You spend a great deal of effort and expense developing creative assets such as designs and logos to support your brand. These assets need to be maintained. If you think of brand creative assets as physical assets, then just as you need to periodically service your car, so you should service or refresh your brand designs. Without timely refreshing, you risk having your designs becoming a liability rather than an asset for your marketing efforts.
We do brand refreshes as a service and find these elements often missed when designs are being refreshed
The hero images in marketing collaterals and touch points are often reflective of your target market demographic or their aspirations – hence the use of slim models in weight loss advertising or images of rugged, wide-open spaces in advertisements for 4-wheel drive vehicles.
The self-perception of target markets changes with time and so it is necessary to change hero images in your visual communications as well, otherwise the imaging you use will not attract customers and in fact could even alienate your market
Even the inexperienced designer knows that different colours portray different emotions and the colour choices in your marketing designs were probably chosen for very good reasons in order to invoke the desired action by consumers.
The colour choice can be the make or break of an advertisement and so it is critical to often revisit the colours used in your corporate designs. An annual review is probably the right frequency because our markets have become very demographically complex and are changing all the time. There are two mega trends affecting colour choices and making colour decisions very difficult.
A globally ageing population means that markets for most products have a very wide age range. For instance, a new car model is bought by a twenty-five-year-old, but the same model is also bought by a fifty-year-old and as every designer knows, colour preferences change with age. So, do you use colours aimed at the 25-year-old or the 50-year-old?
The erasure of geographical market borders in online markets has an even bigger impact on colour choice because colours have different meanings in different cultures. For instance, in western cultures the colour of mourning is black but in many eastern cultures the colour white denotes mourning. On-line your product is sold internationally, so which cultures should you aim your colour choices at for greatest effect?
Everyday vocabulary changes with time. Not only are new words added but the meaning and emotion attached to some words also changes. The classic example is the word, ‘Gay’ which used to mean joyous or happy, but now denotes homosexual or lesbian. As another example, in the 1950s who would have thought that ‘mouse’ would be a computer device or that ‘Sick’ would be an awesome feeling.
It is unlikely that your marketing collateral will have words that have changed meaning so dramatically because surely you would have noticed, Right? Believe me I have pointed out the current meaning of ‘gay’ as recently as 2020! You do need to review the word content of your designs for subtle and recently trending changes in popular meaning – just imagine the deep thinking that the manufacturers of any product that contained the word ‘Corona’ would have gone through during the pandemic.
Look out for any changed emotions or implications attached to words that you use in your PR or marketing designs.
Even Fonts change with time – Times New Roman was supremely popular in the 80s, now it would be seen as old or certainly classical. So, if classical or dull is not the mood you want to create in your designs then you may just need to change font.
If you want to have a certain uniqueness of design going forward, then you may even want to create your own font. Incidentally fonts can carry copyright so this is something to be conscious of when reviewing and refreshing your marketing designs.
Consumer habits and behaviours are changing constantly and so should your marketing designs; otherwise they will lose relevance and their effectiveness. The total overall effect of a design is what counts, however, there are some key elements which often seem to get dated if they are neglected. The good news is that an outsider’s eye can usually pick up the difficulties very easily and simple changes can give a brand new life to your designs.