Just in time for the turn of the year, the design team at BUSSE Design+Engineering has reflected on global design trends and the insights gained in numerous projects from a wide range of industries and international regions and updated the "BUSSE City Associations" that were established many years ago.
In addition to the new trends, we are of course also reflecting the relevance of our previously identified trends. The mass market-focused "Detroit" trend, the minimalist "Tokyo" approach and the more subtle and emotional "Milano" and "St. Tropez" styles are still relevant. There is also still a balancing act between the functional, technoid "Lucerne" style and the much more opulent design languages of the "Shanghai" trend, which are particularly popular in Asia, India and the Arab world.
The previously very trendy but also polarizing SYDNEY style with its crystalline and faceted design language is losing relevance. It will therefore no longer appear on our map.
In the course of our analysis, however, we were able to identify two other current trends:
SUSTAIN CITY and SMARTOPIA.
Climate change and the associated discussion about sustainability and resource responsibility as well as social responsibility and democratic justice are reflected in the design of new products.
Reduced geometries without opulent formal elements are the creative means of expression for communicating the focus on the essentials in product design.
The new formal objectivity with straight surfaces and edges replaces design formalisms: only the bare essentials are sufficient. Wherever possible, large plastic coverings are dispensed with and replaced by semi-finished products. Natural materials and surfaces and the visible use of recycled materials replace the "shiny" and "bling-bling" of other trends. Visible screw connections, which until recently were a NO-GO in product design, are now regarded as important design features to emphasize themes such as serviceability.
In contrast to the existing "Malmö" trend, which focuses more on traditional materials and design elements in the sense of Manufaktum ("They still exist - the good old things"), Sustain-City focuses on sustainability on a technological level with new formal elements and the use of modern, but sustainable and mass-marketable (plastic) materials.
Another trend that is becoming ever stronger across all product areas and sectors is the topic of "smartness" and "connectivity". Everything is networked and digitally available. People are always online and so are products thanks to IOT.
Almost every product briefing now includes the requirement: "The product must look smart". But how do you make something look "smart"? In addition to the actual, intelligent function, what are the formal elements that convey "smartness"?
This is often achieved through deliberate contrasts: geometric elements are usually greatly reduced in these products and are characterized by a smooth design with large corner radii and small edge radii.
However, high-quality materials and tactile surfaces with fine structures and a high level of detail are used here. And hardly any smart product can do without corresponding light and lighting effects, which are sometimes subtly and sometimes very strikingly embedded in the product design or even deliberately dominate it.
The lighting elements are formally self-confident and stand for the smartness of the product and connectivity. The products usually manage without physical knobs and dials and can only be controlled electronically using a touchscreen. The formal content and differentiation often shifts to the UI / UX, which then has to be developed in symbiosis with the product design. This is exactly where the UX 720° approach comes into play, which BUSSE Design developed over 5 years ago: The perfect combination of hardware and software, of mechanical controls and screen content.
Product design system 202x
In addition to identifying and categorizing current and future design trends, it is important for us to establish a defined design system. In our view, design is truly successful when it is structured and justifiable and not a "creative product of chance".
In our view, it is important for good and successful product design that conscious content and elements are used at all design levels. Many products and designers stop and think they are finished as soon as the contour, shape & proportion and color of the product are defined.
However, real quality is created on the other levels: First and foremost, the HMI and the sensory experience must be taken into account when designing the product and perfectly integrated into the design. How the product is operated - which interaction and lighting elements need to be integrated on the product and how these fit into the design (see SMARTOPIA above). Well-designed graphics, high-quality surface details and the deliberate choice of materials and their feel and sound can also contribute significantly to the product's perceived value and round off its appearance.
We call these our "little beloved details".
As you can see, product design is more than just a geometric shape and must be strategically planned and defined - especially in view of the increasingly globalized markets.
We would be delighted to support you in this "future design"!
Would you like to find out more?
Feel free to contact us!