In many ways, 2022 felt like the closest thing to a normal year we’ve had this decade, but that’s not to say it was uneventful for those in the design business. From war to inflation, 2022 saw many seismic events and the ensuing uncertainty around energy and the economy, among other factors, could shape the coming year.
Beyond keeping up with predicted design trends for 2023, it’s worth staying informed about some of this year’s broader developments that could affect how you approach your design business in 2023. Whether whether you’re trying to make sense of inflation, the art of artificial intelligence, or Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm, here’s a closer look at the industry changes you should anticipate in the new year.
Solar isn’t just for rooftops anymore
With this winter likely to lead to higher energy bills, 2023 could be the perfect time for architects and designers to merge sustainability and affordability by harnessing the power of the sun. As WGSN’s 2023 trend report suggests, this could provide opportunities to not only add solar panels (and now solar shingles) to homes, but to integrate solar power into “everyday accessories like light bulbs, kettles, heated blankets , toys and even fans.” With WGSN survey data suggesting that nearly 90 percent of consumers see the importance of buying or renting an energy-efficient home, there may be brighter days ahead for comprehensive solar design.
inflation can slows down in 2023
Although worst-case fears of a significant recession may not have materialized (at least so far), inflation – which hit a 40-year high in 2022 – was a fact of life. But what will next year hold? Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen predicts more of the same in terms of recessionary risks, but does not see the recession itself as a necessary step to correct the inflation in question. Coupled with the Federal Reserve’s expectations of a continued (albeit slower) increase in interest rates next year, its hope is that inflation will be on the decline by the end of 2023.
This may not be exactly the news consumers want to hear. But while the economy remains in wait-and-see mode, it could bode well for the furniture and design resale markets, which consumers already see as an inflationary hedge. This trend is likely to continue in the absence of economic growth.
House prices have fallen from previous peaks, but how will the market move?
US housing supply hit record lows in 2021, which kept prices very high as rising demand stalled in 2022. With interest rates rising to dampen that aforementioned inflation, these prices have pulled back from their peak. But don’t assume that the market correction means 2023 is the time to strike a deal on a new home. Housing market experts predict that while prices are likely to pull back a little further in some of the more expensive zip codes, this may not translate into a nationwide decline. However, if home prices see a sharp decline, it could be a harbinger of much bigger economic problems that will eventually leave buyers, sellers, and everyone else in a tough spot.
The NFT demand is not quite there
For designers curious about NFTs, the beginning of 2022 seemed to offer great promise. 1stDibs was among the design marketplaces to offer blockchain art for sale, and the metaverse opened up new opportunities for innovative digital design and even online architecture. But with NFT market growth in decline (see: Justin Bieber’s $1.3 million Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT losing nearly 95 percent of its value) and the FTX fiasco inspiring further cryptocurrency caution, predictions of revolution of blockchain may have been premature.
Of course, there’s always the chance that demand will rebound, especially if the wider adoption of the metaverse shows consumers the value of unique, ownable digital assets. But for now, one would be wise to continue investing at least some of their design efforts into tangible, real-world projects.
The social media landscape is changing, but algorithms still run the show
Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, which led to layoffs and user defections, is the most significant change in the social media landscape, but it’s far from the only change in 2022. BeReal’s growth and more off-the-cuff posts suggest a desire to move away from Instagram’s highly stylized and curated approach to posting photos, especially at a time when visual creators have noticed that Instagram’s algorithm deprioritises still images in favor of TikTok-like . reel. With Twitter’s future in doubt, alternatives like Mastodon and Hive Social are gaining traction, but neither has yet reached the critical mass of users required to become the next big social platform.
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