Design in the Future

Smashing Magazine is a web design destination for information on best practices, current trends, and even little tutorials on how to master emerging techniques and new creative suite  functions. Related to the topic of patterns and textures in design as in Annette Tietenberg essay, this post (from about a year and a half ago on Smashing Mag) describes a now-common trend of incorporating textures into websites:

It is interesting to see how textures around you, such as the weave of the fabric from your oxford shirt or grouting between tiles or leaves in a tree, have become instrumental in making a website, a thing completely digital, more organic and natural.

The paradox between making something digital look more natural and something tactile and concrete look modern, clean, and sleek is a fascinating concept which may signal the future of design.

An example of this is the following this wedding website. It is a beautifully put together piece of work displaying a marriage of information and peaceful outdoor scenes*.  As the viewers, we are absorbed by the scenery on the page. It takes us from the computer and into a park, in front of a monument, or onto a staircase. We are there with this couple celebrating their joy, even though we have no idea who these two people are.

We are moving from nature to a representation of nature. A representation that can change at the click of a mouse button or a remote control.

This trend is also reminiscent of a Star Trek concept known as a holodeck where an empty room on the spaceship Enterprise serves the function of creating an artificial environment so real that the occupants of the Enterprise use it for recreation or simulated battles.

Is this where the future of design is heading? Is decoration meant to be contained in a neat sleek digital box to satisfy our ephemeral tastes?

*pun intended


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