Ten years ago, web designers first started discussing “responsive design,” aka ensuring that websites created with desktops in mind would load legibly on smartphones and tablets. The rapid rise of mobile browsing has created critical usability issues for traditional websites. Designers and developers began experimenting with various ways to make designs that would adapt to all devices as a one-website-fits-all solution. This laid the groundwork for what would become known as “responsive design.”
The main idea here is to make sure the brand is readable and legible at smaller sizes on all devices or print mediums. Digitally, a logo should look recognizable on a desktop, tablet, or phone. This same scaling is similar to the issue that has existed in print, where a logo must fit on billboards, letterheads and business cards. In a world where screens come in all sizes and shapes, we need logos that can make an elegant and efficient use of any screen space. They use more or fewer elements, and those elements can be organized in various ways to match the environment.
Below, check out how some household brand names have transitioned their logo overtime to become less complex, involving fewer design elements and playing up the iconic ones that are most recognizable no matter what the scale. Even the simplest original logo below, Chanel, can be made simple.
Design trends are moving away from the minimalist look and embracing influences of the 80’s and 90’s, making way for experimentation with retro patterns and hues. Bright, bold colors and gradients have taken the place of crisp neutrals and soft fades are replacing solid lines. These changes are refreshing to the eyes and help capture attention.
Instead of utilizing starkly different colors, similar hues are layered to create subtle contrasts and natural gradients that draw in the viewer and guide their eyes as they navigate the website. Bold tones, shadows and layers create depth in a 2D space. These elements are interesting to the eye to keep the viewer engaged. Pilch & Barnet has embraced this theme by integrating bold color palettes and gradients into logos and other elements for our clients.
While the digital age has helped facilitate many human connections, it’s forced online design and the larger visual world to become more streamlined for the web. This results in designs that are flat and clean, but a bit impersonal. Artists and viewers feel nostalgia for design that feels more human. One way to achieve this is to create images that light-up the sensory and emotional centers of our brain: anything tactile, textural and personal. People are responding well to anything that has to do with direct touch. Artists strive to reach out to their audiences and develop a connection with them through images that are inviting and nearly tangible.
On a website, this might mean using photos that emphasize the look of water on a lake, or the coarse grain of cut wood on the side of a cabin. This could also mean sharing a special moment captured between a couple, family or friends. Pilch & Barnet is always looking for new ways to broaden our clients’ photo libraries so that they not only include the necessary photos, but the ones that are the most compelling and in-line with the latest design trends.
At Pilch & Barnet, we’ve always championed on-site photo shoots where models resemble real people on vacation in your destination. When our target audiences connect with the images and really envision themselves there, they’re more likely to plan a trip. Whether we’re working with custom photos or selecting stock, we look for images that convey emotion, contain action or tell stories as authentically as possible. But that’s no longer just a standard that we employ: unfiltered and unstaged compositions are now back in vogue. Demand for real-life photography grew significantly in 2017 and will grow even more in 2018 as brands seek to connect with their users and designers seek to rid the world of staged stock photography.
Take CVS Pharmacy, for example: recently, they’ve decided to inform customers if certain advertisements for beauty products have been digitally altered, keeping in line with this step towards authenticity in advertising. From Helena Foulkes, executive vice president of CVS: “[People] are saying ‘Celebrities aren’t real. I want to relate to people who have my own imperfections and feel that I’m empowered by the fact that I look like these people.’”
Staged unnatural images may compete for attention, but often fall flat simply because the audience can’t identify with them. Additionally, stock imagery is more familiar to very active internet users because it’s so pervasive (thanks Google images) and can be seen as disingenuous or lazy advertising. Even Instagram users don’t want to post images of themselves smiling at the camera, ushering in the rise of the “plandid,” or a staged photo that looks candid. Unique captures, delightful moments, and surprising perspectives will resonate with viewers more strongly since they show real life rather than staged situations.
Many famous brands this year are using bold and vibrant color combinations in print, web and mobile app design. Just take a look at the biggest companies that have rebranded recently, like Uber or Subway, and you’ll see that brighter colors have worked their way into the new logos.
The rule of thumb is the brighter the palette, the more your brand will stand out. With the popularity of smaller devices, such as tablets and smartphones, increasing over the last couple of years, it’s become essential to use bright bold colors to make sure your designs don’t blend in with your competition—or worse—the screen. As we brand/rebrand our clients, we have been working to choose the right color combinations to help their brands stand out from the crowded tourism markets while also staying true to the unique character of each destination.
There are tens of thousands of font families in the universe and more appearing every day. In the design process, a lot of care goes into the selection of a font. It’s the key component in communicating messages to potential travelers and arguably the most important element on a website.
In modern web design, fonts are trending bigger.
In many of our projects we’re incorporating larger fonts. When content began moving online in the early days of web design, smaller fonts were the norm, in part a carryover from newsprint projects. Over the years, the design world has shifted toward much larger fonts, for good reason. Careful use of increased font size can boost visual impact and increase readability and usability, particularly on mobile devices. In short, the message connects. We’ve incorporated larger fonts into the new sites we’re designing, in elements like body copy, headlines and pull quotes.
As we select fonts, we also ensure fonts match the tone and feel of the brands we’re executing and the projects we’re completing. Some additional considerations in this process include the use of custom or customized fonts, the legibility of a font, the personality and feel of a font and its application on mobile devices.
While we put a lot of thought into fonts and font size, our goal is simple: capture people’s attention and inspire them to travel.
There are many great reasons to create a style guide for your destination: it provides an easy overview of your destination’s brand and its assets; it serves as a guide to writers, designers and social media managers when working on projects; and it can be easily updated as your brand evolves.
When it comes to written content—whether it’s for e-newsletters, a website or print ad—style guides are especially valuable. Each destination has a unique voice that tells their story. For many destinations, that voice serves as a friendly, welcoming guide for visitors and prospective visitors, while for others, the voice takes the form of an actual personality (say, a prank-happy creature of Northwoods legend). It’s critical that the voice of a brand remains constant across all platforms, and style guides help make sure that’s the case.
We are in the process of updating style guides for all our clients to ensure that we stay on point and all our content reflects your destination’s goals and shows off all the great things you have to offer.
Prepare your stomachs, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! We’re definitely drooling over the Thanksgiving links we found this week.
It’s safe to say common sense isn’t always exercised on the Internet. While some Internet goofs are laughable and others just plain embarrassing, you don’t have to surf far to find them.
Moral of the story? Spell-check, understand the power Internet virality and think twice before you send that Tweet!
An account hack spells social media disaster! Hack-proof your company’s social media to prevent problems like these from happening…
- A very public hack happened this spring, when someone mysteriously logged onto Burger King’s Twitter account. The hacker changed their photo to the McDonald’s logo and name to “McDonalds,” proceeding to post 53 raunchy tweets to their 80,000 followers.
- Along with Burger King, two other major companies were hacked in the spring. One hacker tweeted that Jeep’s CEO and employees were doing drugs, and another detailed layoffs and mismanagement by international media retailer HMV.
- Be smart about your social media and prevent potential hacks. Here are 7 ways to keep your social media safe.
Good luck and happy Friday!