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Let's talk about Trends. When you should and shouldn't follow them.

In this blog, we'll uncover the secrets of navigating design trends—when to follow the crowd and when to break free.

Written by:
Mike Coughlan

Lets talk about trends (baby, lets talk about you and me…)

With a new year upon us, it's time to delve into the upcoming design trends set to grace the stage in 2024. While there's a huge amount of information singing the praises of trend-following, this blog is your guide to know just when you should follow trends but, more importantly, when it's time to break free from the crowd.

In the world of design and marketing the primary objective is typically to elicit action, convey a concept, or give information, sticking to these principles is crucial and a key aspect of achieving this is staying well-versed in the world around us. This awareness is the key to creating something engaging in today's dynamic and ever-evolving landscape.

Know when to follow suit.

Following design trends offers vital advantages, keeping you in tune with the latest styles and preferences. It ensures your work aligns seamlessly with contemporary aesthetics, creating resonance with your audience. However, the true artistry lies in knowing when to embrace these trends and when to ignore them completely – a skill that sets apart the more proficient designers. Understanding which trends to adopt and which to not is paramount. When it comes to trend setting, there are lots of different factors that influence what is in, and what is out. These include shifts in technology, cultural dynamics, current events and multitude of other factors.

Clients often seek "trendy" designs for their perceived safety, familiarity, and non-controversial appeal. While this approach may lend legitimacy to a business within its contemporary context, achieving a design that stands the test of time is very unlikely. Following trends too closely can strip designs of their unique identity. After all, how can one stand out when every piece of design echoes the same familiar tune?

Branding beware.

A perilous territory for designers is the realm of logo and branding, where blindly following trends can be likened to professional suicide. Brands thrive on consistency and recognisability, and constantly altering a brand's identity to chase the latest trend can cause confusion, ultimately eroding the trust that a well-crafted logo aims to achieve.

So on that note, let's dive into the world of logos and branding, using some well-known examples to shed light on why it's crucial for a logo to stand the test of time. These instances highlight the importance of a sturdy and consistent foundation in branding, ensuring a lasting impact with a friendly, recognisable touch.

A logo is a symbol of trust.

Logos are the trustworthy symbols of a company’s brand that should possess an enduring quality, requiring only occasional tweaks to stay in tune with the times. Take, for instance, iconic brands like Boots, their current brand stems back to 1849 with very few adjustments. Twinings, again, their current brand dates back to 1787, and then there is Heinz who’s identity dates back as far as 1869. These brand showcase the magic that consistency and timeless design bring to creating a trusted, memorable, and powerful brands. Getting your brand strategy right isn't just important; it's the heart and soul of a company's success.

So to sum things up, navigating the world of design trends is a bit like a balancing act on a creative tightrope. While there are instances where hopping onto the trend bandwagon makes sense, the real magic happens when we tap into our creative well and let originality shine. And when it is done right, not only can a design stand the test of time, it becomes part of peoples everyday life and is embraced for generations.

Take a look at this chart that shows a few more examples of brands that are as relevant today as they were when they were first created.

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