Stuffed with holiday carbs and a sugar hangover, today I’m finally done with feeling overdone and ready to forge ahead into 2019. Calendars are flying off the shelves (I still like to glance at my paper calendar on the wall) and the vast majority have already projected what they want to see happen in their professional and personal lives in 2019. As an entrepreneur, I approach new year goal setting with a double-edged sword: personal milestones and company initiatives. While it’s critical to set quantifiable goals for business in the coming year, it’s just as important to do so with an insider’s eye fixed on emerging digital marketing trends.
No More Cookie Cutter Branding
This shift brings me personal comfort. We’ve all seen the “standard logo” and marketing of the modern age. For quite some time, we’ve grown accustomed to clean, minimalist, almost sterile branding. Sans Serif became the modern Times New Roman and an emphasis on flat, black and white, lines became the de facto preference. Much of this can be attributed to the rise of technology-driven template design available in our day-to-day lives, and made easy for the majority of the population to use. It’s the DIY era. The result? A somewhat predictable and indistinguishable branding. But as we move into an age of mindfulness coupled with the constant demand for something new; a desire to step back from technology’s all-consuming and often deleterious effects, there is emerging a hunger for more distinctive branding.
As Natasha Jen of Pentagram puts it, “In 2018, we’ve seen a big comeback of the 90s in fashion. It’s a kind of nostalgia but beneath the surface it’s a signal that people crave differences in expressions. Wildly different expressions…” Everything follows after fashion.
I know this might be asking a lot, but think about the 90s for a second. I know – I also cringe at the neon colors, trendy hair do’s, and completely loud makeup styles some of us fell victim to. Not me of course. Seattle born and bred. But beneath the cringy elements of the 90s, there was a remarkable thread of consistent creativity. Personal expression was boundless and ranged from the grunge movement of Nirvana to the pop elements of Britney Spears. Companies – big and small – were not afraid to stand out and experiment with their aesthetic. I’m not arguing for a resurgence of the 90s or even 80s aesthetic, although many brands are shifting in that direction. I’m merely stating that the level of creativity, originality and expression is sorely missed amongst consumers and will stand out in favor of companies who dare to take the risk. Oh and while I’m at it, how about re-thinking car colors?
Artificial Intelligence in Design
What’s next? There is interest among the digital savvy to replace Creative Directors with AI. Gobs of money in research has already been spent and testing has already begun. Here’s the challenge. AI can only create something new from something that has already been done by humans. People input data they created into the AI “brain”. Frankenstein the monster was only as scary as Frankenstein the creator made him out to be. The original creative thought comes from a humans creative ability to think futuristically into coming trends. Future predictions and risk taking. That’s what true creative genius looks like.
Whatever your new 2019 business goals are to expand and grow, distinctive branding that taps into your target market and is supported by quantifiable data, should always remain the same.
Happy New Year!