Design trends: Is your brand fit for 2020?

Many B2B organisations pride themselves on staying ahead of the crowd, whether that’s in regards to product development, leading the conversation on hot topics within their industry or being the first to break into new markets. But when it comes to their visual identity, trends can often be overlooked as brands are frequently reluctant to stray from their brand guidelines.

And while it’s definitely important to have a clear, consistent set of brand guidelines, there should always be space for your brand to evolve as your business grows and changes. The font you chose five years ago might look fairly outdated now, for example, and if you’re simply reusing the same set of approved stock images, they’re probably just background noise for your customers.

That’s why you should be striving to stay on top of the trends in the design space - because while you don’t want to simply follow the crowd, if you’re not utilising trends within your branding you’re unlikely to stand out from said crowd. And while the coronavirus pandemic has put many organisations’ typical day-to-day activities on hold, this could be the perfect time to review and refresh your branding.

At The Marketing Pod, our design team works with B2B clients across all industries, which gives them a great insight into what’s trending in the design world. In 2020, they think that brands should be focusing on:

Being bold

Recently we’ve been getting requests for big, bold text headlines, which is a trend that’s filtered down from the increasingly oversized headlines used in TV ads. It’s a technique that we think works brilliantly across a wide range of mediums, but particularly on the web - we’re now creating landing pages with headlines at well over 100pt, which certainly meets the brief of ‘eye-catching’.

Of course, this requires a snappy headline, so challenge your copywriters to keep headlines to 3-4 words if possible - this way, you can really inflate your text. We’re also really pleased to see that B2B organisations are getting bolder in their choice of colour palettes, with brighter colours being selected over the muted palettes that are often seen as ‘safer’ within B2B. Don’t go too wild - you should still stick to a limited palette of around 5-6 colours maximum - but definitely consider including some brighter hues to grab the attention of your audience.

Using space wisely

Another way in which less copy can lead to better design is when it enables you to have more space around the text. In B2B, you’re marketing to busy decision-makers, who aren’t likely to stop and read a solid wall of text. This is especially true on social media, where businesses can make the mistake of trying to cram too much text onto images, rather than saving the details for the post copy above. Facebook’s text overlay rule limits text to just 20% of the overall image for this very reason, as they found that audiences prefer ads with less text. So make sure you’re using space effectively in your designs - less can definitely be more!

Capturing your culture

In recent months we’ve carried out lots of in-house and on-location photo shoots for our clients, as including authentic images that accurately reflect a company’s culture is a growing trend in B2B design. We think that photo shoots like these are ideal, as they make designs feel more personal and enable audiences to put faces to names, creating a connection between a brand and its customers.

While social distancing rules remain in place, photoshoots obviously won’t be possible, but there are many ways that you can tailor stock images to make them work for your organisation. When you’re choosing an image, make sure it’s as close to an accurate representation of your business as possible, so don’t use a corporate office picture if yours is in a barn conversion. You could also opt for custom illustrations instead, which you can use to highlight key points in your copy in place of stock imagery - and by animating these illustrations, you can make them even more attention grabbing, particularly on social.

Ultimately, it can be tempting to stick to what you know - but incorporating some of these trends into your designs can help you to cut through the noise as your competitors clamour for your customers’ attention online and also future-proof your brand. And in these challenging times, that’s something that many of us could benefit from.

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