The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Learning Agencies Design

Get ready to yell. Get ready to hide. It's a silly, serious year for design


By Bentzion Goldman, Senior designer

February 1, 2024 | 7 min read

Mother Design’s Bentzion Goldman brings to life the contrast and conflict marketers will have to navigate this year somehow. Good luck.

2024 will bring it all

/ Mother USA

It’s an election year. The world is ending. Politics are divisive. The presence of war looms large. What does this all mean for the year ahead in branding? What can we expect from brands in a year already gearing up to be full to the brim?

Everything is silly

The current branding landscape is overflowing with cuddly mascots, anthropomorphized icons, and bright illustrations. It amounts to a branding style that can only be summed up as cute. These brand types, characterized by bright colors, inanimate objects with legs, and squishy typography, are abundant because they project an aura of comfort to an otherwise stressful climate. Think Sock by Koto is a decidedly adorable take on crypto with a library of humanoid sock illustrations paired with pastel colors and a curvy wordmark. It’s so darn cute it almost makes you forget that the world is ending outside.

Powered by AI

Explore frequently asked questions

I predict we’ll see the tail end of cute brands this year, swiftly followed by something else entirely…

Everything is serious

2024 will be the year for brands to get serious about what they stand for.

In a period where people will undoubtedly seek clarity, brands with a clear mission and purpose will stand out to consumers. This past year, Patagonia dramatically announced, by way of its founder, that most of its profits would now be converted to trusts and nonprofit organizations focusing on environmental sustainability.

This kind of move signals to consumers exactly what values a company supports. It’s a stark contrast to far too many brands that have responded to the current culture wars by trying to stand for everyone and ended up standing for no one. Perhaps 2024 will be when brands carve out more focused but loyal customer bases. Brooklyn Org, recently rebranded by Mother Design, embodied this ethos by changing its name, messaging, and design to reflect the values and people of the community rather than focusing on traditionally elite philanthropic circles.

A year for yelling

In a year when political candidates fight for our attention, brands will inevitably do the same. As candidates aim to turn the volume louder and louder in their favor, there will be brands who seek to crank the dial even further past the maximum. I expect we’ll see brands with big and bold statements set in infinity-point type size in the loudest colors possible. These brands will utilize vertigo-inducing motion graphics and copy lines so punchy you may need to duck. Just type “Oatly billboard” into Google search, and you’ll get the picture.

A year for lowering your (brand) voice

While some brands will yell at the top of their lungs, smarter brands will likely take the opposite approach and lower their voices. When they go low, we go lower. Consumers will look for respite from the chaos in their daily lives; brands that employ this approach will likely take in a larger share of consumers’ attention than those that try to yell. In the last election cycle of 2020, we saw brands that allowed the consumer to slow down and look a little closer, with more tranquil copywriting, nuanced colors, and quieter visual motifs.

Recall Medium, which Collins rebranded during the election cycle of 2020. Its literary wordmark, focus on straightforward language, and decidedly uncluttered compositions brought a breath of fresh air to consumers in an otherwise claustrophobic year. This approach will likely resurface with brands in the coming year.

Bonus: a year for beauty

In times of crisis, artistic production tends to increase rather than decrease as people work through their anxieties in tangible form. In 2024, more brands may focus on beauty and artistry rather than pure, blunt impact. These brands will play with pattern, ornament, crafted typography, and unique colors in a way that will allow the consumer a moment of pause and transportation to another world. The Tin Building by Mucca stands out as a brand that invites viewers to linger in its splendor. A robust bespoke typeface works in concert with luscious colors to create beautiful packaging that feels like a momentary portal to another world.

Suggested newsletters for you

Daily Briefing


Catch up on the most important stories of the day, curated by our editorial team.

Ads of the Week


See the best ads of the last week - all in one place.

The Drum Insider

Once a month

Learn how to pitch to our editors and get published on The Drum.

If you’re someone who will be working on a brand this year – whether you plan to be silly, be serious, be loud, or be quiet – consider how your brand will fit into the constellation of culture and politics this year promises to offer. But please, do be beautiful.

Learning Agencies Design

More from Learning

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +