Coline Leclère


Welcome inconsistencies

Brands are living organisms. They are fluid, not regimented; alive, not automated. They need to be fed new and exciting stimuli to grow strong. In 2023 should make way for unbridled creativity and constant experimentation over consistency. Those who dare to go off-piste every now and then, to get a little strange, to try new things that don’t fit neatly into pre-established guidelines, to create something out of the ordinary, to challenge conventions surrounding creative execution… Those will trigger wonder and surprise. Those will stand out.

Seriousness is out

Seriousness no longer makes a brand aspirational or exclusive, it makes it elitist and tonedeaf. In 2023, brands will have to overcome the dusty Eurocentric luxury trope of elitism and make way for playful and inclusive communication. If they want meaningful connections, they will need to cultivate the practice of humor, play, wit, self-deprecation and imagination. Because it’s in the practice of humor that real creativity lies.

World-building meets branding

World-building seems to have entered the realm of brands. The creation of fictional worlds with unique settings, histories, aesthetics, and characters straddling the physical and the virtual, the fictional and the real. Considering products and advertisements as departure points for telling holistic stories, creating immersive worlds and generating emotional impact seems to be the latest marketing development for our content-congested landscape.

Daniel Peterson

Partner and Creative Director

New Systems

Brands operating in the Blockchain space will continue to encourage designers to explore solutions that span multiple geographies, cultures, languages, and financial situations. This expansive imagining of the brand system may in turn challenge existing notions of taste and style, which have embedded within them structural inequalities and bias. In place we may see a prioritisation of less orderly non-linear narratives that acknowledge that our history is pluralistic and partial, and our future will likely follow suit.

New Partners

We’ll see rapid evolution and further adoption of AI tools operating as co-pilots supporting our creative efforts. Think Dall.e, Notion AI, GitHub Copilot, Lex, and more. These soulless little robot buddies will allow for further democratization of the creative process.

New Tempo

The pace of environmental and technological change will continue to increase, further exaggerating the distance between those capable of comprehending it and keeping up, and those left behind and disorientated by it. By comparison, the pace of cultural change will slow as we run out of nostalgia to mine leading to a pervasive yet frenetic grayness. Paradoxically, the AI tools we develop will employ our recent history as their primary data set leading us to relive our last few decades, over, and over again. A tight cultural feedback loop that branding must seek to disrupt in order to capture the attention and imagination of audiences.

New Coherency

Progressive brands will continue to turn their backs on consistency in favour of cohesion. Constellations of disparate activities and initiatives that while interdependent will provide a greater degree of freedom and allow for play and experimentation. This approach will seek to better engage consumers disillusioned by the cognitive dissonance of large tech and media brands and in incredibly turning away from traditional social media platforms in favour of smaller community hubs on WeChat, WhatsApp and Discord.

Thomas Byttebier

Digital Director

As ecommerce keeps growing, brands will look at physical retail more and more as places of experience, wonder, entertainment… Helping them to create branded ‘destinations’ and retain customers in store longer, places of social interaction. 

As a contrast: even more focus on practicality / ease of use in ecommerce websites, use of AR and more tools to enhance practicality: size and fit, how to come as close as possible to seeing products in real life on the web…

“Traditional” social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and even TikTok will decline, in favor of closed / private communities such as Whatsapp, Discord, Reddit etc. Brands will therefore need to find a way to find their place in these (or begin them themselves) in an authentic way: being helpful, sharing, offering advantages… They will have to stop talking about only themselves, as this doesn’t work in those new environments.

NFTs and crypto will continue to have a hard time, but brands will finally look beyond the buzzwords and pick up the *philosophical idea* behind Web3 (as a reaction to the traditional ways): a more democratic, community-driven web… experimenting, trying to figure out the best ways of using this (in their community’s favor).


Thierry Brunfaut

Partner and Creative Director

After Covid, the war in Ukraine, and the energy crisis, it is more evident every year that making predictions is hazardous! Brands with a clear vision, a clear notion of who they are (and are not), and who can adapt in real time will prevail.

One brand = One person

People will love brands for their charismatic leaders, ideas, point of view, and concrete actions their brands undertake. In the current crisis environment, brands with embodied leadership will stand out. Mega brands owned by opaque mega groups will suffer more daily to connect with the audiences. They will increasingly be mistrusted for the lack of the human factor.

Action vs. words

In 2023, brands will be defined by actions, not words. Complex wordy brand strategies will be useless versus good and simple concepts applied with grace or humor. The broad public is tired of the continuous and overwhelming brand messaging regarding environmental, social, or cultural issues thrown at them. Brand leaders should quit saying that “they work for a better world.” Stop claiming it; just do it.

Brand attitude

Brand guidelines are dead. The world is changing so fast that stiff visual consistency doesn’t matter anymore. What we used to identify as consistent brand codes (logo, color, typography, iconography) is questioned. What matters now is to have a strong ‘brand attitude’ coupled with a strong signature. Brands embracing today’s chaos with free versatile creative brand campaigns, initiatives, and collaborations will lead the pack.

Artificial Intelligence evidence

AI will make its breakthrough in branding. Whether in image creation, illustration, animation, or sound, creatives in brand agencies will increasingly use AI as a tool to create instead of seeing it as a threat to their future. A whole new world of creative possibilities will open to brands.


Geoff Cook

Partner and Director of Growth

In 2023, sound is going to play a greater role in a few key areas. 


Gearheads like myself can hear the difference between the low gurgle of an American V8 and the piercing whirl of a high compression Ferrari engine from a mile away. With more and more silent electric cars coming from Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Hyundai and more, manufacturers will be presented with a unique opportunity to develop soundtracks for their vehicles. Simply put, sound engineers will be able to develop a “Porsche sound,” a “Rivian sound” and so on that will enable manufacturers to further brand their cars, but also make them more safe in the process by alerting pedestrians to their presence.


As we go in and out of the current and future pandemics, public spaces will undoubtedly become more fraught. Sound installations can help to alleviate stress by calming and/or piquing the interest of visitors. Moving beyond the days of the muzak soundtrack, public spaces can today provide contextual sounds to offer much needed moments of repose.


With the ever increasing shift to ecommerce, retailers will continue to look for ways to make their environments more emotionally engaging. Site specific, mini sound installations like those popularized by the David Bowie exhibition, can help to deliver information and emotion at given moments throughout a store environment, from specific vignettes to convey a certain feeling, to dressing rooms, cash wraps, and more.


About Base Design

Base Design is an international network of studios that creates brands with cultural impact. Located in Brussels, New York, Geneva, and Melbourne, our team of creatives, strategists and digital experts design and develop simple yet powerful brands and build unique personalities.

Base knows that branding is first and foremost about people, so specializes in helping companies like yours – whether new or established; large or small – to become human-centric brands with vision, clarity and empathy.

Our work spans, but is not limited to: brand identity and strategy; art direction; copywriting; packaging design; and digital strategy, experience design and implementation.

Founded in the early ‘90s, the company has roots in Belgium but quickly developed its branches across the globe to cater to an ever-growing roster of clients. We build deep, ongoing relationships with our partners and collaborators to ensure they evolve, scale and/or pivot effectively. The list includes Apple, The New York Times, MoMA, Bob Dylan Center, NY Mets, JFK Terminal 4, and Union Square Hospitality Group.