Staying relevant in a world
of short-lived trends

If a business were a person, its brand would be its personality and its clothes would be its style. So how do you keep yourself actual in an ever-changing world where fast fashion is a thing and trends die quicker than yesterday's memes. And most importantly, should you follow trends or stay true to your personality?

In the last couple of years, we observed many start-ups rise and become the cool kids while well-established companies changed their clothes to become more approachable, human. Brand design systems overall have become more engaging, dynamic and eager to catch your attention whether you are part of their audience or not.

While considering following trends, let's not forget a few relevant fundamentals of brand design.

A brand must resonate with its audience

Consumers have an identity, and the products or services that they choose are an extension of that identity. Their favorite brands speak about what they like and who they are in a familiar language.

The process of discovery doesn't always come naturally for a business. (...) 
While startups have the advantage of starting with a blank slate, a company has to weigh the risks and benefits associated with a rebrand. Some companies rebrand with great success, while others fail. Target, an exemplary success story, repositioned itself from cheap and generic to a chain of well-designed stores targeting middle-income families. On the opposite side of the scale, Pepsi, in a struggle to find a symbol as memorable as that of its competitor Coca-Cola, went through multiple design changes and repeatedly failed to connect with their audience.

Good design is (still) timeless

We hear this phrase over and over but it still holds true today.
A golden rule in design is that visual language has to be simple, direct and accessible. From Facebook blue to Macdonald's golden M, Adidas' stripes or Apple's surgical cleanliness, visual elements that represent the brand's personality correctly, can instantaneously be identified and assimilated by the audience. Simplicity, or better said, the lack of superficial gimmicks, offers a solid foundation to build upon and keep your brand up-to-date.

When in doubt, conduct a brutally honest brand audit

Usually, it’s hard to look at yourself through a magnifying glass and be able to differentiate what you want from what you need. An audit allows you to take a step back to see the overall picture and gives you the right tools to refine the long-term strategy. It will evaluate your brand's core; its personality, its values, its goals, and mission and reflect them into a consistent visual language that will facilitate a better communication with your audience.

Conclusion

Much like yourself or your business, your brand is in an ongoing process of building its unique personality and refining its style. 
Stay true to your brand.