Design industry predictions for 2014 – part two

In the second part of our series of design industry predictions for 2014, leading industry figures tell us what they think will happen in retail, packaging, interior and exhibition design.

Retail and customer experience

Neal Stone

‘Personalisation, convenience, seamlessness, sustainability, user-centred design. Each of these aspects will undoubtedly play a major part in the reshaping of future retail experiences. Rigid top-down service specifications will no longer suffice to impress. Rather, experience frameworks are needed that are more user-centred, flexible, end-to-end and based on what customers really want. Supportive, informed customer service at every touchpoint will be crucial for effective delivery and maintaining loyalty. Competition amongst retailers will become fiercer with growing pressure from charity and adjacent sectors. The diminishing divide between online and high street retail experiences will need managing and blending more effectively.  By harnessing technology and embracing transparency retailers will reassure customers that they are getting good value and making sustainable choices. Designers will need to understand these different aspects and reconcile them in a way that makes perfect sense to the customer. Ethnographic insights should be used more to understand customers’ latent needs and multi-disciplined strategic design approaches will help unlock innovative new experiences.’

Neal Stone, founder and director, leapSTONE


Bronwen Edwards

‘The recession may have permanently changed some consumer behaviour for good. It’s taught consumers own-label is good enough but people will always want to spend where they see added value. Premium brands are already doing well but it’s the mass-market brands in the middle that will find creative ways to justify their price premium. This will mean more interaction with packaging (such as the Coke named bottles, personalised Dairy Milk bars, augmented reality etc) and a shift back from the rational to emotional in order to engage on a deeper level. Strong linking of the brand strategy from packaging to all touchpoints will be the push, with agencies being asked to work more closely together to create seamless engagement. The consumer has never had a stronger influence over brands, and the delicate balance between listening and inspiring versus swaying to research groups and risk-averse marketeers will see the creative rise next year.’

Bronwen Edwards, creative director, Brandhouse


Sue Timney

‘There’s a real growing confidence – dare I say optimism – out there within the interior architectural community for 2014. The mood is strengthening and designers are becoming more visually bullish again, thank goodness! However, our values have permanently changed since the financial crisis a couple of years ago and this is reflected in the way designers will now look at solving interior spaces. Last year was about hanging onto the last remnants of the Euro-techno brand of showing-off, stirred in with a big dash of Scandinavian Modernism. This time around “Britishness” is back, or at least growing. With this confidence we’ll mix together old-school values such as symmetry, juxtaposition of surface, artisan techniques and dare I say – creativity.  In other words, our intellectual roots will re-emerge – we’ll remember who we are and what we do best. Our now more resolved and integral view of technology within the interior space will of course continue to play an enormous role, but it’s less of an all-singing, all-dancing spectacle. We’ll be back in control and consequently interior spaces in 2014 will look more unique and feel more honest than they have for quite a long time.’

Sue Timney, President of the British Institute of Interior Design


Ab Rogers

‘In 2014, as in all years, the world needs design to make it a better place. It needs to work harder than ever, to do more, say more. It must abandon flippancy and return to the programme in order to create spaces designed with sincerity, poetry, science, technology and psychology at their heart. Designing from the inside out has never been more relevant. We need inventions with meaning, with cultural investment; beautifully lit and hyper-functional spaces that communicate with the user in an inspirational way, creating an interface between the human and the interior and encouraging them to extract the most from their environment. This new spirit of communication will define design in the coming year. The rise of the responsive interior will see spaces coming to life, filled with digital inventions that allow spaces to communicate together through Arduino and other accessible technologies and challenging the way we design. London will be at the forefront and I look forward seeing drones invading in the V&A and to watching Digital Revolution take hold of the Barbican Centre. While In Paris I excitingly await the arrival of Niki Saint Phalle in the Grand Palais, where she will no doubt prove that, despite technological advances, incredible colours, reflections and voluptuous forms with analogue kinetics still have much to say.’

Ab Rogers, founder, Ab Rogers Design

You can read the first part of our 2014 design predictions series, covering branding, graphics & illustration, interactive, product and financial performance here.

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