AIGA Design Futures

This research project examines seven trends shaping the context for the practice of design. This change in the nature of work calls for new skills and perspectives beyond traditional college-level design education. It is critical that the industry expands its knowledge and expertise to remain economically viable and professionally relevant as it prepares for changing client demands and new opportunities for design influence.

As educators begin to integrate this research into curriculum planning, AIGA will do the same for practice by releasing continuing professional education products and services linked to the skills underpinning these trends. We encourage you to begin learning about what it means for you by reading the trend reports featured here.

Dana Arnett

Introduction to Design Futures
Learn more about how the context for the practice of design has changed and what these changes mean for the future of professional work and education.
Trend 1: Complex Problems
Our world is no longer one of simple problems. As complexity increases, designers must master methods long required in other fields.
Trend 2: Aggregation and Curation
Aggregation can enhance experiences but limit exposure to information, challenging designers to implement new communication strategies.
Trend 3: Bridging Digital and Physical Experiences
As users transition across devices, environments, and activities, designers must diversify interaction and minimize the gaps within user experience.
Trend 4: Core Values Matter
Models of design practice have expanded, leading to a need for new strategies and metrics for measuring design impact.
Trend 5: Resilient Organizations
Success today has a new primary requirement: an unparalleled understanding of innovation and the ability to respond flexibly to change.
Trend 6: Making Sense in the Data Economy
New technologies offer new design tools and materials. They also change the design process and the roles designers play in it.
Trend 7: Accountability for Anticipating Design Outcomes
Designers must justify their research and adapt their methods to conform to rigorous standards expected of other business activities.
Design Futures Content Grid
Find out where specific topics are discussed within the research.