Designing the Future

If you woke up today and made it to your home desk, got your kids ready for remote classes, or even made yourself breakfast, you can thank the design world for helping you accomplish these tasks. The ability to achieve so many things, seemingly on our own, is made possible by innovation. Just what is driving this inventive process?

The answer is consumer behavior.

It might be difficult to find the positive during a global pandemic, but design is one field that is helping us to better navigate our lives. From technology to culinary to fashion, the scale of innovation is a direct result of the need to push forward, and to have what we need to do so.

The fact is, our changing consumer needs are helping to inspire new design. With so many businesses impacted all at once, the need for adaptation and improvement is too large to be ignored. Consumer demands are affecting the economy more directly to balance this, and brands are paying attention.

One area of the design boom that is developing during COVID is home design. As a response to stay-at-home measures, people are seeking more outdoor living spaces, including outdoor kitchens and entertaining options. These open-air layouts allow for more social distance, and allow for fun within our quarantine bubbles and learning pods.

Looking indoors, changes are happening around the need for dedicated work and learning areas, as well as additional, or accessory, dwelling units that can accommodate family and friends who may have moved back home or need to someplace to stay long-term.

Our closets are changing, too, as many people have shifted towards a more casual style of dress with the growth of remote work. The fashion industry is watching this closely, and the influx of active and leisurewear, from low to high-end brands, is a direct result. Comfort is on the minds of many, and those formal pieces just aren’t getting much use since we’re not going out. This is leading to new athleisure collections, sustainable loungewear, and a resurgence in mending clothes we already own, as well as sewing. Let’s not leave out all those face coverings from well-known brands, as they are quickly becoming an accessory item of 2020.

The design impact isn’t all at home, however. Restaurants are redesigning spaces to accommodate new demands for ecommerce, pantry supplies, social distance and outdoor seating, and innovative options for curbside, drive up, and delivery. Cities are accommodating the need, opening up parking spots to be used for outdoor café-style dining and suspending or rewriting regulations to help keep restaurants in business.

We may be staying at home more, but that doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite food, sweatshirt, or even a spot at your neighborhood restaurant. Sure, things are different now, and some people are finding it hard to adapt, but the design world is catering to our needs as they unfold. One look around is all it takes to witness how change has the power to impact our lives for the better, and inventors are playing a leading role in that change.