In short - yes.
There’s a few important things to keep in mind before you decide to take on every new trend. We all want our businesses to run successfully for years to come, we have plans on how to achieve growth and we have visions on how our brand should look like in 20 or 30 years. The world and our society is constantly changing and things we never imagined 10 or 20 years ago are now redefining our lives. What internet is to us, television was to our parents, and radio before that to their parents. And the business and marketing world changes with emerging technologies. If you take a look at major brands that survived all these eras and look at their branding through the years and marketing campaigns for their products in different eras you’ll quickly notice two most important things. The first one is consistency and the second one - trends come and go.
So keeping that in mind, the most important thing you want to do when changing or updating your visuals is to stay consistent to your brand values. In the modern world trends are changing very fast. We live in an information overload age so if you’re going to follow certain design trends make sure you choose the ones that are most likely to stay longer and implement them into your brand subtly enough so they will not harm the core values of your visual identity. For example. when Pantone announced not one color of the year but two, in 2016 (remember Rose Quartz and Serenity?), that started a huge “duo-tone” trend everyone went mad for. In this case, applying a duo-tone fill to your existing single-color branding would be an obvious choice but now you’re risking losing recognizability! A smarter option would be taking your existing brand color and adding a gradient fill i.e. red to dark red. This way you are adding something new and trendy to your brand but you are not changing your visual identity on a larger scale. This is just an example of one way to follow trends. Ensuring proper brand values for your business will help you follow design trends with fluidity in years to come.
However, there is one thing to be careful about. Your logo. Should you follow logo design trends? I will be bold here and say I believe there are no logo design trends. Logo, in its purest form, is a symbol, a mark, the basic design element of every brand. There’s a simple rule to it - the best logo will look good in black & white. Every single brand that went to get a nice 3d glowing logo a couple of years ago have since changed back to a simple flat logo. You didn’t see Fedex or Coca Cola do that, correct? Having a good basic b&w logo means you are able to add effects to it without losing integrity. The other unfortunate trend we are seeing last couple of years are stock elements in logo design. You know those arrows and icons in retro/vintage style that every other brand uses? I had a client come up to me and said they want to hire a professional logo designer because they made their old logo using stock and saw another business from their town using the very same stock elements for their logo. True story! So please, always keep in mind that following design trends is, in fact, a good thing, but know your market and use trends wisely to your advantage and do not compromise your brand values.
There are also dangers to not following design trends because your brand could quickly become obsolete and out of touch with your users. Your visuals, colors and tones all speak to your audience, so do not neglect that important aspect of visual communication! And like plenty of other things in life, it’s important to find a good, healthy balance in keeping up with trends and staying true to your brand.
Darko Kriznik is a graphic designer with 15 years of experience in graphic design and a strong background in the printing industry, specialized in logo design and branding.