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Brand New Takeaways

2022 Brand New Conference in Austin by the Numbers: 

2 days

1 stage

20+ speakers from across the spectrum of the branding world (including 1 entrepreneur)

14+ hours of presentations and conversations 

2 Telegraph ACDs (Kyle DeMarco and Nolen Strals) in the audience

Countless insights and inspiring moments 

2 trips to Ramen Tatsu-Ya (with 3 orders of Karaage)

3 Top Takeaways from Kyle & Nolen (below)

 

Since 2006, Brand New has been the source for news and insightful reviews of the latest and greatest in branding. They highlight tiny studios and globe-spanning agencies doing work for clients whose audiences number from a few hundred to a few billion. The Brand New Conference began a few years later, gathering the people whose work they spotlight into one room as both presenters and audience. 

We were thrilled to attend this year’s conference to hear industry stars and up-and-comers speak not only about their work, but also about the foundational ideas that drive them, their visions of the future, and their ideas about how the industry is and needs to be evolving.

From the jump, Alex Center charged the air with a special energy as he shared his eponymous studio’s quietly-iconic work and heavily-photographed manifesto. We each filled large chunks of our sketchbooks, jotting down some of our favorite ideas from Center and all others who presented at the conference. We distilled our notes here to share each of our top three takeaways.

 

Kyle

  1. People First. People Second. Work Third.This idea was a common note several speakers hit during their presentations. It’s the people we work with both inside and outside of the office that have a profound impact on our work and are often more important than our work itself and how we make money. The first speaker of the conference, Alex Center of CENTER in Brooklyn, New York, stressed this idea throughout his presentation as he talked about who he worked with during each of the projects, the client relationships that formed out of them, and how they contributed to the success of the project. Today, it’s not about being the best, working the hardest, or getting to be a part of the most exciting projects.  It’s about finding the right people to work with, grow with, and learn from. The best talent puts other people first, doesn’t compare themselves to others, and knows branding is a team sport. Because brands live in people, not guidelines.
  2. Starting at the EndWhat if brands had a life? If a brand had a life, would it matter? What would it leave behind? These are questions asked by Nermin Moufti of Field of Practice. Moufti took time during her presentation to show how a series of life-changing events helped her move forward, work with grief, and examine the design process. Moufti embraced the idea of knowing all things must come to an end and created what she referred to as “Design Obituaries.” These “obituaries” served as a creative brief for her projects so that everything creative ladders up to that idea. By starting at the end and thinking about the legacy we want brands to leave behind, designers are able to be more thoughtful about the life they bring to the brand and cultivate the impact they have on the world. 
  3. Don’t Just “Be Yourself”In an agency setting, it’s no secret that designers wear many hats. We are designers, strategists, coders, etc. But more than that, we are hairdressers, questionable friends, and TV show hosts, to name a few. This is an idea that Flora Chan of RedScout explored during her presentation. In order to really understand and build trust with a client, there is an element of roleplaying to design. There are times when you have to be a hairdresser and sit down with a client, get intimate, have tough conversations, and learn what truly moves them. Other times, you have to be a TV show host to get people outside of the field of design to be excited about design. And then, there are times when you have to be a janitor and clean up a mess. Whatever role we find ourselves playing, we must be prepared to fully embrace and adapt to it to be successful for ourselves and our clients.

 

Nolen

  1. Design for the audience, not for the client. This one seems obvious, but designing for a client’s tastes rather than their audience’s needs is an all-too-common pitfall in branding. Both emerging and well-established speakers spoke to their own strategies for how to avoid falling into this trap. The success of their audience-centered efforts shone in projects from global food giants to regional advocacy publications. The rightness of this approach was also clear because, well, the people designing this way were the ones invited to speak to over 1,000 of their industry peers.
  2. Tear down the silos!
    No one said that exactly. But the work they showed revealed that the teams responsible are constantly blurring the lines between their internal departments and even in their relationships with vendors. FӦDA’s Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna described talking on site with the general contractor of a restaurant project. Rather than saying, “We want to do this here,” her team asked, “What is plausible here?” This type of thoughtful, realigned approach led to a James Beard Award as one of the three best designed restaurants in the country
  3. How you run your company shows up in the work.In-House International spoke about how every small decision they make impacts their client’s experience of working with them. Jesse Reed showed us how Order’s values became their work process. Abdul Wahid Ovaice and Erwin Hines spoke to the necessity of opening doors to and truly supporting and valuing employees who don’t fit the expected mold. And Paul Worthington reminded us that to get clients to do something brave they first have to trust us—which dovetailed nicely with Alex Center saying that the best work results from a feeling of partnership from inside and outside the agency.

