Design industry predictions for 2012 – Part one

In the first part of our series of design industry predictions for 2012, leading industry figures tell us what they think will happen in branding, graphics, packaging, interactive and financial performance


Simon Manchipp

Super-massive online power shift demanding suites of branded experiences. Not just a new logo. Consumers are more powerful than brands. Next year will see a clickover to consumer-driven communication hosted by brands on a massive scale. Personal connections in physical locations are lessening. The high street as we know it is dying. Colgate telling you it is trusted by dentists is less effective than a dentist telling you – and you then telling friends – and then people you have never met reading your positive response. The opinion of a person you’ve never met about a product you’ve never bought from a brand you’ve never heard of is more important than what that brand says directly to you. So brands need to move away from the one-way mirrored-glass of logo-based branding (where all they can see is themselves) and towards a user/consumer/people powered series of choices. Brand worlds will become more important than ever to host these conversations. Deeply crafted. Beautifully made. Interesting. Involving. Useful. A café for ideas, a second digitally powered enlightenment – not solitary confinement for one average idea repeated ad infinitum.

Simon Manchipp, co-founder, Someone


Jamie Ellul

With my Design-Crystal-Ballo-Vision™ glasses firmly on, I’m predicting an interesting yet challenging 2012 for graphic design in the UK. As per 2008, I think we’re going to have to think creatively as budgets shrink, but British Fighting Spirit will keep us afloat. So it could be the year of digital print as an art form (we’re already experimenting with the limits with Gavin Martin Colournet), blogs will continue to outsell the good old brochure (clients never want a brochure these days), patriotic red white and blue colourways will reign (Olympics and Jubilee the same year), we’ll see more than one Bulldog-based logo and Gill Sans will be the typeface of choice.

Jamie Ellul, co-founder, Magpie Studio


Paul Taylor

Following on from this year’s Royal wedding fever, the celebration of British heritage looks set to continue into 2012 with the forthcoming London Olympics and Diamond Jubilee.  No doubt there will be even more brands using packaging to play on their British origins. It will be interesting to see which brands fall foul of the very strict legislation surrounding the Olympics, but also how others use design to create subtle brand association, picking up on the goodwill surrounding both events. In the quest for packaging to be perceived as more sustainable we’ll see the consumer become more accepting of minimally packaged goods. So unsurprisingly ‘eco-friendly’ will become a more regular feature on the design brief. However, while a brand might find short-term success in reflecting the latest trend, the true challenge is to ensure that its packaging design is enduring and true to itself.

Paul Taylor, creative director, Brandopus


Nicolas Roope

Mobile has already overtaken the desktop browser as the world’s favourite window on the web. And with over 15 milluon iPad sales under Apple’s belt, the mobile isn’t the only other window needing new consideration. Add to that the contextual and functional demands each window places on sites and services and you’ve suddenly got a lot to think about, structure and design in order to bring presences and behaviours up to date. Not modernising for the sake of it, but to reach markets effectively and to carefully package services to create the optimal use and response. Enter ‘fluid design’.

Nicolas Roope, creative director and founder, Poke

Financial performance

Mandy Merron

2012 is going to be a very challenging year for the design community, but so was 2011 and most businesses are still going strong. Experienced management teams have reacted to changes in the economic climate to restructure their businesses and their offers. 2012 will see the sector polarise between businesses which have a clear positioning and those which are an undifferentiated. The former will take market share from the latter. Designers with global clients will find themselves tempted to set up overseas, particularly in the fast growth BRIC nations and, off the back of a paying client, that might well make sense.

Mandy Merron, lead partner, Kingston Smith W1

Read part two of our predictions, covering product, retail, furniture, editorial and exhibition design, here.

Hide Comments (1)Show Comments (1)
  • Cindy Martin Design November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Professional design has been challenged by clients’ easy access to software, low marketing budgets and the unsettled world economy. However, I find that professional design is strengthened by the increase in small businesses needing simple design, social networking and a stronger spirit of contributing services. As a designer, I am encouraged by my peers, and the professional organizations I belong to. Branding is not dead, quality is still in demand, print is still alive, all reasons to celebrate the design profession.

  • Post a comment

Latest articles