PodCast April 2016 - Branding Trends

19th April 2016

Here at Pod HQ, we’ve always got one eye on the latest trends in branding. We do this not only because branding trends have a massive influence on our work, but also because we get genuinely excited when brands try new things! Graphic design - the art of communicating ideas and information through visual content like images, colour and typography – is a major aspect of branding - and one that interests Zoe, our own design guru, the most. For this post, we’ve picked her brains and will be looking at the shift to cleaner design that has been one of the biggest design trends of recent times.

The Google effect
When a company as established as Google decides to simplify their logo, it’s sure to have a huge impact and cause others to reassess their own designs. Although the updated Google logo was met with mixed reactions from the public, the design team at Google defended the changes, claiming that the logo now reflected, “the same simplicity and delight” that users experience on their site.

Google’s move from a traditional serif font to a ‘no-fuss’ sans-serif logotype echoes the changes Microsoft made to their logo in 2013;  like Google, Microsoft went for a much cleaner, more pared-down approach - although both retained their primary colour palette. Already, the older versions look dated – proving how important it is to refresh your branding at regular intervals. For larger, well established companies, the trick is to do this without losing the essence of what has become familiar as your brand.

Mobile optimisation
The increasing demand for smaller icons that are optimised for mobile websites could also be a major factor in these moves to more simplified brand logos; as intricate details are lost, or look fussy, at reduced size. With the number of people interacting with brands on mobile devices always rising, it’s likely that many more brands will follow Google’s lead.

Speed is everything
More evidence of simplicity as a key design trend for 2015/2016 is in the proliferation of infographics we have seen in the past year. There’s so much noise on social media (and in life generally), with brands constantly competing for the public’s attention, and this has led many brands to look for ways to get detailed information across to their audience more quickly. When it comes to facts and stats, speed of transmission is the true power of infographics. Our attention spans are at an all-time low, (the average human attention span is now only 8 seconds!), and we therefore find images easier to engage with than text. Again, infographics are essentially simple – statistics are shown graphically, and facts are kept short enough to be digested quickly by busy audiences.

What next…?
With simplicity being such a strong and growing trend of the past year, we’re keen to see how the trend will progress throughout 2016. Will brand designs become so simplistic they become boring? Will it become more difficult to create original and distinctive brand logos? Or will the shift towards cleaner lines and bolder strokes allow for a sharper focus on the substance behind the graphics?