There aren’t a great deal of product design opportunities in the UK at the moment – especially not with glamorous companies. Although there’ll be more work within interiors and environments – and for us, products in transport. We’ll be looking further afield to China, where we’ll be working with local companies through our Qingdao office. They’ve got the manufacturing, the people and the time, but they need European designers. Trend-wise, nothing too try-hard or over-complicated; clean simple shapes.
Luke Hawes, director, Priestman Goode
With the relentless growth of online retail, the high street is coming under increasing pressure to create engaging and relevant environments.Compound this with a fragile economy and it all looks very challenging indeed for business owners. Which is why it’s imperative that the redefinition of ‘retail space’ gains impetus, as can be seen best in the proliferation of unique, bespoke and innovative store-keepers, all of whom have recognised that there is a niche for excellent specialist product, (fashion, food, coffee, etc.) presented in a way that demonstrates genuine interest in what they sell and who too. My thought is that the big multiples (who often require a ‘local flavour’ antidote to the homogenous consistency they have spent much time and money creating) could take a lesson from this and apply it to their own business model. Morrisons concept store anyone?
David Hurren, director, Brinkworth
Over the last couple of years there’s been a trend for designers creating one-off designs and products, and this translating into rooms/spaces where designs are mixed and matched to complement one another. In 2012 I think designers will be moving away from the style of individual product design and more towards a trend for creating complete collections incorporating furniture, lighting and upholstery. This style of working allows designers to really show the breadth of their expertise as they take into consideration every aspect and function of the space they are designing for and so promises to be an exciting year.
Lee Broom, founder, Lee Broom
The branch of graphics known as editorial design might well come to a shuddering halt in 2012 as magazine, newspaper and book publishers across the world succumb to the long-promised end of print. Physical publications could disappear from our lives as the few remaining high street stores clear their shelves and online stores close their warehouses to go pure digital and appease readers desire for live vanilla lookalike screen updates. Or maybe not. Perhaps we’ll see a continuation of the growth in intelligent creative magazines produced by small publishers, inventive experiments for the iPad and a coming together of print and digital as content design becomes a defining discipline of our time and the word ‘digital’ becomes an archaic term. Can’t wait to find out. Happy new year.
Jeremy Leslie, founder, Magculture
With our company’s strong sports sector focus you won’t be surprised to hear me say that next summer’s Olympics will be a major influencer of the exhibition/visitor attraction market in 2012. The entire nation will be under worldwide scrutiny and, given the way we usually organise these type of events – think Royal Wedding – it should once again be a triumph for British design and event management skills. The Olympic Park’s giant ArcellorMittal Orbit sculpture (a project Mather & Co is involved in) will, for example, be a major talking point come the Games and one of the many features that will concentrate international interest and excitement in British design skills, hopefully with some meaningful commercial implications longer term.
Chris Mather, managing director, Mather & Co
Read part one of our design industry predictions, covering branding, graphics, packaging, interactive and financial performance, here.