Originally published on Looka.com
Curious about where branding trends are headed in 2023? Branding trends are constantly evolving alongside trends in fashion, interior design, pop culture, and general consumer taste.
This year, we’re seeing a shift towards authentic, no-nonsense branding and a heavy emphasis on an emotional connection to people.
But why are branding trends important?
Branding trends give you the upper hand in communicating your products and services to the right customers. Along with a memorable first impression, branding is a critical part of your marketing and brand identity.
Your brand personality, brand voice, mission, and values should be set in stone. But how you express these traits can vary with different designs, colors, fonts, and visuals. That’s where branding trends come in!
We’ve taken the time to pull the latest branding trends of 2023 to help you build a successful one-of-a-kind brand. We’ve also included some actionable branding tips to help you stay on top of industry standards.
Let’s dive in!
Cutouts and surprise
The new eco-look
Fun with fonts
Keeping things real
1. Monochromatic colors
Monochromatic branding is often minimalist and refined. A monochromatic brand color palette contains various shades of the same color. You start with a base color and add different shades through font, images, icons, materials, etc.
Monochromatic colors create a cohesive look for your brand and generate a soothing sense of tranquility. The primary color you choose is what creates the rest of your brand color palette. So, choose a color that’s relevant to your industry and embodies your brand personality.
Brush up on colors and their associated emotions to make sure you nail the mood and tone of your brand.
We’re finding monochromatic colors pop up in personal branding, skincare, and luxury branding. The muted aesthetic of monochrome colors looks elevated and professional.
Branding: Aise Skincare by Kyau Studio on Behance Source: L’aparté by Retrofutur Agence on Behance Branding: Monochrome by F61 Agency on Behance
2. Atmospheric photography
Photos generate an emotional connection by depicting real people, the environment, and beautiful objects. In 2023, we’re seeing brands opt for a minimal logo paired with original photography to portray their personality and products. Picture the grainy effect of a polaroid, or the nostalgic look of 35mm film. They create an atmosphere that draws people in. Studio photography is being replaced with beautiful candid shots that can be taken from any camera.
Perfection is no longer the goal, being real is.
This accessible form of photography inspires consumers who yearn for simple, creative branding that they can relate to. This trend is ideal for nostalgic brand marketing. A perfect example is Kinn jewelry. Their logo is minimal and their photography is simple, accessible, and beautiful. Like their products!
Source: Kinn Jewelry
This trend works well for brands that want to grow their presence on photo-driven social media, and sell products rather than services. Photos help us visualize using the product or attaining a specific lifestyle. This is what makes photography so effective!
Source: Hoosh by Huge Studio on Behance
Source: Manduco by Huge Studio on Behance
3. Hand-drawn illustrations
Source: Nanea candle packaging by Thuc Doan on Behance
People love handmade, unique products that feel bespoke. More and more brands are opting for a holistic look that feels human in 2023. It makes an instant emotional connection! Think of the casual script font on Lush Cosmetics bottles.
The look of hand-drawn branding has the comforting appeal of simpler times – as news of economic turmoil, natural disasters, and financial crises arise, there’s an overwhelming need for reverting to simplicity and stability. Brands are complying by adding these hand-drawn elements to their products, websites, and marketing materials.
Try adding your signature, a photograph of you, or some small doodles to your website or package design to add a more human touch.
This trend works well for traditional branding or friendly and honest brand personalities. Check out the branding examples below!
Source: Laboratoriet by Radius Design on Behance Source: Bumi by Serious Studio on Behance
Illustration is also a graphic design trend of 2023!
4. Simple maximalism
Choose one design element, like a font or color palette, and make it striking! Try balancing the simplicity of a serif font with a clashing color palette of electric blue, neon green, and yellow. Or, you could use a large, bold display font with a muted pink and blue color palette. I
n 2023, brands are opting for simple elements that pack a punch in order to get their message across. This branding trend rose from the need for simplicity and structure, but without sacrificing creativity.
It’s a modern look and suits up-and-coming brands that offer a unique product or service. Or, for businesses that want to stand out from a loud and crowded market.
