Transform Magazine: How the Digital Age Influences Identity Design – 2023

Mo Saad, head of design and creative impact at the Dubai-based Brand Lounge, describes how brand identity is changing in modern times and how it could change further in the future with the advent of the metaverse.

Design has always had the power to influence; shaping revolutions and communicating revolutionary ideas that would otherwise sit on shelves. But design, like anything else, is also influenced by the prevailing zeitgeist of each era, absorbing the nuances of popular culture and amplifying their effect.

The Middle Ages brought us Gothic architecture; the Renaissance brought us free thinkers and an art that highlighted their philosophies and scientific discoveries; the post-war period brought us contemporary and simplistic Swiss design followed by the technological revolution which brought us the “pixel” and changed our approach to design forever.

Today’s digital age has no less effect on the way we think about communication – it is perhaps the single era that has had the most impact on the tools we use and the channels we play on – not to mention the metaverse which has opened up endless possibilities where the visual language is concerned.

Of course, brand design tends to be directly involved in how trends change and evolve; after all, brands are themselves a mirror image of the prevailing zeitgeist. So, how is “Brand Identity” evolving?

Well, one thing is for sure… “if it doesn’t move, it’s as if it’s dead”. The effect of 5G speeds and exponentially increasing computing power has given designers the ability to tell more compelling stories and reveal hidden truths through moving, bending and shape-shifting identities. We are fascinated by the moving image and no longer respond to static visuals – did TikTok and Instagram Reels come out of nowhere?

This access to movement more broadly affected the visual language as a whole. I always get blank stares from customers when I tell them “Your logo is only 5% of your brand identity”; and I don’t blame them. We’re trained to believe that a logo is everything – apply it to anything from mugs to mouse pads and you’ve got a brand; Nothing could be further from the truth. When synergistically paired with a powerful logo, visual language can be infinitely more effective at communicating a brand’s purpose, creating association, and imprinting it in people’s minds. Add to that the magic of movement and you have yourself an ecosystem of endless possibilities.

Sometimes color can be your main association driver. Studies show that 90% of instant judgments about brands can be made by color alone. But in the digital age, color choice is polarized. The advancement of screen and light technology gives us better resolutions year after year. Nits, lumens and LEDs are just a few of the ways tech giants are influencing the way we use color. Some brands choose to over-stimulate with vibrant combinations of RGB, and others are bent on calming our senses with the resurgence of pastels and calmer palettes.

So we ask ourselves the ultimate question: how will all these new trends in identity design manifest in the metaverse? Yes, I’m going, because these questions are no longer avoidable. How will “visual identity” be truly defined in a space that some still consider abstract? Will the logos cease to exist and be replaced by another metaphysical interpretation? Referencing our own design philosophy at the Brand Lounge, will the logos continue to tell “authentic” stories? What “function” will they play? Can identity even remain “timeless” in a space that evolves faster than time itself? And what role will ‘Strategy’ play?

There is no simple answer in a new world defined and constructed by mob culture second by second. What we do know is that as long as the physical world remains our reality – for now – there will be technological advancements and the zeitgeist will continue to evolve, ushering in new tools, new toys and new spaces for us. play and experience identity.