Stay ahead of the curve with these emerging trends.

Keeping a brand relevant is a constant and ongoing challenge.

Branding has to do a lot of heavy lifting—it has to be unique, it has to be relatable, it has to communicate your brand’s mission, purpose, identity and more.

There is so much that goes into modern brand identity design. You have the visual identity of your brand, which includes the logo, color palette, and graphic elements, and how these are used and represented in your marketing materials and products. Then you have the brand voice and the way in which your brand communicates with the world.

Whether you already have an existing brand guide, or you’re in the process of creating one, it helps to look ahead to emerging brand design trends and see how you can incorporate these into your work. By taking inspiration from new trends you’ll be able to stay a step ahead of the competition and push an edge.

In this article, we take an in depth look at some of the graphic design techniques and styles that we predict will make waves in 2023.

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Embracing nostalgia

A surefire way for a brand to form a connection with potential customers is to elicit an emotional response from them.

This is not new information—marketers have long been using this fact to create heartstring tugging adverts, or inspiring emotions like joy and happiness, to create associations with products and brands. Nostalgia is a tried and tested shortcut to positive emotions as it makes people don rose tinted glasses and become wistful about ‘better times’.

Whereas adverts have much more scope to provoke emotional responses, branding has more limitations. A perfect way to elicit emotions with your branding is nostalgia. You can tap into the 90s/Y2K vibe and reflect the excitement of the early technological boom, or use the poppy, feelgood style of 70s and 80s design. There is no particular era you need to pinpoint, the goal of this graphic design trend is simply to evoke nostalgia of earlier times.

Mastering minimalism

These days we are constantly being bombarded with information and visual overloaded.

There is a constant war being raged for our attention, and most people think the way to win is by throwing everything into the mix and seeing what sticks. But more is not always necessarily better, and minimalist design is the perfect antidote that can actually help your brand to stand out.

When you think of some of the most iconic logos and designs—like the Nike swoosh and the Apple logo—what should strike you is their simplicity. In this case, less really is more. Opting for design elements that are minimal will give your brand a chance to develop this same kind of iconic status.

Another upshot of minimal logos is that they contain less pixels and will load faster, giving a better online experience when they are part of your website. Of course, the best designers will be using vectors to create a logo, but the principles of minimalism still apply here.

There is a little danger inherent in the minimal approach—your branding may come across as bland when it is so stripped back. Creating something simple yet effective and powerful is a real challenge in the design process, so master minimalism and you’re onto a winner.

Getting humanized

If you want your brand to be successful, then you need to build trust with your customers.

People value authenticity and want to feel this from the brands they engage with too. One way to establish trust with your audience to make your brand more human and use more of a human voice in your branding.

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A key way to do this is through brand activism and aligning your brand with relevant and worthy causes, such as the environment and human rights.

Creating branding elements and campaigns that align with these causes can make your brand feel more human and relatable.

Of course, your brand also has to be serious about these issues and embody them, otherwise your efforts will come off as disingenuous.

Of all the branding trends that will play a role in 2023, humanizing your brand is one of the trickiest to get right, but when it works, you will be generating true loyalty in your customers.

Great gradients

Adding a gradient to your logo or branding is a deceptively simple technique that can have a huge effect.

When we’re talking about a gradient here we’re not thinking of a simple fade out of one color, we’re talking combining different colors and using gradients to bring them together.

The best example of a logo that makes excellent use of a gradient is Instagram. It seamlessly blends the different hues to make a logo that really pops. Used properly, gradients can add a level of dynamism and style to your branding.

Another sub trend within this category are molten and liquid gradients. These can add a cool sci-fi touch to your design projects and make your branding look out of this world.

Giving the negative space

We love to see creative use of negative space in logo design and branding.

In our opinion, it’s an underused technique in visual design and deserves to become a more popular graphic design trend in 2023. The way it works is that empty space around and within the logo or text is actually used as part of the design. We have a great article where you can learn more about negative space, also known as white space.

Oftentimes, negative space almost works like an optical illusion. An excellent example of this is the FedEx logo. At first glance it just looks like two plain words, but when you take an extra second, you notice that between the ‘x’ and the ‘e’, an arrow is formed.

It is quite ingenious, and reveals another good thing about negative space—it can really capture the viewer's attention. Another very famous example of astutely used negative space is in the WWF logo. Here, the use of the white space and the black logo to create a Chinese panda is incredibly cool.

Harness the power of negative space in your branding and give yourself an edge.

We’ve been hammering on about how good animated logos are for absolutely ages, and we think this is the year when this graphic design trend finally catches on in the way it deserves.

A static logo is great, of course, but with so much activity happening in the digital space, it just makes sense to take advantage of the ability to use animation in this realm.

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Movement and animation are attention-grabbing by nature, and an animated logo will capture the eyeballs of your potential audience much more effectively than a static logo.

Animated logos also add an extra level of communication for your brand and offer additional opportunities for revealing what your brand is about. Animation can convey playfulness, spontaneity, and much more. If you’re not find a way to animate your logo in 2023, what are you even doing?!

Being bold with colors

For the past number of years the most popular color palettes have been putty, muted colors with subdued pastel hues taking center stage.

This could well have been a reaction against the bright neons that dominated color schemes in the early 2010s. Now we’re going to see the pendulum swing back again, although not as far as the brash, over the top punch in the face that neon delivers. Instead, we’re going to see a lot of bold colors coming through.

There are a lot of advantages to using bold, bright colors. Not only are they attention-grabbing—which can help to catch people’s attention when they are scrolling through their feeds—but they can also have an impact on mood.

Vibrant, vivid and poppy color combinations feel happy and light, and can make your brand come across in a positive and peppy way. We could all do with a little more joy right now, and bold colors are one way for your brand to bring that into the world.

Using humor and memes

Making people laugh has been a powerful marketing method for probably as long as advertising has existed.

Humor is a way for a brand to seem more relatable and show that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Of course, when a brand tries to be funny and fails, it is incredibly cringe inducing and can have the opposite effect to what was intended. A pretty surefire way to help your brand tap into the power of humor in a safe way is to utilize memes.

In 2023 we’re going to see more brands embracing memes as a marketing tool, and one method we think you can use to give your brand an edge is to add animation to memes. We have a guide on how to animate social media graphics, and if you master the art of animating memes you’ll see your brand soar.

We hope this article has given you some food for thought and new ideas for your brand design. For more relevant graphic design tips, dive into our Academy, where you will find tutorials on logo design, color palettes, and more.

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The 8 best brand design trends for 2023 | Linearity
The 8 best brand design trends for 2023