The “Friendly” design trend

The “Friendly” design trend

For those who like their dairy products, you may notice a change on the packaging of your favourite yogurt in the next couple of years. Danone has decided to make a logo change. The multi-national says they wanted to reposition the company to align with the enormous appetite consumers are demonstrating for healthy foods. Time will tell if the new positioning will actually trickle down to the ingredients in the products we eat.

While we wait with baited breath for the grand food transformation, the logo is immediately available for our eyes to feast on. One of the most noticeable changes is the overall aesthetic of the image. Other than flipping the child image to face to the right, the use of gradient screens, lighter hues and texture in the blue circle brighten up the appearance. The new font is also graced with tints and shading to give a dimensional feel. An eyebrow has been added along with ever so slight changes to the eye, nose, smile and chin. I’d say the kid looks more human.

So what’s this design trend?
What started as a completely flat design style has evolved over time to add depth, shadows, bevels and light effects. We’re seeing bold, colourful typography, curved edges, cursive fonts, incorporation of hand drawn elements and even photography is getting into the mix. All of this is the intention of creators to make design more friendly and appealing to consumers.

Why is this happening?
Over periods of time, there has always been and there will always be a constant ebb and flow in design. In this case, one might wonder if there is an underlying effort in design work that’s responding to an evermore digital and connected world, attempting to reestablish consumer relationships where face to face interactions are in continuous decline. Are companies compensating with a friendlier approach to design? While not a recent development, technology may be behind it too. Designers are no longer hampered by limitations of print production.

Did Danone get it right?
I would say they did alright, although I’m not a fan of the font in the tagline – just too much going on when combined everything else. They accomplished what they set out to do… humanize their image and set the tone for meeting their promise of better food.

Will this work for you?
With all we’re seeing around us, this trend in the business of branding is well entrenched – but it’s not for everyone. As always preached at Deschenes Regnier, a company’s image and its logo have to suit its product and personality. Unless there’s a compelling reason to change, resist applying the cliché to your own organization. It is not meant to be implemented across the board. Imagine this: think big banks, pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies, law firms or universities. The first thing you look for from them is not “friendliness”. That quality will certainly be part of their brand picture at some level, but not the top one. Credibility, safety, professionalism would likely rank higher for them.

Are you ready for a change?
If you are, keep a level mind and be true to you. See the Danone brand positioning video and judge for yourself if their revamped logo reflects their new manifesto.