Creative people, especially those in branding and marketing, always have to balance their instincts between taking bold leaps and not overstretching their audience’s expectations. That’s how design tends to move slowly, but never rests, be it in architecture, art, marketing or any other creative pursuit.
There are also trajectories to design. We can take a decent punt at what will be by looking at where we’ve come from. This is crucial in our industry, because no business wants their branding to place them in the previous decade. So now 2020 is well under way, we’re going to give our three predictions on what branding is going to look like in the first part of the coming decade.
The way people consume design continues to move from page to the screen, as it has for more that twenty years. Now, the grammar of screen interaction is hard-wired into a generation, and even budget smartphones can cope with visuals that would have caused lag and crashes a few years ago. That means the time is right for interactivity to move from being a feature to being expected.
We’re sure most of us have already mistakenly tried to interact with a static on-screen element because it looks like it should do something. Designers are wising up to this instinct and making more on-screen elements reward the inquisitive with pop-ups, animations and other Easter eggs that enhance user delight.
Minimalism is, of course, nothing new. In art, it can be traced back to 1940s attitudes, with maximum minimum being reached in the 1960s and 70s. In the digital age, it has manifested itself in white space, creating a still, contemplative mood in the viewer, a complete push-back against the busy, frenzied look of the early websites and software suites.
Now that everyone understands the minimal, we can dial it down even further, with extreme narrow fonts and linear vector images. Again, they take advantage of the increasing quality of screens, particularly the inky blacks of AMOLED displays that scream quality in almost any circumstance. Expect more of this economy, with monochromes replacing colour, except in flashes.
The technology for VR has been with us since the 1990s at the latest – who remembers those Virtuality headsets? VR has had more false starts than 3D television, but humankind’s hunger to represent real world scenarios in the comfort of their hazard-strewn living rooms has never been sated.
But something has pushed VR into the mainstream. It’s most likely the sheer quality of the images that can now be rendered, but the support of the gaming industry can’t be discounted. Either way, we could be about to enter a “VR headset in every home” era, and if you’re in marketing and not paying attention, you need to look around – it’s right behind you.
That said, marketers won’t invest heavily in the technology until it meets critical mass. It’s just not a viable proposition … yet. But the first mover will steal a march and set the pace, and everyone else will be catching up. But something just feels different about the latest VR push, and agencies are gearing up.
Stuck on where to take your brand next? We can help. Get in touch with our friendly team to discuss taking your brand into 2020 and beyond.