Watch out for these crazy 12 branding trends in 2021

Last Updated on December 30th, 2020

Brands today are going through a rigorous rebranding process to refresh their brand reputation, but along with that, there should be a change in the branding trends as well. The branding trends that were once new and innovative sheds off their freshness after a few months, so brands need to come up with something new every other month or so. To stay relevant in the audience eye in the new year’s you need to come up with some crazy brand design trends 2021 and shock the world with your creativity.

How you present your brand in front of your audience says a lot about the success of your brand. In the current era, when brand owners dedicate most of their budget to the marketing department, the brands are expected to bring in out of the box ideas to make their name in the market. Imagine being a marketing intern in a startup company who is about to launch their primary product in the early 2021 and you are forced to bring some crazy ideas that can result in high CTR and next-level sales. Pretty perplexing right?

I understand how frustrating it is to bring some creative ideas, you put your head go through all kind of stress to give you some crazy branding idea, but you end up with one lousy idea, which your director rejects. I have been through this, and I get it how exasperating that is. Well, here we have a few branding trends that you can expect in 2021, following these trends and see your brand rock in the upcoming year.

Well, if you are still confused about what branding actually is, then do not worry, I have got you covered here. Let us give a brief introduction of what branding is, and then we will move forward to the trends. How about that? So let’s jump it.

What is branding?

Branding is what defines a business and sets it apart from the competitors. Nevertheless, in this current time of digital distractions, creating a catchy brand name and designing a nice logo is no longer enough to keep your audience hooked on to your brand. It is essential to step out of your comfort zone and discuss some wild branding techniques.

Solid branding is what sets you apart from the rest. This is the main reason why organizations all over the world put in extra efforts into coming up with the witty brand name, designing attractive log and planning the right color schemes. Customers today are looking for substance, and they want purpose.

To make branding a little easier for you, I have listed down some potential branding trends for 2021. I believe most of the brand designing trends for 2021 will be the result of the enormous events that have happened in 2020, and nobody can deny that there have been many. Here I have listed down a few branding trends that can undergo some changes such as the logo designs, social media hashtags and the customer-driven strategies.

An essential read for you: A Brief Overview of How to Create an Effective Brand Style Guide

Branding trends for 2021

1. Adaptability of Logos

There is no denying to the fact that in the current market if you want to be noticed, you have to market your company everywhere. Brand design trends are no walk in the park, it is one challenging walk, and until you come up with something next level, you and your brand will stay behind.

 That means you cannot just have a physical store that you promote through regular and online advertisements, that is not enough today. If you wish to flourish in the digital world, your brand needs a website, and it should be present on different social networking platforms as well.

Due to the upsurge in the use of social media for marketing purpose, organizations all over the world are going for the shape-shifting logo designs. It just means you are bringing some changes in the size, color, and complexity of your logo. Of course, it depends on how and what you are using your logo for. For example, for your website, you can use a master logo, and for your Instagram account, a simpler logo would suffice.

Another thing that you must be careful about is creating monotone logos can be used as watermarks on images, so that is a plus. Also, by having variations, you can ensure consistency no matter what medium you are using to view your logo. It means it allows you to make your logo work regardless of whatever logo you are using. Apart from this, it also allows your customer to identify your branding in various ways, which increases the chances of brand recall.

Adaptability of Brand Logos

2. Personalized Visual representation

If there one thing that humans prefer seeing than it is seeing other humans, particularly in social media posts. Lately, all the branding designers are working on this, and the audience is exposed to more image of people representing the brand, particularly faces and particularly faces with personalities.

The reason why brands are recommended to put a face to their brand name is because nothing humanizes a brand better than adding a human factor. In 2021, many brands are expected to adopt this trend.

If you are uncomfortable using a real face for branding, then you can go for the illustrated depiction of a real person. It will not only allow you better control over the final look. The illustrative eyes further open up a wide range of opportunities for various artistic styles that can communicate the brand type you are.

Personalized Visual

3. Blended Branding

People all over the world are going gaga over minimalistic trend; it has taken the world by storm, forcing us to de-clutter our lives as much as we can. It looks like the minimalism movement has caught up even in the business industry today as many organizations started stripping down their brands to the simplest form possible.

As you can see in both Airbnb and Google, they have recently had facelifts that altered their logos to sans-serif, which is a popular font for the minimalism approach. You can observe the same pattern in some big fashion labels such as Balmain, Balenciaga, Kayrent and Yves Saint.

Other brands have also stepped into the footsteps of these brands as they are now opting for lesser colors, using more negative space and going for simpler typography. In fact, almost 95% of the known brands are not using more than two colors. Have a look at the logos of Uniqlo, Muji and Glossier.

