Identifying Product Design Trends at Dutch Design Week
Keywords:Industrial Design, Trend Forecasting, Undergraduate Design Researchers, Design Field Study, Design Education
Trends in design manifest in many ways, from fads in form or production to themes or topics explored. These trends are often generated within the design community, but also reflect local and global culture. To identify meta-trends in contemporary design culture, we worked with nine student researchers to gather data seen during an academic trip to Dutch Design Week in 2017. The results indicated growing interest in four central themes: identity, globalization, technology, and production. From these themes, nine trends were outlined; social engagement, production consciousness, design for agency, material innovation, humanist design, humanity and technology, re-interrogating history, speculative design, and questioning the role of design practice itself. We noted a shift from narrative-driven to experiential designed objects and a change from individual expression toward communal experience. We also observed a discipline in flux as designers struggle with these large themes, objecthood, and the role of the designer.