Design Indaba Trends 2011
Our copywriter and social media maven, Kate Chauncey, recently spent three days at the Design Indaba Young Designer’s Simulcast mingling with other eager young creative’s, soaking up all the Indaba genius and being enlightened about new design trends.
These are Kate’s top 5 Design Indaba trends that we can look forward to seeing develop across all sectors:
More and more, designers are looking to consumers for their cues when it comes to creating products and experiences. The rise of consumer-centric trends like crowdsourcing is a clear indication that asking the very people that are your end users what they look for in a product is a smart move. The popularity of social media platforms also serves to highlight this trend, as more and more consumers take to Twitter and Facebook with their brand rants and raves.
2. Design that improves lives
A dominant trend that emerged at Design Indaba was the need for designers to take responsibility and address social issues with their work. Design has the potential to change lives, and it is up to designers to answer the questions that remain unanswered. Pertinent examples included things like hearing aids – why is it, Michael Wolff wanted to know, that hearing aids still look the way that they do? Similarly, why is it that hospitals are designed in such a way that they are difficult to clean, thus perpetuating the very germs they try to combat? Why do so many city dwellers still drive cars when taking to the streets on a bicycle is more practical, more cost effective, healthier and environmentally friendly, too? It is up to creative thinkers like the people at PearsonLloyd, thinkpublic and Biomega to create design that addresses these issues.
3. Design for design’s sake
A couple of speakers spoke about creating something that is purely beautiful, whether it serves a social purpose or not. The central idea seemed to be about leaving something behind that is transcendent and original – a triumph of skill, imagination or wit. South African speaker Richard Hart of Durban creative agency, disturbance, spoke about creating things that are beautiful but utterly useless. For creative’s, projects like this are a means of both inspiration and experimentation. Dutch furniture designer Maarten Baas also spoke on the topic, and impressed audiences with his witty video project, Real Time. Attendees were also privileged to listen to Alberto Alessi talk about Alessi’s various ranges and the ways that the company tries to inject joy and fun into everyday objects.
4. Think BIG
Many of the speakers at the Design Indaba put out a challenge to those of us working in the design and marketing industries to think BIG – to think independent of conventions and constraints. Industry giants like Michael Wolff, Dror Benshetrit, Robert Wong and Mark Shuttleworth all spoke about working on projects that you believe could be massive or have the potential to change lives. Jody Aufrichtig of local success story Daddy’s World described how he obtained permission to ship the Airstream trailers for his Grand Daddy project into the country after 17 unsuccessful applications to customs. Michael Wolff encouraged young designers at the simulcast to exercise their three design muscles – imagination, curiosity and appreciation – so that their ideas go above and beyond the expected.
5. Build a community
Building on the global social media phenomenon, speakers like Brad Armitage and Rui Esteves of Vida e Caffe and &Union spoke about how they use their brands to build communities. Having sold Vida e Caffe a couple of years ago, the partners set out to tackle a new project: bringing Real Beer to South Africa. Some clever brand collaborations with Puma, the first craft beer festival in South Africa and a wildly successful Real Beer hashtag later, and the &Union community is gaining momentum. And it would never have happened if it weren’t for the eye-catching design that sets their stable of beers apart from the rest.