What will design mean for communicators in 2021?

While the year has not gone as planned for anyone, we all are hoping that 2021 will bring in some positivity and change. If anything, 2020 has led us all to a lot more introspection, a lot more clarity and of course- removed all the clutter from our lives, making us re-align, re-prioritise and re-position. 

Finding the silver lining amidst the clouds, as we move closer to 2021, the design industry will hopefully get democratised, moving beyond a limited few, to the common man at large- manifesting as an agent of change. From being an exclusive domain for only a few, designers and design have moved beyond their closed silos of design studios or workshops to being inclusive and engaging with one and all.

  • The year 2021 will have design focus more on intent, and conceptually drive people’s lives. It will move beyond the aesthetic, and focus on creating value. Designers are already driving their outreach by conveying intent, being authentic to who they are- and design will not remain a mystery anymore. It will be about who the brand is, and why they do what they do- The process of design will be as important as the final product- 2021 is the year to bring the mood boards and the sketchbooks out. Convey the narrative, not just the product.

    • Design that uses less, but does more is what will define 2021. Design that protects the environment, amalgamates with nature- and is focused on shaping communities, instead of exhausting resources. A lot of new products that will reuse and recycle materials, while avoiding wastage are the ones we look forward to.
    • Moving beyond the ‘go-local’ approach, every product, every material and every finish will aim to become inherently sustainable, so that it saves and conserves the environment first, before doing anything else. Conserving the resources that are limited, while using what is locally and easily available is what is on every designers’ mind.
    • More importantly- all designers are looking at materials that are intrinsic to their context- Stone that is locally available in the region, fabric that is weaved locally, and craftsmanship that is authentic to the part of the world you belong to.

    Last, but not the least, design already has, and will continue to go digital. For an industry that is largely driven on ground it has been a challenge through this pandemic, to optimise technology to sustain itself. 

    Whether it is discourse, planning, design process and production or even sales, there has been a stark shift in the way that the design industry has adapted itself to social and digital media, all in the digital realm. With all stakeholders having made a leap to hug digital platforms, Design now will truly go digital.

    Tanya Khanna is founder, Epistle Communications