Futures Feed

Creating the future in 2023

Pearlfisher’s Design Themes 2023

This month’s Futures Feed report – Pearlfisher’s Design Themes: Creating the future in 2023 – is our annual forecast of the emerging themes we see inspiring the future of design and its increasingly diverse mediums.

In our post-pandemic reality, with heightened climate concerns and technological advances, design has brought us a sense of connection, comfort, and joy. Now, we’re looking to 2023 with a renewed appetite for design with an eclectic, experimental and distinctly future-facing edge. In this report, we take you through 6 key emerging design directions that will shape the year ahead.

Six key themes of Change

1. Social Excellence

Some of the best work we've seen is from brands and agencies not just raising awareness of cultural issues but actively creating solutions for them. Technology will play a huge part in helping brands to communicate the transparency of their processes, practices and ongoing collaboration, communication and education in this area.

2. Generative Creativity

AI offers appealing ways to amplify our creativity as individuals and across professions. Kat Mellor, designer at Pearlfisher, comments: “In 2023, from imagery to copy and even coding, AI will become a game-changing toolkit for humans to design with, opening up the possibilities of what we can create for brands.”

3. Digital Craftsmanship

Digital design is now an established form of artistry, defining a rich, refined and sensorial visual language. The next step in its development is how emergent 3D design directions will begin to diversify and invite more distinctive expressions of movement and textures to shape future aesthetics.

4. Counter Corporate

Traditionally impenetrable brand sectors are embracing a new style of ‘counter corporate’ communication. "The popular quirky, friendly voice is now entering more conventionally conservative spaces like banking and insurance. But the expectations of banks and so on — reliability, trustworthiness, security – demand that this type of voice is carefully controlled, even when trying to defy category norms,’ explains Reuben Fox McClure, writer at Pearlfisher.

5. Irreverent Aesthetics

From anti-beauty to anti-design, creatives are challenging the status quo and playing with unpolished, visceral and provocative styles of image-making – evolving our understanding of beauty and good taste. This will uncover a new kind of authenticity and reliability that acknowledges that we’re not always the idealised, curated selves we’re encouraged to present to the world.

6. Asset Activation

Brands with iconic equities are exploring new-found freedom in how they express themselves. “So much of how you can flex your core, as an iconic brand, comes down to the confidence you have in your assets. People will remember what's unique and distinctive about your brand,” says our creative director, Matt Sia.

What is the opportunity in this space?

Our design themes of 2023 champion the need to question previous frames of reference. "If you’re not bold and unapologetic in your approach, then you start getting lost in the mix,’ says Matt Sia, creative director of Pearlfisher New York.

This is just a taste of what the full Futures feed – Pearlfisher’s Design Themes 2023 – has to offer. If you would like to access the full report or find out more, please get in touch below:

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