It’s an undeniable fact that the pandemic, political movements and climate events of the past two years have deeply disrupted consumer behavior— perhaps for good. In 2022, brands will need to adapt to the “new normal” and keep up with the latest trends in order to stay competitive in the marketplace. Read on for a round-up of the six most important branding trends to keep a close eye on this year.
Trend #1: Purpose-driven brands
The idea that consumers want to support brands that share their belief systems is nothing new. But amid the ongoing pandemic, Great Resignation and climate crisis, choosing one brand over another based on shared values has become mainstream. 75% of Americans say it is no longer acceptable for companies just to make money; they must positively impact society too. Expect to see more brands demonstrating their commitment to operating responsibly and ethically this year. Brands that lead with purpose— and follow through on their promises— can expect to see greater brand affinity and loyalty in 2022.
Punny value proposition via Folx.
Brand story centered on inclusivity via Anchor.
Trend #2: Bold but muted colors
If you look back at the biggest logo redesigns of 2021, it’s clear that bold but muted colors are trending. From Burger King to Oxford University Press, brands are trading in their bright colors for softer hues. Soft colors can be eye-catching in the right color combinations, and they create feelings of calm, comfort and familiarity. You don’t need to rebrand to hop on this design trend— try adding soft hues to your packaging, social media posts and content marketing materials.
Authentic and relatable social voice via Starbucks.
Trend #3: Nostalgic design
Brands have long capitalized on our natural penchant for nostalgia— remember Microsoft’s viral Child of the 90s ad from 2013? Nostalgic branding is familiar, comforting and safe— feelings consumers are craving more than ever in a pandemic. Expect to see more bright colors, clashing patterns and handmade aesthetics reminiscent of the Y2K era. Try using this trend to capture the attention of a specific target audience like millennials. 70s-inspired, psychedelic design is also making a comeback, with designers leveraging bubbly letters, saturated colors and layered patterns to create eye-catching brands and marketing materials.
Trend #4: Bold typography
When it comes to communicating your brand message, choosing the right typeface is just as important as the words you use. Don’t underestimate how much personality a fun, playful typeface can inject into your brand! This trend encourages designers to take a fun approach to typography with 3D fonts, animated letters, kinetic typography and animated sentences. Is your brand bold, fun and playful? Give this trend a try!
Trend #5: Quirky branding
This trend is all about ripping up the rulebook and employing unexpected and quirky design elements to convey a sense of fun and individuality. It’s been adopted by a wide range of brands— including those in traditionally conservative industries like finance and health insurance— and takes the form of hand drawn illustrations, asymmetry and chaotic design. These “quirks” humanize brands, making them feel more accessible and personable to consumers.
Trend #6: Plain language
With consumer attention spans at record lows, communicating your brand message clearly and concisely is more important than ever. Plain language helps you distill your complex brand into an easily understood, jargon-free message that appeals to a wide audience. This trend isn’t just about convincing people to buy into your brand though. It’s also about strengthening brand affinity by communicating in a human, direct and transparent way. It can be applied to all brand communications— from social ads to cold emails— so don’t limit yourself by only using plain language across your high-level brand messaging.
Graffiti-inspired packaging design via AMBULANTE.
Trends don’t happen in isolation— they’re influenced by broader cultural, political and social movements. And sometimes, trends become mainstream and stick around for good. Now more than ever, brands need to lead with purpose and personality if they want to meaningfully connect with their audience.
Want more? Check out all of our 2022 trend reports.