What Is the Future of Design and Design Jobs?
The global Artificial Intelligence (AI) market is predicted to reach a $190.65 billion market value by 2025.
That’s a significant increase compared to the $62.35 billion market size we saw in 2020.
This is huge!
In other words, AI technology will have a drastic effect on most industries, including marketing, education, healthcare, and many more.
These changes will be both for the better and the worse.
New job opportunities will appear, while others may die out. This especially holds true for the design industry.
Although AI will noticeably change the world of design, there are also other factors to consider.
That said, let’s see how designers’ careers will be influenced in the future.
Design Jobs That Will Disappear
1. User Experience Design
Although UX design has been around for a while, this field will likely look nothing like today in the future.
Experts at Digital Silk, a design agency in Miami, say that generative AI will have a major impact on this side of the design industry.
Through machine learning and access to behavioral data insights, an AI system can automatically create various designs regarding elements like buttons in websites and graphics based on the audience’s needs.
That said, a UX designer will likely play the role of curator rather than a creator.
His job will be to guide the AI by setting goals, constraints, and parameters. After that, he’ll need to review, select and make minor adjustments to the AI-generated design.
2. Visual Design
Where UX designers focus on how an interface feels, visual designers are responsible for how it looks.
Again, algorithms can impact both an interface’s looks and feel due to the advancements in AI technology. That said, a job that relies solely on visual design skills will likely not be done by humans in the future.
Consequently, visual designers will have to branch out and look for other opportunities—some of which we’ll discuss later on.
3. Design Research
Design research represents the starting point of any design project. It’s the process of gaining a deep understanding of the target audience’s needs, wants, and the challenges it’s facing.
This information is then used to create an interface that’s specifically tailored to the said audience.
As of 2021, you may still find a job as a design researcher. But, with how busy the design industry is getting, every designer will need to know how to conduct his own research.
Thus, having a dedicated design researcher will no longer be necessary.
Not to mention that AI can easily gather all the data you need, making the job much easier. This technique is prominently used in fields like digital marketing and in digital marketing agencies.
4. Industrial Design
Industrial design is the practice of designing consumer products, objects, and services. It involves designing the physical appearance, functionality, and manufacturability of the product.
But, the industrial design landscape will drastically change in the future, and designers will have to adapt.
Instead of emphasizing physical functionality, products will shift towards the digital element, as we see now in the Internet of Things.
Consequently, industrial designers will have to be more involved in technology and software and design experiences connecting both the digital and physical worlds.
5. Chief Design Officers
This is a title given to someone in charge of an organization’s design initiatives.
Chief Design Officers (CDOs) are responsible for overseeing all innovation and design aspects of a company’s products or services. These aspects include UX design, industrial design, graphic design, etc.
Although this is a relatively new position, it will likely fade away in the near future.
As with design researchers, any director will have to practice design on his own in a design-oriented company.
That said, an employee whose sole responsibility is to supervise and direct the design process might become redundant.
It’s not all bad news, though. There are also plenty of design opportunities that will arise in the future.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Jobs That Will Flourish
1. AI Design Specialists
Although AI will replace a few jobs, they’re not going to design themselves.
That said, AI design specialists will be in high demand in the near future.
They are responsible for designing AI prototypes, developing AI-centered products, and ensuring that the data collection systems the AI will learn from are safe, ethical, and apply to real user problems.
2. Post-Industrial Designers
As we’ve mentioned, industrial designers will need to design products that link the physical world with the digital one.
That’s what post-industrial designers are all about.
Let’s say that someone is responsible for designing a home alarm system. The designer will have to make sure that the system connects to a mobile application, links to the camera feed, or and notifies the user in case of an emergency.
3. Specialist Material Designers
Specialist material designers are experts that work with certain materials, like plastics, metals, minerals, etc.
They are usually employed in construction or manufacturing plants to ensure that the products are created with high-quality materials.
But, they’ll likely become more popular in the future.
For example, they’ll be in high demand when it comes to designing wearables that are made by binding fabric with plastics, metals, and even circuitry.
We can see this in the manufacturing of smart clothes, for example.
4. Virtual Interaction Designers
As of 2021, Augmented Reality (AR) will reach worldwide market revenue of $8.86 billion. But by 2024, the market revenue is expected to hit a whopping $21.02 billion.
The Virtual Reality (VR) industry is expected to grow considerably as well.
That’s because, besides gaming, VR and AR technology is being adopted in healthcare, construction, education, tourism, etc.
In other words, virtual interaction designers will become increasingly popular. They are responsible for creating experiences based on elements like gestures and communication to make the users feel as immersed in the virtual world as possible.
5. Freelance Designers
The freelancer market has already seen a significant increase in the past few years. As of 2021, there are around 1.1 billion freelancers across the globe.
And given that 75% of them wouldn’t give up their freelancing job for other types of work, this market will likely only grow in the future.
What’s more, in terms of Art and Design, freelancers made up around 75% of the workforce in 2019.
That said, we’ll likely see a surge of freelance designers in the future.
On the one hand, artificial intelligence will take over, making a few positions obsolete, like in the case of UX and visual design.
Additionally, employees will need to broaden their knowledge in design, eliminating the need for a dedicated design researcher or a CDO and pushing others to adapt to new technology advancements.
On the other hand, as technology moves further, there will be an increasing demand for AI design specialists, virtual interaction, post-industrial, and specialist material designers.
In other words, the design industry will experience major changes in the future. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, it’s up to you to decide.
Ellie is a long-time marketer, currently working as a freelancer in Miami, Florida.
She is also a passionate writer and loves to explore new, innovative and digital news.
In spare time she is an eco activist.