Design: evolve or go extinct

Design: evolve or go extinct

Everywhere you look, we are constantly bombarded by design – both good and bad. Headlines’ Lead Designer, Megan Jones, explains why if your company’s design isn’t evolving, you run the risk of going extinct.

I remember back when I was first applying for university, I’d picked out a rather unattractive Fashion Promotion course after not being able to settle on anything else. And I wasn’t exactly quiet about not being happy with it. After complaining to my family, my friends and, in the end, my best friend’s mother … she said: “Stop. What about Graphic Design? You’d be great at that?”

Well, to be honest, I didn’t know it had even existed up until that very moment.

Funny, isn’t it? That something so prominent in our lives can go completely undetected?

Everywhere you look something has been touched by a designer; that sign outside, the magazine on your kitchen table, your favourite coffee packet, this very website. It’s almost so prominent that our eyes just glaze over it completely, we barely see it, barely remember its message and go about our daily business.

Because of this, modern design has to work much harder. In a world with so much visual saturation, you’ve got to go above and beyond just to be seen at all – let alone be remembered.

Evolving your design

You’ve got to constantly update your offering, change your approach and rebrand in order to stay visible. This is why big, successful companies are constantly modernising. Coco Cola has adopted 50 different slogans and 12 different logos since it started in 1886.

 
Coca-Cola.jpg
 

This might come across as excessive, but you have to ask yourself, did it work? Well, they have grown to be the biggest drinks company in the world (they even managed to permanently change the colour of Santa Claus!), so, you tell me?

By continuously researching your competition, creating cutting-edge design and staying ahead of trends, you can almost guarantee you’ll be noticed.

This is why investing in design is so important, gone are the days where you can rely on one look and feel to stand the test of time. In a world so visually led but constantly changing, you’ve also got to evolve yourself.


What does this mean for your business?

If you have your own business or brand, ask yourself:

Does this still look contemporary?
Is this message still relevant?
Does this still appeal to my audience or has my audience changed?

If you’ve answered no to any of the above, it’s time for a refresh.

Your business has probably changed its angle or offering since it started, so I recommend you do this exercise every six months. Once you’ve identified what needs updating you then need to do your research. Look into your competitors, what are they doing? Then do it differently, the main objective here is standing out from the crowd.

Just look at Apple, they sit within a very crowded technology industry selling products that aren’t really too dissimilar from their competitors.

But they are different.

They were the first technology company to create an incredibly minimal brand. With a real focus on modernising store designs, focusing on customer experience over product selling.

 
Apple Store.jpg
 

They created visually different products, opting for white rather than the traditional black. Plus, their adverts alone lead industry trends. It’s now no surprise when opposing brands produce adverts similar to Apple only weeks after their new release.

It’s a great example of how different stands out, is remembered and – most importantly –sells.

While your brand and business might not be as big as Apple, it’s still important to do this exercise on a regular basis and find that point of difference that will set you apart. Big or small, design needs to evolve to be noticed and this is absolutely key in getting the results you want.

You want to be the design that people can’t ignore, the design someone shares, the design that leads industry trends and doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

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