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg of ideas that we carried with us from Austin back home to Birmingham. Big ideas and in-depth work were the rule of the day, and we look forward to bringing the energy and inspiration from the conference into Telegraph’s work and relationships with our team and our clients.

Engagement is at the heart of social media. It’s what makes it “social”.

In today’s world, people go online to feel connected with individuals and brands. In most industries, a strong social media presence can heavily impact a brand’s customer loyalty, awareness, and sentiment. Brands often have to get past the initial barrier to social media engagement: intimidation. Although it may seem scary to interact with consumers in the public eye, it’s a crucial step that your consumers not only love—but often expect.

 

Did you know that 68% of consumers expect to interact with their brands on social media? With authenticity becoming the forefront of what individuals want from their social media sites, it makes sense that those wants are encompassing what they expect to see from their brands on social media. Consumers expect to feel as if they are in a relationship with their favorite brand, and they aren’t wanting a one-sided one. Whether it is a tag, comment, retweet, share, or even something as simple as a like, these types of interactions are extremely meaningful throughout your brand’s relationship with a consumer. 

 

What does that mean for businesses? Engagement is key for every social media strategy. Don’t fall into the trap of customer engagement becoming an afterthought while working toward building, maintaining, and growing your brand on social media. Organic content and engagement is basically free advertising, after all. With 78% of consumers saying they are more willing to buy from a brand based on a positive interaction on social media, you know what you’ve got to do. Get engaging and keep it positive.

 

How should you be engaging with your audience? Engagement strategy isn’t one-size-fits-all, but a good rule of thumb is to be responsive and hold your brand’s tone of voice. If your consumers are sending you messages, your brand should be responding to those messages. An efficient response creates an environment where the consumer feels seen which opens up the door for them to engage more frequently because they feel like they won’t be “ghosted”. If consumers are commenting on your content, be sure to comment back or like their comments. If people are tweeting about your brand and your product(s), like it or retweet it. Meet your consumers halfway. If they are taking the time to engage with your brand, you should be doing the same. You won’t regret it. 

 

How often should you be engaging with your audience? How often you should be engaging with your audience depends on how often you are engaged with as well as how often you are posting content. The more engaged your audience is, the more time you will need to spend engaging back. Usually, an increase or decrease in content shared will affect your audience’s engagement. Be sure to continually update your engagement strategy regularly based on what you are seeing take place on your social channels weekly, monthly, and quarterly. This will help you to adjust accordingly to certain trends, insights, events, or virality of posts. 

 

What shouldn’t I be doing when engaging with my audience? One major “no” when it comes to engaging with your audience is handling negative complaints or comments publicly. You should always be responsive, but steer the conversation to a private conversation whether that is through a DM or an email. This will allow you to de-escalate the situation in the public eye and show your audience that you care about the individuals that are reaching out to your brand. The situation can be handled more in-depth in the private conversation. However, treat every private conversation as public. A consumer with a social media presence has more power than you may think. Give them something positive to talk about. 

 

To learn more about our social media strategies and capabilities, contact us

Stolen Focus: On Attention and Creativity

Does this sound familiar? You look at your Google Calendar and only see 2 pixels between every meeting you’re attending today. Or you’re trying to finesse a design, or conduct research on a concept, or write this blog post, but—ping! ping! ping!–there’s a relentless flood of alerts coming from email, Slack, and elsewhere. 

 

Yet, in this modern work environment of no downtime and endless interruptions, you’re expected to excel. In thinly-sliced moments you must somehow guide yourself and your clients with intelligence, deep insights, and create award-winning strategies and designs. 

 

According to research by UC Irvine’s Professor Gloria Mark, the average office worker is interrupted every 3 minutes. Pair that with this finding from Professor Michael Posner at the University of Oregon: when we are interrupted during a task, it takes our brains 23 minutes to return to the level of concentration we had before the interruption. It’s a wonder the working world hasn’t imploded under such untenable circumstances. And while we might be inclined to simply blame it all on digital technology, the root causes are manifold. 

