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brand management, Marketing

On brand, on trend (and on the money!)

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
April 16 2015,
updated
August 7 2019

I stumbled across the “Better by Design: Shaping the British Airways Brand” book which, if you haven’t seen it, chronicles the development of the BA brand and offers an insight into the evolution of its advertising, interiors and uniforms. It’s fascinating.
Keith Williams, BA’s executive chairman, explains it well: "There are three essential ingredients which make up the British Airways brand: British style, thoughtful service and flying know how.”

So while logos, straplines, colourways and styling may change, the basic ethos – that is the brand values - still endure. It set me thinking about the latest design trends, what’s around the corner graphics-wise and how businesses will adopt/adapt these to keep their promotional materials looking good without changing their customers overriding perception of their brand.

These 7 are increasingly cropping up both offline and online and are set to continue maturing over this year and in to the next:

1. Fonts/typography
Large typography was, literally, big in 2014. That’s set to continue but, with a growing number of web fonts coming in to play, responsive typography (that adjusts itself to different browser sizes for a richer user experience) is joining the party. We’ll see those two things coming together seamlessly and handwritten fonts, along with “mix and match”, custom and non-traditional fonts also promise to be popular.

2. Flat design
Forget shadows, bevelled edges, glossy buttons and gradients. When it comes to design flat is the new 3D. Less clutter and more functionality. Google, Microsoft and Ebay have all embraced this and the rest of us will no doubt be following suit.

3. Grid layouts
Pinterest is taking some of the credit for the vogue in grid designs. Think geometry, precision, bold outlines and solid colours all compounded to make pages and documents look rational, logical and ordered.

4. Stock Images
Unnatural, posed and stereotypical stock images are SO last year. These are being replaced with more natural shots and, increasingly, with illustrations.

5. Replacement of Raster Graphics
Scalable vector graphics (SVGs) have knocked raster graphics out of the ballpark. The difference is, whatever the screen size, SVG images will scale up with no visible loss in quality.

6. Mobile first
It’s hard to remember a year in the last 10 that wasn’t billed as “THE year for mobile”. But mobile has definitely come of age with the result that, web designers are more focussed on the mobile experience sometimes to the detriment of those still working on desktop. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

7. Minimal/Light Design
Overall simplification rather than complex, intricacy is the direction design is heading. Bright pastels in single shades with large amounts of white space are coming to the fore, and packaging design particularly has been quick to embrace this approach.

Good design is truly “in the eye of the beholder”. The test of great design though must be that it adds weight and value to the brand, without distracting or detracting from it. Something BA manages to have achieved in spades.

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