7 Branding Trends We Don’t Want to See Again
22 January 2018 | By Brooke Geller
Let’s get one thing straight: There’s nothing wrong with jumping on the latest branding trend. We love using trending colour palettes, fonts, formats, and other branding methods. They’re a fantastic way to try new things, find inspiration, and take our clients’ work to an exciting new level.
That said, there are definitely some branding trends we’re happy to never see again. Like, ever. Check them out before you jump on that bandwagon (and especially before you hire a designer!).
1. QR Codes
There’s no denying that QR codes were once the pinnacle of modern technology. They were a fantastic way to utilise budding smartphone technology with branding, making them a terrific digital marketing tool.
But now? Well, we’re going to be totally Mean Girls and say QR codes are about as cutting edge as flip phones.
Instead of wasting your audience’s time with QR scanning apps, flaunt your Instagram handle instead. People are much more likely to engage with your brand through social media— read more about that here.
2. Rounded Corners on Business Cards
We have to give props to business card manufacturers for trying to do something innovative with one of the oldest branding tools still around. But in our opinion, it’s best not to mess with the classics.
Rounded corners had their moment. Want to do something different with your business cards? Think embossing, foiling, and different weights and textures.
3. Giant Email Signatures
This trend isn’t so much a matter of taste as it is practicality. A long or image-heavy email signature can make your email take a long time to load, get flagged by spam filters, or clog up an email chain. This means important attachments are at risk of being missed.
“What was once a clever and quirky original idea has since been appropriated by countless other brands who view this idea as a surefire template to advertising success.”
Not to mention that the method your email is being viewed can cause the signature to display differently. That email signature you (or a designer) spent so long perfecting? It may very well look like a badly-formatted mess to your recipient depending on the device or application they’re using to view emails. Play it safe and keep your email signature as simple and succinct as possible.
4. Unnecessary Branded Merchandise
Your customers should remember your brand from your amazing products and services and your killer marketing. But that doesn’t mean giving out branded pens.
5. Arbitrary Animation
We’ve all seen them. Animated ads that use simplistic, stick-figure cartoons to convey the most basic message about their brand or service. They usually go something like this:
“This is Bob. Bob needs a new car. So Bob goes to Local Dealership Company and gets himself a great deal. Good work, Bob!”
What was once a clever and quirky original idea has since been appropriated by countless other brands who view this idea as a surefire template to advertising success.
“It’s always a good idea to take inspiration from other brands. But there’s a fine line between being inspired and using someone else’s brand design as a template for your own.”
Unfortunately, it’s been done to death. Don’t talk to your audience like they’re children. Your brand likely has a compelling selling point— you just have to find it and showcase it in the right way. And we’re willing to bet that can’t be done with stick figures.
6. Unique, Unpronounceable Names
One of the biggest concerns our rebranding clients raise with us is the importance of a completely unique name. Many people believe that their brand name has to be one that’s never been used before, even by brands in other industries. It’s also a common misconception that it’s not worth choosing a brand name if someone already owns the matching domain.
The reality is, your brand name does not have to be the first of its kind in the entire world. Nor does it need to have an available domain name. From a legal perspective, all that matters is that it isn’t taken by any other brands in your industry. Australian law dictates that you have the legal right to a .au domain if you hold the trademark.
7. Copycat Branding
It’s always a good idea to take inspiration from other brands. But there’s a fine line between being inspired and using someone else’s brand design as a template for your own.
Innovative branding can make a brand stand out not because of how it’s done, but because at the time, they were the first to do that. We explored some of these unique brands in our blog post on brand voice.
The thing is, many brands have attempted to replicate these styles since, but none have succeeded. All they’ve really managed to do is look unoriginal.
Trends come and go, but quality branding goes beyond fads to deliver something that will raise eyebrows for all the right reasons. Unless you’re immersed in the branding industry, it can be difficult to distinguish between what’s fresh and what’s dated.