Design in 2021 – what will branding look like?

As part of our series of design in 2021, DesignStudio creative director Alex Johns looks at what will happen in branding in the next 12 months.

What do you think 2021 will hold for branding?

There will be degrees of re-building, re-evaluation and re-adjustment as we find our collective confidence again and embrace the unknown.

There will be a lot of new. New processes. New models. New mediums. New ideas. New ways to work. New energy.

Branding will have to keep up with a new generation that exists in constant flux; which deeply questions the state of the world and takes the action to change it; whose output is raw, immediate and honest.

Brands will need to have a clearer sense of self identity, beyond the visual. To truly know who they are and what they believe in. To hold a point of view and engage in challenging conversations. We’ll see brands reach for toolkits that offer hyper adaptability. Designed to grow with their communities rather than define them. Identities with fewer rules and more spirit.

What is your favourite branding project from 2020 and why?

There was a bunch of exciting work that launched in 2020, but the output of Team Hudson-Powell at Pentagram always caught my eye for their consistently sharp, well-executed and refreshing ideas.

I loved the generative mushroom type tool they created for their branding of Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi at Somerset House. It was a joyful mix of technology, exploration and playfulness.

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