Investing in a well-designed visual brand identity is a smart move for just about any business. And that investment should serve you for years to come. Still, I see so many incredible entrepreneurs who limit their own potential or end up paying for rebrand after rebrand simply because they take a short-term, trendy approach to branding.
When I’m working on designs, for my own business or for a client, I avoid trendy things if at all possible. Of course, it’s important to maintain a current and relevant brand identity. But the trick is finding the sweet spot -- a balanced brand image that’s current but not trendy. Timelessness is the target.
Speaking of Target, I can’t really think of a better brand to represent the concept of building a timeless identity, or a better brand to represent my version of heaven on earth.
Here are just a few elements of Target’s timeless brand image:
Memorable icon inspired by brand name
At Target you “expect more, pay less.” And a timeless approach to branding will allow you to expect more and pay less, as it relates to your own brand image.
Hear me out on this one:
Expect more evolution and growth.
Target's logo is simple. It’s a target. That’s it. It’s a memorable icon that’s lasted through decades of design trends and it still makes sense no matter what new items the superstore starts carrying next.
A simple, clean logo design allows you to transition and evolve your offerings, or even your entire business -- without having to start from scratch to build new brand image. Here are a couple tips to help you craft a brand image that sets you up to successfully evolve and grow:
Graphics are good, but icons that express one specific service or offering (i.e. a camera, a pencil, etc.) won’t always apply, if one day you decide to do something else. Go with geometric shapes or something that represents your style or personality, as opposed to offering.
Assuming you want your business to grow for years to come, avoid really trendy design elements. One example of this would be those arbitrary crossed lines inside a badge-style logo. In five years, that type of logo could potentially project an image that tells people your business is behind the times. As a general rule of thumb, the simpler your design, the longer it will remain relevant.
The bottom line: when your visual brand is limitless, so is your ability to personally evolve and grow your business.
Pay less for logo redesigns and rebranding.
I personally try to design logos and branding that will set my clients up for long-term success. This means that I often avoid even the most interesting design trends, because I’ve seen way too many of them inevitably fade within 6-24 months. By staying away from the trends, you’ll save money because you won’t be paying for a redesign a few months down the road.
After all, how long have we been flocking to the same, big, red bullseye? That’s good news for Target, because I wouldn’t guess that a corporate rebrand is particularly budget-friendly.
Even if your brand image isn’t too trendy, it’s still a good idea to stick with simple design. The simpler your design, the easier it will be to tweak on your own or with a super-small design fee.
This is especially important for creative entrepreneurs because creative career paths tend to be more fluid. And lately it seems like everyone kind of has two or more “things” they do. For example, I’m a designer but I also do branding and some amount of coaching. If I wanted to focus on coaching and target an older demographic, I could make a couple clicks to edit my brand colors and be good to go -- no extra investment required.
Hit the timelessness target.
Taking a timeless approach to branding can set you up for success as trends change and your business evolves. Just remember:
KISS: Keep It Simple Sassy. It’s easy to think your logo and colors should represent every single thing about your business. But I promise, your brand will be much more memorable if you focus on communicating the one or two most important elements.
- Use your core values and brand personality as the creative foundation for your visual identity. This will allow you to maintain an authentic image that connects with your ideal customers, regardless of trends or if you decide to transition your business.
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