Designing for the future: trends we need to consider now

We live in interesting times. This goes for technological development, societal currents, politics… more or less everything seems to be coming loose, floating weightlessly, hovering without any clear direction. Design is no exception to it. So, as curiously enough I was invited to participate in the Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader, I’ll use the chance to throw in my two cents. My bias is clear – I love paper, I love handmade things and I’m bored stiff with the current trendy web design. Luckily there seem to be promising times ahead.

It seems to me that there are three main design currents at the moment gathering strength.

First of them is the return of the handmade. The slick perfection of vector lines and the cold clinical minimalism are getting boring. We’ve seen them over and over again and now we want something real, warm and human. Imperfect even. So there’s an increasing amount of hand-drawn textures being used to make web design look like something hand-made, edges are left uneven, color overlaps unfixed, mistakes are made on purpose. Hand-made infographics are used to show statistics, hand-drawn illustrations and comics to humanize the legalese of official documents. Stop-motion and claymation have and will continue to have a steady niche.

Second is an increased focus on tactility. This one I’d predict mostly for books and stationery. As a paper-lover, I’m well aware there might be a degree of wishful thinking in it, but I believe that there’s a momentum to it. Paper goods will become even more luxurious and offer the buyers something that the web cannot – tactility. Printed books will start to regain their status as beautiful objects of desire and works of art, embellished by quality materials and luxury techniques like embossing. Steve Jobs understood this aspect well in his time, deliberately designing Apple products to be nice to touch and hold. However, this would apply for hardback special editions, not all books.  Popular paperbacks will probably still struggle against digital versions.

Third is a desire for authenticity that is starting to tear away at the superficial perfection of the modern web design. In a way it’s the underlying reason for the two previous ones. We want something raw, something real, unadorned. Thanks to the current canon of good web design and readily available templates most websites look interchangeable, more or less the same with the same stock photos, same layout, similar writing style. I believe that web design will see a phenomenon akin to Dogma movement in filmmaking, one that will concentrate on the pure essence of information and strip away everything besides bare necessities.


*As already noted above, this blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader.

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