Source: Madies by Fugitiva.co on Behance Source: Habit by F61 Agency on Behance
5. Cutouts and surprise
Think of your last unforgettable unboxing experience. Did it make you a loyal customer? Did you share photos with your friends? The power of great branded packaging is enough to create loyal customers that market the product for you.
This year, brands are going beyond visual design and using physical layers and cutouts to introduce a sense of delight and surprise you can touch.
Try adding your logo symbol as a cutout to the top layer of your packaging – revealing a photograph or brand color beneath. Or add intrigue by adding unique cutouts that reveal words or sentences beneath.
Thoughtful package layering can create a dynamic experience through the intricate placement of words, colors, and images.
Although this branding trend is for physical branding, the same idea applies to layering on web pages – in fact, it’s a web design trend in 2023!
Source: Wild Nutrition by Socio Design on Behance
The brand identity above uses a simple circle cut out surrounded by white space to create a dramatic show of the orange beneath. Inside, the orange dot is a letter to the customer. Below, the cutout of the logo symbol over photography adds an energetic element to the branding. You can’t help but want to open it!
Source: Phi Creative on Behance
6. Mascots galore
Mascots help make an emotional connection to the audience through a lovable character. Think of society’s attachment to the M&M mascots. They’ve changed their mascots to be more diverse and inclusive over the past few years – including different shapes, sizes, and even sexual orientations!
Having a mascot logo can boost brand recognition and brand awareness.
Using a mascot in an increasingly competitive environment is a great way to connect with your customers in a fun-loving way. Folks are yearning for that emotional connection and a fun-loving experience that brightens their day.
However, keep in mind creating a mascot isn’t easy! It takes time to build its brand personality, along with considerable design needs. Your mascot will have to be totally unique and original, so you’ll have to design one from scratch based on your industry, brand personality, and values. This branding trend is popular in the food industry and experimental tech companies. Think of Mcdonald’s and Hootsuite! Their mascots both represent their unique personalities. Check out some more mascot branding examples below!
Buka by Studio Widok on Behance Source: Pan Pan by Sorawit Opapongphun on Behance
7. The new eco-look
The eco-friendly industry has long struggled with uninspiring shades of green and brown. Fortunately, that’s changing fast this year.
All colors exist on Earth naturally. From tropical jungles to coral reefs – designers are experimenting with this limitless color spectrum and connecting it to the sustainable businesses that help preserve them.
Think of the pinkish-purple of Fuchsia flowers, the neon green of seedlings, and the blue and scarlet gradients of birds of paradise. Even the stripes and spots of African safari animals can come into play! Natural beauty has begun to influence branding trends.
57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact.
Consumers are willing to change their habits to consciously reduce their impact on the environment. So, it’s only natural that businesses with sustainable initiatives follow suit and brand for the better.
Source: Wild Kombucha by Marlon Studio on Behance Source: Abby Haddican on Behance
8. Fun with fonts
Sometimes a unique font and a great business name are all that’s necessary to create effective branding.
Designers are choosing bold and distorted fonts to create memorable monogram logos with slight alterations that make them original.
Through simple changes; like elongated lettering, thick hand-drawn strokes, or letter stacking, font designs remain simple but impactful enough for their audience.
We’re also seeing lettering being replaced with icons or objects in 2023. Like an “O” for a bagel or an “I” for a brushstroke. This trend is all about keeping things simple but adding a small original twist. With a simple sans serif font and a creative letter replacement – you’ve got a distinct look.
Stretched and elongated lettering is a font trend in 2023, and we’re seeing folks use words to convey…well, more than words.
Source: AWSM Sauce by Herefor Studio on Behance
The branding above uses swirling serifs, thick font strokes, and conscious use of white space to make an impact with their branding. It’s whimsical, fun, and effective!
Below, the “O” in the logo is used to create containers for copy and color blocks. Another creative way to use a font as a main design element!
Source: Florama by Huge Studio on Behance
9. Keeping things real
Looking at ads of unrealistic body shapes and unrelatable lifestyles is a tone-deaf strategy to take in 2023. Brand activism for diversity, inclusion, and sustainability is trending in 2023.
Brands are embracing natural, human language that feels conversational, honest, and inclusive. Businesses are being transparent about what they do and how they do it. They’re speaking to their customers the same way they speak to friends and family.
