Side parts, skinny jeans and logos
The other day I was scrolling through social media when something stopped me in my tracks. It was a meme about Gen Z declaring that side parts and skinny jeans make you look old.
I felt this strange sensation of shock and indignation wash over me. It was like someone told me Santa didn’t exist after I had just gotten my picture taken with him at the mall. The trends Gen Z are purporting to be in style look a lot like what moms wore in the 90s. My head exploded.
I have unwittingly crossed the line from young and trendy to old and outdated. Ok, the truth is I probably crossed it a long time ago. My mom uniform has become yoga pants and t-shirts, so I haven’t had to confront this: I look dated to younger generations.
Here I was sitting here with a side part and my skinny jeans on, and I didn’t even know I was walking around with a sign on that said, “old.”
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was shocked, because you’ve probably seen the flood of outrage and dismissal across the internet that has commenced since then.
This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. Every time a new generation gets old enough to make a declaration, there is a shift in trends. We flip flop from low rise jeans to bootcut jeans to skinny jeans to boyfriend jeans.
I remember when skinny jeans first got popular, and I thought they looked ridiculous. After I got sucked into the trend, I thought anything else looked outdated.
Because here is the truth: Trends are fickle. They come and go. They change as our kids grow up and tell us what is cool.
It’s uncomfortable to have that dawning realization that whatever we are presenting to the public is a trend of the past.
I can’t tell you how often I see this same thing occur with logos.
One style gets really popular. Suddenly, you see it all over Pinterest and Instagram. New businesses churn it out like it is being mass produced in a factory somewhere.
Then a few years later, the trend begins to look stale, and everyone shifts to something different. The businesses who jumped on the bandwagon find themselves either stuck looking old or having to rebrand. (Which is not a cheap process).
However, if you look at the really strong brands, the ones that cut through the noise and last, they made logo choices that stand the test of passing trends. There might be times they “refresh” their logo with small tweaks or refinements, but the heart of the logo or brand stays intact. No sweeping rebrand required.
Brands like Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola all have logos that have been around for years, sometimes decades.
I get it, it is hard not to get sucked into trends. At the moment, they are attractive and appealing.
So how do you avoid trends?
1. Make decisions around your target market and the message you want your brand to send, not your feelings about what you like.
This takes time, research and thought. Figure out who your target market is and what they want. Then think about your own message. What makes you different? What are your values? What are the things you want people to understand about what you do?
Then as you make choices about brand style, do they align with your target market and message you want to send? If not, choose something that does.
2. Look at the brands that have stood the test in time.
What do they have in common? If you start examining the successful brands, there are certain commonalities that rise to the surface. Look at brands within your industry. Try to emulate their big picture choices (not their logo).
3. Err on the side of simple.
Think about the brands I mentioned above. If you look at the evolution of popular brands, they have all moved further and further toward simplicity.
If you stay simple, it will be easier to avoid adding in trendy elements.
4. Keep practicality in mind.
If the trend makes it so your logo is hard to see or read, is hard to use when it is really small or really large, steer clear. If there is something in the background that makes it feel busy, it might look good now, but feel stale later.
Here are a few examples of some Canva template logos:
Boho rainbows are all the rage right now. I guarantee in a year or so, they will fade out of popularity.
Try elements that are more simple and true to the message of the brand and that will be around when the rainbow trend disappears.
These thin lines look pretty and everyone is gravitating to them right now. But when you size the logo small on a business card or social media graphic, it is hard to read. If instead you use thicker lines, it's more readable at a small size.
A couple years ago, watercolor splashes were very on trend. But you can see in this logo how it already looks dated. Instead, skip the trendy element and stick with a more simple version. It looks good then and now.
When it comes to your logo, I don’t want you to have the skinny jeans and side part moment I did the other day. Pinterest is a great tool for inspiration. But make sure you stick to your message and keep your target market in mind above all and don’t get caught up in today’s fashions.
Some some guidance as you design your logo and build your brand? Sign up for The Amplified Brand digital course.