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.
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 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 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.