brand message, choosing the right font or typeface is an integral part of the process. By wrapping up your words in the right package, you can convey a powerful message that suits the tone of your brand. If your brand is bold, fun and playful, then this is the trend for you!
“A picture might say a thousand words, but never underestimate the power of a fun, playful typeface,” exclaims Sophie. “Choosing a slab serif or display font can add volumes of personality to your branding. Add some motion and bold color to bring it to life.”
Featuring bold lettering, playful shapes, colors and l design elements, text really takes on a life of its own with this branding trend, which encourages designers to take a fun approach to typography. The bold and playful type trend is all about communicating personality, and also encapsulates complex design styles such as 3D fonts, animated letters, kinetic typography, and shapeshifting sentences. Take this mesmerizing design by Simon Eves for example, which conveys a sense of meaning through movement. With fonts this fun, who needs images hey?
Playful type doesn’t necessarily need to be 3D or animated to have an impact, as this static sans serif font Hunky Dory by Simonok shows us. A bold, bright display typeface with a childlike touch, the font has a relaxed, happy-go-lucky appearance that makes it perfect for the logo or packaging of a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Learn more about choosing the right font for your brand.