It would be an understatement to say that 2020 has been an eventful year. From our remote offices, the team over at The Brand Stand couldn’t help but notice a few patterns in the branding world that were undoubtedly influenced by the past eleven months’ events. We invite you to reminisce with us to explore six impactful brand trends from 2020.
One might say that 2020 was a period of intense activism. In response, we saw many brands use their platform to take a stand on issues of social justice. And honestly, we’re here for it.
From Ben & Jerry’s press release and subsequent product releases in response to the murder of George Floyd to Patagonia’s time-off policy so that its employees could exercise their right to vote. There were so many instances of brand activism that it was impossible to ignore. We hope to see more of this in 2021.
Purpose & authenticity
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. This year, consumer behavior drove companies to implement a more purpose-driven and authentic brand strategy. For example, Clorox shifted their messaging from “killing germs” to “championing a cleaner world where people thrive.” And who could forget the uber-transparent “The Beauty of No Artificial Preservatives” campaign from Burger King earlier this year? In 2020, we saw brands start to put their mission and values in the spotlight instead of their features and benefits.
While data privacy and protections are still huge issues, studies have shown that most internet users have expressed frustration with impersonal shopping experiences. What’s more, Gen Z is bravely leading the charge in favor of tailored experiences via personalization and customization. With such intense demand from the upcoming generation of consumers, surveyed executives have reported prioritizing customized experiences for the potential ROI.
Minimalism is no stranger to the world of design. Designers love it because it enhances clarity, highlights purpose, and provides versatility. This year, we saw minimalist logo transformations for companies like Bojangles, GoDaddy, The Motley Fool, and nearly every car manufacturer, including but not limited to BMW, Nissan, and Toyota.
The gradient trend is alive and well in 2020. Trendsetters Asana and Facebook started down the gradient path in 2015 and 2016, respectively, followed by Tinder in 2017. Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Facebook kept the trend alive in 2019. And in 2020, brands like Oozou, Adobe Cloud, and Binge joined the club. Congratulations to the gradient class of 2020.
Typography’s time to shine
This year, typography became the centerpiece of brand identity. For it wasn’t the imagery that attracted our attention, but rather the type. From serifs and sans serifs to brutalism and minimalism, typography shone bright thanks to brands like National Instruments, New Roads School, and Madies.
While we were writing this post, we noticed a trend in the brand trends: humanity and empathy. As turbulent as this year has been, so many brands have risen to the occasion. So with the end of 2020 just around the corner, we couldn’t be more hopeful for 2021.
Read the full article, with more examples for each trend and data-backed research, on The Brand Stand blog (originally published on November 17, 2020).
AnnMarie Flamenco is the Founder & Creative Director of The Brand Stand, a boutique creative agency on a mission to serve fresh-squeezed ideas that help build brands you can be proud to stand behind.
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