Good design is everywhere. You no longer have to go on an international expedition to observe an elusive stunning brand in its natural habitat. It has become expected for brands to have good design and people won’t settle for anything less.
So how do you stand out among the sea of attractive brands? A mission. Specifically, a mission that people want to be a part of. While eye-catching design might be enough to lure a person in, the trick to getting them hooked is in the personal connection. People want to feel that they are making a difference by interacting with your brand.
Learn More: Monigle Perspective: Move-worthy Brands of 2019
At least that is the lens that I look through when I’m in the market for something new – whether that be shopping for a new product, signing up for a service, or donating to a good cause. I want to buy from brands that are challenging the status quo. I want to contribute to brands that are making an impact on the world. And being the design nerd that I am, I want to interact with brands that are nice to look at. Here are a few brands that have managed to catch my attention this year for these very reasons.
I was initially drawn to Patagonia’s products when I transplanted to Denver a few years ago (everyone knows a puffer jacket is your rite of passage to becoming a true Coloradoan). Their products are beautifully designed, living at the intersection of form and function. Their brand identity is unique, cohesive, and relatable on a human level. But beyond loving their branding and product design, I really connected with their mission to save our planet through radical activism. Last year they came out with an Environmental + Social Initiatives book, and this year their efforts have continued in many forms, including participating in the Global Climate Strike, releasing a documentary, winning the UN Champions of the Earth award, and the list continues. Patagonia talks the talk and walks the walk. This has led not only to impacting consumers, but it has caused a ripple effect on the industry as a whole with many outdoor brands following suit.
Oscar Health Insurance
This is a drool-worthy brand that designers and non-designers alike can appreciate. The playful illustration style, rich color palette, and humorous advertisements actually make me want to sign up for their health insurance – a process that has always seemed daunting in the past. While many insurance companies think bland design and generic stock imagery are the keys to getting business, Oscar has taken the opposite approach creating a bold, patient-centered experience. And it’s working. Just this year they have expanded into 20 new markets with their mission to fix a broken health care system, which is a mission that I can certainly get behind.
Method is a home care and cleaning products brand that has always jumped out at me on the store shelves. Their packaging is distinct, their colors are vibrant, their advertisements make me laugh, and their mission to make the world a “cleaner, greener, more colorful place.” Who doesn’t want that?! On top of that, they are transparent about their sustainability efforts and have designed a Benefit Blueprint infographic outlining their 2020 goals and objectives to improve people’s livelihoods and better our environment. I’m generally not thrilled when it comes to cleaning, but I can get on board with Method’s products.
This product line created by Rethink Breast Cancer is aimed towards young women dealing with breast cancer. These products immediately stood out to me with their hand-drawn illustrations and their witty, to-the-point messaging that feels refreshingly human and acknowledges the truth of the unfortunate situation. In a space where a “get well soon” card is completely inadequate this brand is taking a drastically different and impactful approach with thoughtful products that might spur a smile in an arduous time. This month they launched a “31 Days of Giving a Care” holiday campaign in an effort to empower and advocate for young people affected by breast cancer this holiday season.
Since its launch in 2018, this refillable deodorant brand has skyrocketed. They have found the perfect balance of fresh design, quality product, and a mission to do good. This is one of those brands that initially grabbed my attention because I loved their minimalist branding and their unique packaging design made me want to display it on my bathroom counter rather than hiding it away with all my other eye-sore products. And once I learned more about their sustainability mission I was fully hooked. The refillable pods use 50% less plastic and are fully recyclable, meaning I can make an impact on the planet and smell good while doing it!
My missions for this year have revolved around making more sustainable choices, simplifying my life, and facing challenges head-on, and the above brands have helped me do that without having to compromise on the design. In addition to having a little design envy, I’ve been inspired by their efforts to drive positive change in their industries and among individuals. These brands may not align with your personal mission but I’m the one writing this article so… (insert shoulder shrug emoji).
All sass aside, I’m sure there are beautiful brands out there that speak to your mission and I encourage you to find them rather than just settling for “good design.” As long as we don’t settle, we can expect to see brands continuing to push boundaries, elevate design standards, make bigger impacts, and above all, move people.
We love engaging and learning from others – reach out to us and tell us what brands caught your eye this year?