Source: Wear Pact
Pact, an inclusive underwear brand, uses simple branding with powerful messaging to get through to its audience. Their visual Identity uses unapologetic photography that shows imperfections and embraces people of all colors, shapes, and sizes.
Source: Buchu by Olivier Duclos on Behance
Another approach to being more authentic is using friendly language. Think of your customers as friends! It’s an honest and impressionable way to relate. Check out Buchu below, they use a friendly laid-back brand voice that feels organic. Like talking to your buddy!
10. Animated moments
This year, designers are using movement to create a more animated brand experience. They’re adding small moving elements like shifting color blocks, gifs, parallax scrolling, and more. This branding trend lives on the web, but doesn’t everything these days?
Animated elements create a unique experience for the web visitor. It’s a modern and high-tech way to approach online branding – and it pays off when your webpage is more memorable than a competitor’s. It increases time on page, clicks, and overall ranking on search engines.
Although animation can take considerable resources, adding small micro-animations like animated brand logos, gifs, and scroll-activated image changes can create a richer experience. Even having your product slowly moving around in a gif is effective!
This branding trend can go hand in hand with a video strategy – and we’ve seen everything from moving text to interactive video come up in 2023.
Core and Rind by Herefor studio on Behance BTS by Stereographic Studio on Behance
Branding best practices in 2023
Best practices keep brands relevant and in tune with society and its needs. Check out these branding tips to keep your brand relevant before you dive into the branding trends of 2023. Embrace diversity
People are tired of seeing one representation of humanity in branding. We are a world of many races, colors, abilities, and cultures, and this is something to celebrate. A growing effort in branding is the turn toward diversity and inclusivity, and it’s a welcome breath of fresh air.
This means, an emphasis on inclusive business practices for people of different sexual and gender orientations, and physical abilities. Think of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line or Reformation clothing.
How can you bring more diversity and inclusion into your brand?
Include people of color, differing abilities, ages, and orientations in your imagery.
Use inclusive language to make everyone feel included and to target a larger audience
Consider ways to make your space more accessible with an accessibility ramp
Add braille to your signage, and hire folks who can speak with sign language.
Implement audio accessibility on your website to help low-vision folks navigate better
A great way to elevate your brand in 2023 is by doing away with perfectly photoshopped and curated images. People are growing tired of the highlight reel. As a result, more and more brands are turning to images that haven’t been over-edited to better reflect reality.
51% of consumers believe businesses lack authentic content, but 90% desire it.
How can you market more authentically?
Show off wrinkles and skin imperfections. Display products in real-life scenarios rather than overly edited studio shots. Postpartum personal care brand, Frida Mom uses realistic
marketing images that are relatable and displays images shot on an iPhone.
User-generated content is content created by users, not brands. 76% of people said they trusted content shared by “average” people more than by brands. Essentially, UGC acts like a customer testimonial, by showing off how happy your consumers are with your products or services.
How do you start using UGC?
Create a stunning brand experience that’s photo-worthy and encourages social sharing. A simple custom hashtag is a great place to start! Encourage your followers to post on their social media using your custom hashtag with contests and reposts.
Join and build online communities
2023 will see a turn towards niche communities. Newsletters, online groups, customer community programs, and local events are great ways to create community-driven content. Think of your customers as friends. Community-driven content is about creating a two-way, interactive experience between your brand and your audience.
How can you build a community?
raw and honest content about your business
sharing customer stories
virtual workshops and events
Recapping branding trends in 2023
Maintaining your brand is about keeping your customers connected and close to you. This new decade marks a shift into more human branding. We’ve given you the top branding trends and tips to keep your brand elevated for years to come, including:
More sustainable practices where possible
Embracing diversity and being more inclusive in your brand photos, messaging, and identity
Focusing on realness by not over-editing photography
Leveraging user-generated content to instill trust and loyalty in your customers
Focus on your audience and customers as a community rather than buyers
With Looka’s Brand Kit, it’s easy to manage your brand on an ongoing basis, all in one place. Design a logo and get access to 100s of templates for invoices, business cards, flyers, social media posts, and even websites!
If you like these branding tips you’ll love our newsletter! Every month we send some professionally curated branding tips straight to your inbox.