Industrial Design

Understanding and using emerging aesthetic design trends

While there are many different types of trends you can and should reference throughout the new product design and development process including macro, consumer and industry, aesthetic design trends may be some of the harder nuts to crack.

These trends can be viewed as completely subjective and the result of “artistic styling” or “personal taste” without the right framework and context of understanding.

An aesthetic design trend is composed of elements such as form, shape, proportion, color, materials, finish, texture and typography that create a distinct visual personality. A vast array of design styles and trends exists in the market simultaneously, for example you can buy Arts & Crafts, Mid Century Modern or Early American style furniture today; Aesthetic design trends, however, inform future trajectories that are most likely to influence how we design and experience products for the coming decades.

When applied appropriately aesthetic design enhances the sophistication, functionality and overall value of a product. Try tuning into the following core aesthetic design trends to inspire your next creation. Visit the gallery below for visual examples.

Organic Minimalism

The original Minimalist style in product design was inspired by architecture. It was a movement away from extraneous decoration that stripped a product down to its necessary elements and no more. Braun products from the 1970s and ‘80s reflected this philosophy with clean pure formulas of shape, composition and solid, monochromatic color. Organic Minimalism expands on the “less is more” philosophy by including restrained organic forms and seamlessly integrated interface elements.

Restrained organic forms are surfaces that—while remaining uncluttered by extraneous detail—use curvature and subtle surface undulation to create a simple visual statement.

This trend is also reflected in user interface hardware execution. Touch-sensitive controls, haptic feedback, dead-front illumination and, of course, touchscreens all facilitate the creation of seamless surfaces that hide the visual complexity of the interface while allowing an intentionally curated approach to user interactions. This is especially valuable in feature-rich products.

In Organic Minimalism, logos and graphic branding elements recede to allow the overall silhouette and details to drive the visual statement of the product.

Real Materialism

This macro design trend is all about honesty in the application of materials in the construction of a product. Using real metal, wood, or carbon fiber instead of decorated plastic substitutes translates into a higher perceived value for your product and brand. The same goes for ceramics, textiles and other non-plastic materials.

When applied appropriately aesthetic design enhances the sophistication, functionality and overall value of a product.

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