The Future of Design

My Dad always made an interesting generalization when talking about the way people look at the future. He said there were 2 types of people in regard to this topic - those who are like eagles and those who are like pigs. Pigs keep their eyes on the ground, picking up the scraps and becoming covered in mud. They are shortsighted and enjoy the moment, not realising what is around the next pile of straw. Eagles on the other hand are always vigilant. Eagles are longsighted, not worrying about the moment, eyes fixed on the horizon, always thinking long term. They have plans and realistic ambitions and soar high in the sky looking ahead to their aim. Lets all be an eagle now and look ahead as we consider the future of design and the things that will change the way we design.

Below are a few thoughts on 4 areas of new media, which, I believe we will have to start designing for. Ultimately design is constrained by the technology it is being placed onto or into. These inventions will require designs, which we will need to execute.

If you are asking yourself why you need to bother reading on then I suggest you are not an eagle - that's fine, enjoy the moment. If you are considering reading on, great, you realise that the future is important. Forward thinking brings forward planning -

Inventions that could change the way we design:

01. Mobiles/Palm Tops

Yes, they are around now, but as there popularity grows and technology advances, the more we will be browsing the web via our mobiles. This will mean that we will have to offer clients mini versions of their sites so that customers can access them on the tiny screens if they wish. Think small, think accessible. This area has only just begun to get underway. When everybody in society starts making use of palm top mobiles then marketing will need to catch up. Mini mailers, advertising products, will be sent around. Products will be able to be bought straight from your mobile. I think this will bring about a lot of re-brands as companies realise their logos cannot be shrunk down to the required size. Soon we will be getting branding briefs with requirements for logos to work within a 60px x 20px area. Anybody thinking of designing a logo in the near future may want to consider this...

Electronic Paper

Check out this link. The future is now. Paper which displays like a screen. This is likely to be an ongoing development but one, which ultimately will get us to an age of constant animation. This invention could destroy print forever (mohahaha!). When the scientists get this to work there will be no stopping us. Animated Cereal boxes (as seen in Minority Report), books, animated mailers and magazines - all on one sheet of electronic paper. This poses a serious problem for designers who do not move on into the digital era. Animation skills will be required to compete in an age where nothing will stand still (or has the potential not to stand still). Forward thinkers will consider this as a reason to look into video editing, flash animation and the such like...


So do you think that society is using the web to its full advantage? Start thinking about life lived via the web. All your doctors appointments, clothing, all your food, all the services your require will be available via the web. It’s here now but only as an option. I suggest that soon companies will go totally online and forget having to pay checkout staff (forward thinking Amazon are showing the way). All will be done through websites and warehouses meaning a greater emphasis on programming skills for the backend machines and design skills on the front end. Stock will be integrated with databases in which machines will do the work. We are talking about low cost, highly productive facilities only accessible via the web. Less and less companies will settle for a “portfolio†website and will increase their capabilities to house advanced productivity. Web design will need to reflect this with websites being ultra slick and accessible. Marketing will accompany these websites feeding campaigns back to palm tops and TV sets. The web will continue to increase in its complexity and designers will need to keep up with it.

Plasma Bill Boards

We've seen them in the movies. We've seen them in parts of America and soon the world will be full of digital signage. Again, a strong case for learning about animation and video. It will be like TV advertising but on a bigger scale. Designed to catch the attention this will definitely affect the way in which we consider advertising campaigns. How do we make someone look at our advert when so many others are sat next to it flashing and moving? Advertising will take on a new phase when these babies become mainstream…

So, fellow eagles, you heard it here first. A few suggestions to my fellow designers, lets get into web, lets get into animation - the future does not hold much for people who can only do print design. For all those webdevlopers out there, think about graphics, think about learning typography and brushing up on the old animation and Photoshop skills. It looks like your going to need it. Soon it seems a designer and a developer will basically be the same thing. I suspect there will be simply server side programmers and front end designers. Lets prepare now for the technology onslaught ahead.

I accept that these are simply musings of my mind - only God knows the future and I believe that Christ is soon to return and all this will all change. However if the world continues for a few more years, this is what its looking like from my viewpoint. What's it look like from your viewpoint? Do you agree or disagree. Do you have any more items to add to the list. Let us know!


Reminds me of Blade Runner...

grt. simply great. The eagle and pig example is wonderful. salutes to ur father.

But dont u think web alone is so vast field v cant focus on print or plasma? and vice versa.

a little bit more detailed article would have been grt. anyways, well said!

Hi there!
Useful n informative piece,this one.Good luck :)

great article and great example love the illustration between pig and eagle....

Your eagle pig comparison makes a lot of sense. GREAT articles, I love it.

Bliss - Maybe your right. Maybe print design will move more into animation due to these plasma screens and electronic paper inventions. However when you think about it this will surley link to web as well. Web is vast but I think its narrowing down with better stadardization, acessibility etc.

All sounds like 'Animal Farm' (George Orwell) to me! Pigs & Eagles, indeed! Is your DaD a Farmer?
Anyway it's nowt use showing them pigs into your parlour to discuss the best of yer Graphic Designs - leave 'em out in the piggery (if yer unfortunately 'ave un), that's what I say's.

All very true - but as a copywriter, I am saddened (but not surprised) by the standard of writing. Please, you designers, don't forget about the importance of clear and correct writing, grammar, spelling, punctuation etc in everything you do. Nothing upsets the literate customer more than lazy mistakes. It's all about communication!

I agree with most said here, though I do not believe or like the idea of a coder and designer being the same person. There are some people out there who are not great artisticlly and like to get their head into code. And there are people like me who love to create graphics. Lets maximize efficiancy by coorporating with coders and vice-versa. Yes there are people who are good at both, but it's not fair to expect everyone to be an amazing coder and artist.