 

Johann Hari spent three years conducting hundreds of interviews with experts who have studied what Hari calls the global attention crisis. The resulting book, Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention and How To Think Deeply Again, paints a holistic picture of the problem. In it, he delves into research across a wide range of topics including how we work, sleep, eat, educate, and interact with technology and society. It’s a compelling book that balances truly jarring data with some hopeful insights from real world examples of people who won their attention back.

 

Why does the attention crisis matter to the creative industries? 

 

According to Professor Earl Miller, a cognitive neuroscientist at MIT, our brains require downtime to be creative. Creativity comes from our brain having extended undistracted time to—at the subconscious level—connect various inputs we’ve received to generate something novel. This means we cannot realize our full potential, our creative brains cannot earn that title, if we’re constantly interrupted or switching between multiple tasks. On that last point, according to the research, multi-tasking is a myth. Our brains only focus on one function at a time, and the more we switch back and forth, not only are we less able to be creative, we’re far more prone to error. 

 

What this means for creative businesses is when team members can’t devote their full attention to a task then they can’t think deeply about that task. If they aren’t able to think deeply, they risk generating shallow solutions for their clients. And if this continues for too long, those clients will go looking elsewhere for strategy, guidance, and creative work.

 

So, what are some things we can do that might help improve our attention in the workplace so that we can be our creative best? Here are a 7 ideas from the book and from around our office:

 

1: Better Sleep 

Sleep allows the brain to clear itself out and make sense of everything we put into it from the day before. New ideas and memories form while we sleep. To get better sleep, lower the amount of artificial light in your home as the evening progresses. Try putting your phone away two hours before you intend to fall asleep. You may need to build up to that one over time, so start with not looking at it while in bed and progress from there. These steps allow your brain to return to a more natural rhythm and you’ll fall asleep more easily and more deeply. Better sleep = better waking function. 

 

2: Limit App Alerts

I’ve started doing this one recently and it’s made a huge difference: don’t allow alerts from any apps that aren’t absolutely necessary. Yes, that means turning off Slack alerts after business hours. You can do it, I believe in you! Turn off all the other alerts, too, especially social media. All of the content and heart reacts will be there for you to see later. 

 

3: Limit Outside Contact While Working

We all love hearing from our partner and our friends during the day. It helps us feel connected, but it’s also a major distraction. I recently asked my girlfriend and others who usually text me during the day to limit texts during work hours to time-sensitive messages. My focus has improved dramatically, and now when I see these people face to face after work, we have more to talk about. Win-win!

 

4: Schedule Email Time

Set aside 2 or 3 times per day that you will read and respond to emails. Knock this task out in chunks, not as each message comes in. Most messages are not as pressing as the sender thinks they are, and if something is truly urgent, they have your phone number.

 

5: Daily Deep Work

At Telegraph, we have Deep Work Wednesdays, when external meetings are verboten and coworker interruptions are discouraged. The goal is to allow everyone to focus on a handful of tasks that need their full attention. Some staff here, like CCO Seth Griffin, have taken the extra step of setting aside 2-hour blocks of Deep Work time almost every day. It’s okay to tell your coworkers, “Give me space so I can do my best work.”

 

6: Zoning Out Is Valuable (And Can Be Billable)

As research reveals, our brains need to pause to be creative. Allow your staff (or yourself) time during the day to not be grinding since downtime is often when ideas come to us. Pick up a book. Go for a stroll. Just stare across the room. Lightning may strike. Or maybe your brain will simply be refreshed enough to generate that lightning itself. Telegraph Designer Savvy Meek has begun turning to a doodle pad throughout the day to clear her head and reports that it helps her feel creatively recharged. 

 

7: Advocate for Longer Deadlines

This one’s radical, I know, but hear me out (and then convince your clients to follow along). Clients want the best from us, and we want to give them our best. Creating great work often requires long stretches of attention. Giving a project a longer lead time begets more attention devoted to the work begets better creative results begets fewer revisions or less pushback from the client. Conversely, an arbitrarily short deadline begets rushed work begets more rounds of revisions than anyone budgeted for. The former makes everyone happy. The latter frustrates all involved.

