A dime a dozen
You should avoid trends as much as possible. What matters are the bigger shifts. Shifts bring about meaningful change in our society. When a development changes the spirit of the times and gives people new values or habits. Trends are micro responses to these macro shifts.
Developing on trends creates uniformity. Brands that cling to popular trends when it is actually already too late. They pick up the habits of their peers and rivals. They look at each other and slowly but surely they start to resemble each other more and more. Thirteen in a dozen.
Tapping into trends can be effective in reaching a large audience in the short term. Possibly a ‘shortcut’ to branding and positioning. But the pitfalls of letting current trends influence design can lead to a major stagnation for brands.
It’s just a dangerous environment. Because you’re sailing into a sea of sameness. A place where your brand and those of others occupy the same place in the minds of the public. Differentiation is a hugely powerful thing, and a brand’s design and communication must be constant and work relentlessly to achieve it. Differentiation is one of the most powerful qualities you can possess as a brand.
Of course, the famous brands of Apple and Nike have been described thousands of times. But what they have in common is that they don’t look at trends. These brands go to great lengths to understand how they exist in the lives of their customers and can then push boundaries to meet those needs and differentiate themselves from their rivals.
It is not easy to transcend trends. But you cannot establish a long-term brand identity by looking at today’s trends. Thinking in terms of habits and behaviours is the right mindset to use to dictate your brand. This has more impact than any fad or trend ever could.
Brands that develop on trends are plastic disposable brands, because with every trend you have to develop all over again. So do yourself a favour and just don’t do it.