Technology has advanced the greatest pace of recent change. New technological innovations have revolutionised the efficiency, function and future of basic areas of our life such as communication, health & fitness, food and drink. But the uptake and success of these new innovations share one strikingly common factor: an optimised user experience expressed through new, intuitive and desirable design.

Brand and product innovation is only as good as its communication and so the challenge lies squarely with design and designers to push the boundaries and create a new expression that goes beyond what we already know. It is this context that will give meaning – and that will create that essential force of change.

Here are three brand innovations that have responded to key cultural shifts and, as a result, help us see the future sooner.

1) The shift: As individuals, we want to break out of the forms and stereotypes that constrict us and find brands and services that celebrate us as unique, distinctive, inimitable.
The innovation: A simple yet brilliant innovation by Pantone and Sephora saw the launch of the Color IQ System, which uses Pantone capture technology through a hand held device to identify and categorise skin tone colour with unsurpassed accuracy.

2) The shift: People want the power to make change for good: to change their own lives and the world around them.
The innovation: The collaboration of Össur’s long-term goal to empower a ‘Life without limitations’ and Nike’s expertise in design for sport has created the Nike Sole, one of the most beautiful, empowering and effective designs we have seen.

3) The shift: As our population ages and distinctions in taste between young and old become increasingly irrelevant, there is a growing opportunity to design with specificity and inspire rather than alienate.
The innovation: Omhu designs medical equipment and accessories such as walking canes that are effective and carefully designed. They are founded on the belief that ‘life is imperfect and beautiful’.

New ways of living, new types of communication and new languages – both visual and verbal – are being created and introduced by brands to help drive real, positive cultural change. The future is in our hands. We can design a new, more inspiring and better future for all of us.

Pearlfisher Futures will present ‘How do you design the future?’ as part of the 2014 London Design Festival at the V&A on 16 September. For more information, click here.

Sophie Maxwell, Pearlfisher Futures Director, and Dan Gladden, Pearlfisher Design Director, will show why understanding and embracing change is the key to creating future design that has real impact on our lives and in the world around us. Learn how to understand 4-key macro changes in our world and see how these changes have inspired inspirational brand designs that don’t yet exist! Please contact [email protected] for more information.