2017 trends: Authenticity, Optimism & Futurism

The new year has arrived with what feels like some unexpectedness. I am so relaxed after an amazing holiday that I can’t quite believe 3 weeks are over and that everything is starting again. But the intention of new beginnings synonymous with the 1 January is somehow a lot stronger this year, maybe because the world was so ready to say goodbye to 2016.

Something that was very clear from everyone I spoke with during the holidays – family over Christmas and stangers-turned-friends while traveling – was that, overwhelmingly, 2016 was a crappy year. Last year wasn’t awful for me, but now looking back, it was a year that held many challenges: how to balance work and a new baby; how to build and expand my business; adapting to 3 boisterous boys in the house and trying to make enough time to spend with my husband.

Before I jump into the trends for 2017, let me explain the influences. As implausible as it seems, whatever happens on the world socio-economic and political stage influences the scatter cushion you will buy for your sofa. Strange, I know!

design trends 2017

Have a look at this amazing interactive infographic from Shutterstock’s blog on the creative trends for 2017. It explains everything in pretty pictures – which is of course exactly what you’d expect from them!

There are macro trends, and micro trends. Macro trends are like the themes, the umbrella concepts, where micro-trends make up the details within that theme. As an example: the Kyoto Protocal has pushed governments to make commitments toward reducing their carbon footprint. So we have been in a macro trend toward living more sustainably and naturally for the last decade or so, and within that then comes micro trends to support it: the preference for natural materials, reduced carbon footprint in manufacturing and transportation of goods, small craft markets and pop-up shops with hand-made artisinal goods, leafy botanical prints.

With that in mind, there are 3 very strong macro trends on the design stage this year: Authenticity, Optimism and Futurism. And these 3 are more closely linked that may meet the eye at first.

This move toward AUTHENTICITY and all things nature has been with us for more than a decade now, and it’s growing stronger every year. Materials in their authentic form, unpolished, unbleached, unfinished, handmade and natural. A micro-trend that falls under this trend is African design: that yearning to go back to roots and beginnings, when things were uncomplicated and real. But we do live in a greatly advanced society, one where technology and science play a massive role. And this is where the second trend comes in: FUTURISM.


The reality is that the future is NOW. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has developed to such an extent that the sci-fi movies we watched as kids are here, and the predictions are that AI will be integrated into everything around us, connecting all systems and making everything “smart” by 2018. source

So the future is not filled with weird space-suits and Jetson’s interiors (unless that’s your thing of course!). It’s much less intimidating and spacey than we first thought. But we will be seeing a lot smarter use of materials and combining that with technology to serve us better. Yes, there will be a lot of metallics – but there always are. More multi-functional items and paired-down minimalism to simplify our lives.

Everyone’s ready to make a fresh start this year. With the global political turmoil of 2016 it seems that there is a general feeling of OPTIMISM and excitement for what this new year will bring. This is evident is the trending green, yellow and blue for the year. Last year you may remember that Pantone announced, for the first time ever, 2 colours for the year: Rose Quartz and Serenity. The uncertainty in the choice of 2 colours, and the call to calm and tranquility with those 2 specifically, was a symbol of the dis-ease and discomfort in global consciousness.

With those 3 trends then, my commitment this year is to remain AUTHENTIC and to remain OPTIMISTIC about the FUTURE. I think that’s a pretty decent new year’s resolution, don’t you?

I look forward to sharing the micro-trends with you in the coming weeks so make sure you subscribe to stay up to date.

May you be authentic and optimistic about our future in 2017!


Comments · 3

    1. HI Linda, no surely not ;-)! As you can see from my article, the futurism I am talking about is the technology and science that shape our future, not the art movement.

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