16 Trends & Learnings in Design, 2016–17

December is a good time to introspect. Design activities slow down due to Christmas and you get some time to reflect on what’s been the ride like!. It also helps to get a bird's eye view of what worked for you and what did not and most importantly why? I discussed my learnings with friends and I am not very surprised to get similar feedback on their learnings. When amplified they do seem like trends worth sharing.

  1. Design today has moved up the ladder - articulate ‘problem space’,not only a ‘form giver’ to a solution.
  2. Designers continue to address only a part of problem. Larger issues are visible but cannot be solved by design alone, you need sensible people, great processes, well articulated frameworks, greater value for life.
  3. Design will continue to react to external forces as competition gets amplified. Not all reactions may not undergo a process of fine humanised detailing.
  4. Design is far away in addressing the “Ways of nature” and frankly no one is ready to think about it seriously.
  5. Design will continue to drive Global ideas focussed on core human behaviors and replace traditional habits, local ideas will be limited to geography or community.
  6. Design today is completely a collaborative process, new tools will speed up this process in turn sacrificing human touch.
  7. Design’s love affair with tech is over, today it is married , I do not see a divorce in near future.
  8. Many designers hope to move Design from “Problem solving framework” to address zone of human emotions, increased sensibilities and sensitivities. Designers will join Marketers,psychologists and neuroscientists in this party!
  9. Design today is everybody's business, stakeholders continue to surprise you with their fancies.
  10. It is easier to hire a Designer today, but not so easy to get an “involved” one. Today’s designers sketch lesser but may use “Sketching” softwares more, creating gap between conceptual and practical.
  11. Design has moved away from simply 2–3 dimensional output to a more holistic outlook involving people, business, tech, services and so forth —Designers are naturally more burdened! Designers struggle to ‘Bill’ this complexity.
  12. Corporates are more likely to influence “Design Philosophies” as against Design Schools or Individual Practitioners.
  13. “Expression” and “Refined Language” the next frontier of Design that our traditional craftsmen mastered has still not found its place,due to rapid advancements in new tools and shrinking time of projects.
  14. Design has found its way in persuading people into buying experiences hence accepted by Business.
  15. Many Tech tools are geared up to replace mundane Design activities by Machine Learning.
  16. You see rise in Designer Entrepreneurs. Design process is capable of shaping new ideas rapidly with end consumers and validate businesses.

Hope to articulate these points in detail in coming posts. Design is not science nor it has any magic formula for success, it is an iterative process which hopes to improvise the quality of living. Trends show us general directions in which we are approaching this journey.

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