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9 Biggest Branding Trends for 2023: From Daring Nostalgia to Humanized Brands

Want your brand to stand out from the crowd? Make a lasting impression on your customers this coming year with these top branding trends for 2023.

Posted 9 Nov 2022
Branding Trends for 2023

Whether you’re a designer, freelancer, or small business owner, creating a solid and recognizable brand is essential for standing out in your industry. Done right, branding can make a great first impression, keep your business front of mind, and attract potential customers. If done wrong, it could hurt your business.

Brands shouldn’t be static; they must evolve to reflect changing consumer needs, industry trends, and business growth. So, keeping an eye on emerging branding trends is a great way to keep your brand and visual design fresh, fun, and engaging to ensure customers remain loyal to your products or services.

9 Biggest Branding Trends for 2023

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to revamp your brand, there’s no time like the present! Here are the top branding trends we’re predicting for 2023, selected by our Envato specialists and leading industry experts. 

1. Daring Nostalgia

This first trend sees us looking over our shoulders as brands travel back in time to find inspiration. Retro and nostalgic designs are being revived with a modern edge, resulting in a trend we’ve coined ‘daring nostalgia.’ 

The benefits of nostalgia are clear – it’s a strategy that allows brands to express themselves in an engaging, vibrant way while pulling on the heartstrings and memories of their customers.

“Whether psychedelic patterns, layered 3D typography, or retro color palettes, we’ll see design and branding go back in time, contrasting with the minimalist trend we’ve seen over the past few years,” explains brand designer and founder of Pink Pony Creative, Kristy Campbell. “Daring nostalgia is a way to express a brand or business in an engaging, daring, and vibrant way. The trick is ensuring a brand remains timeless over the years.” 

In 2023, we predict a throwback to the walking-talking illustrated mascots of the 50s and 60s. With their quirky facial expressions and playful personalities, these fun little characters are great for giving brands a more human feel, as seen in these packaging examples from Goody Goody and MUUUHLK

It may be more recent than the 1950s, but the 90s and Y2K aesthetic remains popular following a resurgence over the last few years. Unapologetically kitsch and quirky, the naughty noughties were all about bubblegum tones, chunky fonts, and brash bling.

From this Pizza Planet packaging to Kourtney Kardashian’s vitamin brand Lemme, the revived 2000s trend is driving a return to pastels, metallics, and old-school illustrations.  

To get the Y2K look in your designs, try this bundle of 60 eye-catching gradients Instagram templates. For a more retro flavor, these digital papers will give print or web graphics a groovy appeal with sunrays, swirls, and animal spots. 

2. Powerful Use of Color

Grab your sunglasses because we expect to see increasingly impactful color combinations across branding and graphic design next year. Designers will use clashing and contrasting tones to make an impact, like this branding for Seoul’s Doosan Art Center, which depicts three colors colliding through a mishmash of geometric shapes. 

“I think that more impactful combinations of color will be used across branding and graphic design to enhance visibility, especially in digital advertising,” explains Kristy. “We’re all glued to our devices, so brands need ways to create scroll-stopping graphics – and color will always be one of them!” 

In addition, brands will be looking to align their visual identity with specific colors to boost brand recognition. Color can be branding all on its own, just think about the McDonald’s red-and-yellow or the iconic Tiffany blue that has been an element of the brand’s identity since 1845. Australian beauty brand Go-To uses a simple – yet recognizable – pastel coral background color and white text for all its products. 

Spread your sales message with these customizable Instagram Stories revolving around the effective use of color. Or, to stick to a single shade that packs a powerful punch, check out these cosmetic mockups

3. Pushing Design Boundaries

Anti-design has found its way back into the mainstream,” says Envato Senior Digital Designer Keiron Lewis. “From print design to digital branding, it’s breaking all the rules.” 

This analog branding trend takes us back to the era of 90s-era design tropes, channeling an anything-goes aesthetic. Creatives reignited the anti-design movement during the 1990s, experimenting with the beginnings of brutalism and maximalism. As more and more brands aim to deliver something different, designers are making bold decisions and going against the status quo as they integrate innovative formats into their work. 

“We will see more brands aiming to be different over the coming year,” says Bronte Cresswell, founder of Dash of Milk Agency and Dash Academy. “ This may come in broken design rules or bold color decisions to mix it up and stand out in the branding space.”

