2014 creative trends: how leading creatives will be developing their work in the year ahead

How will it be different in form and function?

"Digital comms is becoming more and more accountable, so I think that we'll start to see CTAs that are a lot more defined and specific within the work we produce. I think that will even extend through to always-on social content as brands try and maximise their return on investment.

"In terms of form, I think that video will continue to be a big part of what we do. Year-on-year, we've seen it get bigger and bigger and I think that this year that trend will continue."
Alan Parker, MD, Lowe Epic

"With 'Flat Design' removing a lot of the natural cues (or 'affordances') from interfaces, animation is going to play an increasingly important role in adding these back in. This includes explaining to users where information is hidden in small screen interfaces, what elements can be interacted with in touch screen interfaces, and what the previous or next actions should be."
Andy Budd, partner, Clearleft

"The phone that we are making will be unlike anything that exists: not because we want to make it different for the sake of it being different, but because there simply does not currently exist an example of experience-driven open technology. Because of the exclusive body of socially awkward products regurgitated by the free software and open source communities in the last three decades, there is a prevalent myth that open source has a user experience handicap; that open source and great design are mutually exclusive.

"Although it is easy to understand how one might reach this conclusion given the almost-exclusive wealth of empirical evidence to support it, it simply is not true. Open source and great design are not mutually exclusive. To say otherwise is to conflate the failed experiment of democratic design – an oxymoron if ever there was one – in the prevalent open source development methodology with a characteristic of the medium itself. It is not written anywhere that open products must be designed in a meritocracy or a democracy. Indie Phone definitely will not be.

When you implement an experience-driven, design-led development process, you come to realise that open source, and the business models it necessitates, actually have a user experience advantage over the ‘free’ business models of companies like Google and Facebook. You see, the business model of a company like Google and Facebook is to monetise user data. This, however, is never a user goal. No one ever woke up saying ‘I wish I could find a company that monetises my data more efficiently’. They did, however, probably get up and say ‘I wish I had a better way of sharing my photos or keeping in touch with my friends.’ So a free service providers goals and a user’s goals are orthogonal.

"This is why we see the frequent cat-and-mouse game between Facebook and its users as the former implements some feature in line with its business goal of earning more money from user data, the latter rebels at the privacy intrusion of a feature that doesn’t further their goals in any way – and the former capitulates to some degree only to introduce a similar feature later on.

"Contrast that with the business model of an open product. Our phone, for example, will be an object that you buy. And, if you’re not technically-savvy, we will take care of your cloud for you, as a gardener would take care of your garden (without extending any claims of ownership to your garden). Our goal is simply to create the best product possible so that you will buy it. Our goals, thus, are directly aligned with our users’ goals. That is a huge user experience advantage we have over the ‘free’ services. And, working from that, the form and function of our design will, of course, be different; easier to use, and more seamless."
Aral Balkan, user experience designer and founder, Indie

"Though we continue to produce broadcast and web content, the rise of experiential marketing will continue to position good-looking content into new spaces. TV and online won't go away, but the number of in-person experiences will certainly grow – and content will be ever-present in those experiences."
Chad Hutson, executive producer, Leviathan

"There’ll be no real difference in function – I’m still striving to create great narrative and design. Though hopefully, a marrying of ideas and experience from contemporaries who also want to experiment will lead the work into new pastures.

 "In form, my work is now becoming more physical as [I’m creating] objects such as character sculpts and collectables."
Darren Dubicki, director/designer, Aardman Animations

"We will continue to see more projects that need to work on multiple screens and formats with the same creative content. This can be a challenge when we’re working with a mobile device up to large outdoor digital projections. The resolution can change drastically but the content and look needs to be conveyed clearly with the same requirements.

"With the progression into 4K and living pieces – [such as ] randomly generated content and process-driven designs – it is important to know our deliverables and market as well as spending time on branding that will work on all formats."
Dave Haupt, creative director, MPC's Motion Design Studio

"Continue to make the technology as invisible as possible."
Ian Wharton, creative director, AKQA

"[I’m] aiming to do work I have never done before, despite clients requesting the type of work I have been doing for the past decade. I’m still doing a lot of brand identity work, so 2014 will be a lot more experience-focussed. Brand identity, advertising, PR and digital design all come under my brand experience umbrella – focussing on the interaction between brands and their consumers through media-neutral creative strategies and campaigns.”
Jenny Theolin, director, Soapbox & Sons

"More storytelling, more engaging with the world around it – being more playful and more open. I don't want to just make things for myself. I want to share my ideas and worlds, I want you to come on board and interact – and show me something I made in a different light."
Jon Burgerman, illustrator and food enthusiast

"The form and function of 2014 will be a greater continuation of 2013. Everything will move from 'should be' to 'must be’: with a greater demand for products with services being responsively designed, more agnostic, more coherence and – most importantly for living services – a more personalised and tailored experience.

I have concerns that, as more mainstream services overlap from digital to physical, we will start seeing the 'dark patterns' bleeding out of websites into our wearables and smart cities. I'm not looking forward to finding the physical equivalent of a tick box saying I don't want to be spammed."
Oli Shaw, service design lead, Fjord, part of Accenture Interactive

"Hopefully it will be more diverse in terms of subject matter and content."
Rebecca Swift, head of creative planning, iStock

Square Cash is a great example. Their service is sending money via email. The product has been simplified so much that no front-end UI exists at all because the interface is your email. Something you already have and something you already know how to use. Seamless and intuitive"
Shaun Tollerton, visual designer, ustwo

"I suspect we'll be seeing far more responsive work. We're currently trying to really push this thinking on a couple of live briefs. Not just in online and digital applications but everywhere."
Simon Manchipp, co-founder, SomeOne

"A lot of my work now is being animated… being solely an illustrator for so many years, it has opened a lot of new doors now that my work can be seen animated."
Stanley Chow, illustrator

"I'd like to think that it'll be more interesting in form, but similar in function. My job is to create images that sell a product – so in that regard it shouldn't change, but I want the styling to become more interesting and engaging. I want to make things people can spend time with and see reasoning behind the way it was made – not just a pretty picture."
Steven Bonner, designer

"Typography is my weakest skill, so I've started tinkering with 3D lettering. I don't know where I'm going with it just yet, but that's half the fun. Whether I'll be able to use the new-found artistry in client work is unknown – but it's definitely good to keep learning.."  
Tom Actman, founder & creative director, Mat Dolphin

Discover what will be the biggest influences and new tech in the year ahead >>>

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