Something that has always been a career hazard for a designer is being out in front, absorbing information, and then synthesizing to predict what the next big consumer trends are.
Trendwatching.com is a great site that does a lot of this data gathering work for you and packages it into very neat themes. They have graciously shared what they think are the top 5 design consumer trends of 2007. Even though it’s mainly consumer trends, a lot of it can be applied in your design programs, if you start with a scenario base design strategy.
Here are my comments, from a product design stand point, on their 5 trends:
1) Status Lifestyles
Nothing new there, but their detailed description of the different sub-lifestyles are a good source of information. Status is something consumers always look for, is ingrained in people psyche as we often seek acceptance as well as individualism and the need to be different.
2) Transparency Tyranny
This is interesting and is a reflection of why I believe simple product repackaging strategies will fail in today’s consumer markets. People are getting just too smart these days, and with the further help of the internet they are able to dig in detail the positives and negatives of your product in a jiffy.
3) Web N+1
Sure we are going to talk around and around on what is the next be Web X.0 thing, but the only reason why I am looking at it is this web technology is going to be how the consumer of the future will deal with products. As software, internet and hardware all converge, something big is going to happen and the only way to know is to understand how it works.
This will be one of the problems for designers, especially in the software industry. Consumers are spoilt, as you can get almost anything online for free even, its going to be hard going forward to encourage people to part with their money. This is one of the big problems with digital music, why pay for it when you can get it for free. Though what I’m saying not the gist of this point number 4, the relation of this comes to how people treat and deal with objects. Anything that is free or almost free has little emotional value. The increase of disposable consumerism is just one side effect.
5) Global Brain
This sounds like a re-badged Philip’s LiMe (Living Memory) concept. With 3G phones and network running costs getting more affordable, feedback of ANYTHING becomes easy. It will soon be instead of “Buyers Beware” it will now be “Buyers Aware”.
You can read in greater detail of these trends here and I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter, as its a worth while email spam risk as their newsletters are a great source of information.
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