The Emerging Design Paradigm

It is important for the design professionals to evolve and adapt according the need and necessity of the unprecedented change and arrival of the new normal. We live in an ever-evolving world, which is fast changing and dynamic. It is always in the process of being impacted by several factors. In a dynamic world such as ours, Design is adaptive. It responds to a changing world and it’s changing narratives.

Design is an integral approach towards creating and imagining a better life, which is in sync with the individual. It is an attempt at grasping the world to come up with solutions to make it easier to live in . Whether it’s industrial design solving our lives and making it easier by making products suited to our desired needs
Industrial Design does that by focussing on the physical appearance, functionality and manufacturability of a product, though they are often involved in far more during a development cycle. All of this ultimately extends to the overall lasting value and experience a product or service provides for end-users. Further, graphic design does so by making the world more attractive and easier to grasp. Design has always acted as a bridge between humans and their environment.

Design is the process and further, a tool for creation of objects, interactive systems, buildings, vehicles and so much more. 

It is user-centred. The users are at the heart of the design thinking approach.

Moreover, more importantly, it is human centred. Humans are at the heart of design which makes understanding and grasping humans even more important. It is about creating solutions for people, physical items or more abstract systems to address a need or a problem. A design is a plan to make something new for people, that they perceive as new and beneficial. Design is not just about making things that look appealing, or even just about its usability. It’s about taking products from being usable to delightful, and then beyond that- to meaningful.

How we design and what we design has undergone a major shift. Instead of mindlessly consuming and creating products, the shift of the focus is on how to create the world more adaptive to the new virus, that is COVID.

One of major change is that it has pushed the aspect of thinking about Hygiene heavily as an aspect to be considered while designing products, spaces or services.

Just the way the designers have been thinking and considering aesthetics, ergonomics, materials. Now to this, it has been added Hygiene as one of the parameters to be considered.

If one has to design products that will be used in a public space, say for example an entry gate for people to enter the metro station. Now a metro station is a public space. The space is an interactive place for a huge number of people which makes it one of the most vulnerable surfaces to come in contact with. To solve this issue, a designer would move towards materials that have the ability to self sanitising. Or probably to a material which kills virus. Copper kills more than 99.9% of bacteria that cause infections within 2 hours of surface contact.

The other aspect could be how the digital tools have pushed ahead of the way and modified the way we interact as a team while working on various projects. Emerging technological advancements have certainly acted as an overpass and kept us connected to our jobs, our families and to our pursuits. Technology such as internet further comes across as a space which holds massive scope for developing various design solutions. If a student isn’t able to visit his classroom or access his teacher due to the covid restrictions. The design solution to this has been, coming up of various applications or UI/ UX solutions that make grasping knowledge more interactive and also easier to grasp. One of the major benefits of a judiciously designed UI design, is that it helps your audience to intuitively locate exactly what they’re looking for, even if they aren’t entirely sure what that thing is. It’s not wizardry, it’s just skilful design. Part of good design is predictability. The audience is going to want to know what every cue is prompting them to do and where they will end up when they click on a link or a button. A well-designed UI will intuitively communicate all the information your visitors need to know, precisely when they need to know it.

With the onset of COVID 19, the markets have witnessed some major shifts. Around half of the designing agencies faced the negative impact of this whole situation, though; big companies were not affected that much in the beginning.

However, as users realised the importance of high-performing apps and websites during the times when they were solely dependent o technology, the demand spiked. The influx of app culture and tendency towards ease of use has increased the demand for improved UI/UX design and gradually increased the demand for talented UI/UX designers.

The crisis that we are facing is just one of the pandemics at the moment; we may see more pandemics in the coming future if we don’t pay careful attention to how we design our space and system.

Moreover, no matter how the world is impacted, one cannot divorce themselves away from the reality or the environment they exist in. A good design fits our needs so well that the design is invisible, and we don’t ever realize while we are using it. It simplifies our life and gives our life meaning.

 This is one of the reasons why design is omnipresent.  



Sukanya is a young practicing designer. She has obtained her Bachelor’s in Craft & Design from Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, Jaipur.


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