2017 Design Trends: The Year to Look and to Become
Like every new year, 2017 not being an exception, creatives pounce on their work to incorporate the year's design trends. However, a new year means different things to different people. For some, a new year means a personal transformation. A new persona, if you will. In 2017, we see people changing their focus; we see people being guided to "Look." As with any change in perspective, it is coupled with changes in the way you interact with your environment, your personal space, and your interests. However, where we focus our view is dependent on what state we are in. Are you intrigued yet? If so, look on with us…
Looking Up - The Enlightened Being
In a technology-focused world, it’s easy to have your head down in something: a cell phone, an iPad, a project at work. The Enlightened Being persona seeks to ease us, and our necks, from a downward avenue of vision. Looking up will make you see things around you more acutely, enticing you to look up, pause, and think. Being enlightened is about freedom of movement, of thought and action, unrestricted, unbounded. It’s a sense of life rejuvenation and expectation. The Enlightened persona is reflected in 2017 design trends by reflective materials. Enticed by looking up, we find this new view brings a bright mix of colors along with muted soft tones for balance. Spatially, we see the enlightened clad and cladding in cellophanic materials along with iridescent metallics. Light is important to the enlightened, and they like to use it playfully in a way that intrigues the mind and leads the body. Reaching for the stars has never been as easy as it is today for this genre, as they are the ones who will use celestial prints as a way of stargazing. Picture this: a 21st century Twiggy contemplating life during the summertime in a screened-in porch. She’s sporting an iridescent rain jacket and listening to a colorful pop song by Lily Allen. Boom! That’s the Enlightened Being persona.
Looking Back - The Resolute Survivalist
2016 was a turbulent year filled with political and social changes across the globe. Because of the high intensity atmosphere that surrounded 2016, an emerging 2017 design trend/persona will be someone who brings the past forward: the Resolute Survivalist. Looking back means a desire to relate to a time when 21st century ups and downs are ceased and a nostalgia for simpler times comes to the forefront. Looking Back is not about being dark-minded, in fact it means that you are one with confidence. A Resolute Survivalist embraces the darkness and the richness it brings to their life through cultural heritage and color. In design, the Looking Back persona will be showcased by a primal focus with an emphasis on “spirit” animal prints and a vibrato tone. Designs featuring dark textured metals married to a plating aesthetic is an emergence of the warrior in our survivalists. Because warriors must protect themselves in order to continue on, artists will reveal armor-inspired panelization and cladding pieces. Further, elements of defense like overlapping forms and studs will appear alongside angular forms with hard edges. Picture this: Kristen Stewart confidently wearing an angular-cut tiger-print dress with an overlapping metallic duster coat. She’s intently staring at you while holding a chalice of wine. Bang! That’s the Resolute Survivalist persona.
Looking Now - The Author
There is one more perspective we see emerging as a top 2017 design trend. We have seen the opposites attract syndrome of looking back and forward, but this trend is about looking at the now. This Author persona is a mix of different generations. Though it pulls inspiration from different times, it is original, pure and well-thought out. In other words, the Author persona is eclectic and focused on weaving things together. It keeps close the value of freely expressing itself within an environment. The Author is a “maker.” Its need to create gives it a sense of place. These factors and personalities can be seen through the use of handmade items including fabrics that leave exposed yarns on the end, or wool/nubby sweaters. The originality element is expressed with painterly prints as its anthem. Looking Now is attracted to alternative ways to create: farming and recycling. It often thinks, “I want my space to be mine and my products to be pure.” These Author-oriented designs situate themselves to echo Frank Lloyd Wright. Picture this: Margaret Atwood sitting on a soft, light-blue couch wearing a beige woven tunic dress with frayed endings. She’s wearing little make up, eating fresh vegetables and writing in her daily journal. There is a Persian rug under her feet and a Japanese print wall covering behind her. Bing! That’s the Author persona.
Already four months into 2017, we have seen these design trends/personas in architecture, design and fashion. The Enlightened Being, Resolute Survivalist and Author personas are ones that each signify a human way of presentation. Who do you see yourself becoming? Where are you looking for your inspiration? What attracts you? We challenge you to keep a keen eye for these personas throughout 2017.
by Mark Bryan
Associate, Senior Interior Designer, Certified Futurist
A leader and catalyst of innovation and research at M+A, Mark strives to discover ways in which spatial design and technology integration can influence users in a positive way. Mark enjoys exploring design trends and his approach to design is largely influenced by cultural changes and shifts that occur in the world, whether they are major trends or subtle cues.