Pushing design boundaries means that pretty much anything goes. Think low-res graphics, blended font families, misplaced pixels, and overlaid visuals that aim to compromise the viewing experience – such as these designs from Nice Lab and Fidelle.

If you want to wave goodbye to white space and say hello to bold and busy compositions, give these Brutalism Instagram stories and posts a go. Simply drag and drop your logo and imagery, and get ready to customize chaos. 

4. “New Eco”

While eco-branding continues to grow as a movement, it’s moving in a minimal, futuristic direction resulting in simplified, monochromatic color palettes. “Gone are the earth tones and soft treatments,” says Keiron. “The new iteration of eco branding will be more minimal, aspirational, and future-focused.” 

Bronte of Dash of Milk agrees: “We’re seeing plenty of more simplified color palettes, and brands are looking for ways to add a futuristic twist to the classic neutral approach.”

For example, these product packaging designs from Carbon Theory and Public Goods are super-simple and stripped back with little-to-no recognizable branding. Scrolling through the social media feeds of clothing brand Pangaia and Kate Moss’s recently released beauty and wellness range, Cosmoss, reveals the same commitment to keeping things elegant and understated. Instagram posts are sparse, revolving around a close-up image or just a few words of text. It’s clean, concise, and very impactful. 

Featuring stacked sans serif typography and understated graphics, this cosmetic packaging mockup from Envato Elements is a masterclass in using minimal design to have maximum impact.  

Mother nature continues to lend herself perfectly to graphic design, so read up on the organic design trends which have recently ruled the world. Or, prepare to pick a side – or straddle both – as we weigh the strengths and weaknesses of minimalist vs. maximalist design.

5. Animated Logos

“The shift to video-based content has changed the power of traditional branding, and I’m confident we’ll see more animated logos in 2023,” says Ruby, founder of The Brand Kit

“Animation is a unique way for brands to tell their story and stand out from the crowd while allowing marketers to package a brand’s message into a concise, intriguing, and entertaining narrative that will stick in consumers’ minds like a static image cannot.” 

Animated brand logos express personality, as seen in the repeating reveal of Melbourne-based Soma Studios, which picks out the letters’ curves as its name rolls across the screen. In contrast, the Leeum Museum of Art‘s recently refreshed swirling and shifting logo seeks to reflect the ever-changing nature of art. 

There’s meaning behind Google‘s moving logo, too. Morphing between a microphone, a four-color G, a line of ‘listening’ dots, and the recognizable Google name, the GIF represents the search engine’s services speedily and stylishly. 

Google's animated logo

For an animated logo reveal that’s a little bit Matrix and a little bit Terminator, try out this Cyber Logo Reveal. Or, if you need further logo design inspiration, check out our logo trend report and logo design guide.

6. Statement Typography

This next trend is the perfect way to give more weight to your words. The fascination with minimal sans-serif typography is making way for statement typography, with plenty of designers embracing wild and wacky fonts to help their work stand out from the crowd. 

“With so many brands recently opting for minimal swiss san-serif typography, designers are now leaning into more typographic flourishes to set brands apart,” Keiron explains. 

In this playful approach from Anwtaipei, the words’ invitation’ and ‘guidance’ are stretched and extended. They even seem to fall off the edges of the pages on which they appear. 

Meanwhile, Counterprint books go big – quite literally – with bright colors, and mismatched fonts, and Funky candles have gone for a hint of bizarre with their business cards, which feature clashing colors and letters that look like they’re melting.

You’ll find plenty of statement typography on Envato Elements, no matter the message you want to get across, including this chunky offering from epdesigns that’s bold and bubbly. 

Want to know what fonts are trending in design? From 3D typography to elegant serifs, find out our take on the top font trends.

7. Humanized Brands

Miels d'Anicet - French Organic Honey Company takes a handwritten approach to their branding

Authenticity is essential for brands that want to connect with customers online – and many businesses use low-fi and handcrafted designs and honest, thought-provoking content to build trust.

“In 2022, I’ve seen more companies decide to base their brand identities on more handcrafted, human elements,” says Ruby. “A humanized brand often suggests a friendly, unpretentious company whose products are crafted by human hands and motivated by genuine passion.”

For example, this branding for Miels d’Anicet – a French organic honey company – taps into the character and history behind the brand, emanating an authentic, hand-crafted feel. Using handwriting, quaint illustrations, and handcrafted charm creates a thread of connection between the brand and its consumers – representing the brand’s approachable personality and relatable, grass-roots background.  

