I started out in the design industry over 20 years ago with a background in art, design and a basic level of programming knowledge. I even understood how to use Microsoft Access. (that’s a lie..:) I knew how to open it then just got confused) A lot has changed since then, we probably don’t even use Access anymore, do we?

The term ‘graphic design’, seems somewhat ambiguous these days and most have adapted themselves to become full time UX/UI designers. Using their knowledge of user centered design solutions and translating those ideas to a more focused understanding of the user journey. The shift toward a broader understanding how design works in real world terms has helped evolve the role of a designer in industry.

Design in Business.

As design becomes an integral part of business development, we as designers need to understand what creative thinking can bring, not just to the aesthetics of a brand, but to what role design can play in the strategy of company growth.

As Joshua Taylor point out wonderfully in his article  —  Designer shouldn’t code they should study business’, ‘…for us to truly understand the best way to help a business we have to start focusing on what makes the business successful.’

As discussed in my previous articles (shameless self promotion alert), ‘what makes good design?’ and ‘How Design thinking can improve your business’. Design is fast becoming a viable strategy for business development and more and more large firms are creating roles for a Chief Design Officer (CDO), Someone who is responsible for overseeing all design and innovation aspects of a company’s products and services. Companies who have recently appointed CDOs include 3M, Apple Inc., PepsiCo, Philips, and Kia Motors.

This trend will see a role on every executive team for a designer — someone whose role it is to ensure that every element of the business is designed well.

Psychology, AI and Design.

Sounds a little heavy doesn’t it? But keep with me. Facebook’s recent announcement of their partnerships for chat-bot services, which allows businesses to deliver automated customer support, e-commerce guidance, content and interactive experiences.

Chatbots have suddenly become the biggest thing in tech. They unlock the ability to provide personalized, interactive communication similar to talking to a human customer service or sales rep, but at scale much cheaper than call centres.

A conservative estimate is that chatbots could replace premium numbers, offering more comfortable customer support experiences without the hassle of synchronous phone conversations, hold times or those annoying automated phone trees they we all know and hate. 🙂


What’s all this chatbot talk got to do with design though?, I hear you ask. Well, the current technological movement toward automated services and intelligent AI services and products, means that we need to further develop our user-centered ideas and get to grips with the psychology of human interactions.

To really understand how these tools can be useful we need to fully understand how we think and feel about them. Something I’ve been researching myself at the moment, after reading this amazing article by Esther Crawford and setting up my own Chat-Bot. Which is surprisingly an incredibly fun exercise. I highly recommend it.

Again this shows that, as technology develops, so to will the role of a designer. The scope of design is to understand its function for a particular environment, whether that’s a chat-bot, VR or the ever growing IoT. And to fully understand that function we need to get to grips with the psychology of what makes them useful.

Onwards and Upwards.

I’ve only given a few examples here of what I feel will be the most important directions for the future of design. There’s countless other ideas and examples out there as to where we go from here and this article discusses the design jobs of the future brilliantly.

What are your thoughts on the future of design? What do you think will be the important shift? Will you be prepared, or are you already there?

Let me know below or on twitter, I’d love to hear where you think the future of design will take us.