October 22nd, 2021 - Brand

Brand New

Brand design trends that once worked to tantalize clients aren’t connecting the way they did before the world was ravaged by COVID-19.

As people around the world look to shake off lockdown fatigue, my job as a strategist is to figure out how to shift the look and feel of outdated designs so we can better connect in this new reality. Consumers are rejecting the cold, flat, design grids popular before March 2020. Instead, they’re seeking comfort, nostalgia, and a little bit of fun. So people like me are looking back to the future … digging into design trends decades before COVID hit and applying some of those techniques to our more modern needs. 

But of course, COVID likes to complicate, to challenge. So it’s not straightforward. While we need to offer playful, optimistic designs, we also need to give people space to consider it, time to lean into it and give them a reason to stick around. That means offering plenty of white space and not being ‘in your face’ at every turn. 

After spending the past months researching and testing new ideas, I’m sharing my top six design trends for 2022 and beyond.

1. Playfulness

Let’s face it, it’s been a year or two of constant bad news. Sterile design has become as unappealing as hospital beds to post-pandemic consumers. People are craving design and experiences that make them happy. They’re looking to have a laugh or to be transported to a better place. To meet these cravings, we’re seeing vibrant colours, bold fonts and aesthetic shapes take hold.

2. Nostalgia

The stress of the year sparked an appreciation for the past. Many felt a yearning for earlier simpler times. As a result, we’ve seen an uptick in graphics, photos and filters that play to our longing for times past. Retro fonts and color palettes, fun illustrations and patterns have been embraced.

3. Optimism

We’re looking to the past. But we’re also looking forward with hope that a new mask-free hugged-filled normal will emerge. This hope for a new normal means that design elements must highlight trust and safety. To signal trust, serif fonts are making a big comeback. They’re easy to read and have always been a hallmark for the highest end, top quality brands around the world.

4. Space

Lockdown normalized clearer boundaries – boundaries between our work and personal lives, between ourselves and the outside world. Too much time spent Zooming and interacting through screens also led to a disdain for interfaces that aren’t user friendly. This means that online styling must be thoughtful, allowing customers an uncluttered, undemanding opportunity to get to know you. An abundance of white space and clear, easy to read typography is the core of this design trend.

5. Community & Connection

COVID reminded us all that connection is important for the soul. When every corner of our human world is touched by something so terrible, we suffer together and have a desire to connect, to band together to combat the loneliness and negativity of the times. With this in mind it’s important to include visuals that are universally symbolic of hope, respect and healing.

6. Local Flavour

We’re all longing for travel, to see a part of the world outside of our own four walls, but forced time spent in our home communities during the pandemic helped us appreciate what we may have taken for granted in the past. In fact, lockdowns had us craving the simple pleasures of sipping bevvies on a deck or catching up with friends over a coffee. Indeed, face-to-face connection with clients is taking centre stage – whenever and wherever possible. This means the resurgence of printed promotional materials that are tactile and meant to share in person not via email. . Create something beautiful and tactile, then drop it off with a coffee and a personal note for your best clients.

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at www.BlackcoffeeStudio.com


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.