Consumers are looking for new interpretations of inclusion, yearning for opportunities to experience gender as a path of discovery and self-expression. Having said that, what is gender fluid? Neutrality eliminates references to a certain gender, but fluency is a multidimensional form of expression that avoids being categorized as a fixed identity.
Currently, brands and retailers have opted to create a more inclusive landscape by focusing on gender-neutral strategies: unisex collections, gender-free products and campaigns to “buy in both sections of the store”. The movement for inclusion of all genders has made consumers express their identity outside of the traditional cisgender parameter (all those people who feel identified with the gender that has been assigned to them at birth).
At Pointbleu we will tell you all about what branding and product strategies you ought to implement as we move towards a gender-fluid future in both physical spaces and services.
GF (gender fluid) spaces should use neutrality as a blank canvas, free of expectations or norms. Design safe spaces that encourage personal expressionand foster sharing and exploration. In retail, a gender-fluid space reaches the entire store as male, female and unisex products are marketed together. Marc Jacobs presented his collection inspired by the idea of “girls who are boys and boys who are girls” in his Heaven store.
Gender-neutral services do not always consider the specific needs of consumers. Offering services from a seamless perspective shows that the company cares about identity and creates a more equitable experience for all. For example, when opening a bank account, gender identity is often not considered, with a view to ensuring that anyone can access the service. What that neutrality does not consider is flexibility. Banking algorithms often single out consumers who are non-binary or ones that might be in transition.
Being a fluid brand involves neutralizing restrictive language and images, opting instead to explore expressive gender identities and communicate a sense of belonging. Although gender-neutral branding does not exclude anyone, gender-fluid includes everyone and is representative in the broadest sense. The key is never to assume the gender or pronouns of consumers. In the field of visual identity, it can be achieved with typography, by mixing traditionally masculine sans serif fonts with typically feminine curved letters.
Neutral products never acknowledge the gender of consumers, but fluid products make identity the key to their offering. As a tool for personal reflection, consumers use these products to question, explore and celebrate their changing identity over time. Consumers want to see their identities represented in product images: campaigns with male, female, non-binary and transgender models, as well as diverse identities.
How can brands implement these strategies?
- Explore gender-fluid strategies: remove all gender norms, labels, and expectations. From rooms and signage to the use of colour and language, brands must neutralize any references to binary gender.
- Challenges and needs of all identities: brands must turn to a group of consumers with diverse identities to test spaces, services and products, and thus anticipate how their experiences may differ.
- It gives consumers the opportunity to explore and express their own identity, using a branded product as a tool.
What strategies would you implement?
At Pointbleu Design we would be delighted to hear from you!