5 Fascinating New Areas of Design


Design has always been an exceptionally broad field. Everything we use from the clothes we wear to the houses we live in benefits from its long and complex history.

Design historians investigate the parallels and seeming contradictions between social and design history, often uncovering fantastic stories in the process. You really can learn a great deal about historical ideals and concepts by studying the way in which things were designed. What kind of cities do we produce? How has writing developed? What visual cues do we react to? Taking a close look at how we design our world can help us answer these telling questions.

Design evolves, and its evolution tells a tale. Why, for instance, does Van Helsing (2004) look so startlingly different to Dracula (1931)? The answer does not simply lie in the creative differences between the teams that made the films, but in a myriad of socio-aesthetic paradigms. Design is both responsive and catalytic to changes in technology too. Thanks to the proliferation of digital technology, we are seeing some new areas of design evolve – each with a distinct personality.

What follows is a brief summary of some fascinating new areas of design that have sprung into life in recent years thanks to advances in technology. Future design historians will certainly have a great deal to say about the meaning behind these developments.


E-commerce is big business and deals with many customers and vendors daily. Due to this Design for e-commerce has to be customer and vendor oriented. The best marketplaces to sell on are well designed, like Amazon, and can attract businesses that latch onto the satisfying and simple interface in order to create their own growth. Businesses such as Ryan Flannagan’s e-commerce marketing agency would not be able to get off the ground if there were not a well-designed hub around which to build. Ryan Flannagan is the Founder and CEO of NuancedMedia, an international e-commerce marketing agency specializing in Amazon. Nuanced and Ryan have built a large client base, earning total revenue of over $1.5 billion. Ryan is a published author and has been quoted by a number of media sources such as BuzzFeed and Modern Retail. To connect with Ryan, check out @Ryanflannagan on Twitter or via LinkedIn.

E-commerce design has come a long way. When eBay first launched in 1995, it was seen as revolutionary. Today, the legacy eBay site would seem archaic and complex to modern consumers used to sleek amazon interfaces.


DAW design is fascinating indeed. Digital Audio Workstation programs are essentially music studios in program form. They have completely revolutionized the way in which music is written and produced. Sampling, synthesis and arrangement are all drastically different in DAW form than their traditional equivalents.

Accordingly, a new school of design has developed in order to improve the Digital Audio Workstation interface. DAW design is driven by a need to keep things simple. Successful designs like Ableton manage to have a near infinite series of capabilities concealed beneath a simple and easy-to-navigate interface. Early programs were less functional, but appeared to be far more complex aesthetically, making their operation much harder.

The promotion of musicality through digital design is no easy thing. The field of DAW design has challenged software developers to design for creativity, functionality and simplicity.

Virtual Reality

The proliferation of virtual reality technology has opened up two new windows for designers:

– Designing for VR
Designing for virtual reality is a wonderful challenge. Designers often claim to be in the business of creating worlds and environments. When designing for virtual reality, this is more true than ever before. Virtual reality designers have to take into account the complexity of an interactive 3D world. Visualization is a key skill needed to design speed, range and mapping in a VR environment. Creating a realistic feeling world without inducing ‘simulation sickness’ is also a challenge.

Challenging it may be, but virtual reality is clearly opening up some fascinating new design possibilities.

– Designing with VR
One of the uses of virtual reality technology that is being tapped into is architectural design. Virtual reality allows for the creation of immersive digital mock ups that can be explored by architects or clients as if they were completed buildings. It can be used to consult with clients and collaborate with peers. It can be used to design intuitively and in great detail. Virtual reality applications for building design have been released that give architects a huge amount of freedom to turn their diagrams and concepts into fleshed out representations.

3D Printing

Much like virtual reality, the advent of 3D printing has catalyzed designers. The capabilities offered by 3D printing have forced designers to think outside the box. 3D printed prosthetic limbs, printed machine components and even 3D printed 3D printers have all been the result of designers adapting to the new age of concept to object immediacy.

3D scanning has also become extremely useful in design. By scanning an object using a laser a designer can create 3-dimensional models In software. They can then alter these 3D objects to create new, hitherto unseen physical forms.

Wearable Tech

How to combine the watch, the smartphone and the fitness aid? This question has led to some wonderful minimalist wearable tech designs. The advances in technology that created the smart watch also created design problems to solve. Smart interfaces were have been pared down to their most simple forms to allow for practical use on a tiny screen. Optimization for fitness and business has been abandoned in favor of devices that can perform many tasks through the ability to install applications.

In fact, technology drives design in part because it forces new problems to be solved that would not otherwise have been considered. The invention of the combustion engine, for instance, drove the design of automobiles away from the aesthetics of horse-drawn carriages, provoking a race to embody speed through design. With the rate of change increasing, who knows what the world of design will look like in just a few years’ time?

Author BIO: Ryan Flannagan is the Founder & CEO of NuancedMedia, an international eCommerce marketing agency specializing in Amazon. Nuanced has sold $100s of Millions online and Ryan has built a client base representing a total revenue of over 1.5 billion dollars. Ryan is a published author and has been quoted by a number of media sources such as BuzzFeed and Modern Retail. To connect with Ryan, check out @Ryanflannagan on Twitter or via Linkedin