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Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > A Design Approach to Trends and Forecasting
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A Design Approach to Trends and Forecasting

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper

Published

Publication date17/11/2004
Number of pages11
Original languageEnglish

Conference

ConferenceFUTUREGROUND: Design Research Society International Conference
CityMonash University, Melbourne, Australia
Period1/01/00 → …

Abstract

How do designers engage with trends?
How are they informed, and how do they inform trends?
This paper engages with the literature, design thinking, theory and practice on trend forecasting. It investigates how designers use trend forecasting in their design process and how they in turn, embody and predict trends through their own engagement with the drivers behind them - social, cultural, technological, economic, political and environmental.
Trend forecasting utilises a multi-disciplinary approach drawing upon expertise from outside of the design domain. This includes input from futurologists, trend forecasters, psychologists, technologists, sociologists, and scenario builders as well as designers. The information and insights formed are utilised within the design process, by designers, to inform, validate and endorse design decisions. The methods used to convey this information – primarily visual, yet factually grounded – are the triggers that designers utilise. The appropriateness of these communication methods to the design process will be considered.
Scenario Planning is one of the approaches utilised in trend forecasting and provides the link between the future and strategy. Lindgren and Bandhold (2003) identify that the new millennium has increased the need for organisations to prepare for the non-preparable. Designers are essential in this process and help to formalise organisational strategy. Their approach to this is multidisciplinary and draws upon various concepts, models and tools.
The paper uses case studies to illustrate the importance of future thinking in the design process engaging with ‗Design for Future Needs‘ EU research project. Future focused design has played a role in shaping the decisions of designers for many years. This paper will identify the methods designers use to envision the future and discuss how these methods may be formalised and further integrated into the process of design.

Bibliographic note

This paper was a result of an investigation into how designers engage with trends. It asks how are they informed and how do they, in turn, inform trends? The method of investigation included analysis of current design thinking and practice, in order better to understand how designers use trend forecasting in their design process. Trend forecasting utilises a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing upon expertise from outside the design domain. This includes input from futurologists, trend forecasters, psychologists, technologists, sociologists and scenario builders as well as designers. The information and insights formed are utilised within the design process by designers to inform, validate and endorse design decisions. Case studies were used to illustrate the importance of future thinking in the design process. It engaged with 'Design for Future Needs' EU research project which informed the latter stages of the research. The theme 'FUTUREGROUND' featured leading edge design research from the international research community.