The field of product design has rapidly evolved over the past few years. The emerging trends suggest that there is a good chance that many of the objects and gadgets we use daily won't look like they do now in a matter of decades, even years. Product design is what shapes our homes, interiors, tools we heavily rely on and our surroundings. They reflect the time we live in, they make our reality more pleasant and push us to strive for more.
Interestingly enough, all these changes come in specific areas, thus allowing us to somewhat predict future developments. So, let's take a look at the product design trends that are likely to leave a big mark in 2019.
UX is going big
Agile user experience is already in focus in 2018, but next year things are going to get even leaner and more developed.
With each day UX is becoming smarter, simpler, and more personalized. Moreover, voice-based interfaces and biometric authentications will no longer be things of future. Since upgrades are constantly being developed, we can expect numerous products to become more accessible and way more user-friendly.
Another big trend to conquer in 2019, regarding UX, is augmented reality (AR). You might remember how Pokemon Go made AR go global back in 2017? Well, innovators such as Mark Zuckerberg are predicting that in just a few years all our phones will provide "the ultimate AR experience". This is not an overnight process, and it will happen step by step as more and more apps are fine-tuned to satisfy our ever-growing UX needs.
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3D printing becomes increasingly important
The 3D printing technology is already so common that there's really no need to emphasise its applicability. Still, looking back at some of its recent success stories like the 3D printed bridge or an entire village built using the technology (both in Holland) can show us just how big and important 3D might become in the future.
Even the world famous Sagrada Familia will be finally completed with the help of 3D printed elements. In terms of product design, the most interesting aspect is the modularity of 3D printed objects, as displayed in this project by Zaha Hadid Architects and ETH Zurich.
We believe that 2019 will reveal many new practical applications of the 3D print technology.
Modularity becomes the norm
In recent years, modularity and smart design almost go hand in hand. Just as architecture has mostly switched its focus to developing more efficient and versatile spaces, the same applies to product design. With the growing need for interconnectedness and integration of various products, the designers of tomorrow have the principles of modularity ingrained in them through education.
It is no wonder then, that contemporary curriculums such as this master course in product design place a heavy emphasis on product integration and design flexibility that enables the modular approach with the full understanding on how products merge together to answer the questions placed by the modern times. With this in mind, it is safe to say that modularity is not just a trend for 2019, but for years to come.
Retro shades are getting back
It seems that Netflix show Maniac was somewhat right. Although we all urge for more and more advanced technology and almost futuristic user experiences, our aesthetic needs to always tilt back to something comfy, pleasant, and familiar.
This is why it's no surprise that the most popular colors of the 60's and 70's are coming back in big style. We're talking about mostly matte hues of gold, bronze, brown, bordeaux, silver, grey - and something in between. Also, it is expected for wood to take the lead in all the design fields, so except to see all kinds of wooden elements and details peeping out from all corners.
Products turning green
Sustainability and energy efficiency play a growing role in today's design landscape and last year a Pew Research Center survey found that 75% of US consumers say they've particularly concerned about helping the environment. This concern for sustainability combined with modern technology is what is driving the need to make our houses smarter.
Sustainability is reflected in the choice of production materials, with the persistent goal of lowering the carbon footprint. The internet is loaded with valuable resources on this subject, and some of the world's leading companies such as Adobe have embraced this concept as official company policy.
Modern technologies are expanding the boundaries of what's possible, and product designers are at the forefront of this wave. The next year promises to deliver a generous bundle of surprising and fascinating designs that will reshape how we interact with objects.