Designing for the future requires a sense of the needs and desires of the present. Evolving and at times recurrent, a trend rarely holds a social movement, aesthetic, or meme frozen in time. To fathom new demands for innovation, designers must capture a trend’s peaks. This tasks them to understand the ideological, societal, economic, technological, and environmental patterns that cause their present relevance, and the paths of growth and influence from these points.
These consistent developmental patterns, called drivers, drive and impact human behavior, culture, society, economy, politics, design aesthetics, and industries. When these drivers are “strong” enough to achieve breakthroughs in technology and science, differences in consumer interests, the discovery of new cultures affecting generations, or the emergence of unprecedented design movements, then we have the birth of a trend.
The pandemic’s unforeseen yet immense influence has placed interconnectivity at the forefront. This drives trends in the phygital (physical and digital) sphere and the Metaverse. Similarly, it brings global awareness to other megatrends in the realms of rapid urbanization, climate change, sustainable innovation, and commercial interest in wellness. In design, such drivers can be identified based on current needs: empathy, sustainability, equality, and community.
Emo(tiva)tions: Joyous Wonders
Our pursuit of pleasure has understandably shifted towards the chase for moments of nostalgia, DIY optimism, and care. Inspired and influenced by this era’s yearning for radical empathy and equality. Playful, sensory, “safe” spaces in both physical and digital forms have emerged inciting relief and better living led by emotion. Emo(tiva)tions as we have coined the macro trend. A micro-trend example is Joyous Wonders, an ACIIID original design forecast. This not only explores design for positive possibility but the concept of happiness from past, present, and future experiences.
Green-tervention: Green Luxe
Sustainability as a driver, however, has only further integrated into our modern lifestyles—a green intervention. Green Luxe advocates for sustainable materials as “better” materials rather than “alternative” materials. It emphasizes recreating the look of sustainability into something more polished.
Future (R)evolution: Other Earth
As we grapple with the call for sustainability, speculations of building a new universe rise to evolve our image of the future. Also, we look to smart cities, phygital realms, and digitalization to explore new ways and influences of building connections, communities, and human habitats. Other Earth visualizes the idea of space tourism as it explores pure or organic geometries inspired by a desert landscape. The rocks, the sand, the caves, and the intergalactic aspect, bathe this project selection with another earth aesthetic.
To sum up, trends evolve in parallel with the vibrancy of human nature. Even in a dire present, our shared experiences also drive movements bound by hope for positive change, responsible action, and strengthened communities. Certainly, as the design progresses towards being more interconnected, designers can only become more aware, guided by the same innate need for human validation characterized by the ever-present motivations for empathy, sustainability, community, and equality.
Photo Credits: ACIIID©