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Captain’s Log: The future of design

Captain’s Log: The future of design

Last week, I headed over to LPK (which is housed in a gorgeous historical building, by the way) for a talk called Memo from 2015: What the Future Wants from Designers. The event was sponsored by the Cincinnati AIGA and led by adorably baby-faced-but-apparently-brilliant LPK trend analyst Brian Meyers.

Call me shallow (you’d be right), but I’m much more likely to listen to an analysis of future trends from someone who looks straight out of a photo on The Sartorialist. And I have to say I was floored when he referenced Comme des Garcons and Nicolas Ghesquiere in practically the same breath. Finally, someone who speaks my language!

Brian started off by telling us a bit about how the LPK team distills socio-cultural trends into specific “future states”—Star Trek-ish* versions of the future—and the necessity of designing for those possible worlds now, instead of getting stuck in the present and playing catch-up later.

Future States

Simplistic slowdown: Slower experiences; higher emotional engagement

Curate & collect: Living highly selective and purposeful lives

Maker culture: The producer and consumer are the same person. In this case, designers will need to distinguish their value as people are more apt to do things on their own (e.g. create a magazine, even if you don’t really know what you’re doing)

Embracing the ugly: Palates adjust to accept and appreciate the amateur aesthetic

Death and destruction: Damage and desolation as art

Computers as competition: Humans vs our increasingly intelligent robotic rivals

Images: Wit + Delight, lauren gaudart, etsy, ffffound

I noticed distinct correlations between several of the states mentioned. For instance, being selective (Curate and collect) takes time and energy (Simplistic slowdown) in order to sort through the rabble for things that are personally meaningful. In a Maker culture, people are more apt to embrace something they’ve made (ugly as it may be), due to the emotional attachment formed during the creation process.

Backlash

Most of the trends are clearly a backlash against the 24/7, always-busy nature of the web. People are growing tired of the constant stream of information, ideas, and imagery thrown at them via social networks and digital media. We’re already seeing a proliferation of hand-crafted goods and clean and simple design.

The point: designers need to learn how to create imagery and experiences that are engaging to the people living in those worlds. Now.

It was an interesting talk.

What do you think the future holds? So you see those changes starting to take place now?

*I’m kind of a Trekkie. Add that to the list of things you never asked and didn’t really care to know about me.

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8 Comments
  • Alicia

    April 29, 2010 at 4:02 pm Reply

    Oh, we’re definitely moving toward the slow and meaningful. At present, the influx of information, the oversaturation of media, and having our lifes superficially on display is getting to be a bit much…for everyone. I’m glad it’s going to move in a different direction because my head is going to fall off.

    • tamia

      May 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm Reply

      Yes. Things need to sloooowwww doooowwwnnn.

  • DailyDivaDish

    April 29, 2010 at 4:09 pm Reply

    I love the idea of moving toward Curate and Collect. I think that’s exactly what I need.
    XO Piper

    • tamia

      May 2, 2010 at 3:50 pm Reply

      Exactly. Just the (meaningful) facts, ma’am!

  • BeautyBdy

    April 29, 2010 at 7:25 pm Reply

    Interesting commentary on the future and design, Tamia. I considered myself a “futurist” since watching the Jetson’s cartoons as a child. I see the slow-down and individual creativity as definitely part of the future-now. Though now directly related to style, I expect ‘harnessing mind power’ to achieve ones goals quickly will be the next big effort (the Secret movie got it motivated). Peace.

    • tamia

      May 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm Reply

      I’ve seen people moving towards something similar with “personal energy management,” which is similar to time management but acknowledges that energy/brainpower (not time) is the most important consideration.

  • Bruce

    May 19, 2010 at 9:16 am Reply

    Oh, we’re definitely moving toward the slow and meaningful. At present, the influx of information, the oversaturation of media, and having our lifes superficially on display is getting to be a bit much…for everyone. I’m glad it’s going to move in a different direction because my head is going to fall off.

    • tamia

      May 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm Reply

      We have apps to aggregate the apps that help us keep track of our apps. It’s ridonkulous!–and time for a change.

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