 

Mr. Hari states that Stolen Focus is not a self-help book, that there are no easy answers, and that he still struggles with the attention problem himself. I believe, though, that the research data it presents and the real world examples of how individuals and companies have won their attention and productivity back are a valuable resource and can inspire solutions of our own. In the creative field, we have no tool more valuable than our minds, and the better we can understand how to protect and optimize the abilities of this most precious resource, the better our work and our lives will be. 

Mushrooms, Mascots, & Monograms

Mushrooms, Mascots, & Monograms 

Should you ditch coffee and start drinking mushrooms? Is a mascot really a mascot if it has no name? How much should you spend on a custom monogram for your wedding? 

We can’t answer these questions, but we can fill you in on why we’re asking. Mushrooms, mascots, and monograms were among the trends predicted earlier this year by our Associate Creative Director, Nolen Strals. We’re circling back to the predicted trend trio and elaborating below.   

 

MUSHROOMS 

We’re seeing more mushrooms—mushroom-based dishes on restaurant menus, people growing mushrooms, and clothes featuring mushroom designs. Why the mushroom mania? Let’s get into it.  

Growing plants and food at home is part of a broad trend of wanting to be (or at least portray yourself as being) self-sufficient. Growing your own mushrooms aligns perfectly with this aspiration. It speaks to those who are health-conscious, money-conscious, and image-conscious. \

Mushroom imagery thrives in the space of psychedelic design, another current trend. This type of design and the imagery of mushrooms reminds us of an era idealized by people young and old: the ‘70s. Embracing this era, even by simply wearing a t-shirt with a mushroom on it, is a way to borrow some of the optimistic energy from the past. 

You can find examples of mushroom-adorned clothing all over the industry, from high-end brands like Paul Smith to fast fashion brands like Forever 21. For other trend examples, check out Shroomboom, Shrooly, and MUD\WTR. If you start noticing mushrooms more than you did before, don’t be surprised. 

 

MASCOTS 

Mascots are largely used in the realm of food and beverage, and that’s how it’s been for decades. More recently, we’ve seen mascots used outside this genre. Cue trend alert. 

Take NEXT Insurance, for example. There’s no name or specific purpose designated to their mascots. The characters simply make a dry topic more engaging. This goes for Adobe, too. The results of their Creative Types Test are paired with an animated character, aka a mascot for each category. 

In recent years, it’s increasingly become more acceptable for adults to embrace cartoons and childish things from their past. People appreciate the fun and lighthearted parts of youth. We see this acceptance and appreciation as a connection to the rise in brand mascots, and we’re staying tuned for more in 2022.  

 

MONOGRAMS

Monograms are popping up everywhere. So much so that we pondered an important question: what exactly counts as a monogram? 

To us, a design is considered a monogram if the letters serve their alphabetic purpose—but transcend to become art. It’s more than just letters. It’s an artistic symbol.   

Around the new year, Nolen noticed monograms increasingly popping up in other designers’ work being shared on social media from all over the country. They seem to be a new addition or evolution in the ongoing “badges” trend of logo design.

Outside of the professional design world, the monogram trend is also seen at weddings. Primarily in the South, monograms combining the couples’ initials are used at weddings on cups, napkins and more. Weddings are aspirational events, and in a way, couples “rebrand” when they get married. A monogram in this context is a symbol used to signify the elevated event and moment in the couple’s life. 

Historically, monograms have been associated with the upper class and exclusive organizations. This is part of why many people subconsciously view monograms as trusted, dependable symbols of pride. Monograms signal that something, be it a brand or marriage, plans to be around for a while. We could say the same for the monogram trend as a whole—we plan on it being around for a while. 

Trends don’t happen randomly. They’re an echo of cultural occurrences and circumstances. We experience and recognize trends at different levels based on our proximity to their source. As one example, Nolen never saw a wedding monogram when he lived in the Mid-Atlantic, though it’s common in the South. Trends are constantly evolving, and they grow more complex as these cultural echoes overlap.  

You can see some of our trend predictions overlapping in the branding for the Austin, Texas music venue Parish. Their logo is both a P and an abstract head in profile. Inside it is a figure that appears to dance or morph into different poses in different applications. This one small mark combines the trends of monograms, psychedelia, and mascots to create something truly unique and memorable. We’re excited to continue watching these trends and others unfold and evolve in 2022. 

Letter Rip

Letter Rip is a monthly gathering for people in Birmingham who like to draw letters. The event is free, and we’re spelling out all of the details below. 

