There are seven trends pertaining to designers that I am repeatedly encountering, all of which sequels of last year’s narrative:
1. Democratization of Design
Emerging handheld mediums of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, such as Snapchat, have democratized the design element of creation to the masses. As more people have access to tools for creation, more businesses owners will feel empowered to put themselves “out” there.
2. Social Activism
Expect designers to play a greater role in creating products around solving every day and civic problems. Also, expect them to embed a social element within their existing projects to make a greater difference through their employers.
As venture capital firms embrace the importance of design in founding teams, we will see many of our kin take the plunge into business creation. Companies that wish to hold on to their top talent will need to meet them halfway. This is one of those design trends that are an inevitable consequence of talent development.
Expect more designers to demand summits and events that help them build the potential for leadership and team management. With the inflow of new designers across a range of skill sets, seasoned practitioners are promoted to lead them, and that can mean stepping out of creation and walking into a directional role.
As the acceptance around freelance takes hold, as does the demand, we expect the flexibility and lifestyle of freelancers will interweave with the base comforts of how designers create at their peak. I expect larger marketplaces to be formed in the coming years around designer and creators.
Designers are behind desktops, not mobile devices. As much as marketers like to tout about the emergence of a mobile-first world, it’s a claustrophobic device to create on and has its own limitations. Look for many mobile-oriented companies to start creating experiences for the desktop once again.
Designers are beginning to use tools like heat maps that weigh in on the importance of their role for user experiences. As such the data behind online behaviors is becoming more and more available. To understand the impact of design decisions and A/B test them, more tools will emerge for designers to own their work and improve on it.