Building a successful industrial product demands hard work. There are so many elements that need attention. From material design, space design, usability, accessibility to functionality, and many more, needs to be aligned together to bring out a viral product.
There is no wonder why design plays such a critical role in the success of product development.
But here’s the thing.
The design industry is very dynamic. The most optimal design strategy of today may become obsolete tomorrow. This makes keeping up with the latest design trends critical for maintaining a competitive edge.
This blog post exactly addresses this need.
In the following section, we take a deep dive into the five design trends that design engineers swear by in 2021.
5 trends every design engineer swears by in 2021
Design trends come and go. And to what it seems like, perhaps the transient nature of design trends is the only thing constant about it.
However, throughout the years, there has been one core similarity amongst all the top trends in design engineering.
They are disruptive in their approach facilitating learner, more agile, and improved design systems. This makes keeping up with the design trends a crucial step towards success.
The following section gives you the five key trends that are currently changing the face of the future of design engineering.
However, in combination with trends, you would have to research your audience comprehensively to understand what trends and methodologies can work best for your audience.
After all, the best designs are those that your audience wants.
1. Generative design is redefining the engineering design of the future
Generative design is an emerging technology that is poised to change the way you design, engineer, and interact with products and digital experiences. However, to truly understand its power, you would have to take a step back. Let’s start with understanding what generative design is.
Simply speaking, generative design is the technology that disrupted the traditional product development method of the manufacturing industry.
Fleshing out the human involvement and its related flaws, the technology improves the complete design process delivering better quality designs at scale. The best part? All of it is achieved in a fraction of time.
Curious to know how it achieves so?
The generative design leverages machine learning and the power of cloud computing to do so. Designers only have to input design parameters (such as materials, size, weight, strength, manufacturing methods, and cost constraints) the rest is taken care of by the software.
The tool generates every viable design version which the designers can always optimize by keeping all the constraints fixed and alternating in particular elements.
Obtaining feedback and optimizing the product for meeting the expectations of the audience is alleviated significantly. What follows is a faster product development cycle and a leaner market launch.
2. Emotion drives the heart of engineering design
Emotion is a key driver of successful industrial product designing. Designers and engineers use emotion as a primary design tool for ensuring the success of the product. But here’s the thing about emotion design.
It is harder and trickier than you think. You need to innovate and get creative in your approach to appeal to the emotions of your target users. It is only through personalized experiences that your product can truly become successful.
To do this right, understanding and empathizing with your target audience becomes critical. The better understanding you have about how they feel and what expectations they have from the product, the better you can optimize product-market fit. Your product needs to narrate a story. This is exactly why emotion-driven design becomes critical. You can ask critical questions to do this right.
Is it sleek or is it cute? Your product’s design needs to hit your target audience’s emotions to engage them with your product. For instance, would a Nike Air Force be desired by such a huge fanbase if it failed to have the aesthetic appeal for its target audience, no matter how superlative of a performance it delivers?
The emotion that a product evokes is the emotional component of the product. It is the feeling of the user when he or she interacts with the product. This feeling is what determines whether or not a person will buy a product, and what will make them buy it again. Without a clear emotional component, the product will not hold any value to the user.
3. Cloud computing powers the next generation of design engineers
We are facing the beginning of the 4th industrial revolution globally. And the design industry didn’t go untouched by it.
One of the most powerful disruptions of this revolution is cloud computing. Facilitating remote collaborations, cost optimizations, streamlined security, loss recovery and quality control this technology creates a clutter-free workspace. But that is not all.
It creates the most collaborative work process for designers communicating over tools breaking the traditional silo model. Powerful tools like CAD, Sketch, Google Material Design, Subform, Figma, and more have enabled cloud interfaces for smoothest experiences.
This means, now you do not need to jam your machine’s memory to get the work done. You can just download the current project that you are working on and archive every past design venture. You can even create, restrict and share your data access with others.
4. Artificial intelligence is changing the face of traditional designs
Breaking the limitations of traditional design development, artificial intelligence (AI) is powering modern designers to get the best out of their creative self.
With the power of cloud computing and sophisticated AI models, achieving complex design versions while optimizing both time and money is possible. Most of these software that integrates the power of AI are CAE (computer aided engineering) tools. Together, they streamline the design process and declutter your workspace so that you can focus on what matters. However, if you are still not sure why AI is making such a buzz in modern tools, here’s a quick explanation.
Computer-generated designs are typically more accurate than human-drawn designs because they are not subject to human errors, such as misinterpretation of a drawing’s intent. CAE is a great way to speed up the design process.
The future of engineering will be one of using computers to generate designs. It’s best to use these machines to create designs that are more efficient and cost-effective.
A computer-generated design has the potential to be more accurate and more cost-effective than human-drawn designs. Computer-generated designs are typically more accurate than human-drawn designs because they are not subject to human errors, such as misinterpretation of a drawing’s intent.
But that is not all.
With the rise of machine learning and automation tools, streamlining and decluttering the design development workspace is so much easier. Now instead of toiling your productive hours in ‘have-to-do’ work, you can focus on ‘love-to-do’ work. The best part?
None of your tasks face any quality issues. On the contrary, it removes the vulnerabilities of human error and lowers down the costs in the long term.
5. Integration of VR & AR is more common than ever
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are witnessing a steep climb in the design trends this year. In the past, VR and AR were primarily used for gaming and entertainment. However, now it has become a powerful tool for designers and engineers.
These technologies make it easier for designers to visualize and communicate ideas, brainstorm, and collaborate with peers and clients effectively.
While virtual reality (VR) is great for modeling and developing the plans for your prototype, you’ll need to see what it looks like in the real world eventually.
VR lets you test your product in a simulated environment closest to the natural setting of the product usage. This gives you leverage to test the product even before you have started to build it. The best part? You can save a significant amount of resources on product development with VR and AR.
No wonder why the adoption rate of these technologies is sharply increasing in the industrial designing world. It is safe to say that you would experience a steep rise in VR and AR tools and advancements in technology in the coming years.
By now, you must have a complete understanding of the major trends that can guide you to successful product building. But here’s a reality check while we part.
Design trends come and go. While the above trends can make you a top performer this year, the next year may be completely different. Chances are you may even get disrupted if you fail to adapt in time.However, there is nothing that a little strategic approach cannot improve.
Look at what the pandemic taught us.
If there is one takeaway lesson that you can stick to for the future, then learn how to be resilient. Agreed, studying and integrating design trends is significant for ensuring success. But it is not a sustainable strategy.
To ensure consistent success, your designs should be able to stand the test of time. This will give you more room for experimenting and creativity.
Remember, don’t get disrupted. Instead, be the disruption.
Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as an Instructional Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted and compelling content. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and parents. She loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends in her free time. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org for any content writing/copywriting requirements.