10 Design Trends For 2014

Autodesk asked some of our friends and leading thinkers throughout the world about what design trends and predictions they have for the new year.

1. The Industrial Look Is Making a Comeback

Designers are seeing a resurgence in design that gives off a more industrial look, such as the newly unveiled Pebble Steel smart-watch.

The return of this design style is “partly driven by designers, as they continue to embrace the idea of recycling and reusing industrial materials in retail and housing to give it a retro feel” says Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop.

2. Immersive Design

TAIT / Via taittowers.com

Designers in many industries will push the boundaries of what they’re making and how the consumer or “spectator” can become a part of the experience.

“The days of being on the outside looking in will be gone. You will go the show, theme park, architectural space and become a part of the experience.” -Tyler Kicera, Creative Director for TAIT, a world leader in stage design.

3. 2014 Will Be a Milestone for the “Internet of Things”

“I think we are going to see an explosion of activity with Bluetooth LE (low energy) on very affordable circuitry that communicates with mobile devices…we have a desk lamp project with Bluetooth LE in the works with a mobile app to choose colors and capacitive touch sensing to turn it on or off when a mobile device isn’t convenient.”

-JoeJoe Martin and John Parts Taylor, better known as LumiGeek and Autodesk Artists in Residence.

Another example of a technology embracing the Internet of Things is the Mimo baby monitor by Rest Devices that is a wearable technology for babies. (pictured below) This device monitors an infant’s heart rate, temperature, activity level and body position.

Rest Devices / Via mimobaby.com

Smart objects will become a common household trend

Devices like the Nest Protect smart smoke detector and the Nest Learning Thermostat (pictured above) are just one step in the direction of making everyday objects interconnected.

4. Socially Developed Products and Incubated Ideas

Idea incubators where entrepeneurs can submit their ideas for social vetting, refinement, production and commercialization like Quirky will continue to emerge in 2014.

Incubators like this will continue to spring up as a “…response to the unique opportunities of the new industrial revolution and the democratization of manufacturing,” says Diego Tamburini, Senior Industry Programs Manager at Autodesk, Inc.

5. 3D Printed Textiles Will Change the Fashion Industry

3D printing in fashion has been making big waves in the last year, from the infamous 3D printed Dita Von Teese dress by designer Francis Bitonti to the first use of 3D printing at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show by designer Bradley Rothenberg.

Image courtesy of ThreeASFOUR fashion show

There is an evolution of highly flexible and durable materials underway

Evolution of these materials will lead “…to an explosion of new high performance textiles” says Bradley Rothenberg, architect and designer of the first 3D printed lingerie to hit the runway at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (pictured above)

Rothenberg believes these materials “…have the potential to exhibit performative qualities way beyond that of what we have seen with existing textiles.”

6. Design Will Become a “WE” Thing

Crowdsourcing will become an ever growing trend as we continue to see an increase in the number of manufacturers recognizing the power of the crowds as a way to improve their designs.

This model has a caveat. “For crowdsourcing to become more widely adopted in the future…the rewards to designers and inventors must be more compelling and sustainable than today’s relatively small cash prizes and bragging rights.”

-Diego Tamburini, Senior Industry Programs Manager at Autodesk, Inc.

7. Design Will Be Freed from the Desktop

iPads and other tablets will continue to complement and, in some cases, replace pencil and paper for early-stage conceptual building designs. Mobile apps like FormIt are becoming as fast and easy to use as hand-sketching, plus offer many other benefits – real site context, climate and energy analysis, collaboration with other designers, and easy transition into more sophisticated design tools like Revit.

“2014 will be the year when we see at least some designers able to do real work away from the traditional desktop/workstation.” -Jeff Kowalski, Chief Technology Officer, Autodesk, Inc.

8. The Manufacturing Leapfrog

“Just as emerging economies skipped the need for heavy communications infrastructure and went straight to mobile, they will likewise leapfrog centralized manufacturing.”

This type of manufacturing will be digitally driven and distributed much closer to the point of consumption, says Jordan Brandt, Autodesk Technology Futurist.

“It has never been so easy to duplicate and distribute physical things we are going to see a significant transformation in how we think about mass production.”


Francis Bitonti, Francis Bitonti Studios

9. Mainstream Acceptance of Reality Computing

Although reality capture technology through laser scanning or photogrammetry has been around for a while, in 2014 the technology will begin to enter the mainstream. Pictured below is a GIF showing a drone taking a reality capture of AT&T Park, home to the San Francisco Giants.

According to Mike Whaley and Josh Lowe of Turis Systems, “the technology has finally reached a price point that is now cheaper and more effective to scan and model,” as opposed to sending an entire team with tape measures and notepads to survey the space.

10. Focus on the Designers of Tomorrow

“There’ll be more and more design apps for kids; so many kids got a tablet this past holiday season…wanting things to draw, paint and shape.”

-Alice Taylor, Founder of MakieLab

Learn how to design in 2014 with Autodesk.

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