The Truly Deeply 2010 Trend Report – The Visual Language of Brands

The Most Comprehensive Trend Report on the Visual Language of Brand Identity
Trends in the visual language of brand identity are driven by many factors from the ‘me-too-ism’ of designers and their clients mimicking the visual language of market leaders, to new and emerging trends such as ‘sustainability’ that draw a similar and en-mass visual response from designers all over the world. Over the past 12 months we have collected more than five thousand different brand expressions spanning almost every major industry and category of the western world.

Our 2010 Trend Report has been picked-up and re-published in blogs and marketing publications around the world – so by request we’re providing the report as one, complete pdf download (even if it is a whopping 6.8mb in size).

The brand expressions we tracked included existing, new and refined brand identities, product packaging, newspaper, magazine and billboard ads. The scale and breadth of these brand expressions allowed us to identify the major brand visual language trends of a broad range of market leaders for the last year. Whilst the majority of the examples presented in this report are recent, many trends are not in themselves new. It is our interpretation of the groundswell of take-up of a trend and the influence exerted within their market by the brands involved, that leads us to define the most compelling and influential trends.

What’s the value of a Trend Report?
All brands project an image through their visual language. It is up to each brand to make conscious and informed decisions about exactly what they wish their visual language to communicate relative to the competition and to their market’s perceptions.The report includes hundreds of examples of brands and their visual language to illustrate examples of brands who leverage trends to their advantage, as well as examples of those who follow trends to their disadvantage. The examples cross industries from fashion to food, from transport to telecommunications and everything in between, as well as markets from Australia to Asia, from Europe to the Middle East and the U.S.

Valuable Insights for all Owners and managers of Brands
An understanding and mastery of the trends in brand visual language will allow business to ‘tune’ their brand’s image to ensure they’re consistently communicating the right messages to the right people. For every organisation seeking to best manage their brand identity, these trends must be part of the consideration process. For each brand there will be advantages and disadvantages to leveraging the cues and meaning inherent in these trends. The big question you should be considering is this; ‘does the trend provide an opportunity to leverage a set of visual cues to communicate the perfect brand messages to your market, or has the trend become so widely adopted as to compromise the uniqueness of the brands who follow it?’

Click here to download a complete version of our 2010 Brand Visual Language Trend Report (6.8mb pdf file)

© 2010 Truly Deeply. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. We’re delighted for you to share, blog or publish extracts of our articles, on the condition that Storm Design & Brand DNA are properly credited (and linked to) as the source, and that you include either our URL: or the link to this source.

For further information, questions and enquires, feel free to contact us directly.

David Ansett, Brandamentalist
For monthly updates of our thinking, click here to receive our free Brand Newsletter
Brand Designer and Trend Spotter.


  1. Louis Louna

    Congrats Dave, this is a great work. I love this kind of documents, because they help to develope a solid branding culture. I’ll wait patiently every monday for next chapters. Thank you.

  2. Louis, glad you found the report of value. There’s plenty more to come. You can subscribe to our monthly updates on the blog if you like… or just check back each Monday. Next week’s trends are around ‘authenticity’.

  3. A great article and awesome first section of the Trend Report. Remarkable looking at the auto badge heritage section with all the brandmarks on the same page. Certainly looks like to me that they were responsible for starting the trend.

  4. Nice, thoughtful work. Interesting and useful for companies to see mixed-industry groupings as a tool for assessing appropriateness. Admittedly, we can all be so influenced by what we’ve seen, that it’s all the more exciting (and courageous) when a solution breaks against an existing trend in a way that works for a specific brand.

    You certainly made what we know is such hard work to document, look easy. Thanks for sharing this, Dave.

  5. Thanks Anaezi, the thing about trends is that markets get very good about understanding their meaning. The more brands in a market mimic a particular visual language, the more the market understands the meaning of that visual language and comes to expect it. Brands who break the trend need to do-so understanding they have the job of creating new meaning ahead of them.

  6. A thought provoking paper. It is a great reminder of the challenge of doing great design, ie the extent to which it is stimulated by the brand identities that surround us through crafting a whole new frontier which at first may feel alien to the very people one wishes to connect with. As a reference paper it is fantastic to have the different faces of identity design laid out in one place to enable a more global perspective on the direction of identities. Great work!

    • Thanks Pete. The thing about making change, is that if you have a framework of logic and clarity to begin with, shifting to new space becomes something of a considered decision, rather than a leap into the unknown.

  7. […] For this reason, trends in brand visual language can either provide an organization with great opportunity to leverage relevant cues of meaning that have wide-spread currency and momentum, or a brand image that lacks relevance, meaning and unique visual properties the brand can own. Our trend report tracks the major trends impacting brand visual language and provides organizations with the context to make an informed decision on which trends offer opportunities for their brands and which do not. Link to our report. […]

  8. Thanks Cecila, were busy collecting examples and spotting trends for next year’s report as we speak. Just presented some trends at a Global Brand Conference in Singapore last week – they certainly raise plenty of interest.
    There’s an interesting Global to Local trend emerging with big global brands creating smaller, local competitor brands in their own space Think Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee/15th Ave.

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