The 2000s were a magical time. And by magical, I mean delightfully cringe-worthy. In hindsight, we probably should have realised that our butterfly clips and Ed Hardy shirts should have been filed along with cargo pants, flip phones and our MySpace profiles.
These statement-making culture trends might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but if we’ve learnt anything from the early 2000s it’s that not much can – actually – stand the test of time. This blog goes out in honour of all those cringy, repulsive and downright offensive trends from our formative years and is to be used as a guide for how you can (hopefully) avoid these trends when it comes to your branding.
When we are creating a visual identity, sure we want your brand to be the cool, new kid on the block but we also want that branding to last. As we see trends come and go, fonts that become extremely dated, buttons that have rounded edges, and rebrand attempts that are forever trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Sure everything does date with time and there’s a huge misconception that good design equals “trendy” design. Design, at its core, is simply pulling various elements together to beautifully execute a concept and add meaning to your brand. Whereas, characteristics of good design are typically inspired and influenced by trends. But as we’ve seen time and time again, these aren’t future-proof.
Here, at Smack Bang, we avoid giving in to short-lived fads like it’s the plague. Our style is current but not trend-specific – adding touches of flair through accompanying elements, not to the core design. Your branding is one of the biggest investments you’ll make when starting a business. So please, for the love of all good things, do not forget that. Too often we have people come to us after being burnt from the likes of 99designs or unaccredited freelancers. If you want to ensure your brand will be looking just as good in 10 years as it does today, you need to ensure there are strategy and purpose behind the aesthetics.
But who am I, a mere marketing simpleton, to be schooling you lot of the scope of design?
Fear not. I thought who better to ask than the ladies living in this crazy designer world day-in and day-out. Read on as our talented design team explain the power of executing timeless design.
- A little goes a long way
“Less is more, and we believe ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ as Leonardo da Vinci wisely put it, and along with simplicity, longevity is always at the forefront of our minds as we design. We aim to create clean and simple logos, with a slight quirk adding personality, that will stand the test of time. A unique presence for the brand is created in the form of additional design elements that complement the logo. These generate the feel for the brand and can be a little more ‘out there’, touching on trends (maybe in the form of colour) and creating that initial attraction to the brand. As time goes on and brands evolve, these elements are the first to be considered for an update. The logo sits at the core of the brand and remains timeless due to its considered design and simplicity, allowing the brand’s identity to remain strong and untouched as time passes.” – Katie Shepherd, Art Director
- Gotta risk it for the biscuit
“I love the saying, ‘Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.’ Yes, it pays to know your design principles and systems, and subsequently, why we design a certain way. That way you have a solid foundation to get creative and push the boundaries. Graphic design is coming up to 100 years old and over the decade we’ve worked out what appeals to people from a foundational level, whether it’s the rule of thirds, that ‘golden ratio’ or typographic characteristics, so if you learn where the boundaries are, you can be more strategic with how you push those boundaries.” – Kendall Hubbard, Designer and In-House Photographer.
- Provoke a connection
“Create with an adventurous spirit and a desire for authentic connection. Digging deep into the why of a brand is how we begin our branding process, ensuring the bare bones of the branding are thoughtful and authentic. Keeping this initial design stage minimal and well thought out ensures a certain level of timelessness, whilst simultaneously providing an exciting canvas ready for building a beautiful, bold brand.” – Maddie Lumley, Designer.
“A brand that connects to the core of a human need or desire tends to stand the test of time, because as humans, while our surroundings are constantly changing, our core needs and desires for connection, support, and understanding tend to stay pretty consistent. A brand that addresses these needs in relation to the product or business at hand transcends trends and prioritises authenticity instead, which in turn creates something that people want to buy into, at a level that feels deeper than the surface”, Kendall adds.
- Design with purpose
“Ultimately, a design that is clever can hold a story and significant meaning behind them. Purposeful design never goes out of style and creating something simple and uncomplicated not gimmicky is important when considering design longevity. It’s when people get too caught up on the aesthetic and trying to make a design purely on the basis that it is ‘cool or current’, that dates and fails with trends as trends have a built-in expiry date. But if the creative holds meaning and purpose while telling a story, your brand is bound to be timeless.” – Sophie McNay, Designer.
- Create your own lane
And above all else, in a world where imposter syndrome is riding on every creatives’ back, Sophie raises a point we can not fault, “a level of uniqueness needs to be considered with each and every design. If something is truly unique and individual, more often than not it means it’s not moving with a trend and won’t date. If it holds its own and is individual in its own right it also shouldn’t date too much, as long as it’s still clean, legible and not overcomplicated.”
Now, we only got to skim the surface here, so, we are calling on all you creatives out there. Drop us your go-to tip for timeless design in the comment section below.
Image credit: Jacob Reischel