The term ‘minimalist branding’ has become a buzzword in many business circles this year. Many businesses are considering a more minimalist approach to their branding strategy recently, in the belief that it will get them more sales and allow them to expand their business much more quickly than without. It has become something that has been greatly discussed amongst consumers too- for many people minimalist branding has become a symbol of the modern market, where they believe that many companies all look the same. However, others really like the minimalist branding trend, as they believe it makes a company look more serious and professional.

But what is minimalist branding? Where did it begin, and which brands had minimalist branding first? 


What Is Minimalism?

Minimalist branding is a type of branding which includes the deliberate simplification of the design of the brand. It often uses simple shapes and lines, neutral colour palettes, and simple fonts. The branding takes on a very simple, streamlined look. Some brands use it in an attempt to look chic or subtle, or just completely plain. It is often associated with minimalist living, and modern life. Younger people are often more drawn to minimalist branding. 


Where Did It Begin?

Contrary to popular belief, minimalist branding is not a new concept. This style of branding has always been used throughout history. However, it is theorised that the modernised way of life has made minimalism more attractive. For example, in cities, many brands have adopted a minimalist branding style. It is theorised that because people who live in a bustling metropolis are overwhelmed with lots of billboards and information, minimalist branding ends up being more memorable and eye-catching. Overly ornate branding ends up being lost in the shuffle.

The modern world has made the demand for minimalist branding much more present. Because there are a lot of brands out there now, minimalist branding has made it easier for certain companies to be remembered or seen. A simpler design requires less brain power to process and remember. It is also theorised that because of social media and the pandemic, the collective attention span has shrunk somewhat. This means that a minimalist brand is easier to understand and hold in the memory. As the market grows, there is more competition, and companies will do what it takes to stand out. For many of them, minimalist branding is working.

Another factor that has impacted the popularity of minimalist branding is the fact that it has become associated with the future. This is because more and more brands are adopting minimalist branding, and collectively we have been conditioned to consider this as modern, even futuristic. This connotation makes us think of innovation, novelty and efficiency. Ridding a brand of all of its ornate parts makes us associate it with compactness and sleekness. Reducing these unnecessary parts is part of what minimalism is about fundamentally.

There are many reasons why old companies are making the changes to decades old branding to make it more minimalist- however it is happening at a spectacular rate. This goes from websites to logo changes. This trend shows no signs of slowing down. 


What Are The Controversies of Minimalist Branding?

While there are many benefits when it comes to implementing minimalist branding in your company, there are also some quite significant risks. For example, minimalist branding comes with a quite high risk of removing a brand’s identity. Only a few brands can risk removing their brand name or logo from their products. Some very popular worldwide brands have managed to risk this as they have become household names, for example Starbucks. The Apple logo reminds everyone of the brand name. 

However, if your company has a loyal customer base that is a fan of your company’s original branding, employing minimalist branding can work against you. Sometimes consumers make the association with employing minimalist design for a brand and a decrease in quality or a loss of brand identity. Nostalgia for old branding styles that were more prevalent years ago can influence our shopping habits. One example of this is Tropicana- after a more minimalist rebrand, consumers failed to recognise the product on supermarket shelves. This resulted in a quite significant loss of sales- estimated at about a 20% loss. It wasn’t long before they reverted to their original branding.

Minimalism is an art style as well as a branding technique. While there are many creative elements to this style of branding, it can also be tricky to get right. As aforementioned, minimalism works better in different areas, for example it works better in densely populated cities. If you’re considering getting a minimalist style of branding for your company, it’s better to consult professional branding agencies in your area- so for example if you’re operating in Manchester, make sure you search for a design agency in Manchester. This will ensure that your branding stays close to your business location and can attract more customers and sales. 


Is Branding Everything?

Branding is incredibly significant when it comes to your business. Your brand will be how people remember and think of your company. It’s important that it is in line with your product, target market and company vision. Good branding will distinguish yourself from your competitors, and even work as advertising in a way. It can promote you over other competing brands.

Getting good branding is incredibly important in the modern market. Bad branding that is both too boring or too controversial can negatively impact your business. When instagram changed its logo to include flat lines and smooth blurred colours, this created a lot of backlash from its core user base. When GAP’s already minimalist branding went somehow even more simple, it created a lot of backlash. Boring branding can work negatively against a business. A really bad example of controversial branding is for the company LifeLock, where the company’s CEO put out his social security number in an attempt to prove that their product worked. However, he was ultimately the victim to identity theft 13 times. This has negatively impacted the company. A lot of branding is about finding the balance between branding that stands out, but doesn’t stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Branding works best when paired with expert marketing techniques. For example, social media marketing and SEO marketing can work really well alongside good branding. Putting a good branding plan and marketing strategy together can really expand your business.

In short, minimalist branding may work very well for your company. It’s only through doing market research, analysing your company and area of operations, and consulting experts will you know what the best strategies are for the success of your business.