Branding: The Constant Evolution

Flat Design

This month we’re looking back at how marketing has changed over the last six years that we’ve been established as an online marketing agency, and along with the dramatic changes in website design, one of the most visible differences between 2008 and today can be seen in brand identities across all industries.

Pictured above are current logos for Starbucks (launched in 2011), eBay (2012), Microsoft (2012) and Bing (2013). What do these current logos from four of the most recognizable brands in the world have in common? A lot actually! With these new brand identities, these companies are moving towards the modern trend of flat design. Perhaps a response to the increasingly large amount of visual and digital information our brains process every day, the move towards simplified design is evident across user-interface design, website design, and ever-increasingly, logo design.

More than ever, there is a strong focus on strong shapes and strong colours. Rather than communicate a brand identity through a logo design that literally represents some aspects of the brand, the idea is to communicate what your brand is about through subtleties like the strategically chosen colour palette. Typography is also key— one thing many great brand identities have in common is a use of simple, yet strong sans-serif fonts. Another nod to modern design.

The fact that these companies, along with many others have undergone such large scale rebranding over the last four years is also an indication of the real business need to stay fresh visually. Consumers respond to design trends as much as designers themselves. If the devices and platforms consumers interface with feel modern and fresh, there is a need for your corporate identity.

As an illustrated example of what we mean, here’s a mockup of what the current website (2014) would look like if they were still using their last logo, prior to their most recent rebranding in 2012:

Looks strange, right? Almost archaic in comparison to the clean design of their website. It also raises the question, could you have one without the other? No question, modern web design and branding design complement each other and need to be implemented together.

Although we’ve been discussing giant corporations up to this point, this information isn’t only applicable for established and already recognizable companies though. Even if you’re a small business — rather, especially if you’re a small business — having a clean brand identity is critical for growing your company in a sustainable way. Investing in modern and strategically developed branding will leave you with a logo and brand identity that can sustain your business as you expand. Think of it as starting with your best foot forward.

Recognize the need for a beautiful and engaging brand identity? Get in touch — we’d love to help your business get there.