What are you excited about for the future of branding?

What are you excited about for the future of branding?

FormFiftyFive has joined the Future London Academy and Max Orlov to organise a week-long course on the future of branding in London.

To help us set the tone for the event I asked a some of the speakers as well as industry specialists what excites them about the not to distant future of branding.

↑ Jennifer Vano

Associate Director of Verbal Design R/GA

In one word: words. Brands are building increasingly complex ecosystems. That means more chances to connect with consumers— and more risk of distancing them. The opportunity, and the challenge, is tying all the pieces together. We believe language is the key, but you can’t simply pass a wireframe to a copywriter and ask her to bang out a few headlines and expect any cohesion within that experience or throughout an ecosystem. Language must be designed as the experience is designed. That’s why we call our approach Verbal Design, not strategy, not identity: it’s great storytelling linked to systematic thinking, it’s about output not theory, it’s about the content and the feeling, and it covers every word, not just the headlines. Only Verbal Design can be that thread because it’s the only thing that’s everywhere.


↑ Bryan Edmondson

Founder & creative director of SEA

Probably the amount of items to consider. When SEA opened its doors 20 years ago there wasn’t the opportunity of digital and the separation of Brand and Advertising was frustrating. The exciting part of creating influential brands across film, digital and packaging are endless and the blurred lines between traditional agencies are getting even more blurred whilst clients are getting more and more sophisticated in their expectations.


↑ Richard Williams

Chairman & founder of Williams Murray Hamm

A difficult one to answer because there’s so much that’s positive. From self driving cars to the future of health and well being.

I’m fascinated by the volume of data we are garnering on people. Whilst I’m concerned about privacy, you can’t ignore the power of this data for the common good. Used properly it will be able to offer massive help in medical diagnosis and illness prevention.

You’re already able to have your DNA read. It won’t be long before you can subscribe to personalised food products that work with your particular make up and help you avoid physical and, perhaps even, mental illness (one of the greatest curses of life today).
I anticipate a raft of completely new, tailor made, nutraceutical brands emerging in the next few years.

The NHS, already a political football, will need to reflect people’s increasing self knowledge and subsequent needs that the positive use of data will offer. I predict continuous turmoil as private companies will be the first to make sense of the data and put even greater demand on GPs. What hospitals will look like in 20 years time is anybody’s guess.


↑ Rowan Williams

Designer at seymourpowell

With the convergence of industries and rise of co-creators, the old methods of branding are broken. It used to be ok for a brand to be skin deep and about what you say; now it’s about what you do and how you behave. A brand now lives in the culture of the company. The company is the brand.

The best brands of the future will know what makes them unique and think of themselves as experience brands. They invest in how people experience and interact with them at every touch point by building the brand, persuading people to buy and turning customers into brand advocates.



↑ Michael Wolff

Michael Wolff & Company

I see the assumption that a brand is just a look is fading and finally people are beginning to realise that a brand is more a result. It’s the result of an organisation’s behaviour created by the entire community that an organisation relates to. More organisations today understand that all of these people are customers and all create the brand. Those that buy, those that lead and work for the organisation, those that invest in or supply the organisation and those that just walk by and see it in the corner of their eyes. This holistic understanding of what brands are, makes working with them more exciting when I consider my future in this field of endeavour.


↑ Graeme Cook

Co founder & creative director of Article

We really think branding, and how it’s done is changing. There are so many channels where brands now live, and the changing face of technology means branding is much more democratised now. It’s not just designers creating content, lots of people can do it. And that is a good thing.

We’re excited about making branding an ongoing process, rather than something you do every five years which results in a guidelines document. It’s got to be more of an ongoing process that evolves as the brand and business changes.


↑ Ricardo Amorim

Creative director at AllofUs

I’m excited about how the relationship between people and brands is now primarily defined by a series of interactions and experiences. This shifts the focus of an identity from a symbol to a system. A system that shapes how a brand behaves under a number of unpredictable circumstances, so very soon I can see us designing an algorithm as part of a brand guideline document, which may carry more weight than the traditional logo and its applications.


↑ Michael Johnson

Founder & creative director at JohnsonBanks

There’s clearly something going on that takes a whole series of previously separate steps and then mashing them together. There’s a lot of logic in steering a strategic, verbal direction, then finding a visual solution to match, but at two or three times a year we’re doing this all at once, or in tandem. It’s a very powerful way of working, albeit one that demands thinkers, writers and creatives who can work across a rather blurred line and not get too precious about one idea over another.



To hear more about what industry experts think on creating a future-proof brand join the Future of Branding Week 29 June-2 July in London.

Glenn Garriock