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Design trends 2020 and how to apply them to your brand

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Take a closer look at the trends coming through for 2020 when it comes to your online branding, advises HFB’s resident web expert, James Purves.

The year 2020 is a date which has always been synonymous with vision and the future. It has featured in many science fiction novels and films as a far-off point in time where we are all driving flying cars or living in space.  But now it’s actually here, what are the design trends we should be looking out for?  We believe that no matter what industry you are in, it’s vital to keep your finger on the pulse and keep up to date with trends keenly. Not only can it open up opportunities to develop your product or offering but it can also breathe new life into the way you market yourself and engage new audiences.
We’ve picked out some of the key trends in design for 2020 and have broken them up into the following topics: format, words, style, colour and typography.

The inclusion of animated and motion graphics has been building over the past few years and as we leap into a new decade, we will be spoilt with ways to use movement and intrigue to engage with audiences. If done correctly, it can allow you to communicate your message faster and with more impact than written content. There are many ways you can introduce motion to your brand, from animating content on your website to creating a moving logo or a series of videos to help explain your product or offering.
To help your brand stand out, you should consider the style of animation or video you use and whether it speaks to your target audience effectively. The message should be succinct and simple, with a clear start, middle, end and with a clear call to action.

What we say and how we say it is so vital to our brand’s reputation that, if overlooked, it can completely undermine a fantastic product or service. There is nothing new about this but with a variety of communication channels open around the clock, it’s more important than ever that you  have a consistent voice, message and story.  It’s also important to look at the way we talk to each other online and in print and recognise that this is changing too. Trends for more conversational messaging are becoming stronger for B2C, whilst B2B is about quickly articulating your benefits, why you are different and proudly showing off your expertise and knowledge.  Storytelling as a marketing tool has been around for years and as a communication method, it really can open doors and start conversations. It does this by helping to build an understanding of your product or service in a way which is easy to relate to. You can use storytelling to explain how your product works or has solved a problem, you can use it to introduce characters to your brand and even streamline your user experience.

In a world saturated by visual content, we should always strive to create an engaging visual style for our brand. Ideally, this visual style should be consistent, reflect the personality of your brand and be easy to recognise. Current style trends include a strong use of illustrations and photographic styles, such as ‘top down’.
When it comes to applying these ideas to your brand, we know that this may feel daunting but there are many ways to create a style without breaking the bank. For example, you can source a range of themed photos to add intrigue to your marketing material or customise illustrations using your brand colours. Specific style trends still include those inspired by neon lights and ‘80s inspired TV and movie graphics.
Any of these styles can be applied to your brand both online and in print, just remember it’s not about trying to follow them all – choose a style which suits your business and always look for ways you can put your own spin on things!

There are a number of colour trends at the moment and although some may seem to contradict each other, what’s clear is that it’s about standing out and being memorable. Simple bold colour palettes, bi-colour (palettes of two colours) will feature as a print trend to create impact and reduce print costs. White inks printed on coloured stock also remain popular. On social media, we will see the use of braver colours and large areas of uninterrupted colour.
Colour trends online are two-fold and strikingly different. On one hand, bold colour blocks are being used to create drama and draw attention, aid navigation and identify calls to action. And on the other hand, we are seeing a growing popularity for more minimalist, stripped back website and app layouts, which use deliberate space and paired back content to reduce distractions on the page. Dark Mode has become commonplace on many of our devices so this may also influence how we use colour online in coming years.

Typography trends for 2020 include bold, brave lettering, which can be used to replace imagery or used alongside abstract graphics. To complement bolder, chunkier fonts, we are also seeing more minimal typographic treatments emerging. And when it comes to your brand and its ‘house’ fonts, it really is best to stick to a core of fonts but also have some flexibility in this to allow you to shake things up and remain relevant.

2020 is about information reaching your audience as quickly and efficiently as possible and, as ever, it’s about standing out. There are many ways you can freshen up your brand and stay relevant – remember, it’s all about trying to find your twist on a trend.

James is a web consultant who specialises in online marketing strategy, user experience and search engine optimisation. He owns Unstuck Design, a creative design studio dedicated to creating websites and brand identities within the health food industry.

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