Nolen Strals, Associate Creative Director at Telegraph, is an organizer of Letter Rip, along with Jacob Schwartz, Senior Art Director at Industrial Strength Marketing, and Brandon Watkins, Co-Founder at Yellowhammer Creative. Nolen quickly befriended Jacob and Brandon after moving to Birmingham, and they bonded over a shared love of hand lettering. 

While living in Baltimore, Nolen participated in a lettering group called Baltimore Letters. The casual social gathering consisted mostly of people with lettering as part of their profession. Nolen, Jacob and Brandon wanted to organize a similar event in Birmingham, and a text conversation led them to naming the event “Letter Rip”. They slapped the energetic pun on a poster to spread the word, and the first meet-up commenced at Yellowhammer quickly after. 

A post meet-up survey following the first Letter Rip gathering showed that most attendees wanted to learn more about lettering. Since then, meet-ups have covered basic foundational elements of lettering and psychedelic lettering. 

Though they’ve covered the basics, beginners are always invited. Letter Rip welcomes all skill levels of fellow designers, non-designers, friends, strangers, co-workers, and anyone else interested. 

“So often the creative world gets stratified or hyper competitive,” said Nolen. “We want Letter Rip to be a space where your job, your employer, and even how much skill you have with lettering, doesn’t matter.” 

One of the main goals of Letter Rip is to build a sense of community among creative people in Birmingham. In the marketing world, the word “community” is commonly thrown around as an empty buzzword. Through events like Letter Rip, the word “community” becomes a real thing, benefitting more than just the lettering skills of those who show up.  

“We don’t just have to help people who we work with at our day jobs,” said Nolen. “We should be helping the entire creative community because that makes Birmingham a better place for all of us.” 

FAQs: 

What are the deets for Letter Rip’s next meet-up? 

Details for the next Letter Rip meet-up are still in the works. They will post on Instagram when plans are finalized.  (Instagram:  @letter_rip_bham )

Do I need to bring my own supplies to Letter Rip? 

Drawing tools and paper are provided, but you can bring your own supplies if you want. The only thing you must bring on your own is an open mind, as this (sadly) can’t be provided for you.

What’s the agenda for a typical Letter Rip meet-up? 

Most meet-ups start with a short slide presentation. After that, there’s doodling, socializing and learning. It’s a casual event, and the agenda is evolving. In the future, they hope to have more inspirational presentations in addition to the current workshop-ish setup. 

How can I support Letter Rip from afar? 

Merch doesn’t exist yet, but they plan to sell shirts soon to raise funds to improve the event. They’ll advertise the shirts on Instagram ( @letter_rip_bham ). Also, you can see if your city has an event like Letter Rip. Getting involved with creative people where you live is a great way to build and support a sense of community.  

Tele’s Toolbox

What’s one tool you use at work that you can’t imagine working without? We asked our team this question, and we’re sharing some of the responses below:

  1. Shift – Irma Sierra, VP Project Management Office
    • This app holds all of your work-related programs, platforms and notifications in one place. You can check an email, reply to Slacks, search Dropbox, read over a document, and so much more in just one window. If you frequently get lost in your open tabs, this app was made to help you.
  2. Matter- McClain McKinney, Director of Production
    • We’re constantly consuming content, and this reading app can help us consume content more intentionally. It gathers media, saves it, and makes it accessible in one distraction-free space. It allows you to stay up-to-date with content, listen to articles read in a natural voice, and highlight important takeaways.
  3. Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet Nolen Strals, Associate Creative Director
    • This tablet makes drawing or editing in any Adobe Creative Suite product easier and faster. It’s also easy to use for non-creative tasks as it allows for more intuitive navigation compared to using a mouse. In fact, Nolen shared that he’s barely touched a mouse since being introduced to this item.

  4. FigmaDavid Hildebrand, Creative Director
    • Graphic designers, UI/UX people, and web designers—this one’s for you. The lightweight tool makes collaboration and presentation seamless. Dave shared that Figma has replaced Photoshop and Illustrator for him because of its efficiency.

  5. F.luxMcClain McKinney, Director of Production
    • This program automatically adjusts brightness on a screen to match its surroundings and reduce eye strain. Though it doesn’t take long to adjust brightness on your own, automating it can save you time. McClain pointed out that a five second task done six times each day for a year, takes over two hours each year. As a general rule of thumb, he said if you do a task more than three times, you should try and automate it.

