In 1998, the United States War College coined an acronym that seems to ideally describe our world today: VUCA, or “volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.”
VUCA was meant to describe situations that military officers might encounter in the field, but it feels particularly appropriate to international relations, domestic politics, civil discourse … and, according to award-winning global creative director Ande La Monica, to the design profession.
Design is a dynamic business: Visual styles constantly shift, of course, but also disciplines merge, strategies evolve, new channels arise, tools get more powerful yet complicated. Design never sits still.
For close to 30 years, HOW Design Live has examined the complex and volatile state of affairs in the industry and helped creative professionals adapt their careers in response. The 2019 event in Chicago is again shaping up with this forward-looking vision. The programming team has identified key trends that are driving change in design now and in the near future, including the following:
Packaging with a Conscience
The retail landscape has definitely shifted. Consumers are increasingly buying online, with packaging as the stand-in for the in-store experience. Brands recognize that a well-crafted box or wrap can surprise and delight the customer when it’s delivered to her doorstep. And high-quality packaging can catch a buyer’s eye in the ever-more-crowded retail environment. Packaging may be the new environmental graphic design, but designers are more and more concerned about what all this packaging means for the health of our world and are making deliberate and considered choices in this design arena to make their impact felt.
Marketing and Design Conjoined
Design and marketing serve the same goal: to communicate to consumers about goods or services and convince them to buy. The days of those functions working in separate silos have ended. Marketers and designers are working side-by-side to develop strategy, choose platforms, marry words and images, and track results. But because these colleagues come from different disciplines, they need tools to help them work more effectively together.
Design Is Big Business
Design has gone from a little-understood, under-appreciated discipline to an essential business function. Research shows that design-led companies outperform those that overlook design. ‘Design thinking’ has spread, but controversy and contrary opinions have come along with it. But the bottom line is that designers need to expand their understanding of key business challenges and metrics to convince clients of their abilities and commitment in order to secure projects in the first place, not to mention in order to create truly effective work.
Our industry is in constant flux—frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way—and HOW Design Live is your ideal opportunity to engage, learn, get inspired and prepare your career for what’s next.
Registration is now open for HOW Design Live 2019, featuring The Dieline Conference, along with the HOW Marketing Live and a host of other tracks. Check out the list of speakers, and get ready to shape your creative career.