Why Chasing Trends May Be Diluting Your Brand

Every time a new trend emerges, how often do you find yourself chasing it? 

Why Chasing Trends is Diluting Your Brand & the Simple Solution to Fix It | shannonmcnab.com

Pineapples are EVERYWHERE right now, so does that mean you should bust out a pineapple-centric product? Or maybe there’s a new product category emerging (like mobile ready fonts did in 2014) and you feel like you have to join in to stay competitive in the marketplace. But by following all the new trends, you are on the fast track to diluting your brand.

Let me illustrate my point by giving you my own personal example of this – I’ve fallen victim of the “shiny new trend” several times myself.

In late 2013, hand-lettered script word brushes were a becoming a big trend in the digi scrapbook community (due in part to popular designers like Karla Noel and Paislee Press who adopted hand lettering before it was a trend) and designers who had never created hand lettered products were jumping on the bandwagon left and right, including yours truly. 

The only problem was, hand lettering was NOT a strength of mine at the time. But that didn’t dissuade me; I went on my merry way, designing some hand lettered words for a Christmas collection in December 2013. Not surprisingly, my brushes didn't sell well because 1) my execution was poor, and 2) it's not something my customers expected to see (or were interested in purchasing) from me. Looking back at it now, I cringe that I put something so blatantly not “me” in my shop. 

Why Chasing Trends is Diluting Your Brand | shannonmcnab.com

The biggest problem here was that the only reason I made that product was because it was “on trend” and I never stopped to think about whether it would fit with my existing product catalog or my brand.

Luckily there is an easy way to avoid the trend trap: you simply have to take a beat and think about whether this new trend fits within your strengths and aesthetic as a designer. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What themes or products am I known for?
  • What are my strengths as a designer?
  • Is the market already saturated with this trend?
  • Does following this trend make a positive impact on my brand or product catalog?

By taking 10-15 minutes and analyzing whether or not this trend works for you and your designs, you will save yourself time and unnecessary heartache if/when your trendy product doesn’t sell well.

If I had done that in the fall of 2013, I would have realized that my strength was typeface-based word art, and NOT in writing phrases by hand. I wouldn’t have created those brushes, but instead put that time and effort into some other product that was more in-line with my design aesthetic.

Analyzing a trend can also be really good for highlighting weak spots in your business and can be a catalyst for you to expand your design skills. Since understanding my own lack of hand lettering skills in 2013 and realizing it’s an area I wanted to improve on, I’ve made a concerted effort to practice drawing letterforms and am now quite confident in lettering abilities. 

Peter Pan Hand Lettered Disney Quote | shannonmcnab.com

So the next time you’re wooed by an emerging new trend, take a step back and decide whether it’s something that fits within your brand. Because it’s always better to be known for designing a few things really well than it is to be known for doing everything only ok.

My Sketchbook | Recipe Maven

I've been furiously working on holiday product for my side business, Scotty Girl Design, but decided to take a break this morning. It's been weeks since I took time away from my computer to sketch, so I was happily surprised with the way this little one turned out. There's definitely things I'll want to finesse when I bring this into Illustrator, but I'm happy with it for now.

recipe maven typography by Shannon McNab

My Sketchbook | Out to Sea

I actually drew this little guy when I was literally out at sea. I took a Baltic Sea cruise this summer with my husband (our very first real vacation as Mr. & Mrs.). We had two full days where we weren't at any ports – you have the entire day to do as you pleased on the ship.

For us that meant grabbing coffee in the main foyer while I sketched and my husband read (the Game of Thrones series which he insists I need to read). At first, I had a hard time coming up with interesting things to sketch, so I started off with something easy.

Out to Sea typography by Shannon McNab

My Sketchbook | Color my World

I've been into inspirational phrases lately and this particular one has been stuck in my head. This is only my initial concept sketch – I'm hoping to turn this into a watercolor art piece to hang in my office.

Color My World (work in progress)

My Sketchbook | Dreams Do Come True

Disney is a constant source of inspiration for me and since we've been planning our next trip to Anaheim in December, Disney has been one my mind even more than usual. So I guess it's not surprising this was the first phrase that came to mind.

Dreams Do Come True typography by Shannon McNab