2022 fresh start fresh ideas

Trends guru Mike Tristram reveals the 5 branding trends set to visually shape 2022.

Words by: Mike Tristram

Senior Strategist


Brands, consumers, media - everyone is always on the lookout for the next big thing. We believe that success in 2022 will be defined by the trend setters and not the followers. So we thought we’d take a fresh approach to new year trends. Let’s talk about what‘s getting us excited about the year ahead…

2021 wasn’t a vintage year

2021 saw some major brand overhauls. But it wasn’t a vintage year. The pinnacles of this year’s innovation played it safe.

We saw ‘blanding’ a term coined by Contagious, to express the general lack of differentiation between branding. We also saw flat design emerging across brand identities, which -  whilst easier to design - lacks a certain dynamism and stand out appeal.

Finally ‘heyday retroism’ saw brands ‘bringing back’ their old logo from years gone by (see Burger King as a prime example)

These are our predictions for 2022:

In 2022 branding will get braver

In 2022 branding will get much braver. Think fluid, dynamic, responsive identities which are literally alive and powered by AI and generative algorithms. We’re talking digital-first branding for a new generation, where the possibilities are endless.

E-commerce will join the experience economy

2021 saw the rise of the Metaverse and NFTs (that’s Non Fungible Tokens or a ‘trading card’ used in the Metaverse)

While many brands are expected to make a play for appearing here and these new categories in 2022, the wider influence that this will have on other areas of e-commerce and consumer expectations is particularly interesting.

This year get ready for static, product directory websites to be replaced with interactive and explorative ‘product universes’. #IRL experience design can take e-commerce to the next level. But brands brave enough to appear in the metaverse should forget real world experience and abandon the constraints of real world branding to succeed.

‘There’s no gravity in the metaverse, so why don’t we set everything free?’
Steven Ubsdell - CCO

The year ‘woke-washing’ gets called out

In the last few years green-washing, youth-washing, rainbow-washing, and woke-washing have all gone into overdrive. Whilst great for inclusivity and representation, it’s seemingly turning into a tick box exercise for brands who want to cash in on culture.

2022 will be the year ‘woke’ campaigns work on their credibility. By that we mean we’ll see less social-appropriation and more brand-appropriate promotions. We’ll see brands promoting a directly-relevant agenda and taking purposeful action, rather than jumping on Adland’s bandwagon for commercial gain.

0% of our Gen Z community said they will trust brands in 2022.
Imagen insights and Jay Richards

Time to rethink Gen-Z

2021 saw a host of Gen-Z myth-busting reports which shed new light on today’s youth. These revealed an over-stereotyping of Gen-Z as activists and side-hustlers. And that the only way to win them over is via Instagrammable attractions and memes.

This is all about to change. In 2022 brands will have to rethink how they capture Gen-Z’s attention whilst providing more meaningful, emotional fulfilment. It means designing for a cohort who are; much more nuanced than we give them credit and one that is maturing into adolescence.

Stop raiding the archives, start creating the future 

‘Nowstalgia’, Y2K and vintage might be the latest fashion crazes but generally there is growing consumer fatigue of nostalgia. Many (and younger consumers especially) are craving something new and exciting to make them feel alive again.

In 2022 brands that have an over-reliance on nostalgia will only go so far. Future thinking brands will focus on new breakthroughs – like creating new product categories. Or collaborating with someone who will push their boundaries.

2022. The year to be more unexpected. Try new things. Be a creator and not a follower.

Want to work together and unleash your brand’s potential? Email Sam at sam@checklandkindleysides.com.

We are a global retail design studio in London that re-imagines, re-invents and revolutionizes. Find out more about us, and our range of design services across; brand transformation, brand experiences, and brand campaigns & activations design.

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