7 factors that will change design in 2017.

7x7 Tile Teal


The new year is underway, and we have a few predictions for what lies ahead for design – and business – in 2017.

Here are seven trends in design on the DNA team’s radar:

Innovation entropy.

 We have seen a vast improvement in recent years in the methodologies for the delivery of product (e.g. agile and lean). The challenge that remains for strategy to work in with these advances. Strategy is often lost in handover to delivery - in 2017 we’ll see strategy determined in more collaborative ways, and pass seamlessly to delivery.

Matt Ayers _ Experience Designer.


Confronting complexity.

Despite widespread acknowledgement of the need for user-led design and customer-first experience principles, too often organisations have felt encumbered with legacy capability, capacity, system or infrastructure ‘complexities’ which have compromised their ability to most appropriately deliver against audience needs. Last year we started to see real movement in the willingness of both private and public sector clients to use design as a catalyst to help unravel this organisational complexity. In 2017 we'll see this continue, so organisations will be better enabled and empowered to deliver improved channel and service experiences.

Josh Burt _ Engagement Director.


The push to radical governance.

Digital has arrived, but many companies are struggling to find the sweet spot. The drive to digital can be a hard slog as often legacy systems, funding and governance structures prove more hindrance than help. In 2017 we’ll see companies commit to more radical shifts around governance and funding to get delivery faster. The rise of digital product managers is a key mechanism to drive this.

Chris Peel _ Experience Designer. 


Knowing when good is good enough.

It is often our instinct as designers to look for the next big thing, the fresh idea, the exciting innovation. But it is also a trap we sometimes fall in that can lead us to spending time trying to reinvent the wheel. In 2017, we expect the pursuit of value and effect to be more intense than ever. In order for us to deliver the best value – to our clients, to their users – it is worth pausing and considering this: when is it ok to reuse existing patterns and solutions in order to focus our time and effort on the unique challenges and opportunities?

Romain Perrin _ Design Director.


Design that stands out from the crowd.

I don’t know about you, but since the introduction of easy to use platforms like Squarespace and Shopify and frameworks like Bootstrap a lot of the internet is starting to look the same. Don’t get me wrong, there are some gorgeous Squarespace templates, and we’ve all been guilty of looking to them for inspiration. They have a place, and have their audience, but as websites are becoming services or products in their own right (a lot of traditional content sites we work on now serve content based on users needs as opposed to categorising content based on an organisations assumptions) I’m looking forward to seeing more bespoke design solutions and executions based on what is best for the user task or service in 2017.

Stacey Orr _ Digital Design Director.


Designer/Developer relationships.

As technology continues to advance, we are in need of closer relationships between designers and developers. Static, annotated visuals just aren’t going to cut it this year as micro interactions start to dominate experiences. 

Ben Ward _ Designer.


Human-centred to life-centered design.

As much as Trump tries sweep it under the rug, climate change is hot on our heels and isn't going away. This will require a massive mind-set shift from human-centric to life-centric design. To address this challenge, we’ll have to understand and design with the full lifecycle impacts of organisations, products and services in mind. This will also give rise to the need to collaborate across sectors and to holistically address systemic problems like never before. We’ll be forced to remember that digital does not automatically mean sustainable, and that being sustainable is no longer a point of difference but a basic requirement.

Rachel Knight _ Service & Experience Designer.

We’ll be tracking and commenting on the themes identified in Decembers' post and those above throughout the year ahead.