Transform Magazine: The major branding and design trends to watch in 2022 – 2021

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Sairah Ashman, CEO of global brand design agency Wolff Olins, describes the biggest changes in branding and design that emerged in 2021 and makes predictions on the top trends to watch in 2022.

Like anything else, design is strongly impacted by changes and developments in culture, society and the world in general. The disruption, uncertainty and chaos caused by the pandemic have seen a veritable explosion of new trends emerge in 2021 that will undoubtedly shape and inform the way brands communicate and engage with consumers, now and in the years to come. .

The boom in social commerce, combined with the increase in the number of brands experimenting in the metaverse, from Coca Cola to Balenciaga, is triggering a moving from deep and meaningful brand relationships to brands seen as a connecting platform in our lives, in the mold of YouTube or Spotify. In light of this, brands will increasingly focus on creating social and virtual interactions with consumers; a clear result of the pandemic.

Along with the push towards sustainability, we’ve seen brands across industries expand their focus beyond external impacts to internal culture and employee experience, as businesses face a myriad of challenges, especially “the great resignation”, Triggered by increasing employee expectations for flexibility. Plus, we’ve seen how exposure to toxic cultures in the workplace has damaged the reputations of brands and organizations of all sizes and types, from BrewDog to The Ellen Show. Brands are realizing that creating a vision and ambition for workplace culture and articulating a purpose and core values ​​are just small steps towards building a cohesive brand experience. Developing and implementing actions that help shape a positive and compelling experience for employees and customers is essential for the future.

One of the biggest emerging trends in brand design that Wolff Olins has spotted throughout 2021 is how the Metaverse is delivering a future VR to the mainstream. Despite the hype, virtual reality remained on the sidelines before the pandemic, but as the world has moved further into the metaverse, virtual reality is getting closer to the mainstream. This push is being driven by a combination of factors, including major game releases, such as Lone Echo 2 and Half-Life Alyx; the growing demand for virtual reality solutions in fields such as healthcare and the arts; and the rise of hybrid events in everything from business conferences to music festivals.

Augmented reality is also growing in popularity, with Apple planning several upcoming AR product launches, including Apple glasses, AR glasses that can connect to an iPhone and stream content, and the tech giant’s first AR / VR headset. Today, AR can be seen as the biggest step in human-machine interaction from the GUI. For our Wolff Olins 2021 Holiday Card we’ve embraced the rise of AR, creating fun vacation friends to help share the festive love.
As more and more brands focus on inclusiveness and sustainability, a more ethical and conscious approach to design is emerging. In addition to product design, with Nike’s hands-free shoes and Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller, ethical design is transformed UX because brands maximize ease of use and efficiency to meet customer needs. As brands focus on their values ​​or sustainability goals as part of their branding strategy, Gartner cautions in its Global Consumption Trends Report 2022 that consumers will want their promises kept and measurable progress against goals.
Designers are also under increased pressure to choose sustainable, recyclable and low-carbon materials, which has given rise to innovations such as mushroom leather., Who Biomaterials company MycoWorks predicts this will be a game-changer when it comes to sustainability. While this may seem altruistic, it also requires careful consideration to ensure that brands aren’t just greenwashing trying to meet consumer expectations. Innovation in sustainable design is set to explode next year, from April 2022 a plastic packaging tax will apply to all plastic packaging in the UK.

Health and wellness dominates the latest design trends, with an increasing demand for health and wellness products. Wearable technology that monitors and tracks everything from sleep to heart rate has become increasingly popular as people have become interested in lifestyle, diet, and general well-being. Additionally, as wealthy people spent so much on their health during the pandemic (20% more than before the pandemic, according to Bupa), tour operators and hotel brands are focusing on integrating wellness into their experience. customer.

The tone of voice will also change over the coming year and smart brands will be able to emulate or join pop culture movements. Fintech brands will credibly and authentically find ways to reveal their fun side, drawing and illustration in the style and freedom of child labor will emerge and crypto will finally take that leap from cheesy to the mainstream using the good cultural touchstones.

Finally, the typography. The days of the Helvetica obsession are long gone and the type of character makes brands stand out. Look for custom fonts and typefaces, psychedelic letters, and mixed or contrasting typefaces to challenge expectations.

From fashion to core values, the emerging themes of 2021 will explode throughout the New Year and through real life in the virtual world. While there is still uncertainty around the pandemic and how it may change business practices, what we can be sure of is the creative response and experimentation around these predictions that will keep fresh and entertaining brand activity, whether we’re in the office or always at work. of the House.


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