  6. ProcreateSavvy Meek, Designer
    • This is Savvy’s go-to app for digital illustration. It’s loaded with a plethora of brushes and tools to make crafting and editing any project efficient. She recommends it for anyone interested in taking up digital illustration or streamlining their design process.

  7. Airpods ProMargaret Griffin, Associate Copywriter
    • These wireless and noise canceling headphones are perfect for focusing in an open workspace—or generally any space. They aren’t bulky like other noise canceling headphones, and the compact case is small enough to fit in your pocket. They’re comfortable enough to wear for hours, and they’re worth considering when investing in new headphones.

  8. TextExpanderMcClain McKinney, Director of Production
    • Words, sentences, pictures—whatever you find yourself constantly typing or attaching can be streamlined with this app. With assigned abbreviations, repetitive outgoing comms become efficient.

This list captures a small portion of tools we use daily, but common themes of organization and efficiency are consistent with the rest of the tools in our toolbox. It’s a good reminder of why we use tools in the first place: to work smarter, not harder. 

 

Tele’s Book Recs

When our Associate Creative Director, Nolen Strals, is on the hunt for creative inspiration he often turns to his books to find it. From pop artists to Scandinavian crime fiction, his collection of 300 books (and counting) offers a wide selection of content. 

Of course, many of his books are related to graphic design, typography, lettering and design history. We’re sharing some of his book recommendations for creative inspiration and why they’re worth your read:  

 

  1. Reasons to Be Cheerful
    Author: Paul GormanThis is a monograph about the life and work of Barney Bubbles, an influential music design legend. Nolen’s biggest lesson from it is to never be beholden to a style. Instead, always be searching for a creative and unexpected solution that captures the spirit of your client. The book is a constant source of inspiration, offering a chance to see something new every time it’s opened.
  2. Newspaper Design
    Editors: Javier Errea & Gestalten 

    Showcasing editorial design from all across the world, this book captures how certain design motifs and rules are universal. Nolen says the physical book itself is a piece of art. Beyond just designing for the printed page, it shows how the newspapers translate to the web. There’s lots to learn from how they clearly lay out rich, complex content even when designing for digital spaces.

  3. Don’t Call It That
    Author: Eli AltmanThis book is written by the Creative Director of One Hundred Monkeys, a naming and writing studio in Berkeley. It’s a workbook that provides simple, clear and thoughtful ways to approach one of the most inscrutable parts of creative work: giving a name to a new product or company. Eli also has humorous (and important) lessons as simple as this: “How to Ask Friends. Don’t.”
  4. Brick Index
    Author: Rick PoynerThis recommendation displays the full spectrum of brick types and more importantly, the typography on bricks. This book, along with others published by Centre Centre covers the outer edges of graphic design, focusing on the small forgotten graphic details of life. Nolen recommends checking out all other books published by Centre Centre. Their books have reminded him that there’s beauty to be found everywhere: under bricks, on the walls of small town clubs, in the design of punch cards that were used to run early computers, in northern England wrestling costumes, and everywhere else.

 

“As visual designers, nothing you can do is more important than constantly and closely observing the world around you,” said Nolen. When seeking creative inspiration, be open to new ideas and changes — and dive into these books if you get the chance. 

Tele Trends and Insights Night

Tele Trends and Insights Night

Consumers today are embracing life loudly, and Telegraph is listening up.

At Tele Trends and Insights Night, we discussed our teams’ predictions for marketing trends in 2022. Below, we’re featuring some of those predictions and why we see them in this year’s forecast.

Bold Colors & Patterns

Telegraph predicts bold colors and patterns will dominate 2022, no matter the industry. 

We viewed examples of everything from the colorful brand guidebook for Glaceau smartwater to vibrant packaging from Lush to bold patterns now found on building exteriors. 

We also explored the fascination of “Y2K” and why inspiration is found in its bright and fun clothing. At the turn of the century, the year 2000 began a new era. A current nod to Y2K symbolizes a new era for consumers today stepping back into a post-2020 world. The future is bright, and we’re excited to see colors back in the spotlight. 

Psychedelia & The 1970s 

The ‘70s are back, and the psychedelia trend is grooving on a broad spectrum. 

