Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending Y24, a regional design conference hosted by AIGA San Diego. The lineup was jam-packed with inspirational talks and great conversations with some truly creative folks.
The theme of the conference was “Say Yes”. A theme that led many of the presenters to share their personal journey of Yeses (and Nos) that ultimately led them to the stage of the Y Conference. The presenters were heartfelt, inspiring, and honest about their struggles and successes. Doug Powell, VP of design at IBM, decided to take a different approach and totally ignore the prompt (fitting that IBM’s slogan is #thinkdiffernet). His presentation focused on five trends in the field of design and business. Trends that not only get the Fins excited about being designers today but also show how the landscape of business is shifting toward crafting experiences, internally and externally.
“This is an amazing time for design and designers.” – Doug Powell
- Design is happening in surprising places.
- It’s not just start-ups, the US government is investing money into design and so are small US towns, cities, and associations (we’ve seen this in our leads over the past 2 years and are currently rebranding Redwood City Improvement Association).
- Design Operations has emerged as a distinct role.
- Design Operations is a thing? Guess so. Imagine bringing design-thinking into the world of processes and spreadsheets. Pretty killer combo. Jess, our Director of Ops, certainly thinks so!
- We finally have data that proves the value of design.
- This study by McKinsey and this survey by Invision show that design isn’t just for the founders who value it, it’s smart business for any company.
- Design is booming in Asia.
- Always a telling sign of trends in the world. Competition abroad challenges and elevates the field at home.
- Designers are becoming leaders in non-designer roles.
- In the past few years, there has been a trend of designers stepping into leadership roles – big to small organizations are adding Chief Creative Officers to their C-level staff and, even more telling, creatives are stepping into leadership outside of design.
Powell believes that “this is an amazing time for design and designers.” We believe him! The words “design-thinking” and “branding” are almost as ubiquitous as the word “brunch.” Design is infused in our culture, thanks to companies like Target and Apple, and today’s consumers and business partners are hyper design-conscious. And for good reason. Just like a first date, it makes a good impression if you invest in self-care.
From start-up founders to executives of 30-year old companies, more and more business leaders are realizing the power of design. As a creative branding studio, we love helping businesses discover what design can do for their company. Whether it’s designing a stronger brand from within, or designing an effective online user experience mindful of short attention spans – whatever the challenge is, every business needs some level of design-thinking. Consider this, is your biggest business challenge right now actually a design challenge? We’d love to learn more.