How to find, test, and develop the right design trends to support your marketing strategy
As a marketer, keeping up with design trends can be a daunting task. What may have been popular last month (or even last week) could simply be seen as a fleeting memory or worse, an overused fad, by the time your campaign is through.
How do you know what trends are worth your time and energy? And which ones could do more damage to your brand than good? Add those worries to the fact that design trends come and go quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up.
While we don’t recommend you and your marketing team jump on every design trend that pops up, we do recommend staying ahead of the curve so that you can spot potential wins and remain competitive.
In this blog post, we’re sharing expert advice from top designers on how to keep your finger on the design pulse, as well as how to incorporate the latest design trends into your marketing campaigns.
How to track design trends
It’s all very exciting talking about design trends, but where do you look to find them? We turned to some of the world’s top designers to see where they go to stay ahead of the competition.
As a marketer, you’re likely spending a lot of time on social media already, a great place to spot trending design styles. Realigning your focus to spot themes in the design world will inspire you when your next campaign is due.
Peter Noah, co-creative director for Getty Images turns to social platforms to build momentum, too:
“I follow designers on Instagram, see who they’re following, and I visit sites like designspiration.com.”
Chris Do, founder and CEO of The Futur warns designers and marketers of falling flat to design trends without strategic thinking. He tells Adobe that your brand’s designs – ergo, its marketing efforts – should remain true to your core identity at all times, but that trends can be a place for inspiration:
“[It’s crucial] for creatives to have a broader view of different aesthetics and styles, and pick the one that is most connected to the message you’re trying to communicate.”
William Meadows, creative director and customer-centered design lead for ACC New Zealand finds design inspiration and trends all over the world, telling Inside Design:
“[Travelling] is about expanding my ‘visual library’ but also getting time to challenge some of my deeper rooted assumptions. As a design researcher, one of the key elements is reflecting and knowing yourself. There’s no better way to do that than adapting yourself to a new context.”
A great reminder that everything can inspire the next campaign’s designs if you keep your eyes open to them. And our very own Agustin Biani, Design Manager here at Design Force agrees:
“I plan to work remotely in different settings to absorb different sceneries, vistas, cultural backgrounds and to incorporate that subtly into my thinking process. Great improvements are baked first in the subconscious.”
The team behind Creative Market Blog turns to curated lists to get their trend-led fix, citing popular design websites like Dribbble’s explore page and Best of Behance for real-time insights into what designers are currently coveting.
If you’re turning to social media in search of trends, keep Pinterest on your radar, as well as TikTok and Instagram. The home of the trending, these sites give a timely look into what your ideal customers are loving (and hating) on a mass scale.
Follow top designers as well as leading design agencies and production teams like @designforce.co for regular updates, and look into who these accounts follow too, for a deeper dive.
How to implement design trends into your marketing work
Now that you have a regular stream of trending designs to reference, what do you do with them?
The best practices for incorporating trends into your own designs all stem from knowing your brand inside out. Your brand should have a solid core identity that can guide you in your decision-making, so it’s important to first refer to your brand guide or style guide before jumping on any trends.
Does this design trend align with our brand’s visual identity?
Is this design trend likely to stick around for a while?
Does this design trend make sense for our audience?
Does this design trend help us communicate our message?
If the answer is no, steer clear.
If you’re happy that a design trend will support your brand’s image, work with your design team to design elements that will elevate your marketing campaigns. Email banners, website banners, advertisements and social media posts can all be great places to mix things up.
But remember, consistency is key to building brand recognition, awareness and loyalty. Make sure to keep your brand essence true by sticking to your brand colors or fonts, and including your logo or logo mark on relevant items.
Examples of brands that have successfully entwined design trends into their marketing
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3D design is a big trend for 2023, one that’s been embraced by soda brand, Pepsi, in their social media campaign for marshmallow cola.
Notice how their branding is consistent and recognizable, yet they’ve successfully incorporated the design trend into supporting assets, like marshmallow bunnies.
Expressive typography, another 2023 design trend, made its way into Gymbox’s January campaign. They stay true to their bold, punchy yellow, but bring a fresh burst of color with pink handwritten lettering to highlight their key brand messaging.
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Swedish furniture brand IKEA use another 2023 design trend, contemporary gradients, in their collaboration with Little Sun. It’s still oh-so-IKEA, but with a vibrant, sunshine twist.
Design trends are fun, but brand identity remains number one
There you have it, marketers, our compact guide on where to source design trends and how to know whether to use them or bin them.
We encourage you to embrace the ever-evolving design trends happening week after week to stay innovative, fresh, and relevant in this fast-moving world. But, remember to stay true to your brand’s core values and identity at all times to avoid disconnect and damage to your hard-earned reputation.
If you’ve got campaigns in the pipeline but are low on designer talent, our teams here at Design Force can provide fresh new eyes into your design efforts. We’ve got professional and vetted designers and creative directors from all over the world with an eagle eye for trends and an expert skills for keeping your brand on brand.
Book a free 15 minute demo and we’ll show you how we can be yours in just one day.