Topics to Watch: November 2016

In this latest edition of Topics to Watch, we take a look at how elements of good design are becoming mainstream, shaping our experiences and influencing the way we think, design and create.


Since long before the days of online marketing, copywriting has been creating iconic language that not only sells products but also captures the feeling of the times. The most successful taglines go beyond marketing or advertising to often become as much a part of history as words from an award-winning poet or novelist. Today, in the era of digital marketing and social media, copywriting has evolved from an iconic art form to somewhat of a science, utilizing key words and search optimization to ensure success for brands.


In a world where many items are mass-produced, the return to the ancient art form of engraving allows people to put their stamp on something, personalize it and make their mark. Engraving involves incising or carving a design onto a myriad of materials from wood to glass to metal, leather and jewelry. Technology has revolutionized engraving with routers and lasers (even 3D laser printers) that work faster and more precisely, allowing for more creativity. And with several retailers not only providing tools for engraving and wood working but also offering how-to tips and lessons, engraving has become even more accessible.


Industrial design
Industrial design is the study of function and form and the connection between product, user and environment. It influences nearly all of our surroundings, from the office we work in and the products we use, to the chairs we sit on and the homes we live in. One design style that’s getting increased attention is the De Stijl movement. De Stijl (Dutch for “The Style”) began in 1917, sparking modernism and highlighting simplicity, form and function in design and beyond. Expect to see elements of influence from geometrical shapes on different planes using primary colors come alive in fashion, interior design, product design and architecture.


Maternity clothing
Fashion trends are often a reaction to the world we live in, so it’s no surprise that maternity fashion has undergone a style revolution. In 1993, maternity clothes took a turn when the Family and Medical Leave Act was passed, giving women job security and the freedom to stop hiding their pregnancies with caftans and tent dresses. Now, maternity clothes are no longer a fashion wasteland but rather a booming market. With the rise of celebrity culture, pregnancy fashion has received even more of a spotlight. Stylish moms wear bodycon dresses and fashionable form-fitting clothes to highlight their changing bodies. And retailers have taken notice. Fast fashion has made maternity clothes more accessible, with moms renting and swapping maternity clothes on social media.


Sportswear as streetwear has gone mainstream. So mainstream in fact, that a dictionary recently added “athleisure” to its entries,  defining it as “casual clothing designed to be worn for both exercising and for general use.”1 The trend has indeed gained so much traction that it can no longer be ignored by luxury fashion houses, with many launching their own sportswear lines and saturating the market. So where to, athleisure fans? The future of sportswear might be in smart fabrics. Fashion house incubators, like Manufacture NY, will take sportswear to the next level, playing with fibers, garment fit, fabrics and wearable technology.


User experience
As more technology companies create products to improve and simplify our lives, we’ve become more intertwined with digital platforms, interacting with certain interfaces on a daily basis. What was once a topic generally discussed among only those in Silicon Valley and Corporate America, user experience (often shortened to “UX”) is now a topic of conversation among the greater population. This can be seen through the latest call for a redesign of the user experience of voting.

Copywriting, engraving, and design are a few of the topics to watch

1 Merriam-Webster, 2016.