Three Compelling Design Trends to Watch Out For 

1. The environment is the interface.

Augmented reality technologies, such as Apple’s iBeacon and Microsoft’s forthcoming HoloLens, extend the canvas on which we draw well beyond the edges of our retina displays. These information layers on top of the real world give designers opportunities that are much more complex and challenging than today’s flat screens.

2. Your friend, the brand.

Our relationship to the brands we buy will continue to evolve. We’ll still choose brands because they enhance our identity, provide value and offer particular experiences. But as brands get to know us better, their products and services increasingly will feel like sidekicks, coaches and personal assistants. Designers will need to account for not only tone of voice and visual identity, but also brand personality and behavior.

3. Cross-discipline, by design.

Massimo Vignelli famously said, “If you can design one thing, you can design everything.” Going forward, choosing one medium will be a luxury few designers can afford. The work we do will need to be viable across various channels of distribution, including media that are digital and physical hybrids. To stay nimble, designers will need skill sets that are similarly multidisciplinary.

Mark Badger, who graduated with a degree in architecture from Yale University, works at CapTech Consulting in Richmond as creative director in the digital solutions group. He also serves on the board of the Richmond Chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, and is co-organizer of Richmond UX.

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