Trends in design brings slowness, standardisation and the importance of the subtle details

I see the actual process of doing design in today’s digital environment more and more challenging. Customers go from small screen to big screen, from big screen toward VR and AR environments, and in just 2D environments, typing, touching, and drawing is becoming the norm.

Apparently, the creation of the design vocabulary for a cross-platform operating system is becoming so challenging, that even big players, like Microsoft, are trying to outsource the process to the global design community.

On the other hand, design becoming less and less open to standalone creative endeavors and becoming more reference based, and strict, pattern and legacy-driven, subject to the requirement to work in the combination of dozens of contexts.

So how does it change the design process? I had an opportunity to discuss with somebody at BMW a few weeks ago, and he opened my eye regarding the slowness of design in car manufacturing. What you see today as a car, actually created and almost finished years before market readiness. That’s why you see that digital designs in modern car experiences are hideous, actually a time travel experience. Regulation, customer habits, and all the other factors are narrowing down the opportunities of the design work, and slowing it down in specific cases to an absurdly slow level.

The standardization brings homogeneity in design experiences, on the other hand, the subtle “smaller” details becoming the big differences in these environments. You judge a car not based on the position of the wheel, but on what is the texture, and overall feeling of the steering.

I think the digital design will be getting even more rigid, because of this self-reinsuring effect and because the enormous complexity that comes to life with AR/VR experiences. At the same time, the opportunity for polishing and getting the maximum out of the constraints will grow heavily, and that will change a lot regarding design work.