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Consumer trends and emerging futures

More and more products surround us that seemed unimaginable before, and our perception of the future is constantly evolving and changing. It is becoming more and more interesting to speculate about what the future will be like, yet the societies, industries, products and services of the future are yet to be designed. Let's find out what some of the consumer trends are and how the role of the industrial designer comes into play.

 

Emerging Futures. The design approach


In the world of design there is an innovative approach that goes beyond conventional techniques. It focuses on creative and adaptive solutions as they develop. That is, rather than creating a rigid structure, emerging futures design is characterised by its flexibility and ability to evolve as new challenges are faced or new opportunities are discovered.


Graph of the emerging design framework for innovation Trem methodology
Framework for innovation

This approach is based on the idea that design is a living, organic process that adapts to the needs of users and the changing environment.

In a scenario where the future is becoming less and less predictable in the short and long term, this approach is crucial to developing successful solutions. And increasingly, the concept of strategic design is applicable to more and more different domains and scenarios. Designers can develop products, services, strategies and experiences that are truly relevant and meaningful in this context.

 

Consumer trends and emerging futures


Consumer trends are changing and shape the way users demand the products or services we design. The predisposition of users is centred on the following trends:


Disruptive technologies


Undoubtedly, the future is driven by technology. New tools such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), robotics and other innovations are emerging and changing the way users interact with the world around them.

One example that cannot be overlooked is Apple's new augmented reality glasses, which have been one of the most paradigm-shifting technological advances in digital consumption in recent years. It is a product that combines digital design and industrial design, providing the user with a new sensory experience, which omits the tactile use of the screen. It is interesting to talk about the importance of these two fields of design working together to develop a project as disruptive as this one.


Digital design is directly related to the experience that the user will have in contact with the physical part of the product, the glasses. A new way of consuming and interacting with digital content has been designed, with new dimensional spaces that did not exist before: instead of conceiving the content on a screen, you could say that it is in the air, although it is actually on the surface of the glasses.


The design of the physical part of this product coexists and synchronises with the digital design. Every detail of the product has been designed to enhance the best user experience: from the weight of the glasses, the way it rests on the head, the charging battery with cable for pockets, or the position and shape of the few buttons that the user needs to touch. On the less functional side, the aesthetics reflect the rest of the brand's products in a totally different new product, which they had not yet worked on.




Apple Vision Pro, Apple inc.
Apple Vision Pro, Apple inc.


Sustainability and social responsibility


Awareness of environmental and social issues is growing, and consumers are looking for and prioritising sustainable brands and products ranging from ethical production models to sustainable packaging. In this context, new materials are gaining prominence and gradually transforming industries, the way we design and the way we produce.


For example, mycelium is a biomaterial among others, which has amazing properties, and is already being used in different scenarios. You can read more about it in our latest blog on mycelium "Sustainability, innovation and product design with fungi".



Industrial design comes into play in this trend, making it possible for many of these new materials to be used in the design, development and manufacture of new products. We can bring experience from what is already known, to be able to interpret the new materials and look for the best way to adapt them to design products with them.


Craftsmanship in the face of technological acceleration


In this aspect and directly related to sustainability, craftsmanship comes into play as a trend, which really has been a production model for a long time, but which in recent years has differentiated itself by placing value on human connection and uniqueness. It represents the return to the handmade, the quality and intrinsic value of objects, as opposed to the uniformity of industrialized products.


Industrial design can play a key role in the rise of craftsmanship because, although it is associated with mass production, designers have the ability to merge industrial design principles with craft values and techniques. Collaboration between industrial designers and craftspeople leads to more ethical and sustainable production models, generating products that combine the aesthetics and functionality of industrial design with the uniqueness of craftsmanship.


Thus, the concept of "slow is the new fast" arises, which refers to a production model based on sustainability, craftsmanship and social awareness.



KARMSTOL V.EU.01, by VERK.
KARMSTOL V.EU.01


Immersive experiences


Consumers are increasingly looking for immersive experiences that go beyond simply buying products. Live events, virtual reality spaces, sensory interactions and immersive storytelling are just some of the ways brands can captivate their audience.


Memorable experiences generate greater consumer engagement and loyalty, so companies should consider creating unique and meaningful experiences.


In this field, industrial design enters into collaboration with the design of services and spaces, generating a synergy of methodologies and practices that can lead to the development and achievement of great immersive experiences.



Product design immersive cross-platform user experience trem
Plaims, Trem

 

Disruptive technologies and industrial design


The role of industrial design together with disruptive technologies is to enable the creation of innovative and completely revolutionary products that change the paradigm of product usability and function.


Silcomask innovative product designed by trem
Silcomask, Trem

In this context, we have contributed to the design of Silcomask, a mask that is conceived under the Covid-19 scenario, and which is completely innovative compared to the usability and aesthetics of other masks on the market.


The tools we use to design evolve almost daily, speeding up the design process, and also allow us to create rapid and accurate prototypes that enable the production of unique and customised products.

Another area where industrial design is encountering disruptive technologies is the integration of electronics and connectivity into products.


Industrial designers must consider not only the functionality and aesthetics of a product, but also its ability to interact and communicate with other devices and services. Collaboration with technology and programming experts has become essential to create products that take full advantage of connectivity.


Disruptive technologies are driving the adoption of new materials and manufacturing processes in industrial design. For example, advanced materials such as bioplastics and composites provide new opportunities for the creation of more sustainable and efficient products. Designers are actively exploring these possibilities and working closely with scientists and materials experts to make the most of these emerging technologies.


Through all these tools and processes, we are designing new products that were previously unimaginable, such as augmented reality glasses, pop-up displays, and so on.



Robot generated with AI, Trem
Robot generated with AI, Trem

 

Shall we design the future together?


In short, consumer trends and emerging futures mark the changes and evolution of the world, towards an approach focused on sustainability, disruptive technologies increasingly present in everyday life, and the return to craftsmanship as a trend to compensate for this technological acceleration.


Therefore, in such a changing and demanding scenario, the importance of creating products that foster user experiences focused on emotional design and personalisation increases.


Our vision as a studio is to make a positive impact on the future through industrial design, focusing on consumer trends and providing solutions with a focus on users through methodologies centred on innovation.








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