Constructing the future of design : How design professionals perceive their changing role

Tua A. Björklund, Matilda Akkola, Hanna Maula

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Design and design thinking have boomed in the past decade, expanding design considerations into new areas of application and a wide range of organizations across industry types. What implications does the changing role of design have for design practitioners? How do they see their role going forward? To add the voice of designers themselves to research, this study builds on 66 interviews that were conducted in 2017 at six offices of a design agency in North America and Europe. The interviewees reported believing in the continued growth of design, with increasing importance and influence of both technology and the human element in design, designers acting as boundary spanners. Five pairs of opposite myths of the future were identified, representing trends in different directions in their emphasis on key influences, scope, organizing, skills and prestige of design. As our perceptions and the sense we make of the world around us influence our choices and actions, the beliefs we hold of the future can be self-reinforcing. The results emphasize the expansion of skills in creating and harnessing interconnections between technology, people and design that designers believe will be required in the future for the field to flourish.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication21st DMI: Academic Design Management Conference
PublisherDesign Managment Institute
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventDMI: Academic Design Management Conference - Ravensbourne University, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Aug 20182 Aug 2018
Conference number: 21

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ... DMI: Academic Design Management Conference
PublisherDesign Management Institute
ISSN (Electronic)2640-4702


ConferenceDMI: Academic Design Management Conference
Abbreviated titleADMC
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • designer
  • design agency
  • future of design
  • design thinking
  • digitalization
  • narratives


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