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6 Design Trends for 2015 That Convey Strategy, Experience & Beauty

Posted on the 13 May 2015 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
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  • May 13, 2015
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6 Design Trends for 2015 That Convey Strategy, Experience & Beauty

To learn what design trends integrated marketers will want to consider in 2015, we went to the source: AIGA and its 25,000 members, design advocates and practitioners in 60 countries.

AIGA, the professional association for design, understands creative services. After all, this is the realm where designers speak of typography as living, breathing entities; art directors concept visions that convince buyers to exchange cash — not for an advertised product, really — but for momentary envelopment in the sensory experience of that vision; writers unlock words trapped like caged animals; digital artists give all of this life and form in another dimension; and production supervisors, well, they harness the circus so projects get delivered to clients on time and on budget.

Somewhere in this madness, themes emerge every year. These themes are so powerful that they take hold and form the trends that will shape everything from brand development and logo creation, from print advertisement to web design, and product packaging to event marketing.

Six major trends emerged from its research, ranked in order of importance by its designers.

Wide and Deep: Meta-Disciplinary Study and Practice

This year, expect to see designs that draw on experiences and knowledge for a broad range of disciplines to present solutions for problems in a global, competitive market of products and ideas.

“As the contexts in which communication occurs become more diverse, designers need to experience meta-disciplinary study as well as training deeply in specific disciplines,” AIGA defines on its website. “They must understand the social sciences and humanities in order to understand the content they are asked to communicate, and they must understand how to work collaboratively with other knowledge and practice specialists.”

Expanded Scope: Scale and Complexity of Design Problems

Designers don’t know what they don’t know — and must design for the unexpected. AIGA translates this as a challenge to designers: “Design problems are nested within increasingly complex social, technological and economic systems and address people who vary in their cognitive, physical and cultural behaviors and experiences. The role of the designer is to manage this complexity, to construct clear messages that reveal to people the diverse relationships that make up information contexts and to deliver sustainable communication products and practices to clients.”

One take on this physical experience is happening already with flash retailing. Learn more about this trend by reading, “Retail Signage Gives Pop to Pop-Up Stores.”

Targeted Messages: A Narrow Definition of Audiences

As our world gets bigger, marketing is getting smaller and more meaningful. Mass communication is narrowing to address the needs of special interest audiences. AIGA recognizes a clear opportunity here: “The most effective means of communicating has shifted from broad messages for large audiences to narrowly targeted messages for specific audiences. This is the result of both media capabilities… and also global dynamics. This trend demands a better understanding of a variety of cultures, the value of ethnographic research, a sensitivity toward cultural perspectives, and empathy.”

As an example, Acura recently tweaked its content mix to fit customer tastes in the car maker’s largest-ever launch. Read about it here.

Break Through: An Attention Economy

Attention is the scarce resource in the information age, and the “attention economy” involves communication design, information design, experience design and service design, according to AIGA. “The trend toward an attention economy encourages discussion of what is currently driving clients’ conception of form, the attraction of business to design and the problems of designing for a market that values the short term ‘grab’.”

Nothing grabs people like their desire to eat. Find out how English snack-food Giant, Walkers, and its agencies Talon and Clear Channel pulled off a “Tweet to Eat” campaign based on the trend toward an attention economy.

Sharing Experiences: A Co-Creation Model

Customers are people, too. We see their professional and personal lives merge through social networking and blogging and attempt to reach them through influencer marketing. Designers are embracing the trend of developing appropriate methods to reach these customers at all stages of their lives.

“It brings communication design closer to the work of product designers (who really have the attention of business) and the emerging area of service design,” AIGA explains.

Responsible Outcomes: Focusing On Sustainability

We live in a world of dwindling resources, and this reality emerges as a trend driving design. Here’s the AIGA guidance: “Designers… must assume a leadership role in proposing responsible uses of resources.  This involves both the traditional concept of sustainability and also an understanding of appropriate technology and resources for the uses proposed. Responsible outcomes embody ethical issues, social need, global imperatives and the unique contribution of design thinking.”

Some brand leaders are already working with design teams to create responsible “shop local” initiatives, as we presented in this case study about chainsaw maker Stihl.

Whether you embrace one or all six of these design trends in 2015, the key takeaway for integrated marketers from the AIGA survey is this: Design has evolved past the “draw me something pretty” stage and into the “create a business asset for my brand” juncture. To make the most of their talent, learn how to work with designers. Take some tips from our guide to developing creative briefs.

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