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Identifying design trends.

What are emerging design trends? To answer this question, nine student researchers from Brigham Young University attended the 2017 Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Netherlands, with an open-ended mission to take photographs of exhibited projects. After they returned, some 300 pictures were classified into the nine trends explored here. This project allows students to frame their own work within emerging design trends.

Socially engaged

Using social values to engage in solutions of a political nature Example: Alissa Reeves' IV Walk (pictured below): Humanises the essential task of holding an intravenous drip bag by installing it in a backpack (


Redefining production materials, where they come from and how they are acquired in an anti-mass production movement

Example: The Travel Agency turns used glassware into new lamps

Material Innovation

Redefining material use, using 'waste' for new production of high-quality items for everyday use in ways that bring out the material's natural abilities

Example: Billie van Kawijk's intestine handbag (shown below;

Design for agency

Creating technology to de-standardise or customise the user's experience with artefacts

Example: Kristaps Politis's Printstrument uses 3D printing to combine a series of modules into unique musical instruments (


Designing with the intent to connect humanity in ways that promote emotional and cultural poignancy

Example: Atelier NL's collection of local sands from around the world is used to make glassware (

Questioning design practice

How do we view, create and define design?

Example: Marcel van Brackel & Frederik Duerinck's installation of a sensory experience for a visitor lying inside a morgue refrigerator compartment (

Naturalised technology

Ultra-speculative design, making digital additions to our natural or analogue life. Designers ask: how is our humanity enriched (or attacked) by the technological advances around us?

Example: Studio Drift's dandelion clock lamp (pictured above;


Breaking boundaries to elicit a desired reaction and to challenge the status quo for objects and experiences

Example: Veerle Kluijfhout's Domesticat: a woven top made not from lambswool but from cat hair (pictured below;

Reinterrogating history

Challenging the role of designers and their impact on culture and nature. Designers ask: are we ultimately doing good?

Example: Kostas Lambridls's bureaus (pictured right) feature components with a variety of historic styles of production and ornamentation, evoking dichotomies between old and new, craft and chaos, completion and decay (

This article is based on 'Sketched: Students Identify Trends at Dutch Design Week', winner of the best paper award at the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, 12-13 September 2019, University of Strathclyde, based on the scores provided by the international scientific board of reviewers.

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Title Annotation:E&PDE: BEST PAPER
Author:Lutz, Hannah; Cardall, Hannah; Hill, Michaela; Howell, Bryan
Publication:Engineering Designer
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Nov 1, 2019
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