5 ways to build timeless brands that will last for years

December 5, 2018 | Written by

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What makes a brand timeless?

Timeless brands are a powerful business tool but creating them isn’t a straightforward process. Our goal at Tidy is to create brands that last for years into the future.

It doesn’t take long if you go back and look through an old design book to see that not all design work seems to age at the same rate. A design from as little as 5 years ago can feel cheap and dated today while others which are almost 30 years old still feel fresh.

The other thing to keep in mind here is that when we talk about creating a timeless brand, we are talking about more than designing a logo. A logo forms only a small part of a brand identity. What we are talking about is building a kit of parts that might include images, patterns, icons, colour combinations, typefaces, words and phrases.

As designers and brand-ambassadors we can then cherry pick from this toolkit when creating brand-assets and marketing collateral to ensure that we are always communicating the brand values consistently.

Luke Sullivan sums it up nicely in his advertising book Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This:

“A brand isn’t just the name on the box. It isn’t the thing in the box, either. A brand is the sum total of all the emotions, thoughts, images, history, possibilities and gossip that exist in the marketplace about a certain company.”

Timeless brands are prepared to evolve

The most recognisable and successful brands are always adapting. For example, Apple, CocaCola, and IBM (three of the world’s biggest brands) have each refined the logos they use.

While the identities of these brands haven’t necessarily changed, the visual language they use to express that identity has.

A little forethought and forward planning up-front, during the initial stages of developing a brand, can go a long way to ensuring it is versatile enough to survive long into the future.

Research, research, and more research

Developing a strong future-proof identity requires clarity and conviction. Who we are communicating with often drives how we communicate. This means that as well as clearly defining what we are trying to say it’s also very important we know who we are saying it to. This means that as well as having a clear brand strategy we must thoroughly know our target market.

All this clear thinking can only happen from an all-knowing, omnipotent position, so the more research and information gathering done the better!

Timeless brands don’t follow trends

Trends, by their very nature, have a tendency to change rapidly. This makes them a poor choice to underpin a brand.  Timeless brands don’t draw on trends.

By avoiding transitory and ever-changing trends we stand the best chance of developing  timeless brands. When you can back up what you’re doing with sound reasoning and research it doesn’t matter if the latest trend is for flat graphics but you’ve used a gradient (or vice versa).

Consider application early on

Where will you need to apply the brand, now and in the future? Will you be using the brand-assets mostly in print or online? What printing techniques will you be using? Do you need to create social media versions of logos or icons that lend themselves to square or circular format?

It’s also essential to speak to the client about their plans for their business. They may only trade online now but that doesn’t mean that in 5 years they wont have moved into more offline-markets so considering this up-front is essential.

Building a brand toolkit that allows a brand to grow takes time and consideration and is an on-going process.

Dare to be different

A sure-fire way to end up with a dated and tired brand quickly is to simply copy the competition. On the flip-side, doing something different to everyone else in your industry or sector can pay dividends in the long run and help you carve out a niche as the market leader.

Here at Tidy Studio we see it as part of our responsibility to make sure that all of the brands we create are well placed to last for years into the future. Take a look at our branding work to see for yourself! 


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