It's important to know your competition. You can learn what they're doing right, and what the market wants. You can also learn what you could be doing better than your competition, and how to make yourself stand out from them.
When designing your visual brand, it's equally important to know the industry trends. Educating yourself on the visual language being used in your space allows you to speak in ways your target audience is familiar with, while also avoiding looking like a clone of someone else's business.
With that said, this month I researched visual brand "trends" for Online Business Managers.
I use the term trends loosely, because what I'm looking for is patterns and similarities among top-Google-ranked businesses, not necessarily new visual brand styles.
Online Business Managers are what they sound like - they are a support staff member that oversees the business from a top-level view. They coordinate different team members, oversee large projects and launches, and make sure the business is running smoothly at all levels, while hitting growth goals.
Puzzle pieces were a common theme in the imagery of OBM logos, often paired with simple san serif fonts. Feminine details and script accents were popular with women OBMs marketing to women business owners.
Turquoise, pink, and black was a popular color combo, feeling very feminine, bold, and modern. Pink and purple in general were popular accent colors, as well as predominately grayscale palettes with a cool accent.
I have to say, I was a bit disappointed in the OBM community when it came to font usage. Across the board it was simply combining a bold san serif with a light san serif, ocassionally throwing in an italic pull-out quote.
So what do you do with this information, as an online business manger?
For starters, if your entire visual brand was just described by these trends - figure out how you can stand out.
I don't recommend not using any of these trends in your visual brand - they're working on some level for many different OBMs. But you can take what's working and add your own twist to it.
Let me know in the comments below: what industries do you want me to research visual brand trends in next?
Are you a OBM who needs to update their visual brand? Check out my Noteworthy Visual Brand Starter Kit.
I'm a brand designer who helps business owners who are tired of their marketing efforts just pulling "okay" results. I help them stand out and be remembered online by designing them a Noteworthy Visual Brand that attract their ideal clients - effortlessly.