We’re seeing the hipster revival everywhere from country music to fashion to typography. Viral tutorials on Tiktok and Youtube can teach you how to dress in 1970’s inspired styles. Typefaces that feel smokey and acid-dipped are being used in unexpected places. Even cereals, like Magic Spoon, have boxes with psychedelic designs that further speak to the bold colors we’re predicting this year. Grab our bell-bottom jeans? You don’t have to tell us twice.

Mascots 

Anthropomorphizing means to give human characteristics to something that isn’t human. To Telegraph, it also means to make things trendy. 

Mascots are on the rise along with objects displaying human-like characteristics, thus bringing the word anthropomorphizing into our discussion and vocabulary. Brands like M&M’s and Pringles continue to modernize their classic mascots, while brands like New Belgium Brewing have more recently adopted a consistent character appearing on products.

We referenced lips designed on a coffee mug and our rebranded logo for Birmingham Orthodontics that shows a tooth with its own smile. Though these aren’t actual “mascots”, They’re ordinary objects with human characteristics. A brand’s biggest goal is to connect with people, and the one thing people connect with more than anything is the image of a face. We’re looking forward to more face time with brands and objects as this trend gains momentum. 

Mushrooms

Forget baking banana bread. This year, we predict the trendy DIY project will be growing mushrooms.

“Six months ago all the hippies I’m friends with were posting on Instagram about growing their own mushrooms”, said our Associate Creative Director, Nolen Strals. More recently, he noticed MeatEater published how to grow mushrooms, and his light bulb went off (literally– mushrooms are grown in the dark).

The trend of growing mushrooms ties in with plant-based food popularity and the pandemic craze of growing our own plants. We think this trend will stick as mushrooms are low maintenance and growing kits are easily purchased on Amazon. They remind us of the ‘70s, psychedelia and the plant we forgot to water this morning.

Our insights, combined with insights from Pinterest and Hubspot, inspired conversation as we analyzed these trends and many others. We believe optimism is the overarching theme driving all of 2022’s trends. When we say our future is bright, we mean it in more ways than one.

Brands We Love

Brands We Love

Brands are our thing. We notice them, we remember them, and we get inspired by the ones we love. Below, we’re sharing some of our favorite brands and why they get the Telegraph Team’s bolt of approval.

 

Southwest Airlines 

Whether we’re browsing, purchasing flights or recalling a brand we love, this airline comes to mind. Maybe it’s the heart in their logo. Regardless, Southwest’s personable and friendly tone make the brand uniquely approachable. David Hildebrand, Creative Director here at Telegraph, put it best when saying they “humanized air travel” after rebranding years ago. They take pride in putting the customer first, and that’s definitely something we’re on board with. 

 

Karbach Brewing Company 

We’ve heard everything is bigger in Texas and that includes the personality of this craft beer brand.Their designs keep people on their toes, and their tagline, “Crafted for Fun” speaks right to our heart. Unironically, the beer lived through its taglined purpose when it found our design intern, Levi Sanford. While having fun at a baseball game in Houston, the brand caught his eye, and he has since turned to them for inspiration. Their focus on quality beer, inclusivity and hospitality has us admiring the brand’s take on a glass half-full mentality. 

 

Halfway Crooks Beer

We’re pouring over this quirky beer brand. The brand’s cultural references are often obscure, the art is lo-fi and the copywriting is poetic, even though it seems as if it was written by a machine that only just learned English. It gives us an “old-world-European-meets-graphic-dryness-through-a-post-ironic-contemporary-lense” vibe. Our Associate Creative Director, Nolen Strals, said once he began to understand that they were doing their own weird thing, he came to also understand the inscrutable beauty of it. In the heart of Atlanta where many brands are so highly polished, this brand stands out— and to that we say, “Cheers!” 

 

Fifty-Nine Parks 

Fifty-Nine Parks is a brand with a print series that gives back. On posters and other merchandise, illustrations paired with type capture the distinguished beauty in each of our National Parks. Savvy Meek, Telegraph Graphic Designer and collector of 59 Parks merch, pointed out the brand’s unique use of modern typefaces with a more vintage style that elevates classic prints. The brand unites artists under a common goal as part of the poster sales go to The National Park Service. With a purpose just as beautiful as its designs, this brand is a breath of fresh air. 

 

At Telegraph, we appreciate even the smallest details that add up to fully characterize a brand. We love brands that come to life, and we’re obsessed with bringing our clients’ brands to life every day.