10 Predictions For The Future Of The Design Industry

I recently celebrated 10 years in the design industry. It seems like the kind of milestone that serves as an excuse to reflect on the past, but also the future. The following are my 10 predictions for what the design industry will look like in 2025 based on observations over the past decade.

  1. The demand for in-house design jobs will rise. The “big agency” model will come closer to extinction, and we will see many heavy-hitters in the industry close their doors. While small firms will thrive, it will be the freelancer who will dominate the business landscape of Design.
  2. University-Level Design Programs will severely reduce technical production skills from their curriculum, and will elect to focus educational efforts on strategic planning and user/market research. Instead, production skills will be primarily acquired online as non-linear online learning platforms (like Lynda and Skillshare) will continue to grow to the point of being able to provide a legitimate degree for its students. PhD programs in Design will become more common.
  3. Printed books will still be relevant.
  4. The physical scale of available “canvas” for the creation of new Design work will shrink dramatically. Design, especially Graphic Design, will shift from desktop computers and printed billboards to wristwatch interfaces and intimate experiences. Design won’t be “big” any more, literally. Further, focus for design dimensions will shift from “responsive” to “modular.”
  5. Through an inevitable acceleration of the “Internet of Things” phenomenon, Big Data will finally be deemed useful enough to result in substantial pressure to be made accessible for the general public. As a result, the role of the “Information Architect” will be in the highest demand over all other design positions.
  6. Creative Direction will be primarily crowd-sourced, the role of a Creative Director will shift to that of a manager/facilitator of ideas as opposed to a visionary or author of conceptual design innovations. The concept of “the creator” will become blurry, and the tradition of including “team credits” at the end of a project may become less relevant.
  7. Contrary to popular conversation, Designers will not become programmers. Programmers will become Designers. The majority of production for designed assets will take place outside of what we now know as the Adobe Creative Suite, and will primarily be produced directly within code environments.
  8. Member-driven design associations and publications will be absorbed by more general business associations and publications. Membership that does remain within the design space will be dominated by youth as well as the entry-level design work force as opposed to working professionals.
  9. Adobe will face pressures to consolidate their selection of programs and tools in response to what will become a purely “transmedia” discipline, or they will finally face reasonable competition (Apple? Google?). As a side note… the word “transmedia” won’t be in the Design Industry vocabulary any more.
  10. Designers will still almost always wear black.

Originally published at www.linkedin.com.

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