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 a someone else's business.
With that said, this month I researched visual brand "trends" for photographers.
I use the term trends loosely, because what I'm looking for is patterns and similarities among top-Google-ranked businesses, not necessarily new and popular visual brand styles.
For photographers, I decided to look broadly, rather than focusing on a niche like wedding photography or product photography. If you're interested in seeing trends from a specific photography niche, let me know in the comments.
Let's get into the trends.
Across the board, photographers preferred type-centric logos, generally avoiding icons. In the rare occasions icons were included in logos, they were very simple, and either plant or camera based.
Some photographers simply typed their name or business name in a simple san serif font and used that as their logo.
Handlettered scripts (custom designed lettering, not to be confused with script fonts, which can simply be typed out) were a very popular choice with photographers. The unique handlettering lends a signature-esque feel to the visual brand, as if the photographer is signing their work.
Monograms were popular for photographers that just use their name as their business name.
Across the board, simple color palette won out, as they allow the photos to draw visual interest.
Soft & Sweet Neutrals
Especially popular with wedding photographers, a palette comprised of soft and subtle colors is visually interesting without overwhelming the photography.
Grayscale with a Pop
Male photographers tended to lean towards a simple grayscale palette with a pop of color.
Black & White
Quite a few photographers kept their palette completely minimalist, using only black and white.
Like the color palettes, softer font combinations were used among photographers, avoiding overly heavy fonts in favor of more delicate ones.
Simple San Serif
Many photographers kept their font choices simple and understand by using a san serif family without bold contrast.
Serif fonts were popular for their more refined and classic feel, especially among photographers focused on wedding photography.
Scripts + Serifs
Some photographers, in addition to simple and sweet serifs, sprinkled in script fonts for highlighted sections or quotes.
So what do you do with this information, as a photographer?
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 photographers. 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 photographer 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.