Most startups say they want a 'trend-setting' brand. In practice though, when it comes down to choosing a visual direction for their identity, they choose to look like the latest success-story and end up emulating their style.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, trends exist for a reason, they are a reflection of what is working in the marketplace as a whole. So the instinct to ride that wave has merit.
Whether you are consciously trying to follow a trend or not, every designer or entrepreneur is subconsciously affected by the current market trends.
The pros of following branding trends
- Visual trends are already proven in the marketplace, so you are not going out on a limb
- Visual trends make it easy for your audience to identity with you cause someone else already did the work of making that trend cool, you are just piggybacking off of it.
The Cons of following branding trends
- Visual trends are always changing and you'll be dated pretty quickly if you invest heavily in a 'trendy' look.
- Even while the trend is 'in', they are very popular so you'll look like a lot of other brands and won't stand out from the pack.
- The break-out brands, the ones that are remembered most are the ones that deviate from the norm and seem to come out of nowhere. Originality and honesty can never truly be reverse engineered.
What is 'timeless branding'
- When creating a brand we always to keep the logo mark and brand values insulated from any trends.
- Look to make a logo as simple and iconic as possible
- Make sure the logo mark can work well in black and white before adding color
- Visual style and illustration can follow market trends while your underlying mark and values stay consistent!