If we keep minimalism aside, another main reason why brands today prefer to go bland is that it allows them to become more iconic. After all, the simpler the colors and fonts are the easier it is to pair them with all kinds of graphics. The best example of this is Levi’s and Nike; you can recognize both these brands from anywhere no matter that background logo is.

The only disadvantage of going minimalistic is that you are most likely to blendify your brand so much that it becomes boring; finding the right balance is the key to success here. Before you jump into the bandwagon, make sure you are testing out the different schemes and font styles that can help your brand stand out without comprising simplicity.

Nike Logo

4. Use eccentric art

If your target audience is young people then you must go for the catchy quirky art, as young people are most attracted to this kind of art and more likely to shop from such brands. The use of a one of a kind image, which is most importantly cute, funny, or whimsical, can get you a vast audience and is an excellent path to recognition and memorability, which are two main cornerstones of branding.

Most brands today are adopting the hand-drawn illustration to portray quirkier and catchier style even though the literal meaning of quirky style says all styles are in sync. A brand should not be afraid of adopting a new strategy and touching the already untouched areas.

Anthropomorphized animals are the most liked and famous choice of brands today, particularly when dressed up nicely to highlight the absurdity. Nevertheless setting yourself apart signifies you are just not following the path of others and becoming mediocre. Get on the free offbeat style if your brand personality allows you to do that because if not now than when?

Use eccentric art

5. Nostalgic brand marketing

In the current digital age, trends have been the main focus all along. People have their minds and eyes glued on their social media accounts to look for all the latest fashion trends, technology, and gadgets in different industries. Nevertheless going with the flow can be pretty depressing and frustrating for many of the customers. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to bring a blast from the past as it has a more meaningful role in branding.

Customers today are liking more nostalgic branding styles as they relist the past and dreams of recapturing the feeling of how things used to be. By introducing the nostalgic marketing, you can induce all the old memories and align positive vibes with your brand’s products and services. With the help of such trends, you can book customer trust and brand recall. As one of the studies of Nielsen stated when advertisements are linked with emotions, they give out better results.

One of the most famous examples of nostalgic branding is the Microsoft’s “Child of the 90s”. the campaign aimed to reintroduce the internet explorer by displaying the evolvement of the kids in 90s who are now in their late 20s and early 30s.

Another recent example of nostalgic marketing is the newer brands who are imitating Spotify’s throwback ads that revive the 80s and 90s culture.

Nostalgic brand marketing

6. Expressionist brand colors

The conventional branding posits that consistent, simple color schemes are perfect because consumers learn to link your brand with its key colors. While it works smoothly for some brands, other brands often face challenges in representing each product of their brand with different colors. However, the solution for this weird problem is to expand your color palette to a variety of expressionist colors.

In 2021, meaningful and bold colors will be used to express the identity of brands. This is the main reason why today more brands are testing out untraditional and unknown colors to give a new face and recognition to their brand. The crazy shades are pretty impactful and work well both separately and together. There is no harm in trying, try on the small scale, and if it goes well, you can always jump to the bigger scale.

Expressionist brand colors

7. Branded visual content

It is natural for human beings to be attracted to visual creatures. A human being is better at retaining images better than other kinds of content. Nevertheless, if you see it from a branding perspective, you must not believe that all sorts of visual content can yield the same response from your target market.

According to the various researches, you can get 67% more attention with the help of branded images than all the other kinds of promotional content. It can be said that branded visual content aims to promote your brand without the risk of overt advertising.

Moreover, this kind of content also allows you to generate more and new leads effectively on social media. With different types of content circulating on social media, charts, videos, GIFs and infographics have better shot of being noticed by your audience.

It is pretty essential, particularly now that Facebook has recently altered its algorithm in order to focus the new feeds on family and friends instead of ads.

Branded visual content

You may also like: How to Create a Strong Impression by Using the Visual Hierarchy Principles?

8. CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility]

There is no denying to the fact that customers feel an emotional connection with the brands who are more into the CSR activities. I am not going to sugar coat anything as everything today is transparent, with so much bad going on in the world, the best you can do today is become the ray of sunshine in someone’s dark shadows.

People in general today are finding it more challenging to stay positive and expect good things, and the same thing goes for most of the brands. Particularly if your target audience falls into the younger market such as Millennial and Gen Z, you need to adopt a smarter approach as they expect you to take stand for the injustice going around. As for customers, brands that do not take a stance for something really stand for nothing.

