If 2010 was a year of economic and political uncertainty and change, then 2011 – blank canvas though it is – looks
likely to become a year defined by slow growth. According to design industry accountant and Vision contributor Amanda Merron, next year will be ’steady as she goes’, with continuing growth in the design sector driven by geographical expansion, and sales and acquisitions.
Perhaps this sounds a bit boring, but like every other sector, design will welcome a relatively safe and predictable 2011 after the upheavals and crises of the past two years. Financial growth will be reflected in the recruitment market, with consultancies starting to recruit again, particularly at junior and middleweight levels, say several Vision contributors. Unfortunately, they may struggle to find candidates with a desirable two years’ experience, the recession having put the brakes on graduate recruitment since 2008.
For a pinch of excitement, look to the digital sector, which, reinvigorated by apps and mobile, is altering its image and evolving its title from the restrictive, technology-based term ’digital’ to the more visionary ’interaction’. Our commentator Scott Billings predicts that interaction designers will continue to move up the client feeding chain to act as board-level consultants next year, as business increasingly feels the pressure to compete in the widening interaction field. Digital technology is also making its presence felt in the print sector, with clients seduced by the easy ability of digital print to personalise direct mail.
Recession slightly put the dampeners on sustainable design, but Sophie Thomas hopes that 2011 will see her ’three R’s for a new decade – recover, reconstruct and rekindle’, help to make sustainability a given at the heart of every design brief.
Features editor, Design Week