Visual content has been an important part of any brand, marketing or promotional campaign since cave dwellers etched stories of their conquests on the walls of their homes. It’s part of our DNA – even kids will pick up a crayon and draw on the walls if they’re left alone long enough. Our ideas are more effectively communicated when accompanied by images, a thousand times more than with words alone. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
None of the above is breaking news, but trends within the visual medium come and go, and with 2023 around the corner, here are some potentially popular things to look out for and implement into your campaigns.
It’s no longer in vogue to grab stock images off the web and use it to accompany your content. Stock photography and design has become ubiquitous – it’s everywhere. So, what ends up happening is that you look like everybody else.
Look at what happened with the Corporate Memphis design trend a few years ago. Tech startups were drawn to the simple and generic look of the style, and it became so synonymous with the industry that you could put a safe bet on any new company in that field to incorporate the design style in their branding. But what ended up happening is predictable: they all ended up looking much the same, and it became hard to distinguish one from the next.
Setting yourself apart from your competitors is the name of the game and doing that with original imagery is a great start. That applies to everything from your branding look and feel, all the way to seemingly insignificant things like an image that accompanies a blog post. While the cost of a designer on retainer may be daunting for small businesses, stock images and clip art just won’t cut it anymore.
Design and video
TikTok and Instagram stories are leading the pack when it comes to short, punchy and eye-catching visuals. The quick attention span of a generation seems to have been leveraged by these companies, and their algorithms are far more advanced, leaving other companies like Snapchat in the dust. Nearly half of Gen Z is using TikTok and Instagram for search instead of Google, according to Google’s own internal data.
Although the main users are in a younger age group, GenXs and older Americans are also discovering these platforms. Making good use of these platforms can be a very smart move when it comes to promoting your brand. Adding design elements to these short videos, and editing them with clever cuts and audio can set you apart from the rest and open up a huge new audience — TikTok has over a billion users in over 150 countries now.
Every couple of years we see new design trends pop up and gain traction. For example, about ten years ago plain, san-serif fonts made a comeback and saw their day in the sun once again. For the most part, this was a reaction by creative directors and designers alike to the wave of popularity that grungy and broken up fonts had enjoyed. Recently we’ve seen a lot of “hipster” design when it comes to typefaces. It’s almost as if the social and demographic averages of whoever is in their 20s and 30s at the time governs the popularity of design for that time period. There are no doubt some studies that could back up that claim. But the point is common sense — a new generation of young and enthusiastic creatives enters the workforce, and trends shift to reflect their sense of style.
Predictably, the design trends of 2023 (according to Social Media Today) will follow suit. Bright colors and interesting fonts, reminiscent of games like Fortnight and others that shaped the visual tastes of this generation, but with a slightly more mature slant. And, just as predictably, there are forecasts that reflect an older generation looking back nostalgically at a punk and retro line art revival.
The bottom line is that in order to stay relevant with your visual content, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of what trends are popular, while at the same time working out how to keep your brand identity unique and true to itself.