That is why one of the many branding trends that are going to take your brand to the top is to start standing up for all the important issues going around. I would suggest taking the same stance that your target audience is expected to support.

Make sure you are reflecting your stance in your branding materials as well so that people know what you are all about. Take help of your social media account as it works like a charm, and apart from this; you can make someone famous your brand ambassador.

One of the recent examples that are making rounds on social media and people all over the world are appreciating is Burger Kings’ recent Facebook post where they are encouraging their customers to try out other eateries that are not much famous. This campaign has brought in various good reviews, and Burger King has become the King of the burgers again. This is how you do it; sometimes one campaign is enough to get you the recognition.

Corporate Social Responsibility

9. Use Hashtags

One of the branding trends that has gained the most popularity in the last few years is the use of hashtags. According to the study of Omnicore Agency, in the current marketing world, 7 in 10 hashtags are branded on Instagram alone. One of the reasons why hashtags are used for branding is that it enhances customer engagement by 50% and reinforce brand awareness as well.

The upcoming brands are recommended to ask their customer to post a review about them on their social media and use their hashtags, as it can extend their reach to their followers. To increase more customer engagement, you can also share their review on your social media accounts.

Moreover, you can also use the hashtags to gauge the pulse of your customers. If you monitor them with your keen eyes, you will have a better idea of how your audience or the market perceives your brand. Apart from this, having some particular hashtags for the specific services and products let you see their impact on the consumer.

Use Hashtags in Instagram Post

10. Use Geometric patterns

Geometric patterns have their own value in the marketing world that does not seem to slow down even in 2021. However, you can expect some changes in them like you can create big blocks of repeated graphics to create a hypnotizing wallpaper look. One thing that you must adopt is just be clear that your patterns are not replacing the main images or logos.

You can add the patterns on the right spot like swag, webpage, printed menu, or an advertisement as they can take your brand experience much further. In the most typical cases, the brands who use geometric shapes that go hand-in-hand with repetitive patterns can hit differently. On the other hand, you must know that the geometric patterns that hit the middle ground between distracting and stimulating stage make the brand look better.

If you are interested in using this trend, then you must align your pattern with your logo. Or if your logo is simple and minimalistic, then using it as a pattern would not be a bad idea.

Use Geometric patterns

11. Go rough

Some people like going rough as perfection does not suit them, or they believe perfection does not exist so for them; all the brands claiming to be perfect are liars. In such cases, it is better to be less perfect and be a little rough. You can add roughness in your patterns or branding style by adding asymmetry, scribbled writing, disproportionate images and almost everything that is not perfect and a little flawed.

Your brand can create a perfect fusion of the brand design with the handwritten typography and illustration as it resonates well with the younger generation. The branding trend originates as a response to the pixel perfect brand design from the past with no hair out of place for different people. People do not expect this kind of perfection today, so refrain from adopting it.

However, the rough styling does not go well with every brand but for some it fits like a glove. If you are more of an offbeat brand then going rough would be an excellent choice for you and can give your brand a distinct look.

Go rough

You should also read: How do you know it’s time for a rebrand?

12. Customer-driven branding

The recent business landscapes have taken the customer centrism to the new heights. Conducting surveys to see what your target market wants is not enough to be a customer-driven brand; it takes a lot more than that today. The best way to be customer-centric is to involve them in your production process.

Moreover, with the help of this approach, you can make your brand look more authentic and trustworthy. As revealed in a similar study, 86% of the customers view customer-driven brands more authentic.

The best example of customer-driven branding is the LEGO brand. Their most recent campaign encourages the customers to weekly check their website for new games and propose their own LEGO creation according to the current theme.

To reinforce your customer-driven branding campaign, you should utilize top marketing software or CRM tools. With these at your disposal, you can keep tabs on your customers as well as organize your strategies.

Customer-driven branding

Wrapping up

Every year brings in new trends and challenges, and only those brands can survive in such times who are consistent, smart and know when to leave the campaign if it is not giving fruitful results. You need to step up your branding game to become the market leader. The key to having a strong brand reputation is to gain the trust of your customer and loyalty of your existing customers; however, it has become harder in the current circumstances.

Today it is more challenging to build a brand than it was ever before. For starters, brand building focuses less on how a brand looks but more on how your brand works. Moreover, today most of the organizations are working towards improving the authentic customer experience to make the brand more prevalent.

To sum it all up, I hope these trends will help you in making the name of your brand in 2021. But here is pro-tip for you, once you feel your campaign is not responding to how it should be I would suggest you discontinue your campaign.

  • A Picture of Waqas D.

    Waqas D.

Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.

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