Cheryl is a member of the World Future Society which explores how social and technological forces shape the future. To that, she adds her unique perspective on design.
In her comments, Cheryl focused on two tectonic trends affecting our marketplace and designers: demographics and technology.
Shifting World Demographics
Shifting demographics have profound implications for Western Europe, North America and Japan where the majority of the population is older than 50. At the same time, in major developing countries [i.e., China and India], the majority is under 30.
Technology & the Workplace
The ubiquity of technology and mobile access to social media tools are changing how work is defined. Work is transitioning to a virtual/mobile model. "Work is where I am." Work has become the social network. Technology has also globalized the world.
Marketplace Observations: Optimism + Real
Cheryl explained that "periods of optimism" follow economic and climate chaos. Past 10 years have definitely been a period of chaos!
Optimism brings with it a focus on authenticity and interest in what's real, that you can relate to, even touch. Rough, natural, tactile fabrics and products are trending up as is an interest in the true and sincere. These are reflected in the design world.
Don't forget color palettes which reflect moods. In the case of optimism, notice saffron gold. For example, Slumdog Millionaire includes saffron gold in approximately every 60 frames. It's a movie about hope.
Customer Experience Implications
From a design perspective, spaces must support: proximity, socialization, intimacy, connectivity. Design need to be about the person. Design has a humanitarian quality: it surrounds, supports, enables, collaborates [think elastic or flexible, multi-purpose spaces]. It is less about glamour and opulence and more about simplicity. We will crave more privacy and sanctuary.
Retail plays an important role as an immersive experience where all of the senses can be engaged [think of enhancing brands with scent and sound]
Cheryl Durst Design Wisdom
- Design is invisible until it fails.
- Designers are serial specialists.
- Jules Feiffer: "Design is important because chaos is so hard"
Given these observations about marketplace trends, how might you apply them to your customer experience? How do you accommodate an ageing population? What about the virtual/mobile work model? Have you changed how you light your retail space? Are your displays tactile? How do you convey authenticity? Have you simplified your retail environment?
Image courtesy of InteriorDesign.net "Give me an I... Give me another I"