The 5 Biggest Trends That Will Define Product Design in 2016

The winners of Inc.’s Iconic Design Awards come from a variety of categories this year, including toys, sportswear, environment-saving home goods, and more. But they all share one key quality: they nail what customers want now.

We asked our panel of judges what it takes to design a great product today. Below you’ll find the design trends they’re seeing–and the companies that are leading the charge.

1. Less is more.

Many of today’s most advanced devices don’t scream “technology!” –and with good reason. “People are gravitating towards wanting as much functionality in as sleek and minimal a structure as possible,” says Vivian Rosenthal, founder of custom emoji keyboard creator Snaps and co-founder of Google’s 30 Weeks design program.

Apple products lead the charge in minimalistic design–the iPhone is remarkably simple looking, for all it does. The Nest thermostat also packs a ton of capabilities into a simple design defined by basic shapes and few colors. The big takeaway? Keep the frills to a minimum. “A product needs to be intuitive,” says Teran Evans, design director at PepsiCo. “It shouldn’t be something that comes with a list of directions that’s like a scroll, where you have to figure things out.”

2. Curate the customer’s options.

In the fast-moving, choice-overloaded consumer world of 2016, shoppers really only want to see a few options–and to know what they should buy along with it. Evans points to clothing company Madewell, the J.Crew subsidiary that opened its first stores in 2006. “They aren’t saying, ‘Here’s a sweater in 100 different colors; here’s a blouse in 12 different styles.’ It’s ‘Here is a sweater in three or four different colors, and we’re gonna pair it with a pair of sandals that works, and show it all in the store with a bag.”

The formula has worked: While its parent company struggles, Madewell’s sales have soared in recent years–up 33 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. “Consumers are looking more often to brands to have a point of view,” Evans says, “and to have a curated experience that they feel has been personalized for them.”

3. Serve your audience well.

Mona Patel, founder and CEO of Motivate Design, says that designing a great user experience is becoming the norm–even when there isn’t a clear return on investment. “We’re starting to hear more conversations around how a design serves audiences–just trusting that design is a smart thing to do, instead of ‘prove it, prove it, prove it.'”

Patel refers to Tesla, whose car design includes several over-the-top features: The cars can “read” street signs, and you can switch to a high-power “ludicrous mode.” “They stand for something,” Patel says of Elon Musk’s company. “They use design not just to make you buy, but to actually improve the overall experience that you have.”

4. What’s old is new again.

That old-timey feeling you get when you walk into a Brooklyn coffee shop that feels 100 years old but actually opened last year? Evans calls that faux-stalgia. “It’s about taking nostalgic cues from a past that never really existed,” he says. More and more, companies are using their packaging to present themselves as classic even if they’re not. Craft breweries like Lucky Bucket Beer use faded labels with script lettering to give off mid-20th century vibes. The packaging for chocolate maker Olive & Sinclair uses soft colors and graphics reminiscent of World War I propaganda posters–though the company was founded in 2007.

Jim Brett, president of home-decor company West Elm, points out that some furniture makers have reverted back to the bright, angular, unnatural “Memphis style” of yesteryear. “The 80s are so far behind us now,” he says, “that we can feel a nostalgia for that playfulness in design: fun over function.”

5. If you expect people to wear it, it better look good.

Wearables haven’t quite caught fire the way some predicted. Our judges say the reason why is simple: Instead of beautiful, useful technology, we’ve mostly gotten futuristic-looking gadgets like Google Glass and the Apple Watch. But that’s beginning to change. Some smart watches, like the Fossil Q line, disguise themselves as classic, leather-banded wristwatch. Jewelry like Ringly–which, via a Bluetooth connection, lights up to alert its wearer of calls or texts–are becoming indistinguishable from regular accessories.

“I’m seeing that companies are elevating aesthetics and making decisions that prioritize the look over the functionality,” Patel says. “I love that. I think it’s been a long time coming.”

From INC by @wheresKR

YOUR COMMENT IS HIGHLY APPRECIATED, THANKS! FEEL FREE TO SEND ME MORE DESIGN RESOURCES!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Portal Shtareer

Difundindo a cultura espiritualizada pelo planeta

Observatório da Sociedade Civil

Cidadania, participação e informação

A D N U N T I A T U M

Anunciar Interrogar Investigar Conscientizar Criar Inovar...Despertar!!

Triin's blog

This is a story about an adventure.

VINOTH RAJ M.E

I will become a very good teacher in my mechanical engineering department. And i am from remote centre 1255 - MZCET

Flower Named Jasmine

my creations and inspirations

Kelifornia79

Reviews, must haves and favorite things

The Last Shot

PPM study blog

Amanda Wondergem

Web & Motion Designer – Step into the world of visual storytelling

Gerilen and Jer Sons

Engineer by day, #GerifiedPH Blogger by night, 24/7 Mom-preneur!

Powered by AI. You do less. Your headphone does more.

Augmented OuterNet of Wearable Things

Tracking the market development of Wearables, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things - what we call "The OuterNet"

Delightful & Distinctive COLRS

Hmmm ... learning and living!

JMDESIGNS

Welcome to Jack Mills Designs, a webpage dedicated to all things design.

s a m h o c h b e r g - m e t i c u l o u s l y r a n d o m i z e d

I am consistently fascinated by designers and businesspeople who think outside the box, artists who see the world just a little differently, and the tools they use in their work. What does that have to do with this blog? We'll see.

MacDailyNews

WELCOME HOME! Apple and Mac News

The Future Is Papier Mâché

- Pictures of a City -

Outer Space Coward

| Art of Anjel313 |

Pouring My Art Out

Ripping out my guts for your entertainment

tagnoue

capturing in prose

strivetoengage

Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving

udexpress

Universal Design in action

HELIOS

THE BEST IN LITERATURE, POETRY, PHILOSOPHY, AND ART

Ohayou

おはよう

Techie Man Site

The blog on technology and gadgets of any kind!

A R T L▼R K

An Alternative Cultural Daybook

A Spoonful of Nature

Happy Healthy Lifestyle

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

TechCrunch

Startup and Technology News

Casa da Sustentabilidade

Portal de ideias sustentáveis

The Research Book

A research blog from India, discovering people's needs, behaviors and opportunities

K ][ N G of A R K

Noah Fang's Ramblings In Design

ARCHILIBS

architecture ad libs

VIHANGA GORE

Interaction & Experience Designer

Inspirational Design

Inspirational Design

design, theory, research methodology, and interactivity clutter

Sarah Kante

Inspirations

Ramblings of a Twenty-Somethinger

"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

S personally

by sanja jesic

Lyraina's Artblog

Art of Johanna Rupprecht

Ben Walton

Development Work and Reflection

Scrapbook.

Since 2007.

%d bloggers like this: