We talk a lot about staying current with all the technology and trends that are constantly being updated in the field of product design, and it’s important to make sure that your business stays in the present, to be sure.

But what about the future? It’s a lot harder to predict than some might think, and the new innovations that seem like a sure thing now might be only a distant memory five years from now. But however unpredictable it might be, it’s important for any company to keep an eye on the ways product design might change over the next few years.

Here are some possible big trends on the horizon.

Virtual interaction design

Some experts have posited that virtual reality might be a $150 billion within the next five years, not just in terms of people’s entertainment and leisure purchases but it various businesses, as well. So it’s probable that by the early 2020’s, designers will be grabbing an Oculus Rift, or whatever the newest VR device is, and launching themselves into virtual reality to create the products of tomorrow. It’s an exciting new frontier in design that seems to become more and more reachable with every new breakthrough in VR technology.

Increasing specialization

With different products being marketed to ever-more specific demographics, designers who can work within those precise fields will become more important, and more specialized.

For example, there’s a growing market for products made from bamboo, because of its lightweight properties and its ability to grow quickly. There’s also a rising demand for designers who can work in soft goods like textiles, especially the new mix of tech and textiles that can be mixed into wearable fabric.

Anyone who is developing their skills in that field now might be one of the most valuable commodities in the industry in the coming years.

Artificial intelligence

There’s been a lot of talk within the business world about robots or other forms of AI taking over people’s jobs, but given the spark of human creativity that’s often necessary for a designer to create a new product, it seems unlikely that that trend with affect the design field.

But a designer who can work with AI programs could be incredibly valuable. In cases like that, the future might be more about a collaboration between humans who figure out a design algorithm to feed into an AI system than about some new form of automation taking over for a flesh-and-blood worker.

Post-industrial design

The world is moving closer together in many ways, and our different devices are doing so as well. Think about how you can now link your exercise program with a FitBit app that measures your progress throughout the day.

Designers who can make a product more connected to other items in the consumer’s world will be incredibly important if this interconnected world continues to create interactive possibilities that weren’t there before.

Think about how exciting it might be to design products for someone’s home or workplace that link to just about everything else they own. Those products would be indispensable, and so would the designer.


These new design trends are going to cost money to keep up with and master, and a freelancer who’s skilled in these different areas could have a more lucrative career than anyone working for a single company. After all, it’s logical for a business to get the best deal possible on their various needs, and freelancers are often a go-to choice for that kind of thinking.

And the more of these skills that a designer has, the more they’ll be able to play the field and get the jobs that they want while still maintaining a flexible schedule. It’s a win-win.

Whatever the future holds, Pivot International will be at the forefront, providing services from design to development to manufacturing, all under one umbrella. Click here to find out how Pivot can prepare you for your company’s future.