New design trends emerge with the new year, and this one is no different. We’ll see even more digital-first design, sustainability, AI-driven experiences, and more in 2022.
But what does that mean for you as a designer? How can you adapt your work to stay ahead of the curve? The answer lies in understanding the major design trends of this coming year.
As we discussed in the introduction of this article, a responsive design is a design that responds to its environment. This means being able to respond to a user’s screen, device, and environment. A responsive design adapts to the platform it’s viewed on, and responds to the screen size and the environment, such as the brightness of the room or the noise level. It’s important to note that responsive design is a trend, not a new type of design. So, if you’ve been dishing out responsive designs for years, there’s no need to panic! But if you’ve been working on fixed-width designs, responsive design will be key to your work in 2022.
AI, or artificial intelligence, is the idea that a machine can do tasks that are typically thought of as requiring human intelligence. This is most often associated with voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. But AI goes far beyond voice. It’s also used in image recognition and speech recognition. While machine learning is a method for training AI, AI is the technology that enables machine learning. A great example of this is the potential for AI to create beautiful website imagery using computer vision. AI allows machine learning to be more accurate and efficient. As it matures, we’ll see more and more design automation, and even more intuitive user experiences.
You’re probably familiar with the term ‘dark mode’. It’s the term given to the UI design trend of using darker, more muted tones and aesthetic. Dark Mode was pioneered by apps like Twitter, the Apple Podcasts app, and the desktop versions of Chrome and Safari. The idea behind it is that the dark tones are more restful on the eyes, which could help you work better and longer. The dark mode trend is here to stay and will even extend beyond UI to the aesthetics of products, particularly in sustainability.
Voice UI is the next major interface change we will see. Voice UI is a contextual, AI-driven operating system that responds to your every need, including environmental factors like your location or who is around you. From a design perspective, it’s important to understand that the concept of an ‘operating system’ is changing. You used to turn on a computer and be taken to a specific operating system, like Windows or MacOS. Now, with the rise of voice-activated devices, those operating systems are being turned on for us. It’s like having a personal assistant who’s always available. As designers, this means that our operating system is now whatever your device hears you say.
When it comes to materials and fabrics, we’ll see a shift toward more realistic materials, particularly in home goods like furniture, appliances, and even clothing. Virtual reality has been a major trend in the design world since its inception. It’s only now that it’s becoming more of a mainstream technology that we’ll see VR’s influence on the world of design. The waxy, plastic look and feel of VR will be a thing of the past. VR will feel more natural and organic thanks to advancements in materials and design. Design trends are a lot like fashion. They come in and out of style. The ones that last a long time are the ones that are more than just fads; they’re an evolution of human behavior and interaction. And when it comes to design, there are a few things we can be sure of: change is inevitable, and technology will play a big role in that change.
VR and AR have been some of the top design trends for years. Both have been steadily increasing in popularity, particularly with the rise of accessible AR and VR products like the iPhone’s ARkit. ARkit and other AR platforms have introduced AR to the masses with popular apps like Pokémon Go and Ikea’s AR app. The major difference between AR and VR is that AR is designed to augment your real-world environment and allow you to see digital elements superimposed on top of it, while VR immerses you in a digital environment completely separate from the real world.
A popular design trend we’ve seen in the last few years is a “responsive architecture”. This architecture responds to its environment and is designed to be flexible and modular. Examples of this can be seen in the new Apple Spaceship campus, or the Facebook Aquila building. This responsive architecture trend will continue and grow, particularly in terms of the design of our cities. As the world’s population grows, we’ll need to be more creative and flexible with how we design and build our cities.
These 10 design trends will dominate in 2022. This means that if you want to stay on top of your game as a designer, you need to keep an eye on these trends and make sure your work is aligned with them. If you just keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get left behind. Keep your eyes peeled for these trends and make sure you’re making room for them in your design process. They represent a major shift in how we interact with technology and how designers can respond to that.
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