Miels d'Anicet - French Organic Honey Brand takes a handwritten approach to their branding

Brand activism is another trend that’s making brands more human, with more brands taking a stand on social causes and environmental issues. Toilet paper company Who Gives a Crap is very vocal about its values and uses a candid, conversational tone in its communications. GoDaddy also expresses its brand activism boldly, using kinetic typography and simple animated graphics to discuss the wage gap during Women’s History Month. 

Meanwhile, customer stories are displayed front and center by the professional networking organization One Roof, which profiles its members on its blog and social media pages. 

Today’s branding efforts don’t shy away from real life – whether in the form of sparkling, honest conversations or customer experiences. So why not add feedback and five-star reviews to your social feeds with this customizable testimonial template? Peer-to-peer recommendations are a great way to build trust. 

8. Pop Culture Influence

Did you think TikTok was just for teenagers sharing dance routines? Well, think again! In this day and age, brands are essentially content creators. So, if something’s trending on social, it’s essential to get in on the action. From TikTok challenges to the latest binge-able Netflix series, brands and influencers unite in their shared desire to celebrate pop culture. 

“With the power and influence of TikTok, Netflix, and other platforms, we’ll see a continuous rise in branding and design that reflects what people are consuming,” says Kristy. “Whether it’s influenced by a particular social media trend or popular TV series, we will see a reflection of design and branding based on those trends.” 

An example of how this is playing out is we’re seeing brands utilize influencer-esque formats and enlist employees to create content. This includes Envato – you’ll notice a range of faces across our TikTok feed as our team get in front of the camera in reaction to TikTok trends! 

Whatever pop culture phenomenon catches your attention – from sharing your views on Stranger Things to posting your latest lip-sync TikTok – check out these trendy social media templates. Or, to jump on trends early, learn how to develop a TikTok marketing strategy and stay up to speed on the top social video trends. 

9. Retro Collage

It’s time to grab your digital glue sticks because scrapbooks are back! Torn edges, pasted pictures, scrawled fonts, cutout collages, collage-style graphic designs, and retro mixed media are making a real impact this year. 

“We’re seeing a shift to collage-style designs with multi-matched typography to bring content to life and create a more unique, edgy finish,” explains Bronte. 

Chanel's collage campaign with Lily Rose Depp

For example, this campaign from Chanel draws inspiration from the exercise book aesthetic including grainy imagery and sticky tape accents. And this Instagram post from Nike sketches a story about the history of the brand’s iconic Swoosh using felt tip scrawls and layered archival imagery

Create captivating collages with this constructor bundle in After Effects to customize pre-made scenes or to make your own. For more inspiration, get to grips with the crafty illustration trend – which is all about analog textures like brushstrokes, stickers, and woodblock prints.

What Is Branding?

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, a brand is made up of all the external perceptions, ideas, and concepts that distinguish a business from its competitors, which can be influenced by everything from visual identity and design to messaging and tone of voice.

Why Is Branding Important? 

Branding can promote your business, elevate your products, keep existing customers engaged and capture the attention of new ones. Here are some key reasons why branding is essential. 

  • It Sets You Apart From Your Competitors: Branding is essential to make a memorable impression on potential and existing customers and to distinguish yourself from competitors in your industry by clarifying your offering and unique selling point. 
  • It Generates Brand Awareness: Brand awareness leads to trust, meaning the more recognition your brand has, the more successful your brand or business will be. Brand awareness helps to acquire new customers and familiarize them with your products and services.
  • It Increases Brand Value: Your branding is essentially your brand’s personality and the unique selling point that enables what you do to stand out. Your brand should represent and immediately convey who you are and what you do. A robust and unique brand image is essential to building a good customer relationship and increasing recognition and brand value.
  • It Gives Employees a Sense of Pride: Strong and clear branding speaks volumes not just to your customers but also to your employees. Creating a solid brand identity with a clear purpose and strong values gives your employees something to align with, making them more likely to give their all and promote your brand of their own accord. 

Refresh Your Brand with Envato Elements

That does it for the branding trends we’ll be seeing in 2023! If you’re ready to give your branding a brand new look, a subscription to Envato Elements provides you with everything you need to streamline your designs and create flawless branding – from graphics and templates to fonts and add-ons. For more creative inspiration, brush up on the top Graphic Design Trends for 2022, or find more branding tips in our Small Business Branding Guide.

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